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Help for struggling businesses

The last couple of years have been extremely challenging for small businesses and business owners. The Covid-19 pandemic put many businesses into survival mode where the priority was finding ways to overcome the financial hardship that the enforced closures and lockdowns brought. Tough conditions have continued as businesses try to absorb rising costs. Listed below are organisations that are there to help struggling businesses:

Free advice from OxLEP

Free 1 to 1 business advice is available from the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP). Please complete their business support tool so they can direct you to the most appropriate advice. Please visit OxLEP.

Free help from Enterprise Nation

Enterprise Nation’s 'Cost of Doing Business Hub' is full of resources, support and advice to help guide businesses through the current financial hardship. It includes businesses sharing tips and ideas for thriving in difficult economic times. Please visit Enterprise Nation.

Energy costs

Energy Bills Discount Scheme

The government is introducing a new energy support scheme for businesses, charities and the public sector from 1 April 2023 to replace the Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBRS). The new scheme known as the Energy Bills Discount Scheme will mean that all eligible UK businesses and other non-domestic energy users will receive a discount on high energy bills until 31 March 2024, albeit at a reduced level of support than the EBRS.

A higher level of support will be provided to businesses in sectors identified as being the most energy and trade intensive – predominately manufacturing industries. For further information please see the Energy Bills Discount Scheme website.

Getting help if your business can't afford its energy bills

Ofgem has a section on its website full of advice for businesses including those struggling to pay their energy bills. Please visit Ofgem.

Dealing with debt

Financial assistance for employers unable to pay statutory redundancy payments

If a business cannot afford to pay their employees redundancy pay, they can apply to the Redundancy Payments Service (RPS) (part of a government agency called the Insolvency Service) for financial assistance. If approved, the RPS will make statutory redundancy payments directly to the redundant employees on the employer’s behalf. For more information, please visit the Redundancy Payments Service.

Problems paying tax bills

If you cannot pay your tax bill on time, the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) Business Payment Support Service is there to help. For more information please visit HM Revenue and Customs.

British Business Bank

The British Business Bank has published a free guide with impartial information to help businesses through survival and onto recovery, helping them stabilise and move forward to growth and future success. For more information, please visit the British Business Bank.

Business Debtline

The Business Debtline is a charity that gives free, confidential and independent debt advice over the phone and online. It has also published a series of business debt advice fact sheets. For more information, please visit the Business Debtline.

Citizens Advice Bureau

Citizens Advice Bureau offers advice to anyone who is facing problems including consumer rights, debt and money management and employment rights. For more information, please visit Citizens Advice Bureau.