Support for self-employed and freelance workers

Discretionary grant fund for small businesses

Applications are now open for small businesses to apply for a discretionary grant. 

The following types of small businesses could apply:

•    events
•    arts, culture and creative industries
•    retail
•    businesses in shared workspaces and those who manage shared workspaces
•    charities, community interest companies and third sector organisations who undertake commercial work
•    businesses with high fixed costs that do not pay business rates
•    locally-based businesses in leisure, including B & B guest houses
•    long established companies in the city that have invested in their business
•    market traders with fixed locations and costs in Brighton & Hove 
•    businesses employing 20 to 50 employees or with high turnover

An online form is now available and a discretionary grant guide with information about who can apply and how to meet the criteria. Please also download and read the applicants’ guide before making your application.

The closing date for applications is Friday, 12 June.

Support from government

The UK government has provided the Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) to support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) who have lost income due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

The scheme will allow self-employed people to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for three months. This may be extended if needed.

To qualify, more than half of your income in this period must come from self-employment.

More information and how to claim a grant through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme.

Self-employed people are not covered by the scheme if they:

  • pay themselves a salary and dividends through their own company
  • started their business after April 2019
  • earn more than £50,000

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme enables claims to be made for employee wages. Find out more about the government’s financial support for businesses.

You may also be entitled to support through Universal Credit. Find out more about self-employment and Universal Credit.

The government has set up a Coronavirus (Covid-19) helpline for those experiencing difficulties paying taxes.

Cultural sector

Arts Council England is providing an emergency fund of £160 million to support individual artists, freelancers and cultural organisations. Find out more about the cultural sector funding and how to apply.

More support and advice

The Federation of Small Businesses has brought together information for small businesses and the self-employed, including free webinars, available help and looking after your mental health.

See also updates from:

Helping licensed businesses

Taxis and Private Hire

To support proprietors and drivers during this difficult time we are currently applying discretion with aspects of the licence renewal process.

These measures are designed to maintain public safety while helping taxi drivers who are not currently working or if their licence is due for renewal.

Taxis and Private Hire vehicles not operating

For proprietors whose vehicles are not working during this period and who have taken their vehicle off the road, we will let your hackney carriage or private hire licence run as normal until it is time for it to be renewed.

If your licence is due for renewal, we are asking proprietors to renew their licence as normal. 

If a vehicle is not working and the proprietors have decided to SORN the vehicle and during this time the licence expires, then we are asking proprietors to submit a renewal application as normal to ensure that there is no break in the licence.

We will then hold your application until government guidelines in relation to COVID-19 have been relaxed. The licence will then be issued once all the relevant documentation has been received. 

Once the government starts to lift restrictions, your vehicle will need to be fully compliant before it starts working.

Vehicle checks

If you are driving during this period, you can still obtain a certificate of compliance and fitness from the council’s approved garages.

Licensing officers will not be carrying out vehicle checks until further notice.

For advice on other checks and compliance, please contact:

Vehicle licences

We will issue taxi and private hire vehicle licences and badges by post or email.


It may be difficult for some drivers to obtain medicals through their GP at this time, so to enable our independent medical adviser to make an assessment, we will accept 12 months of medical records. If any driver is struggling with medicals or obtaining records, please contact us at and we will review individual circumstances on a case by case basis.

Find more information about taxi licence applications.

Premises licences

We are asking people to apply for premises licences online. More information on applying for a premises licence.

Food and drink businesses

Some food and drink businesses are changing their business model to provide takeaways and deliveries.

We have put together some advice for food and drink businesses looking to offer this service.

More Covid-19 food safety guidance for businesses.

Hotels and holiday lets

Emergency legislation now in place states that accommodation providers must remain closed to guests until further notice.

There are some exemptions to the strict rules. For example, hotels offering accommodation to key workers, such as NHS staff, and the homeless.

Find out more about the restrictions on hotels and holiday lets.