£70m in Grant Support issued to local businesses
We’ve processed over 5447 Business Grants to support local businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The current value of these grants stands at £69m and this will exceed the £70m mark following payments being made this weekend.
The grant process is not automatic and the remaining 20% of Business Ratepayers that have not yet applied are encouraged to do so using the online application process as soon as possible. There may also be other businesses who are not on the Council’s record who may be eligible. The e-forms and eligibility criteria are available online.
Providing all the information supplied is accurate, the Council aims to make payments within 7 working days. Businesses may be contacted directly for relevant information to validate claims and prevent fraud. In some cases, businesses will receive a request to provide further details before payments can be processed. Once applications are verified and processed, the payments can take 3-5 days to enter bank accounts.
Business Grants phishing email scam
We are are of a known Business Support Grant email scam currently requesting re-submission of application details in order to receive the COVID19 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure grant. The e-mail purports to be from the ‘Director of Finance (Section 151 Officer)’. If you are unsure, please contact us directly.
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme opens
Self-employed individuals or members of partnerships whose business has been adversely affected by coronavirus can now apply for a Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant, worth 80% of their average monthly trading profits, up to a maximum of £7,500), paid in a single instalment.
People will be able to make their claim on a specified date between 13-18 May, based on their Unique Tax Reference number. HMRC has assigned eligible self-employed individuals a specific date to apply on and this can be checked on HMRC’s online checker at any time. People will not be able to apply before their claim date but can make a claim after that day.
The claims process is simple, and those eligible will have the money paid into their bank account by 25 May 2020, or within six working days of completing a claim.
Furlough scheme extended until October 2020
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will remain open until the end of October. The scheme will continue to apply across all regions and sectors in the UK economy. Furloughed workers across the UK will continue to receive 80% of their current salary, up to £2,500.
From the start of August, furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time with employers being asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff. The employer payments will substitute the contribution the government is currently making, ensuring that staff continue to receive 80% of their salary, up to £2,500 a month.
The scheme will continue in its current form until the end of July.
Changes to allow more flexibility will come in from the start of August. More specific details and information around implementation will be made available by the end of this month.
Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)
The government, in consultation with industry, has produced ‘COVID-19 secure’ guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible. The new guidance covers 8 workplace settings which are allowed to be open, from outdoor environments and construction sites to factories and takeaways. This sets out practical steps for businesses focused on 5 key points, which should be implemented as soon as it is practical:
- Work from home, if you can
- Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, in consultation with workers or trade unions
- Maintain 2 metres social distancing, wherever possible
- Where people cannot be 2 metres apart, manage transmission risk
- Reinforcing cleaning processes
New Safer Travel and Safer Transport guidance
A new guide is available to help businesses, agencies and others understand how to provide safer workplaces and services for themselves, their workers and passengers across all modes of private and public transport. It outlines measures to assess and address the risks of coronavirus in the transport sector across England.
Guidance for passengers on how to travel safely
This guidance provides advice on how passengers should make journeys safely. The advice sets out that if people who cannot work from home and have to travel for work, they should first consider alternatives to public transport. Those driving their own cars have been asked to avoid busy areas. For those who have to use public transport, the guidance recommends:
- Keeping 2 metres apart wherever possible;
- Wearing a face covering if you can;
- Using contactless payment where possible;
- Avoiding rush hour travel where feasible;
- Washing or sanitising your hands as soon as possible before and after travel;
- Following advice from staff and being considerate to others.
Next steps for education and childcare
Updated information for parents and carers about the wider opening to nurseries, schools and colleges from 1 June is now available.
In addition, more guidance has been provided on how educational and childcare settings should prepare for wider opening from 1 June 2020, including information on year groups in first phase of wider opening, the latest science, and managing risk and rate of transmission of coronavirus.
Plans to safely restart, reopen and renew housing market
Anyone in England can move house if they follow new guidance on home moving during the coronavirus outbreak. In addition:
- Estate agents’ offices can re-open
- Viewings – whether virtual or in person – are permitted
- Show homes can open
- Removal companies and the other essential parts of the sales and letting process are re-started with immediate effect
A Charter, co-produced by the Government and the Home Building Federation, committing signatories to safe working whilst COVID-19 remains prevalent.
Health and wellbeing of the adult social care workforce
New guidance is now available for anyone who works in adult social care. It includes advice on how you can manage your personal mental health in the current circumstances.
It also provides adult social care employers with guidance, tools and advice on how to take care of the wellbeing of staff at work.
Keep updated with the latest information via this email, on our @Business_BCP Twitter feed, the @BCPCouncil Twitter feed and on our website. The government has also set up a new business support website which clearly explains the support available.