We are now entering the post-COVID 19 recovery phase, which presents businesses with a lot of difficult decisions about the future. Use the links on this page to access up-to-date information about the range of support on offer to help your business recover from the impact of COVID 19.
Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund
The second round of the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Scheme is now open for applications. Click on the link to check eligibility requirements and to access the application form. The application deadline has been extended to Monday, 29th June at 9am.
NOTE: This grant funding is for businesses that are not eligible for other support schemes. Businesses that have received cash grants from any central government COVID-related scheme are ineligible for funding from the Discretionary Grants Fund, apart from the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme. You are not eligible to apply for this grant if you/ your business is based at home, you operate a mobile business or your business is based mainly on online trade/sales.
Covid19 recovery checklist for business re-opening
The restrictions placed on some business to stop trading to help limit the spread of Coronavirus are being gradually eased. Regular announcements are being made identifying which business may now open, along with the release of Government guidance on what precautions must be in place before trading can restart. You can check whether your business is allowed to open on the Gov.uk website.
The Government has produced some sector specific guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic. This currently includes outdoor working environments, for example construction; factories and warehouses; laboratories, offices and contact centres; restaurants offering take-aways; working in other people's homes; shops; and vehicles.If you are unable to implement the measures suggested for your business then you must remain closed until you can fulfil all the requirements or the Government says otherwise.
For businesses where no sector specific guidance is in place, the Council has produced a Checklist to help businesses prepare for re-opening. This Checklist brings together a range of control measures which businesses should consider implementing to assist them to trade in line with Government requirements and public expectation, while also addressing their responsibilities under Health and Safety law.
Businesses are required to assess, minimise, and control health and safety risks to employees, customers and any other person who may be affected by their business activity. This includes the risk of infection with Coronavirus. If you employ five or more employees this assessment must be written down. Control measures introduced following the assessment must be regularly monitored to check they are effective and adjusted if not. This should be done by observation, and discussion with employees so that you are confident you are aware of what is actually happening in practice.
In determining which measures are necessary at your business you must consider how your business operates against the Government requirements for social distancing by vulnerable or infected people, limiting social contact for all, and increased hygiene measures.
Shop Local support
The council has added a new 'Shop Local' page to the website to encourage residents to make as much use of local businesses as possible. As well as basic contact details, customers will be able to find information about products and services on offer, types of payment taken and what steps you are taking to ensure customer safety. To take advantage of this free opportunity to promote your business, complete the registration form and your details will be added to the site.
Sector Specific re-opening advice
The Government has produced specific guidance for people who work in or run shops, branches, stores or similar environments. Newcastle town centre Business Improvement District (BID) members can access additional support to prepare your Business for re-opening by emailing the BID.
The Government has produced specific guidance for people who work in or run restaurants offering takeaway or delivery services.
The Government has produced specific guidance for people who work in or run offices, contact centres and similar indoor environments.
Travel and Tourism
Guidance for travel industry businesses during the coronavirus pandemic can be found on the Business Companion website. The Visit Britain website provides regular updates on support available to tourism businesses. Visit England are running a series of webinars giving insight, tips and guidance to assist the recovery process.
Business Support Grants
Businesses eligible for the Small Business Rate Grant Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLG) should have already received notification from the Business Rates Team. If you are in receipt of either of these reliefs and have not already applied, please complete the application form below immediately. If you believe you are eligible but have not received any correspondence, please contact Business Rates. Please note that certain exclusions apply. See business guidelines for details.
Small Business Rate Relief
The Council will shortly be issuing revised Business Rates bills for any businesses that are affected by the recent changes to Small Business Rate Relief scheme. You do not need to do anything regarding these changes - all qualifying businesses will be re-billed as soon as possible, however, you can check eligibility. If you have any queries regarding your revised bill once you have received it, please e-mail Business Rates.
The Government's Bounce Back Loan scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. The government guarantees 100 per cent of the loan and there will be no fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. Loan terms will be up to 6 years. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months. The government will work with lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan. The scheme will be delivered through a network of accredited lenders. You can apply for a loan if your business is based in the UK, has been negatively affected by coronavirus and was not an ‘undertaking in difficulty’ on 31 December 2019.
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) provides financial support to smaller businesses affected by coronavirus (COVID-19). The scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to access loans and other kinds of finance up to £5 million. The government guarantees 80% of the finance to the lender and pays interest and any fees for the first 12 months. You can apply for a loan if your business is based in the UK with an annual turnover of up to £45million, would be viable were it not for the pandemic but has been adversely impacted by the coronavirus. There are over 50 lenders participating in the scheme including all the main retail banks. You should approach a suitable lender yourself via the lender’s website.
The government’s £500 million Future Fund is now open for applications from innovative and high-growth businesses. Companies can now apply for a convertible loan of between £125,000 and £5 million, to support continued growth and innovation in sectors as diverse as technology, life sciences and the creative industries The Future Fund is intended to support firms across the UK to get through the pandemic by stimulating investment, so that they can continue to break new ground in technology and innovation.
The HMRC Job Retention Scheme will close to new entrants on 1 July 2020. To qualify, employers must have placed employees on furlough by 10 June 2020 so that they finish the minimum furlough period by 30 June. Employers then have until 31 July 2020 to make a claim.
Other sources of support and advice
The Stoke and Staffordshire Growth Hub runs regular webinars covering a wide range of issues relevant to post-COVID business recovery. Past webinars are also available. Sign up for the Growth Hub regular newsletter to keep up-to-date with business news.
Staffordshire Chambers offers a Coronavirus Toolkit including regular webinars and a weekly COVID 19 business support update to assist businesses through the recovery process (also available to non-members).
COVID 19 support and advice from the Stoke & Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
last updated on 19 June 2020