Coronavirus East Devon Business Update

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Coronavirus (Covid-19) updates for business

Coronavirus business update

Mark Williams, the Chief Executive of East Devon District Council and Councillor Ben Ingham, the Leader of the Council, outline the need to work together in order to meet the many demands created by the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak:

"We are currently faced with one of the greatest challenges of our lifetime with a rapidly changing situation that poses fresh problems at every turn. To overcome these problems every one of us must play our part in helping beat the Coronavirus pandemic.

"We will need to be resilient, resourceful and courageous to make it through the difficult months ahead. We need to work together, to help each other wherever possible and, above all, to ‘keep calm and carry on’.

"Please be reassured that the council’s commitment to you remains steadfast and we will continue to provide critical services using our very best endeavours. To that end I am proud to say that every single member of staff is playing their part and working tirelessly to ensure that, despite multiple challenges, important services are still being delivered to the best of our ability.

"There will undoubtedly be service areas that may have to be discontinued, so I would ask for your patience and understanding as we focus our resources in the areas where they are needed most.

"We are committed to doing whatever is needed to help people directly and to support our communities to find ways to respond quickly. We will continue to review and adapt as necessary.

"The Coronavirus outbreak is affecting all aspects of our economy.  The Government has announced a package of measures to support business and employers through this most difficult of periods.  Some of these measures will be deployed through the District Council.  Whilst we are still awaiting final guidance our commitment to you is that we will ensure that these funds flow as quickly as possible.  Further details of the forthcoming support are provided below. 

"We are currently experiencing a high level of enquiries.  Our website is being kept up to date with the latest guidance so please use this as your first point of reference, as well as, facebook, twitter and linkedin.

Thank you – keep safe and stay well – Together #WeAreDevon

Coronavirus information for businesses, employers and employees

The Government has issued guidance for businesses and employees in regards to the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. 

The published guidance will:
•assist employers and businesses in providing advice to staff on COVID-19
•give advice on how to prevent its spread
•advise on what to do if someone with suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 has been in a workplace setting
•offer advice to give to individuals who have travelled to specific areas
•advise for the certification of absence from work resulting from COVID-19.

Business Support as at 19 March 2020 Rate Relief
The Government will provide 100% business rates retail relief for the current year 2020/21 for the following occupied premises:
• Shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas, and live music venues

This is now extended to include
• Sports, assembly and leisure premises
• Hotels, guest and boarding houses, holiday accommodation, caravan parks

More information is online

This means that around 1,000 East Devon businesses will benefit directly from this extended retail relief measure. This is in addition to the 3,345 businesses that already receive 100% small business rate relief (SBRR).

We are working hard to get these applied to eligible accounts so that 2020/21 bills reflects the 100% relief provided by the Government.

East Devon District Council will be contacting businesses directly to confirm this has been applied to their account and will to do this over the coming weeks. We will update our website when this is happening.

If it is unclear whether a particular premises is eligible for the relief, we will contact the rate payer or they can email us at

Business Grant
The government has announced two cash grant schemes:

Scheme 1 – Business Support Grant Fund
Businesses that qualified for small business rate relief (SBRR) or rural rate relief on 11 March 2020, including those in receipt of tapered relief, will be eligible for a grant payment of £10,000.

Properties that are occupied for personal use (for e.g. private stables, beach huts, car parking spaces and personal storage) will not qualify, nor will those properties whose liability is calculated using the small business multiplier (this is shown on the business rates bill).

Scheme 2 – Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Grant Fund
Properties that would have qualified for the retail discount on 11th March 2020 will either be entitled to:
• £10,000 where the rateable value (RV) of the premises is £15,000 or less or;
• £25,000 where the RV is greater than £15,000 but less than £51,000
• Premises with an RV above £51,000 are not eligible for this grant

Full Government guidance is available online.

The Council is awaiting detail from Government on the administration of these grants. This is expected within the next few days. To be clear, the Government are not expecting payments of these grants to be made until early April.

As soon as we have both the guidance and funding we will implement these payments quickly, knowing how important this will be in supporting your business at this critical time.

Business Continuity Helpline from Cosmic

Cosmic are offering a free helpline and toolkit for local businesses and charities to help them set up remote working for staff in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Phone 0330 088 4421 from 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday.

Portal for Covid-19 business updates

Businesses are advised to keep updated on the latest information and advice to inform their response to Coronavirus (COVID-19). The Heart of the South West Growth Hub website provides updated information to help businesses in Devon, Somerset, Plymouth and Torbay. This includes information on financial support not being administered by Local Authorities, including the Business Interruption Loan Scheme; HMRC Covid-19 Helpline and Bank Finance Options.

Support for paying wages

An announcement from Government is expected on supporting businesses with wages. Details coming soon. Stay up to date.