East Devon coronavirus business update - 30 April 2020

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

Coronavirus business masthead

This week Councillor Ian Thomas, East Devon District Council’s portfolio holder for finance, introduces the business update, with a request to businesses who want to decline grants from Government:

East Devon District Council has paid a staggering £35m+ in grants to support 2999 local businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. A further 47 claims are being processed for payment and 51 organisations have declined the grant. There are now less than 1000 businesses who are yet to respond.  In the event that your business does not wish to accept the grant, please complete the grant refusal form because confirmation is needed when a grant is declined.

Government has issued new advice on these payments, confirming that grants are taxable when a business is in profit.

We have set up a new fund called 'Financial Support due to Covid-19'. Devon County Council has made £1 million available to help those affected by Coronavirus and who may not be able to access funding or support elsewhere. East Devon has been allocated £181,487. The fund will help to build financial resilience and provide emergency financial support. It can help people who may have no income, savings or are having to use credit cards to pay for essentials. Find out if you are eligible by completing the online form, which will be followed up with a telephone interview.

Government has recognised difficulties faced by small and medium sized businesses, by launching the Bounce Back Loan scheme. This scheme launches on Monday 4 May and will provide 100% guaranteed loans for a period of up to 6 years between £2000 and £50,000, with no repayments fees or interest in the first 12 months. Businesses which have claimed a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) cannot take a Bounce Back Loan, but loans can be transferred to the new scheme.

Due to popular demand, we’ve extended the number of places available for  FREE training (brought to you by East Devon District Council and Cosmic). These online webinars help you respond to the current challenging circumstances. Currently you can book to increase online sales  and maximise business opportunities remotely. More webinars will soon be announced.

Finally, as a former Director of the Exeter Science Park Company and current Chair of the Exeter & East Devon Enterprise Zone Board, I would like to pay tribute to Professor Sir William Wakeham.

Bill is standing down after more than 10 years as Chair of the Science Park Company.  Under his leadership and guidance, the Science Park developed rapidly, from an open green field just ten years ago, into a vibrant innovative community. The Science Park has established real momentum now offering top quality accommodation to start-up, growing and established Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine companies in fulfilling its role as a hub for innovation and knowledge driven employment. 

I would also like to welcome Nick Ames, Chief Executive of SC Group, as the incoming Chair.  I’m confident Nick, a graduate of Trinity College Cambridge, will add not just his skill and experience at SC Group, but also that with Serco Group and PricewaterhouseCoopers, to lead the Science Park Company forward to a bright future.

DWP 'employer' and 'looking for work' websites

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has launched a new website for employers, supporting them with a range of employment issues, whether its help with recruitment and expansion or redundancies: employerhelp.dwp.gov.uk

If you're looking for work, the DWP's job help website can help you find work along with tips on applying for a job: jobhelp.dwp.gov.uk

New free online learning platform to boost workplace skills

A new online learning platform to help boost the nation’s skills while people are staying at home has been launched by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson.

Free courses are available through a new online platform hosted on the GOV.​UK website, called  ‘The Skills Toolkit’. The new platform gives people access to free, high-quality digital and numeracy courses to help build up their skills, progress in work and boost their job prospects. Read the announcement.  The Skills Toolkit: theskillstoolkit.campaign.gov.uk

Extra month to claim for farm payments

The Government has confirmed that the window to submit applications for the Basic Payment Scheme and make a claim for Countryside Stewardship, Environmental Stewardship and Woodland Legacy revenue payments will be extended by one month.

Information: www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-farmers-landowners-and-rural-businesses

Seasonal work on farms

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs has published guidance for workers on the type of seasonal work available, who can apply and where to find it.

Guidance: www.gov.uk/guidance/seasonal-work-on-farms-guidance-for-workers

Domestic Seafood Supply Scheme

The Domestic Seafood Supply Scheme (DSSS), administered by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), has been set up to help seafood businesses in England increase the supply of local seafood to domestic markets. Read about the grant funding to help the supply and consumption of locally-caught seafood.

Protecting the High Street

The Government announced that high street shops and other companies under strain will be protected from aggressive rent collection until 30 June.

To stop some landlords putting tenants under undue pressure, the Government will temporarily ban the use of statutory demands and winding up orders where a company cannot pay their bills due to coronavirus. The measures will be included in the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill. Under these measures, any winding-up petition that claims that the company is unable to pay its debts must first be reviewed by the court to determine why. The law will not permit petitions to be presented, or winding-up orders made, where the company’s inability to pay is the result of coronavirus.

News from Exmouth Chamber

On Wednesday 6th May at 11am, Exmouth Chamber presents an online panel of experts and members of the Chamber Executive, as a platform for businesses to discuss their plans and goals.  For more information and to book: forms.gle/37aASLtXDa4TpMTw6

Businesses innovate in East Devon

East Devon businesses are innovating and adapting to the current situation. See the case studies. This week, The Clock Tower Café and Cakery shows how it has adapted. 

Funding round-up

Stay up to date with Devon County Council’s COVID-19 Grant & Funding:

For a comprehensive list of UK grant opportunities, see www.grantsonline.org.uk/coronavirus.html

Useful links

For the latest East Devon updates following the Coronavirus outbreak, see www.eastdevon.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19

One to one business advice tailored to suit individual business needs, call 0800 592 872 or visit the Heart of the South West Growth Hub website: www.heartofswgrowthhub.co.uk


Find out what support you can get for your business: gov.uk/business-support

Useful guidance from Devon and Cornwall police regards travelling for work: www.devon-cornwall.police.uk/advice/covid-19-coronavirus/covid-19-faqs/

Advice for small businesses and self-employed people is available from the Federation of Small Businesses www.fsb.org.uk/campaign/covid19.html

For the latest Government information on coronavirus, see: www.gov.uk/coronavirus

For the latest NHS information on coronavirus, see: www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19

Stay up to date by subscribing to our business update. Visit public.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKEDDC/subscriber/new,  add your email address and choose the ‘business’ topic.