East Devon business coronavirus update - 18 June 2020

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Coronavirus business masthead
Councillor Paul Hayward

East Devon District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Economy, Asset Management and Regeneration, Councillor Paul Hayward, introduces this week’s business update:

"This week, it has been a welcome sight to see our shops reopening and people returning to the High Street. As lockdown restrictions slowly start to ease, our businesses are working hard to open safely and get ready for next steps on the road to normality. Each and every one of us can help to support businesses and jobs in our community by shopping locally, both on our High Streets and with all kinds of local suppliers. Making that positive decision to shop locally will make all the difference for the survival of the businesses in our towns and villages across East Devon.

We are supporting East Devon small and micro businesses affected by coronavirus with the recently launched Discretionary Grant Fund. Don’t delay if you meet the eligibility criteria, as the fund is only open until 5pm on the 24th June, see www.eastdevon.gov.uk/discretionary-business-grant. As of 17th June, more than 100 applications have been received from local businesses.

We have received data on the numbers of furloughed employees, which is quite high. In our district, 16,300 were furloughed out of 53,000 employed people, representing 31% of the workforce. This compares with 25% across the county of Devon (90,600 in the Devon County Council area). As time progresses and the furlough scheme is slowly scaled back by HM Treasury, there will be further challenges for business to deal with. We will be there, every step of the way, to assist, advise and support where we are able to.

Rest assured, the District Council is doing all we can to support businesses to get back to work in a safe way. For those eager to embrace new e-learning opportunities, there are just a few spaces remaining on our business continuity webinars so book your place before those spaces are snapped up. So far, 217 local businesses have taken part in these webinars, on a wide variety of topics and feedback has been very positive. A further 113 are already booked in to attend future webinars and workshops.

Finally, I would invite you to subscribe to this business update, as you may not receive future updates if you do not take these important steps. Simply follow the link, add your email address and choose the ‘business’ topic. We will then send you regular updates, straight to your inbox, to keep you abreast of what is going on to help your business. Thank you for your time.

If you have any questions, please contact your ward member(s) who are all eager and waiting to assist you, or feel free to contact me directly. If I can’t help, I know someone who can!"

East Devon shops open

Support for shops opening

Read updated Covid-secure Safer Working Guidance for people who work in or run shops,  to give retailers and customers the information and confidence to return safely.

High streets

The High Streets Task Force has launched a number of tools and resources to help in the reopening and recovery of town centres. This includes COVID recovery guidance and resources on: reopening safely; online training on priorities for high street vitality and viability; check-lists, data and intelligence on managing and improving town and city centres; and, a webinar series on the Routemap to Transformation (starting on 19 June). Further support will be developed over the coming weeks.

Read more

Economic recovery

Government have held a series of economic recovery roundtables to discuss the measures necessary to support economic recovery and ensure the right opportunities are in place for growth across the country. If you would like to submit a response email economic.recovery@beis.gov.uk.   Read the list of questions being asked 

NHS test and trace: workplace guidance

Read guidance on the NHS test and trace service for employers, businesses and workers, including guidance for employers about multiple coronavirus outbreaks in the workplace. 

Driving instruction and driving tests

Other than emergency training and tests for critical workers, driving instruction and driving tests have not yet been able to restart because the risk of transmission of the virus in vehicles is higher. 

Furlough / Job Retention Scheme

Government have updated their guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). From 1 July, employers can bring furloughed employees back to work for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim CJRS grant for the hours not worked. Read the latest changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Check if you can claim for your employees' wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Check if you can claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

If you’re self-employed or a member of a partnership and have been adversely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) find out if you can use this scheme to claim a grant. If you’re eligible and want to claim the first grant you must make your claim on or before 13 July 2020.  Examples have been added to show ‘adversely affected’ criteria.

Self-employed new parents can claim support grant

Self-employed parents whose trading profits dipped in 2018/19 because they took time out to have children will be able to claim for a payment under the self-employed income support scheme (SEISS). Parents who took time out of trading to care for their children within the first 12 months of birth or adoptive placement will now be able to use either their 2017-18 or both their 2016-17 and 2017-18 self-assessment returns as the basis for their eligibility for the SEISS.

More details will be available in July. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/self-employed-new-parents-can-claim-support-grant

Brexit: border controls and end of transition period

Government has announced the current transition period will not be extended and controls for importing goods will now apply from July 2021.

Recognising the impact of coronavirus on businesses’ ability to prepare, and following the announcement in February that the UK would implement full border controls on imports coming into GB from the EU, the UK has taken the decision to introduce the new border controls in three stages up until 1 July 2021.

Read more about the stages

Better Business for all online toolkit

The Better Business for All (BBfA) toolkit provides resources from trusted organisations to help guide you through the main considerations for restarting your business safely.

This Covid-19 Toolkit provides useful documents such as a risk assessment template and action plan, business checklists and useful guides to help you.

Better Business for all

Virtual events

Exeter Science Park's series of webinars are designed to inspire the business community. The sessions run online every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The sessions are free to attend and run throughout June and July. East Devon District Council’s Enterprise Zone project manager, Naomi Harnett, will feature on Monday 29th June. Find out more and register for FREE  

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is running webinars to help make different workplaces secure. Read more: work safely during coronavirus.

East Devon's business continuity webinars - last few places remain. Book now

Useful links

Latest Government guidance

COVID-19 FAQs: what you can and can't do

NHS Test and Trace service

NHS coronavirus (COVID-19) website

The Health and Safety Executive provides guidance to help work safely and control the risks. Working safely during the coronavirus outbreak.  

Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards has produced a checklist for businesses to help put workplace measures in place to keep employees and customers safe. Find it here Covid-19 checklist for businesses.


East Devon information

East Devon District Council’s coronavirus hub

Support available for businesses 

Support for people who need help