Coronavirus Business Advice for Local Businesses - 27 March

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Plymouth business news

27 March 2020

Please find below an overview of the latest advice and guidance for COVID-19. In today's newsletter you will find news on the latest COVID-19 self-employed support, details of business support grants available to support Plymouth businesses, extra protection for businesses with ban on evictions for commercial tenants who miss rent payments, as well as online help for businesses and families.

If you have any specific concerns or are in need of support please contact us.

Government support announced for self-employed

Yesterday, 26 March, the Government announced a new Self-Employed Income Support scheme, which will provide self-employed people facing financial difficulties with 80% of their average monthly income, up to a maximum of £2,500. This will be calculated using average monthly profits over the last three financial years.

The scheme will be managed by HMRC and will initially last for three months, offering the same level of support for furloughed workers.  

Read more here

COVID-19 grants available to support Plymouth businesses

Plymouth’s businesses will now be able to apply for financial support to help get them through the current uncertainties created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Plymouth City Council has written to all businesses eligible to receive grants so they can urgently access financial help as soon as possible - with the ambition of making most payments within the next two weeks.

The Small Business Grants Fund and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund, announced by the Government last week as part of a £330 billion package of support, offer one-off grants to a number of businesses:

  • Any business currently in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief may be eligible for a £10,000 cash grant.
  • Any retail, hospitality or leisure business in receipt of Expanded Retail Discount with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will be eligible for a cash grant per property based on eligibility criteria below:
    • Any retail, hospitality or leisure business with a rateable value of £15,000 or below may be eligible for a £10,000 cash grant.
    • Any retail, hospitality or leisure business with a rateable value above £15,000 and below £51,000 may be eligible for a £25,000 cash grant.

Council finance and business staff have calculated that almost 3,500 businesses across the city will qualify for grants of up £10,000, while around 540 businesses will qualify for grants of £25,000.

All letters should reach eligible businesses by no later than Tuesday 31 March. The Police have been notified that these letters are being sent, and so if a business needs to travel to their premises to check for or collect their letter this will be seen as a legitimate reason to travel.

Find out more about Business Grants

Extra protection for businesses with ban on evictions for commercial tenants who miss rent payments

New measures have been introduced by the Government which mean commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent due to coronavirus will be protected from eviction.

Many landlords and tenants are already having conversations and reaching voluntary arrangements about rental payments due shortly but the government recognises businesses struggling with their cashflow due to coronavirus remain worried about eviction.

These measures, included in the emergency Coronavirus Bill currently going through Parliament, will mean no business will be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment in the next 3 months.

Find out more here

Call for rapid sanitising technology for ambulances

The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is looking for rapid sanitising technology to speed up the time it takes to clean ambulances to help in the national effort against Coronavirus and save lives.

It can take up to 45 minutes to clean ambulances once they have transported a patient suspected of having COVID-19.

Some ambulance cleaning centres can also be some distance away from their base or hospitals – adding strain and delay on an already busy and pressurised service as the vehicles cannot be used until cleaning is completed.

DASA has this week launched a new Innovation Focus Area as part of its Open Call for Innovation seeking industry’s help to identify rapid sanitising technology solutions that can be demonstrated in a live trial on an ambulance.

Find out more here

Job Retention Scheme

A new, in depth FAQ page has been created on the Invest Plymouth Covid-19 business support microsite to answer more questions about the Job Retention Scheme, how it works and what furloughed staff are able to do whilst not working.

Read more here

Coronavirus Whatsapp Information Service

The Govt has started a Whatsapp information service get provide official, trustworthy and timely information and advice about coronavirus out to as many people as possible. It will provide information on topics such as coronavirus prevention and symptoms, the latest number of cases in the UK, advice on staying at home, travel advice and myth busting via a chatbot.

To use this free service, simply add 07860 064422 in your phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started.

Find out more on the GOV.UK website

SWMAS Manufacturing Barometer

SWMAS is conducting its Manufacturing Barometer for Q4 and is urging businesses to participate to help influence the sector support and funding available to the manufacturing sector.

Find out more and take part in the survey here


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Keep up to date with news and advice on our COVID-19 business support page 

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