Coronavirus Business Advice for Local Businesses - 21 April

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Plymouth business news

21 April 2020

Please find below an overview of the latest advice and guidance for COVID-19. In today's newsletter you will find news and updates including:

  • COVID-19 business grants update
  • Job Retention Scheme - now live
  • Billion pound package for innovative businesses
  • Business Interruption Loan Scheme expansion
  • New tool to help find coronavirus financial support
  • £10 million grant fund for Fishing Industry
  • Meet the HR Expert Webinar
  • Chamber Live - Skills training for employed and furlough workers and apprenticeships updates
  • Latest funding and support information
  • Latest Economic Development blog

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

Business Grants update

We have now paid over £29.2 million in business grants, and have approved over 3,000 business support grants. We're working to approve business grant applications as soon as they are received.

There are still just under 1,000 businesses who haven't yet applied for grants. These businesses have been written to, but if you think your business may be eligible or you know someone who may be please do check the eligibility criteria and apply for support.

Find out more here

Business Grants Eligibility Flowchart

Check your eligibility for the Small Business Grant Fund and Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grant Fund using our useful flow chart.

View the flowchart here

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – Now Live

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is now up and running, with businesses able to claim up to £2,500 a month towards staff wages.

Employers can apply for direct cash grants through HMRC's new online portal, with the money expected to land in business bank accounts within six working days.

The portal has a step by step application process and up to 5,000 HMRC staff will be manning phone lines and webchat services to ensure any questions can be answered.

To prepare and make your claim you will need:

  • a Government Gateway ID and password - if you don't already have one you can apply for one online here
  • be enrolled for PAYE online - if you aren't registered yet you can register here
  • the following information for each furloughed employee you will be claiming for:
    • Name
    • National Insurance number
    • Claim period and claim amount
    • PAYE/Employee number (optional)
  • If you have fewer than 100 furloughed staff you will need to input information directly into the system for each employee. If you have 100 or more furloughed staff you will need to upload a file with information with each employee. HMRC will accept file types: .xls .xlsx .csv and .ods

Visit the HMRC online portal here

Billion pound support package for innovative firms hit by coronavirus

UK businesses driving innovation and development will be helped through the coronavirus pandemic with a £1.25 billion government support package, the Chancellor announced on 20 April.

Rishi Sunack said the targeted and tailored help will ensure firms in some of the most dynamic sectors of the UK economy - ranging from life tech to sciences - are protected through the crisis so that they can continue to develop innovative new products and help power UK growth.

The £1.25 billion is split as follows:

The £500 million Future Fund will issue convertible loans to innovative companies which are facing financing difficulties due to the coronavirus outbreak. The Future Fund will provide government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors.

Innovate UK, the national innovation agency, will accelerate up to £200 million of grant and loan payments for its 2,500 existing Innovate UK customers on an opt-in basis. An extra £550 million will also be made available to increase support for existing customers and £175,000 of support will be offered to around 1,200 firms not currently in receipt of Innovate UK funding. The first payments will be made by mid-May.

Find out more here

Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption loan scheme has been expanded to cover all viable firms.

The government backed loan scheme for large businesses has launched today with all firms of a turnover of more than £45million now able to apply for up to £25million of finance, and up to £50million for firms with a turnover of more than £250million.

The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance.

The scheme is available through a series of accredited lenders, which will be listed on the British Business Bank website.

Find out more here.

New tool to help find coronavirus financial support

The Government has launched a new online tool to help businesses identify what support is available to them and whether they are eligible for loans, tax relief and cash grants.

Use the tool here

£10m grant scheme announced for Fishing Industry

Council leader Tudor Evans has vowed to continue his fight for more support for the fishing industry brought to the brink of collapse by the COVID-19 lockdown. While he welcomed last week's announcement of £10 million for fishing and aquaculture businesses in England as 'a step in the right direction', he said much more needed to be done to keep the fishing fleet – and its supply chain – above water.

Find out more here

Meet the HR Expert Webinar

You are invited to join Oceansgate's FREE Skype webinar on Wednesday 22 April at 1.30pm.

The webinar is delivered by Helena White, Director of the HR Dept as part of our "Meet the Expert" Business Support Programme.

The webinar will cover the latest information and advice on the Job Retention Scheme, including furloughing staff, how much you can claim, how to make claims through the online portal and other related topics such as sick leave and holiday.

There will be opportunities to ask questions and receive advice during the session. Helena White provides HR and employment law support to small and medium businesses and organisations.

Find out more here

Chamber Live – Skills training for employed and fuloughed workers and apprenticeships updates

The next ChamberLive event is taking place on Monday 27 April from 2pm to 3pm.

Devon and Plymouth Chamber of Commerce is running a virtual panel session on Zoom to provide the business community with a platform to find expert advice on different subjects that are impacting businesses, and the opportunity to ask questions to their panel about specific situations.

Find out more here

Funding streams and competitions

Historic England pledges £2m to help heritage workers

Historic England has launched an emergency fund worth up to £2m to help small heritage organisations survive the coronavirus pandemic and prepare for recovery.

Find out more here


Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme

Are you committed to creating social or environmental impact?  Or has your social enterprise been affected by Covid-19? This programme will provide support with free learning programmes, a grant, mentoring and a supportive community of like-minded peers

Find out more here


Financial support for education, early years and children’s social care

Funding and financial support available for education, childcare and children’s social care organisations.

Find out more here


National Lottery Heritage Fund

A package of support for the heritage sector is being provided as a response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

This includes increased advice and support, longer-term skills and capacity building initiatives, and a £50 million Heritage Emergency Fund to provide emergency funding for those most in need.

Find out more here


The Barclays Foundation COVID-19 Community Aid Package

The Barclays Foundation have announced a £100 million COVID-19 Community Aid Package - The package consists of two strands. £50million will be donated to charities chosen by Barclays and £50 million will be donated by matching their employees' personal donations (individual organisations cannot apply for this funding). 

Find out more here


ScreenSkills COVID-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund 

Freelancers and workers in the screen industries will be able to apply until 22 April for one-off grants of between £500 and £2,500 to help them get through the coronavirus crisis.  The fund will prioritise providing emergency relief to the workers and freelancers who are most affected by productions closing across the UK.

Find out more here

David Draffan, Service Director for Economic Development, Plymouth City Council Blog

David Draffan, the Service Director for Economic Development at Plymouth City Council, regularly writes blogs on Linkedin which sets out some of the work that is being done for the business community that you may find interesting to follow.

View the latest blog here


Did you know we are on Linkedin? Join us here for more regular updates.


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

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