Coronavirus Business Advice for Local Businesses - 20 May

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Plymouth business news

20 May 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:

  • Update on Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund
  • Working safely through coronavirus
  • Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme set to launch
  • Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loans Increases
  • Government to support businesses through Trade Credit Insurance guarantee
  • Latest guidance for apprentices, employers, training providers
  • Business Support Hotline
  • Quarterly Economic Survey
  • Funding streams and competitions
  • Virtual events/webinars

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

Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund

We have now received the guidance from Government and are working through it as quickly as possible, and will share information via our newsletter and across social networks as soon as it is available.

Find out more here 

Working safely through coronavirus

The government, in consultation with industry, has produced guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible as people return to work.

The guidance provides a practical framework for employers to think about what they need to do to continue or restart operations – in a safe manner and in support to workers’ health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These 8 guides cover a range of different types of work which are defined as follows:

  1. Construction and other outdoor work: work involving people in construction, energy and utilities, farming and agriculture (including seasonal labour), forestry, waste management, other infrastructure, railway services and street and highway services.
  2. Factories, plants and warehouses: industrial environments such as manufacturing and chemical plants, food and other large processing plants, warehouses, distribution centres and port operations.
  3. Lab and Research Facilities: indoor research environments such as engineering centres, clean rooms, prototyping centres, wet labs, wind tunnels, computer labs, simulators, material development labs, specialist testing rooms and similar workplaces.
  4. Offices and Contact Centres: indoor environments such as offices, contact centres, operations rooms and similar workplaces.
  5. In other people’s homes: applies to those working in, visiting or delivering to home environments. These include, but are not limited to: in home workers – such as repair services and to home services – such as delivery drivers.
  6. Restaurants offering takeaway or delivery: food preparation or food service setting where food is sold for takeaway or delivery and food services provided by businesses.
  7. Shops and branches: include non-food stores, fashion stores and other types of retail that are currently closed and also shops that are currently open, such as shops selling food and chemists. Branches include bank branches and other open money businesses.
  8. Vehicles: working in or from a vehicle includes couriers, mobile workers, lorry drivers, on-site transit and work vehicles, field forces and similar.

Find out more here

Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme set to launch

A new online service will be launched on 26 May for small and medium-sized employers to recover Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments they have made to their employees, the government announced this week (19 May 2020).

Employers will be able to make their claims through a new online service from 26 May. This means they will receive repayments at the relevant rate of SSP that they have paid to current or former employees for eligible periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020.

Find out more here

Larger businesses to benefit from loans of up to £200 million 

The Government has extended maximum loan size available through the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme from £50 million to £200 million. 

Loans under the expanded scheme will be made available to large businesses affected by coronavirus from next week.

Changes also mean companies receiving help through CLBILS and the Bank of England’s Coronavirus Corporate Financing Fund will be asked to agree to not pay dividends and to exercise restraint on senior pay. 

Find out more here. 

Government to support businesses through Trade Credit Insurance guarantee

Businesses with supply chains which rely on Trade Credit Insurance and who are experiencing difficulties maintaining cover due to Coronavirus will get support from the government, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, John Glen has announced

Find out more here

Guidance for apprentices, employers, training providers, end-point assessment organisations and external quality assurance providers

These are difficult times for employers, apprentices and providers of apprenticeship training and assessment. As part of the cross-government efforts to respond to the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19), the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is implementing new measures, until further notice, to make it easier for apprenticeships to continue and complete in a different way if they need to, or to break and resume an apprenticeship later when that becomes possible.

Find out more here

Business Support Helpline

The Government Business Support Helpline number in England has changed to FREEPHONE 0800 998 1098The helpline provides free, impartial business support and signposting services to businesses in England – which currently includes business advice on Covid-19.  

You can also find free support, advice and sources of finance through your local growth hub or speak to an advisor on webchat about support for your business. 

The Business Support Scotland helpline is 0300 303 0660Business Wales helpline is 0330 060 300 and the Invest Northern Ireland helpline is 0800 181 4422. 

Find out more here 

Quarterly Economic Survey Q2 begins this week

Devon and Plymouth Chamber of Commerce are asking businesses to please take 2-3 minutes to complete the latest Quarterly Economic Survey to be fed back British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) by 11 June.

The Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) is the UK’s largest independent business survey. It is monitored closely by the UK Government, Bank of England, and financial institutions globally. BCC brief these institutions on the QES results, and the data is used to feed into monetary and fiscal policy decision-making.

This will be the first QES since the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic in the UK and the subsequent lockdown. The OBR reference scenario expected to see 35 per cent fall in real GDPR in Q2 and a 10 per cent unemployment rate. While their weekly tracker data already demonstrates a very clear decline in business activity when compared against QES historical data, QES Q2 will be the first major real comparison. Their data will mark the clear shift from pre-Coronavirus conditions to the current situation and will form a significant part of the historical record.

Find out more here

Funding streams and competitions

Apply for the coronavirus Future Fund

The Future Fund will provide UK Government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors. The fund will be open for applications from Wednesday 20 May 2020. 

These convertible loans may be a suitable option for businesses that typically rely on equity investment and are unable to access other government business support programmes because they are either pre-revenue or pre-profit. 

Find out more here


£3m Advertising Fund for Small Firms Hit by COVID-19 Downturn

The Small Business Advertising Support Fund is a £3 million initiative which aims to provide free print and online advertising for small businesses struggling in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Applications are invited from Wednesday 13 May 2020. The funder is expecting this scheme to be very popular, so interested parties are advised to apply promptly.

Find out more here


Funding for Racial Justice Initiatives

Applications are now being accepted for a new Fund that provides financial support to individuals and organisations that are working to redress the impact of COVID-19 and beyond on those who identify as People of Colour (POC).

The first round of Applications will close on 15 June 2020.

Find out more here


Funding for Homelessness Charities in England Affected by COVID-19 Crisis

Charitable organisations that are working to keep people who are homeless safe and supported during the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for grants of between £10,000 and £100,000 (depending on the annual turnover of the organisation).

The grant application window will close on Wednesday 27 May 2020.

Find out more here


Defra Launches £3.45m Fund to Support Frontline Food Aid Charities

Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) have launched the one-off £3.45 million Coronavirus (COVID-19) Food Charities Grant Fund to help front-line food aid charities continue their work in providing food to vulnerable people during the current coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis.

The deadline for bids is 6 July 2020.

Find out more here


UK Insurance and Long-Term Savings Sector Set Up New COVID-19 Support Fund

Working in partnership with the Charities Aid Foundation, and a network of partners, including the National Emergencies Trust, the UK insurance and long-term savings industry have launched a new fund to help support some of the people hardest hit by the coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis.

Find out more here


Innovate UK Smart Grants for Game-changing or Disruptive R&D - New Round

The Innovate UK Smart Grants provide an opportunity for businesses and research and technology organisations to apply for a grants to deliver ambitious or disruptive R&D innovations with significant potential for impact on the UK economy.

Competition opens Thursday 28 May and closes Wednesday 26 August 2020.

Find out more here


Applications Open for Bethnal Green Ventures’ Autumn Accelerator

The aim of Bethnal Green Ventures Tech for Good Programme is to find and support the most talented start-up founders and help them create technology-based solutions to the world’s most pressing social and environmental problems.

The deadline for applications is 21 June 2020.

Find out more here

Virtual events and webinars

For further information on the latest virtual events, or to upload and promote yours, visit Invest Plymouth's event page here.

You can also submit your own virtual events here.


Virtual Business Support on Risk Assessing your Business

FSB | Thursday 21 May, 9.45am to 11am

Find out how to approach adapting your current risk assessments to meet the challenging circumstances we find ourselves in. This Q&A session with Alastair Barrett from What No Safety will be an opportunity to clarify any queries you may have around government guidance and to feel confident that you are protecting both your staff and customers as best you can.

Find out more here


Chamber Live Special - COVID-19: Returning to work safely

Devon Chamber of Commerce |  Friday 22 May 2020, 9.30am to 10.30am

Join Devon Chamber in their virtual panel session where they will be providing their business community with a platform where you can find expert advice in different subjects that are impacting on us all at this time.

Find out more here


Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) business webinars – find out how to make your workplace COVID-secure

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy | 27 May to 2 June

The webinars cover a range of different types of workplace settings which are allowed to be open. Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles. You may need to use more than one of the guides/webinars as you think through what you need to do to keep people safe.

Find out more here


Hospitality and Tourism: Adjusting your business for the new-normal (Covid19)

Three Sixtee | Wednesday 27 May 2020, 11am to 12pm

With the COVID-19 and social distancing measures that are in place across the UK and worldwide, it’s ever more apparent that business’ transform for the better.

Acting quickly to transform how your business operates and getting into new business lines seems critical for many businesses up and down the country.

Find out more here


Government webinars

Government departments are hosting a series of webinars to help businesses understand the support available:


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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