COVID-19 Support For Businesses

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9 July 2020

The Plan for jobs

The Chancellor has set out a Plan for Jobs that will spur the UK’s recovery from the Coronavirus outbreak, supporting, creating and protecting jobs and providing a boost to the hard-hit tourism and hospitality sectors.

Full details of the Government’s plan are here. The following announcements were made:

Supporting jobs

  • The Job Retention Bonus will help firms keep on furloughed workers.  Employers will receive a one-off bonus of £1,000 for each furloughed employee who is still employed as of 31 January 2021.
  • The Kickstart Scheme is a new £2 billion scheme which will also be launched to create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people. Those aged 16-24, claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment, will be eligible. Funding available for each six-month job placement will cover 100% of the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week and employers will be able to top this wage up.
  • Employment and support schemes will receive a total of £1.6 billion to be invested in scaling up employment support schemes, training and apprenticeships to help people looking for a job. 
  • Young people will benefit from more funding for apprenticeships. Businesses will be given £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire under the age of 25. This is in addition to the existing £1,000 payment the Government already provides for new 16 to 18 year old apprentices and those aged under 25.  
  • A £111 million investment to triple the scale of traineeships in 2020 to 2021 ensuring more young people have access to high quality training.

Creating jobs

The plan will also create tens of thousands of jobs through bringing forward work on £8.8 billion of new infrastructure, decarbonisation and maintenance projects. In addition, £5.8 billion will be spent on shovel-ready construction projects to get Britain building.

This includes a £3 billion green investment package that could help support around 140,000 green jobs and upgrade buildings and reduce emissions.  Included in this package there will be funding for homeowners and landlords with a Green Homes grant scheme.

Protecting jobs

  • Eat Out to Help Out will encourage people to safely return to eating out at restaurants. The Government’s new discount scheme will provide a 50% reduction for sit-down meals in cafes, restaurants and pubs across the UK from Monday to Wednesday every week throughout August 2020.
  • The rate of VAT applied on most tourism and hospitality-related activities will be cut from 20% to 5%. 
  • To help people feel more confident to move, buy, sell, renovate, and improve their homes Stamp Duty will be temporarily increased to the Nil Rate Band of Residential SDLT (Stamp Duty) from £125,000 to £500,000 introduced until 31 March 2021.

Cllr. Richard Morris.

Deputy Leader and portfolio holder for economic growth and tourism.

Restart and recover

We are pleased to see that more and more businesses have now reopened in our town centres and across the district following the green light from the government on 4 July. Here is Government advice to make sure that you have reopened safely, with further detail on the following sectors: 

Hotels and guest accommodation

The visitor economy

Restaurants offering takeaways


If you are a food business guidance is provided by Worcestershire Regulatory Services. You can read more about this here.

In addition to information on their website, Worcestershire Regulatory Services (WRS) will be hosting some ‘FAQ’ and support sessions for businesses so you can ask your question direct to the body who will be implementing the Government’s guidance.

To register your interest in these sessions and to ask a question please email

WRS have issued the following advice for businesses reopening.

Everything online to help your business recover

The Chamber of Commerce Herefordshire and Worcestershire, and Worcestershire Business Central are just two of many business support organisations that are providing online advice to support current business needs and future recovery plans. They both have a series of webinars available in place of events, training courses and face to face meetings to inform you on the latest government updates, business support, HR and legal advice, mental wellbeing and much more.

Here are links to book the latest Chamber webinars:

Sustainability forum

Young professionals networking – Tyro Talks

Employee wellbeing

Lunchtime networking

You can view all past webinars on their YouTube Channel. To find out about their virtual training days for the recovering business head straight to the training calendar for upcoming courses from June through to July.

WBC offer free business support webinars to help your business during the COVID-19 pandemic they are listed here - upcoming events.

Business support available

The UK is entering the second phase in its recovery with the recently announced Plan for Jobs. But the Government and our local business support organisations continue to offer a range of business support including business loans, and help with business rates, tax, and wages. Please see the links below to support from the Government, the Chamber of Commerce Herefordshire and Worcestershire, and from Worcestershire Business Central.

For all business support enquiries and information about the Government’s COVID-19 measures and recovery package, please visit

The Government’s Coronavirus Business Support Finder is available to help businesses and self-employed people quickly and easily determine what financial support is currently available. Fill out a quick and simple online questionnaire and you will be directed to a list of all the financial support you may be eligible for. You can find out more about the tool here.

You can also sign up to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Businesses and Employers Bulletin and get notifications straight to your inbox. You can get email alerts here, and answers to business questions in their FAQs or over the phone, Monday to Friday, from 9am to 6pm 0300 456 3565.

Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce have a Coronavirus Support Hub. Please visit

If you need to talk to one of the team at Worcestershire Business Central, please call them on 01905 677888 or email They are ready to help you navigate your way through the information and support that is available.

Employer skills survey

Have your say on future training available to Worcestershire businesses and employers.  Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (WLEP), working with Serco, is seeking the views of Worcestershire employers to understand how they can be supported to develop the skills needed to adopt digital technologies.

Your contribution is valuable, this is your chance to tell the LEP about your organisation’s challenges around digital skills and to influence future training provision in Worcestershire that could benefit your organisation. The LEP is keen to hear from employers of all sizes (including sole traders) and from all sectors. Please share what you think by completing a short survey taking ten to fifteen minutes, available here before the deadline of 31 July 2020.

A 50p donation for each completed survey response (for the first 100 responses) will be made to the Good Things Foundation which supports digitally and socially excluded people to improve their lives through digital technology. Those completing the survey can opt to receive a copy of the findings once published.

If you have any queries about the research please contact Lily Pepperall at Serco

Employer Skills Survey

Your Apprentices

Employer apprenticeships webinar

You are invited to the Worcestershire Apprenticeships’ Employer Webinar on Monday 13 July from 11.00 to 11.45 am.

The webinar will cover important concerns for businesses around apprenticeships and answer questions on topics such as:

  • Supporting apprentices during furlough and their return to work
  • Help and support available from training providers to employers
  • Guidance around remote onboarding of apprentices
  • 2020/21 recruitment for apprentices

Join the free webinar to learn more about all these topics and have the unique chance to ask live questions to the panel of speakers:

  • Nigel Morgan, CEO of Herefordshire & Worcestershire Group Training Association
  • Linda Gittings, Apprenticeships and Qualifications Manager at Platform Housing Group
  • Gary Woodman, Chief Executive of Worcestershire LEP

Reserve your place here.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you need to do

The information available to businesses is changing regularly. We will continue to actively provide a regular information service as soon as we receive information.

Businesses can receive these updates by signing up to our business e-newsletter