Covid-19 Info

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Monday 21st September

NHS COVID 19 App Communications Toolkit for businesses September 2020 

Dear Business Owners and Managers

The NHS COVID 19 App will be launched on 24 September. This toolkit explains about the NHS COVID 19 App functionality and what part businesses have to play in supporting the App. 

We’re asking Surrey businesses to get on board and support the NHS COVID 19 App to help keep Surrey open for business and to protect our community. 

Some types of venues will soon be legally required to display a NHS COVID 19 App QR poster ready for the 24 September these are:-

 

ABOUT THE APP

The app functionality does a number of things. https://covid19.nhs.uk/what-the-app-does.html  

It will:

-       support traditional test and trace methods

-       inform the public of rising rates in their postcode area

-       alert them if they’ve been in contact with someone who has tested positive (even if they don’t know them

-       provide a ‘checking in’ function based on QR codes displayed in venues and public spaces

-       allow people to check their symptoms, and book a test if they need one

 

WHERE DO BUSINESSES COME IN ? 

Venues, public buildings, will need to display a QR code poster at the entrance to their buildings that people who have downloaded the NHS COVID 19 App can scan. As a location checker, acting as a digital diary of locations visited.

This way people who have tested positive and have checked into certain locations will trigger an alert to those other people who have been in that same location. The actual venue that triggered the alert will not be named.

This kit provides information about how to download and display a QR poster in your venue.  Including some suggested social media assets for businesses to let residents know that businesses are playing their part by having their QR code posters ready.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/businesses-urged-to-prepare-for-nhs-covid-19-app

https://www.gov.uk/create-coronavirus-qr-poster (this is the link for businesses to create their QR code)

Head to the following YouTube pages to watch an introduction to the QR code process for businesses https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oJtkzP8zio& and for an introduction to the new app https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fp0kHcr_Pi4&feature=youtu.be

 

BUSINESS SOCIAL MEDIA ASSETS – FACEBOOK, TWITTER, LINKEDIN

Here are some social media assets once your QR poster is ready to scan to let your customers know you’re ready for them. This uses the creative approach that is being used across Surrey to encourage residents to download the app. Below are some suggested social media straplines.

FACEBOOK 1080 x 1080

 

 

TWITTER 1200 x 675

 

 

LINKEDIN 1200 x 628

 

 

Wednesday 12th August

Feeling Safe In Epsom Survey Results

Epsom town centre businesses are showing promising signs of recovery a new survey has shown. A survey of visitors and residents, carried out by Go Epsom, the Business Improvement District asked people for their opinions on safety and their experiences of visiting the town since shops and businesses reopened. To see the results CLICK HERE

 

Friday 24th July 

 

Government guidance on the wearing of face coverings – key points for you and your staff to be aware of:

Ultimately, we hope that the majority of the public will be considerate and will comply with government guidance but tolerance, courtesy and consideration for others are important.

The wearing of masks may well encourage those who are reluctant to visit shops, to venture out safely. It need not have a negative impact on footfall and trade if we all behave sensibly and reasonably.  

Go Epsom have developed new signage that will be available by Monday, we will deliver these to all businesses by Tuesday.

 

Wednesday 1st July 

Flexible furlough scheme starts today

From the 1st July a month earlier than previously announced, employers will have the flexibility to bring furloughed employees back to work on a part time basis. Individual firms will decide the hours and shift patterns their employees will work on their return, so that they can decide on the best approach for them - and will be responsible for paying their wages while in work. For More Details CLICK HERE

Friday 12th June

New support for reopening and recovery of high streets

A package of support to help high streets to get back on their feet has been launched today (12 June 2020), the government has announced, ahead of shops reopening from 15 June.

The High Streets Task Force will provide access to cutting-edge tools, training, information and advice for high streets across England as part of the government’s efforts to get shops back in business safely from 15 June.

This support is open to local councils and all organisations involved with high streets and will include free access to online training programmes, webinars, data and intelligence on topics including recovery planning and coordination, public space and place marketing.

The support will form one part of the Task Force’s 4-year programme which will focus on the long-term transformation of town and city centres and helping communities reimagine and revitalise their high streets.

The Task Force has also today confirmed Mark Robinson, co-founder of Ellandi and leading investor in regional town centres, has been appointed as the Chair of the Task Force Board.

The new Board will guide the work of the Task Force and act as a national voice for high streets, supporting them to transform town and city centres.

High Streets Minister Simon Clarke MP said:

The re-opening of our high streets will be a crucial part of kick-starting our economic recovery and restarting town life

That is why I welcome the appointment of Mark Robinson to head up the High Streets Task Force. I know that Mark will be a strong voice for ensuring that local businesses get the support they need to reopen safely in the coming weeks.

Combined with our £50 million Reopening High Streets Safely Fund, the work of the Task Force will support our high streets through this challenging time and ensure they have the tools they need to get back on their feet.

Mark Robinson, Chair of the Task Force, said:

I am delighted and honoured to be asked to lead this initiative.  No-one underestimates the challenges to our town centres, but this long-term initiative, running until 2024, shows the government’s commitment to our towns and the transformation required. I look forward to making change happen.

The Task Force has already provided invaluable advice to town centre stakeholders in the current crisis and we will continue to build capacity, promoting best practice, led by research and evidenced by data. The Task Force will provide a rallying point for all of the people who care about our high streets and advocate the change that is needed.

The announcement follows the opening of the government’s £50 million Reopening High Streets Safely Fund which will support local councils to safely reopen their high streets and other commercial areas.

 

Thursday 11th June

Preparing for opening time! 

Epsom & Ewell Borough Council’s environmental health and licensing teams are supporting restaurants, pubs and bars to get their businesses back up and running. Latest government guidance suggests that this vital business sector may be able to reopen in early July.

During the lockdown, environmental health officers have been in contact with 80 of the borough’s registered food businesses. They have been providing food safety guidance as many of the businesses switched to providing takeaways and food deliveries. As well as adopting different hygiene practices, these businesses have had to introduce new measures to respond to the risk of the Covid-19. 

Emergency food supplies – such as food parcels and meal deliveries – have also benefitted from the team’s food safety expertise. To date, council and voluntary groups have delivered over 8,000 meals and supplies to vulnerable people throughout the borough.

The licensing team has meanwhile been working remotely supporting licenced premises to ensure their various license requirements continue to be valid.  They’ve also brought an entrepreneurial mind set to help businesses find ways to take advantage of the flexibility introduced during the pandemic, enabling some of them to continue to operate in different business models. 

The team has also been highlighting the various grants available for small businesses and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant administered by the council.

Councillor Neil Dallen, Chair of the Environment and Safe Communities Committee, said “Our teams have been incredibly busy throughout the lockdown, investigating an increased number of food premises complaints and dealing with food and licensing related enquiries, as well as offering support to businesses in this difficult time.

“Now, as we move towards the new normal, we are keen to support the borough’s restaurants, pubs and bars and provide advice on how they can ensure they are Covid-secure, so that they are in the best position when they are able to reopen”.


Wednesday 10th June 

Thousands of high street shops, department stores and shopping centres to reopen safely in England

Shops in England selling non-essential goods will be able to reopen from Monday 15 June. High street retailers and department stores, including book shops, electronics retailers, tailors, auction houses, photography studios, indoor markets, and shops selling clothes, shoes and toys, will be allowed to open their doors again provided they follow the COVID-19 secure guidelines set out by the government in May.

Retailers will need to take certain steps to protect customers and staff, including limiting the number of customers allowed inside at one time, placing protective coverings on large items such as sofas which may be touched by passing shoppers, and frequently checking and cleaning objects and surfaces.

Employers should also display a poster, CLICK HERE ,visibly in their shop windows or outside their store to show their employees, customers and other visitors that they have followed this guidance.

To read more CLICK HERE

Thursday 4th June

Car park charges to resume

Users of Epsom & Ewell Borough Council’s car parks are being advised that charging will recommence from Monday 15th June.

Charges for the majority of council car parks were suspended at the start of April to allow people over the past two months to make essential journeys and ensure there was free parking available for key workers. 

The decision to reintroduce the charges is in line with national guidance and is consistent with the approach taken by other councils within the county.

Free parking will continue to be available to NHS staff, care workers and NHS volunteer responders involved in the Covid-19 response in the council’s pay and display car parks. A key worker parking pass, which can be issued by their employer, will allow them to park for free when a permit is displayed within their vehicle.

Councillor Neil Dallen, Chair of the Environment and Safe Communities Committee said “Our car park charges support local retailers, ensuring that there is a good turnaround of spaces for visitors and shoppers. We also need to discourage London bound commuters leaving their cars in our retail car parks all day, effectively blocking their use for those using local businesses. 

“Public health and safety is a priority and we have taken steps to allow for social distancing within the car parks. We advise people to follow the social distancing guidelines at all times and make use of the convenient cash free and contactless payment methods available.

A new increased cleaning regime has also been introduced.

Local authorities have to cover their costs in relation to car parks. Maintenance, management and long-term investment in the quality of car park is important. Car parks also attract business rates set at government levels, which must be paid. 

Councillor Dallen added: "Parking charges are an important source of revenue for the council. Income from parking charges goes towards the upkeep of car parks, the introduction of more efficient and user friendly payment methods as well as new safety measures for car park users.

“Like many organisations, our funding has been severely affected by Covid-19 and we are working hard to ensure we have the resources to continue to provide the essential services on which our communities rely”.

 

Wednesday 3rd June

Council extends helping hand to the smallest borough businesses

 

Epsom & Ewell Borough Council are ready to administer the government’s new Discretionary Grants Fund aimed at supporting small businesses who were not eligible for grants under the previous schemes. 

The application process will run until Friday 19 June 2020.  

Business owners will be required to apply through the council’s website:www.epsom-ewell.gov.uk/businessgrants2020-21.  Grants will be capped at £10,000 to ensure that the maximum number of businesses can benefit, in line with the limited amount of money available from the government.  

All applications received by the close of business on Friday 19 June 2020 will be carefully assessed against the scheme criteria which is available on the website:www.epsom-ewell.gov.uk/businessgrants2020-21.  All qualifying businesses will receive their grant as swiftly as possible after the closing date.

“Small businesses are integral to our borough’s dynamic economy,” said Councillor Eber Kington, Chairman of the Strategy and Resources Committee at Epsom & Ewell Borough Council.

“This sector has been put under immense pressure by the Covid-19 pandemic.  Our council has acted swiftly and is ready to administer the next phase of government support in the form of the Discretionary Grants.”

“I’d urge all eligible business owners to read carefully the guidance on our website, and apply before the closing date.

“We will get through this pandemic together.  And when we have, I am certain that our local economy will recover to a stronger, more resilient and dynamic position than ever before.”

Tuesday 2nd June

Markets are back!

Epsom Market will fully return this Thursday and Saturday (4 and 6 June) following the recent change to Government guidance, allowing stallholders to sell their full range of goods. The monthly Farmers Market will take place this Sunday (7 June) and the monthly Vegan Market will take place on Sunday 28 June. 

When the Covid-19 restrictions were introduced, market stalls were only able to sell food, but now they can sell all items again. Councillor Eber Kington, Chairman of the Strategy and Resources Committee at Epsom & Ewell Borough Council said “In its 300 years of operation, Epsom Market has overcome many challenges and as in the past, and working with the traders, we will overcome this latest test.

“Under the Government rules, our traders who sell food and grocery items have been allowed to continue in the same way as supermarkets. Now we can welcome back all our traders as we gradually adopt the ‘new normal’.

"Safety is paramount and we politely urge shoppers to follow social distancing and take notice of the on-site signage and measures in place, in order to keep themselves and our stallholders as safe as possible. The shopping experience will be a little different but people will hopefully get used to it quite quickly”.

To keep stallholders and the public as safe as possible a socially distancing queuing system will be in place at each market stall. Stallholders will be regularly using hand sanitiser, and cleaning where appropriate, and shoppers are encouraged to only handle items they intend to purchase and to pay via contactless where they can and when it's available. 

 

Saturday 30th May

Chancellor extends Self-Employment Support Scheme and confirms furlough next steps

The government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will be extended, giving more security to individuals whose livelihoods are adversely affected by coronavirus in the coming months. 

Those eligible under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), which has so far seen 2.3 million claims worth £6.8 billion will be able to claim a second and final grant in August. The grant will be worth 70% of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total.

The Chancellor also set out more details on how the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will continue to support jobs and business as people return to work, following the announcement of an extension of the scheme on 12 May.

For More Details CLICK HERE

 

Thursday 27th May 

Recovery Planning

The Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy has published comprehensive guides to operating safely during the Covid 19 pandemic, find their guidance by clicking here

If you need information on government grants, loans and schemes launched to support businesses, this link to the government's business suppport website is helpful.

Epsom & Ewell Borough Council are regularly updating their website, find it here.
 
The checklist below provides you with pointers, it is not comprehensive, with so much news and comment circulating on social media and news channels, we recommend that you follow up to date government advice available at gov.uk. 

Tuesday 26th May

Coronavirus sick pay scheme opens for applications

In a further boost to employers affected by the outbreak, The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme – which was announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak at the Budget -opened for applications this morning.

The scheme allows small and medium sized employers, with fewer than 250 members of staff, to apply to recover the costs of paying coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay for two weeks - worth nearly £200 per employee.

Launching on gov.uk today, the new online service is being run by HMRC, and after making an application employers will receive the money within six working days.

To get the rebate, employers will need to go online and input simple information on the employees being claimed for.

The service can be accessed here.

 

Monday 25th May 

Prime Minister sets out timeline for retail to reopen in June

Thousands of high street shops, department stores and shopping centres across England are set to reopen next month once they are COVID-19 secure and can show customers will be kept safe, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed today.

The Prime Minister has set out:

Businesses will only be able to open from these dates once they have completed a risk assessment. As per the roadmap, hairdressers, nail bars and beauty salons, and the hospitality sector, remain closed, because the risk of transmission in these environments is higher where long periods of person to person contact is required.

Sunday 24th May

£50 million boost to support the recovery of our high streets

A new £50 million fund for councils to support their local high streets get safely back to business announced today by High Streets Minister Simon Clarke (24 May 2020).

To prepare for the reopening of non-essential retail when the scientific advice allows, the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund will help councils in England introduce a range of safety measures in a move to kick-start local economies, get people back to work and customers back to the shops.

It will also support a range of practical safety measures including new signs, street markings and temporary barriers. This will help get businesses get ready for when they can begin trading safely, not only in high streets and town and city centres, but also in other public spaces like beachfronts and promenades.

To Read More CLICK HERE

 

Thursday 21st May 

Coast to Capital Backing Business Grants

 

The Coast to Capital Backing Business Grants is a £2 million fund that has been set up to provide grants to independent small businesses and social enterprises (excluding charities) in our area who have been affected by COVID-19.

The deadline for accepting any eligibility checklists is 12 noon on Friday 22 May 2020. If eligible, you will be contacted and sent an application form template. The deadline to then submit a completed application form is 12 noon on Friday 29 May 2020

All applications are being reviewed on a first come first served basis and the allocation of the remainder of the funds is subject to individuals completing the application process.

For More Details Click Here

Tuesday 19th May

Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme set to launch

Employers will be able to make claims through the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme from 26 May. 

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 today 19th May 2020.

The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme was announced at Budget as part of a package of support measures for businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

This scheme will allow small and medium-sized employers, with fewer than 250 employees, to apply to HMRC to recover the costs of paying coronavirus-related SSP.

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 13th March 2020.

To prepare to make their claim, employers should keep records of all the SSP payments that they wish to claim from HMRC. You can read further guidance on checking whether you can claim back SSP paid to employees due to coronavirus (COVID-19) on GOV.UK. CLICK HERE

Monday 18th May

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) Update

It’s nearly a month since the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) opened and many businesses will be preparing to make another claim in order to receive money by the end of May.

To ensure you receive a payment by the end of May, you need to apply by Wednesday 20th May

When you make a claim through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, you’ll receive the money within six working days.

After making a claim, please keep all records and calculations, in case they need to contact you to discuss these. For more details CLICK HERE

Friday 15th May

Epsom & Ewell Business Brief

The latest issue of the Epsom & Ewell Business Brief is now available. With information and links for local businesses to get help and support locally and from the Government https://bit.ly/2X0fW8W

 

Wednesday 13th May

Google Helping your business through COVID-19

Google have have created a great page for small businesses packed full of online resources, steps you can take to keep your business active and Free digital skills training. For more details CLICK HERE

Applications for Self-Employment Income Support Scheme open early

The government’s scheme to support the self-employed has today opened for claims – weeks ahead of schedule. From 8am this morning self-employed individuals or members of partnerships? whose? business has been adversely affected by?coronavirus will be able to apply for a Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant worth 80% of ?their ?average monthly trading profits.

Millions are expected to benefit from the scheme with the payments – to be paid in a single instalment covering three months and capped at £7,500 – expected to land in bank accounts within six working days of each claim.

Everyone eligible for the SEISS, which is one of the most generous support schemes announced by any government in response to coronavirus, will be able to receive the government grant by 25 May, or within six days of a completed claim. 

To Read More CLICK HERE

Tuesday 12th May

Chancellor extends furlough scheme until October

The government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will remain open until the end of October, the Chancellor announced today. 

In a boost to millions of jobs and businesses, Rishi Sunak said the furlough scheme would be extended by a further four months with workers continuing to receive 80% of their current salary.

As we reopen the economy, we need to support people to get back to work. From the start of August, furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time with employers being asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff.

The employer payments will substitute the contribution the government is currently making, ensuring that staff continue to receive 80% of their salary, up to £2,500 a month. To read more CLICK HERE

New guidance launched to help get you safely back to work

New ‘COVID-19 secure’ guidelines are available to UK employers to help them get their businesses back up and running and workplaces operating as safely as possible.

This follows the Prime Minister setting out steps to beat the virus and restart the economy, so we can protect jobs, restore people’s livelihoods and fund the country’s vital public services.

The government has consulted approximately 250 stakeholders in preparing the guidance. It has been developed with input from firms, unions, industry bodies and the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and in consultation with Public Health England (PHE) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), to develop best practice on the safest ways of working across the economy, providing people with the confidence they need to return to work.

The new guidance covers 8 workplace settings which are allowed to be open, from outdoor environments and construction sites to factories and takeaways.

5 key points

This sets out practical steps for businesses focused on 5 key points, which should be implemented as soon as it is practical:

1. Work from home, if you can

All reasonable steps should be taken by employers to help people work from home. But for those who cannot work from home and whose workplace has not been told to close, our message is clear: you should go to work. Staff should speak to their employer about when their workplace will open.

2. Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, in consultation with workers or trade unions

This guidance operates within current health and safety employment and equalities legislation and employers will need to carry out COVID-19 risk assessments in consultation with their workers or trade unions, to establish what guidelines to put in place. If possible, employers should publish the results of their risk assessments on their website and we expect all businesses with over 50 employees to do so.

3. Maintain 2 metres social distancing, wherever possible

Employers should re-design workspaces to maintain 2 metre distances between people by staggering start times, creating one way walk-throughs, opening more entrances and exits, or changing seating layouts in break rooms.

4. Where people cannot be 2 metres apart, manage transmission risk

Employers should look into putting barriers in shared spaces, creating workplace shift patterns or fixed teams minimising the number of people in contact with one another, or ensuring colleagues are facing away from each other.

5. Reinforcing cleaning processes

Workplaces should be cleaned more frequently, paying close attention to high-contact objects like door handles and keyboards. Employers should provide handwashing facilities or hand sanitisers at entry and exit points.

A downloadable notice is included in the documents, which employers should display in their workplaces to show their employees, customers and other visitors to their workplace, that they have followed this guidance.

To read more CLICK HERE

 

Monday 11th May

The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy

The governments 50-page guide COVID-19 recovery strategy has now been released. The document sets out the new guidelines and highlights the phased stages moving forward  CLICK HERE

Sunday 10th May 

Prime Minister's Speech.

If you missed the Prime Minister’s speech to night CLICK HERE to read the transcript of the speech 

Wednesday 6th May

Business rates revaluation postponed

A revaluation of business rates will no longer take place in 2021 to help reduce uncertainty for firms affected by the impacts of coronavirus, Communities Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP has announced.

Legislation had been introduced to bring the next revaluation forward by one year from 2022 to 2021, but following the recent economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic ministers want to ensure businesses have more certainty during this difficult time. Click Here to read more

 

Tuesday 5th May 

Council car parking charges remain suspended

 Epsom & Ewell Borough Council is continuing to offer free parking in most of its car parks as it supports key workers through the Covid19 pandemic.

 The majority of council car parks will remain open during their usual operating hours to also ensure residents can undertake essential journeys, including food shopping and visiting pharmacies.

Town Ward Councillor Neil Dallen, Chairman of Environment & Safe Communities Committee, said “The suspension of parking charges is to help keyworkers, people shopping for essential food and medical supplies and those running errands in support of the extremely vulnerable. We want them to be able to carry out their tasks as quickly and safely as possible.

 “It is really important, however, that people always remember to park considerately and continue to follow government guidance about avoiding any unnecessary travel”.

 Town Hall, Hope Lodge and Bourne Hall car parks have been excluded from this arrangement to protect parking for the emergency services, critical workers and volunteers, for whom separate arrangements are in place.

 

Monday 4th May

Self-employed invited to get ready to make their claims for coronavirus (COVID-19) support

From today?(Monday 4 May), HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will begin contacting customers who may be eligible for the government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

Those who are eligible will be able to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their average trading profits up to a maximum of £7,500 (equivalent to three months’ profits), paid in a single instalment.

HMRC is also inviting customers, or their agents, to go online and check their eligibility for SEISS. To do so make sure you have your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR)? and your National Insurance Number to hand. Also make sure? your details are ?up-to-date ?in your Government Gateway account to check CLICK HERE

New webinars to boost support for SMEs during coronavirus

New support for SMEs during coronavirus has today been launched in the form of nearly 100 expert-led webinars

The webinars will offer practical advice to SMEs and focus on issues businesses trading internationally are facing.

Many webinars will be hosted by an International Trade Adviser and include question and answer sessions, while others will feature guest speakers from business and industry.

Topics covered will range from managing distribution of supply chains and the movement of goods, to support for selling online overseas.

CLICK HERE to READ MORE

Sunday 3rd May 

Top-up to local business grant funds scheme

A discretionary fund has been set up to accommodate certain small businesses previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme. 

This additional fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs. We are asking local authorities to prioritise businesses in shared spaces, regular market traders, small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief, and bed and breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates. But local authorities may choose to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need. The allocation of funding will be at the discretion of local authorities.

Businesses must be small, under 50 employees, and they must also be able to demonstrate that they have seen a significant drop of income due to Coronavirus restriction measures.

There will be three levels of grant payments. The maximum will be £25,000. There will also be grants of £10,000. local authorities will have discretion to make payments of any amount under £10,000. It will be for councils to adapt this approach to local circumstances.

Further guidance for local authorities will be set out shortly.

 

Saturday 2nd May

Small businesses boosted by bounce back loans

Small businesses will benefit from a new fast-track finance scheme providing loans with a 100% government-backed guarantee for lenders. Businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days. Plus loans will be interest free for the first 12 months, and businesses can apply online through a short and simple form. The Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the new Bounce Back Loans scheme, which will provide loans of up to £50,000, would help bolster the existing package of support available to the smallest businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The scheme has been designed to ensure that small firms who need vital cash injections to keep operating can get finance in a matter of days. The scheme will launch for applications on Monday 4th May.

To Apply CLICK HERE

Friday 1st May

Treasury cut taxes to reduce PPE costs

From today 1st May 2020, PPE purchased by care homes, businesses, charities and individuals to protect against Covid-19 will be free from VAT for a three-month period. A zero-rate of VAT will apply to sales of personal protective equipment (PPE) for Covid-19 from 1st May 2020 until 31st July 2020 For more details CLICK HERE

Wednesday 29th April

Business owners urged to apply for grant funding

Over 300 businesses in Epsom and Ewell are still to apply for government grants to support them through the Covid-19 pandemic, according to figures released by Epsom & Ewell Borough Council.

 Grants totalling more than £6million have been paid to 490 small businesses throughout the borough since 1st April.  Epsom & Ewell Borough Council is now taking action to invite the remaining 321 businesses to submit their application for funding support.

 “I’m proud of how tirelessly our team has worked,” commented Councillor Eber Kington, chair of the Council’s Strategy and Resources Committee.  “Thanks to the team’s dedication, all of the eligible applications received so far have been paid.

 “The Council is committed to protecting and supporting the local economy.  We are now trying to contact the 321 businesses who have not yet come forward to make sure that they know a grant is available to them.”

 Many of the 300 businesses are small or medium sized companies who don’t usually pay business rates.  This means that the Council only has a postal address for them, rather than email address or other details.

 Council staff are now combing the internet and other records to find details for eligible companies so that they can contact them directly.

 Small business owners can find out more about their eligibility for one of three government grants through the council’s dedicated webpage: https://www.epsom-ewell.gov.uk/businessgrants2020-21

 “When the restrictions are lifted, we want our borough to continue to be a strong, dynamic place where businesses thrive,” Councillor Kington concluded.

 “These government grants are a vital part of that process.  Our teams are standing by to process eligible applications promptly and get the grants to the businesses who need them the most.”

There are three different grants available:

 These business grants are available to business rate payers who have a rateable value under £51,000 and are currently in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief or Retail Discount. The criteria for receiving these grants are very specific and businesses are requested to fully read the guidance before making an application.

 All figures are correct at the time of issue and are subject to change.

 

Tuesday 28th April

New free online learning platform to boost workplace skills

A new online learning platform to help boost the nation’s skills while people are staying at home, has been launched today (28 April) by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson.

Free courses are available through a new online platform hosted on the gov.uk website, called The Skills Toolkit. The new platform gives people access to free, high-quality digital and numeracy courses to help build up their skills, progress in work and boost their job prospects.

These are the skills which are highly valued by employers and sought after in a wide range of jobs. With more people expected to be working and studying remotely in the coming months, the platform offers a great opportunity to learn new skills to help to get ahead online and gain the knowledge we’ll all need for the future. The platform also offers employees who have been furloughed an opportunity to keep up their skills development while they are at home.

Courses on offer cover a range of levels, from everyday maths and tools for using email and social media more effectively at work to more advanced training. Individuals will be able to access courses helping them to create great online content developed by the University of Leeds and the Institute of Coding, to understand the Fundamentals of Digital Marketing from Google Digital Garage and to learn how to code for data analysis from the Open University. All courses are online and flexible, so people can work through them at their own pace. 

For More Details CLICK HERE

Monday 27th April

Wages for furloughed employees are now being paid through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Payments for claims made on Monday 20 April will be in employers’ bank accounts by Tuesday 28th April.

If you have already made a claim

Don’t worry if you haven’t received payment yet – it takes six working days from when you claimed. Please don’t call HMRC to chase payment as They won’t be able to update you before the six working days have ended.

You don’t need to do anything to receive payment. It will automatically be sent to the bank account you nominated in your claim.

Please retain all records and calculations for your claims in case HMRC need to contact you about them in future, as they continue to check claims made through the scheme.

If you have not yet made a claim

You can still claim online for a grant for 80% of your furloughed employees’ salaries, up to a maximum of £2,500 per employee, per month. You will receive the funds six working days after you claim, provided your claim matches records that we hold for your PAYE scheme.

Please read all the available guidance before you apply. CLICK HERE

HMRC will check claims made through the scheme and will act to protect public money against anyone who makes a dishonest claim.

Please continue to keep your furloughed employees informed and ask them not to contact HMRC directly – They will not be able to provide them with any information.

 

Friday 24th April

Coronavirus testing extended to all essential workers in England who have symptoms

As from Friday 24th April all essential workers in England, and members of their households who are showing symptoms of coronavirus will now be able to get tested, the government has announced. This will mean individuals and people they live with will have the reassurance of knowing whether their symptoms are caused by coronavirus and can decide whether they are well enough to return to work.

A new campaign will help essential workers in England - including NHS and care staff, teachers, hospital cleaners, public servants, the emergency services, supermarket staff, delivery drivers, and other critical infrastructure staff - to access testing.

Booking the test has been made simpler via a new online system. From today, employers can register and refer self-isolating staff, and from tomorrow employees will be able to book a test directly for themselves or members of their household who are experiencing symptoms – a high temperature or new continuous cough.

This will speed up the process of getting an appointment and take the burden off employers, helping reach everyone who has symptoms at the earliest opportunity. To book your test and for more info CLICK HERE

Thursday 23rd April

New measures to protect UK high street from aggressive rent collection and closure

High street shops and other companies under strain will be protected from aggressive rent collection and asked to pay what they can during the coronavirus pandemic, the Business Secretary has set out today (23 April 2020). The majority of landlords and tenants are working well together to reach agreements on debt obligations, but some landlords have been putting tenants under undue pressure by using aggressive debt recovery tactics. CLICK HERE to read more

Tuesday 21st April 

Issue 5: Epsom & Ewell Business Brief

The new issue of Epsom & Ewell Business Brief has been released. The brief is designed to help signpost local businesses in Epsom and Ewell to the appropriate and relevant official bodies or organisations who are able to deal with enquiries relating to business support during this time. To read the brief CLICK HERE

Monday 20th April

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme up and running

The online claim service for the COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme will be launched on Monday 20 April 2020. The below is a summary of the key information for the online claim service but you can find the full details CLICK HERE.

ELIGIBILITY

In order to be eligible to claim under this scheme, the employee must have been:

•          On your PAYE payroll on or before 19th March 2020 and this was notified to HMRC on an RTI submission before this date.

•          On your payroll as of 28th February 2020 but had been made redundant or stopped working for you before 19th March 2020. You would need to re-employ them and put them on furlough.

•          Employed on any type of employment contract with you.

They cannot have undertaken any work for, or on behalf, of the organisation whilst furloughed.

WHAT YOU'LL NEED TO MAKE A CLAIM

You must have confirmed in writing to your employee that they have been furloughed in order to be eligible for the grant. A record of this must be kept for five years. For the most up to date information see CLICK HERE.??

 

You will need the following to make a claim:

•          A Government Gateway (GG) ID and password – apply for one CLICK HERE if you do not already have one.

•          To be enrolled for PAYE online –register CLICK HERE if you haven't done so

•          For each furloughed employee:

?           Name.

?           National Insurance Number.

?           Payroll/employee number (optional).

?           The claim period (start and end date).

?           Amount to claim.

•          Your details:

?           Employer PAYE reference number.

?           Self-Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference or Corporation Tax Unique Taxpayer Reference or Company Registration Number.

?           Bank account number and sort code.

?           Your contact name and phone number.

 You will be asked to enter these details directly onto the online system on the government website.?

Please read the full details of how to claim CLICK HERE.?

 

Council Delivers Small Business Lifeline

Epsom & Ewell Borough Council has taken action to protect and support the local economy, releasing nearly £6 million in grant funding to local businesses in a fortnight.

In March the Chancellor announced a host of measures designed to support businesses facing financial hardship in the Coronavirus lockdown period. With very little notice the Government handed the task to manage and distribute the funds to local authorities.

The council’s Revenues Team have been working around the clock to ensure the money gets to businesses as soon as possible. Staff are working through many detailed applications a day, and the council has now released payment of grants to businesses totalling £5,935,000.

Councillor Eber Kington, chair of the Strategy & Resources Committee said “We know how important these grants are to local businesses, and that is why our teams have been working very hard to process applications.

“We are in uncharted waters dealing with a huge volume of applications in such a short space of time, but we are pleased we are getting the money out to the businesses that really need it.”

“It is important that when economic activity returns to something like normality our previously thriving and creative businesses are in a position to restart and return the borough to its status as a great place to work, to trade and to do business”.

Business Grants are available to business rate payers who have a rateable value under £51,000 and are currently in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief or Retail Discount.  The criteria for receiving these grants are very specific and businesses are requested to fully read the guidance before making an application.

Full details on the grants and the application process can be found on the business grants pages on the council’s website – https://www.epsom-ewell.gov.uk/businessgrants2020-21

 

Saturday 18th April

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: step by step guide for employers

HMRC want to help you get ready to make your claim under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme when it goes live from Monday 20?? April. There’s now updated guidance on how to calculate your claim and a simple step-by-step guide. There will also be a calculator available when the system goes live on Monday for you to check your calculations online before you make your claim.

 

Friday 17th April

Companies House support for businesses hit by COVID-19

Changes announced by Companies House will help businesses avoid being struck off the Companies House register as they deal with the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.Businesses will be given additional support to help them meet their legal responsibilities under changes announced today.

Companies House will temporarily pause the strike off process to prevent companies being dissolved. This will give businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak the time they need to update their records and help them avoid being struck off the register.

In addition, companies issued with a late filing penalty due to COVID-19 will have appeals treated sympathetically. 

For More Details CLICK HERE

 

Wednesday 15th April

Furlough scheme cut-off date extended to 19 March

The government announced today that thousands more employees will able to receive support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) after the eligibility date was extended to 19 March 2020. Under the scheme announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak last month, employers can claim a grant covering 80% of the wages for a furloughed employee, subject to a cap of £2,500 a month.

To qualify and to protect against fraudulent claims, individuals originally had to be employed on February 28 2020.

But following a review of the delivery system and to ensure the scheme helps as many people as possible, new guidance published today has confirmed the eligibility date has been extended to March 19 2020– the day before the scheme was announced. 

For More Info CLICK HERE

 

Thursday 9th April

Coronavirus (COVID-19): letter to the retail sector

The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Alok Sharma has written to those working in retail.

To read his letter CLICK HERE

Monday 6th April

New webinars by HMRC

HMRC are delivering a programme of webinars to support employers, employees and the self-employed through this period of disruption. 

Click here to watch the first recorded webinar and register for future webinars using this link:

Friday 3rd April 

Coast to Capital Business Grants Paused

Due to the overwhelmingly positive response from local businesses, Coast to Capital have paused acceptance of new applications for their Backing Business Grants fund. This will allow their team to efficiently sift and allocate funding. If you have already submitted an eligibility checklist, a member of our team will be in touch to advise on your application.

Going forward, they will continue to accept eligibility checklists which will be added to a waiting list in the event that future funds become available. To submit an eligibility checklist, please visit their funding page.

Thursday 2nd April

Epsom & Ewell Council Council ready to support businesses affected by Covid-19

Vital financial help for businesses affected by Covid-19 is now being administered by Epsom & Ewell Borough Council.

“Supporting our strong, dynamic local economy is one of our highest priorities,” commented Councillor Eber Kington, Chairman of Epsom & Ewell Borough Council’s Strategy and Resources Committee. “Our specialist team is already helping businesses impacted by this unprecedented national emergency and we are encouraging more of the eligible businesses to apply.”

Businesses in a wide range of sectors can benefit from government grants provided that their rateable value is under £51,000 a year. These sectors include:

The grant application process is now open.  Full details about eligibility for the grants and how to apply are available on the Council’s website:

https://www.epsom-ewell.gov.uk/business/business-rates/business-grants-2020-21.

To qualify for a grant the property must;

Payments will be made as swiftly as possible on receipt of an application through the website.

Once further guidance is received from the Ministry of Housing, Communities, & Local Government, the above reliefs will be awarded and revised accounts will be sent out.

Thursday 2nd April

Deferral of VAT payments due to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Temporary changes to the VAT payments due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 to help businesses manage their cash flow. We have been informed from local accountant that a very important point for any business utilising the VAT deferral arrangements – if you have a direct debit arrangement in place, do not forget to cancel it as soon as possible.  If not, any VAT payment due during the period through to 30 June may be automatically taken by HMRC. For More Info CLICK HERE 

 

Monday 30th March 

Coast to Capital Backing Business Grants

Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership is about to open applications for a business support grant. The Coast to Capital Backing Business Grants is a £2 million fund that has been set up to provide grants to small businesses and social enterprises in our area who have been affected by COVID-19.

 Please see an extract from the call for applications below. 

 If you are a business or social enterprise based in West Sussex, Brighton & Hove, or East Surrey (Epsom and Ewell, Mole Valley, Reigate and Banstead, Tandridge) with 5-50 FTE (full time equivalent) workforce who has been trading for over 2 years and have an annual turnover of under £10m, you can apply for a grant of £5,000-£25,000 to fund specific measures to help you to adapt, evolve and innovate to the various economic impacts brought about by the pandemic.

Applicants must use the grant to implement one or more of the following measures:

 

The grant is available for all sectors, however we will be particularly interested to receive applications from businesses working in the sectors in which our economy has been particularly impacted by recent economic events (i.e. aviation and aviation supply chain, tourism, hospitality and leisure and the service economy).

For more information click here ????  https://www.coast2capital.org.uk/backing-business-grants

NOTE: The grants will be made available on a first-come-first-served basis.

 

Friday 27th March 2020

Self-employment Income Support Scheme

The Government has launched the Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) which will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) whose income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19The scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

HMRC will use the average profits from tax returns in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 to calculate the size of the grant. The scheme will be open to those where the majority of their income comes from self-employment and who have profits of less than £50,000. The scheme will be open for an initial three months with people able to make their first claim by the beginning of June.

For more details on SEISS CLICK HERE 

Thursday 26th March 2020

'Essential Retailers' list has been updated

After strict new restrictions were brought in by government earlier this week,  a new list of “essential retailers” that are allowed to stay open has been released. They include:

Remember only go out shopping if it is absolutely necessary otherwise STAY AT HOME  

 

Wednesday 25th March 2020

COVID-19: How to securely close your premises 

 Following the Prime Minister’s recent COVID-19 briefing, the Government has announced that all non-essential shops have been asked to close until further notice. 

 This is in addition to leisure and hospitality businesses which were asked to close earlier, and other employers whose staff are advised to work from home. The aim is to reduce and slow down the spread of the virus. We are all now advised to only be leaving our homes for exercise and vital essentials only. 

 This decision will have a significant impact on many businesses, from the small independent business community through to national high street brands. 

 Particular attention is required at this stage to best protect premises that might be unoccupied for some time. We recommend that you use and adapt the following checklist: 

1. Test all alarms and CCTV systems, ensuring they are working correctly 

 

2. Check all exterior doors, testing that they are locked and fully secured 

 

3. Remove all cash from tills 

 

4. Remove all stock from window displays or stock visible through shop windows, particularly high value stock e.g. perfume, makeup, electrical goods, medicines, jewellery, clothing etc

 

5. Update key holder details with alarm companies and security providers

 

6. Where possible, use large items to block plate glass doors inside premises or lower shutters

 

7. Pubs and clubs should clear bar shelves of all stock, securing it in cellars or stockrooms

 

8. Fruit or gaming machines should be emptied of change and left in such a way that they can be seen to be empty

 

9. Provide suitable signage on the exterior of the property (e.g. “no cash in tills”, “no stock inside”, “burglar alarm fitted” etc.)

 

These are unprecedented times but the Epsom BID team remain available to offer advice where possible.

If you have any concerns, contact us on info@epsombid.co.uk and we will get back to you as soon as possible. 

 

Tuesday 24th March 2020

To all Epsom businesses

The government has now launched a new website outlining all the business support measures available.

If you have queries or concerns about how the current situation is affecting your business, please look at this first; -

https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support/

Google Helping your business through COVID-19