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BR BID Coronavirus Update: Monday 23rd March 2020

BR BID Coronavirus Update: Monday 23rd March 2020

We’re changing the format of our daily updates to focus on the key questions businesses are asking us. We’ll continue to update our website with information that affects your business, and alert you to any updates through our social media platforms. If you haven’t already, please start following us on Facebook:

Even though Clair and I are working from home, you can still contact us by email:, by phone: 07917 692690 or through Zoom meeting software. The software is free to download and works across a wide range of platforms – phones, tablets, PC’s, Macs. If you’d like a virtual face to face, please invite: Financial Support Questions How can I access the government grants? Still no updates on how you can access the funding, but we’re in close contact with ADC Business Rates and hoping for some news to share really soon. There's a suggestion that businesses that are eligible for the business rates relief will be identified as the same businesses that received the 33% business rates "Retail Relief" in 2019-20. If you didn't claim for this relief at the time, you may not be identified. Please check the business rates bill you've already been sent for 2020-21 to see if a 50% deduction has already been applied. If you are a business that "sells", and have a Rateable Value between £15,000 and £51,000, but you DIDN'T register for Retail Relief last year, you should contact ADC to let them know in the w/c 23rd March. A full list of all the businesses that qualify for "Retail Relief" can be found here: The government website states that you will be re-billed, suggesting you'll be issued with a replacement bill with a zero balance. We’ll get the information out to you as soon as we possibly can. How can I access the Government Loan? This is now available to businesses through their banks. You’ll find a full list of providers here: If you have carefully considered the implications, and want to apply for a loan, the recommendation is to contact your bank through their online services to see how they can help you. ​There is one really important thing to point out. On the British Bank's website, it says that "If the lender can offer finance on normal commercial terms without the need to make use of the scheme, they will do so." That suggests that the six months interest free government backed loan will not be the first option you are presented with by your lender. Please check all terms really, really carefully in light of your business’s circumstances. How can I access the wages support to cover 80% of my staff’s wages bill? There’s still no direction as to how to claim it, but there is advice on how businesses should manage staff contracts. HMRC aren’t set up to pay businesses – it’s always been the other way around, so it’s going to take time for them to set this system up. However, the government site says that HMRC “are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement.” In the meantime, the site says: “If your business needs short term cash flow support, you may be eligible for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan.” See section on loans above. Should I keep my business open? This is such a hard call, and we can’t tell you what’s the best plan for your business beyond referring to government advice. The key message the government is giving to the public is to “stay at home if at all possible”. Over the weekend we’ve all seen examples where that advice is not being followed, and suggestions from the Prime Minister that further measures to prevent social interaction could be implemented. It could be that the decision will be taken out of your hands soon, as, according to BBC News, “the government is now considering closing all non-essential retail stores and introducing fines on people who ignore the current coronavirus advice”. If you are still considering staying open, can you adapt either your layout or restrict number of people coming in to ensure recommended social distancing? Are you able to protect your staff through the provision of hand washing / sanitising facilities? Is there any other way you could offer your services that mean people don’t have to come into your physical premises? I’m hoping to be able to give you another update on grants and business rates very soon. Kindest regards, Heather Heather Allen, BR BID Co-Ordinator


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