2021 Update: Grants, Lobbying & Deliveries

2021 Update: Grants, Lobbying & Deliveries

2021 Update: Grants, Lobbying & Deliveries

Hi everyone,

Firstly, we wish to extend our best wishes to you for the New Year. Despite further uncertainty as we enter 2021, we hope that you are safe and healthy, and have enjoyed some time with those closest to you.

This update is in light of the recent move up into Tier 4. Once again, we are sad to see more businesses having to shut their doors, alongside our leisure and hospitality sector businesses who remain closed. Accordingly, we know that for many, financial matters and adapting to online (collection, delivery etc) is again top of mind, so we wanted to update you on business grants, our lobby efforts and a new delivery service available to local businesses.

Alongside this, you may have read in the press that Leamington has been provisionally awarded some funding as part of the Future High Street Fund, and positive investment plans are coming forward to support preparations for the Commonwealth Games which offers hope. Also, discussions about the ongoing closure on the Parade are ongoing, so we will email soon to update you on all this and seek your feedback.

In the meantime, please reach out if there is anything we can support you with and we invite you to support our continuing lobby efforts. The Royal Leamington Spa Town Centre Facebook page, Instagram, twitter and www.loveleamington.com is where we showcase what you are now doing, so please keep us updated on your plans.

Please join our Leamington Town Centre Facebook Group if you haven’t already and share your ideas, information, promotions etc. We also post updates on the BID Leamington Facebook Page and information on our website: www.bidleamington.com.

 

1. Business Grants

Full details of Tier 4 rules and exclusions can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tier-4-stay-at-home

The following update has been provided by Warwick District Council and further information can be found here: https://www.warwickdc.gov.uk/info/20068/business_awards_and_grants/1626/local_restrictions_grant_funding_schemes

In summary, as from 31st December the new Tier 4 (closed) addendum scheme supersedes the other 3 grant schemes that were running (LRSG Closed, Open and Sector).

All businesses that have been mandated to close again, or are still closed from the Tier 3 restrictions, will receive the following payments on a 14 day cycle backdated to 31 December:

  • RV 15,000 and under: £667
  • RV 15,001 – 50,999: £1,000
  • RV 51,000 and over: £1,500

A new application is NOT needed as WDC will auto pay based on the 2nd national lockdown details (5th November lockdown). You only need to do a new application if:

  1. You haven’t already received their 2nd national lockdown payment (WDC will then pay out the 2 schemes together).
  2. You are making a retrospective application for the ‘open’ scheme which was running from 2nd to 30th December (WDC will then pay out the 2 schemes together).

Please note, as per the WDC website update (here), all of the LRSG (closed) payments were made prior to Christmas, however depending on the timing of banks and holidays, it may not hit your account until January 7th. We are not yet sure about the ARG – Part C grants, but the timing may be similar.

WDC offices will open from January 4th, so if you wish to check up on grant payments directly, please email:  visiting.officers@warwickdc.gov.uk. Please feel free to ‘cc’ or contact us, and include the applicant name, business name, full address and postcode and ideally your business rates number. Also please specify what grant(s) as they are dealt with by different teams.

WDC will begin to make the new auto payments on the Tier 4 (closed) grants when they return back to work after 4th January.

 

2. Lobby Efforts

We know the business grants are not enough. Our ‘Make Some Noise’ and the ‘Bounce Back Better’ Campaign got off to a good start before Christmas, and more support is needed now more than ever.

We are inviting BIDs, industry bodies and businesses nationally to support this. Almost all support to date has resulted from efforts to inform decision makers of business challenges and needs – so we will keep doing this. To find out more or get involved, please see the content here:

 

3. Delivered.it.

For some time we have been researching local solutions to support businesses with cost effective deliveries and / or an online marketplace. We know there is a lot of change in the market – and for the hospitality sector, a number of choices, so we are careful about who we identify. Recently we met the founder of Delivered.it,Peter Hazelgrove, who lives locally and you may have seen some fliers come through your door. A number of Leamington businesses have now signed up, delivered.it are promoting themselves to local residents and we have heard good feedback, so we wanted to make you aware in case you are interested.

Specifically, there are two main services:

  1. An online marketplace, to encourage consumers to buy from local businesses (like yourselves); and
  2. An on-demand delivery service – with a separate option for restaurants and food businesses (including takeaways).

Sarah Horne, a local business you may know, has been using both services and features in their video here: https://vimeo.com/484741301.

Below is a short summary of the delivered.it offer:

Online Marketplace:

  • There are no costs to join the delivered it. marketplace, which you can view by clicking here.
  • Each business has their own listing page, with header image, logos, products etc.
  • You can offer ‘Click and Collect’ and / or ‘Delivery’. Delivery can be using yourself / own drivers or the delivered it. logistics delivery team (please see below).
  • Set up and getting online is quick and easy and the team will support you.
  • Cost – you pay an order commission of 10% only if you sell. This includes the cost of delivering the order for you, up to 5 miles.
  • Example business, please Click here to view Sarah Horne Flowers.
  • For more information, please click here.

On-demand delivery service:

  • delivered it. Logistics is an on-demand driver service for local deliveries. This can be a standalone option, or part of the online marketplace above.
  • This allows you to request a driver to deliver any orders you may receive online, or over the phone etc. so you can avoid delivering it yourself, or having a staff member waiting in case.
  • You can use them as much or as little as you wish.
  • They are available 7 days a week from 10:00 – 22:00.
  • Cost – you pay only if you book a driver.
  • For more information, please click here.

Restaurant & Food Businesses:

  • In addition to above, delivered it. have a local offer focused on the hospitality sector, as they want to challenge the commission rates of the ‘giants’. For more information, please click here.

Please note, we are in not connected to this business and if interested, it is important you make contact and explore the offer and costs to ensure they are right for you. To speak to one of their team you can also phone: 020 800 43386.

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As always, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Alison or myself if you have any queries and we will be in touch again soon.

Best wishes and stay safe,

Steph & Alison

 

‘Make Some Noise’ for Hospitality & Leisure

‘Make Some Noise’ for Hospitality & Leisure

‘Make Some Noise’ for Hospitality & Leisure

BID Leamington is calling on hospitality and leisure businesses in the town to ‘make some noise’ after it was kept in Tier 3 restrictions today (Thursday).

Leamington, along with the rest of Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull, has not been changed from its Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions in the government’s review before Christmas.

This means hospitality venues such as restaurants and pubs will have to stay shut to customers.

And with business-led organisation BID Leamington representing over 100 hospitality and leisure venues in the town, it will be launching the ‘Make Some Noise’ campaign to get the government to take notice of their plight.

Owners of hospitality businesses in Leamington will be encouraged to film themselves making plenty of noise with the tools of their trade, such as pots and pans, and upload it to social media using the hashtag #MakeSomeNoise from 11am on Friday December 18.

Frankie Griffiths, general manager of Leamington pub The Drawing Board and BID Leamington member, came up with the idea.

She said: “Existing grant funding is appreciated, but it is nowhere near enough to cover our costs when closed. Our fixed expenses are triple the cost of the grants, plus we are paying employer contributions on furloughed staff.

“We would like to see hospitality businesses up and down the country take our lead, pick up some pots and pans, and share their plight on social media so this message can travel all the way to London.”

And Stephanie Kerr, executive director of BID Leamington, agreed the current support for hospitality businesses was insufficient to keep them viable.

She said: “Leamington’s fantastic hospitality and leisure sector venues simply aren’t getting the support they need from the government. The measures currently in place are not going to save our businesses.

“The original announcement that we would be placed into Tier 3 was disappointing, and this latest announcement has made us even more determined to secure the support our hospitality venues need.

“While we completely understand the need to prioritise public health, our hospitality venues bear the brunt of these restrictions through no fault of their own, and all we ask is that the government support our brilliant businesses in a fair and proportionate manner.

“We are asking for larger grants to reasonably cover hospitality venues’ outgoings, to pause employer contributions to the furlough scheme, and to extend the lower rate of VAT and business rate freeze beyond March 2021.

“Without that support, there’s a strong possibility that not all will be able to keep trading into 2021, and we’d encourage businesses to join in with the #MakeSomeNoise campaign to send a message to the government.

“In the meantime, we would still encourage people to support retail businesses in Leamington by choosing to shop local or ordering from Leamington shops online.

“We are very grateful for the incredible support people have shown so far, and we hope that commitment to shopping local continues.”

BID Leamington’s calls come after the announcement of the ‘Bounce Back Better’ campaign, a nationwide plea for special support measures for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses.

The campaign is asking for a one-off grant of £15,000 for those businesses in Tier 2 and 3 with a rateable value of up to £150,000, and a pause on National Insurance employer contributions for furloughed employees.

It is also seeking an extension of the 100 per cent business rates holiday and the VAT reduction scheme.

Town centre businesses in need of information and support can make contact with the BID team at info@bidleamington.com or go to www.bidleamington.com. To find out how to support businesses by shopping local, visit www.loveleamington.com and follow @LeamingtonGuide.

To view our ‘Make Some Noise’ video please click here

Update – Hospitality Survey, Grants, Parking, BID Support

Update – Hospitality Survey, Grants, Parking, BID Support

Update – Hospitality Survey, Grants, Parking, BID Support

Hi everyone,

We hope you are doing okay given the mixed news we have received in the last day. This is a quick update with brief news and clarifications. Please stay in touch.

Tier Status

As we are sure you know, yesterday we learnt that Warwickshire has been classified as Tier 3.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/full-list-of-local-restriction-tiers-by-area

Whilst it is good news that our retail sector can open on December 2nd (clarification below), it is also very disappointing for our hospitality and leisure sector business owners and employees and we are aware that this is causing significant pain and worry.

For information about the respective tiers please click here.

 

Hospitality & Leisure Sector

We welcomed the change to last orders at 10pm, and 11pm closing in Tier 2, but we also know that being in Tier 3, for now this offers little consolation.

Grant funding support for ‘closed’ Tier 3 businesses will continue and we will update you when we know how this will be administered. Notwithstanding this, we know that this existing grant funding allowance does not come close to offering businesses subject to Tier 3 restrictions sufficient financial support.

Quick 3 min Survey

We would be grateful if you could share any details that help to quantify the critical challenges you face. Data will be anonymised.

Please click here and thank you in advance: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/R8N59B2

What’s Happening Now …

We are speaking to local, regional and national partners to understand, challenge and lobby on key areas of concern. Our message right now is: 2K / 3K grants barely touch the sides of 10-15K monthly rent and other fixed costs for many. Hundreds of staff are furloughed, while owners continue to pay NI and pensions – and of course, all the furlough investment is lost if we don’t get closed Tier 3 businesses open, or on proper life support. Any 14-day review should start from yesterday (not the 2nd of Dec). Leamington’s hospitality and leisure sector is safe, prepared, responsible.

Among other things, our ‘ask’ that includes additional critical ‘life support’ grant funding, pausing NI and pensions contributions on furloughed staff, and extensions to the business rate holiday and VAT reduction schemes. Some business owners face particular challenges with leases, legal, HR issues, so please reach out if you need help. Finally, we know many are looking for more clarity, evidence and certainty around the application of Tiers in local places and the review process.

The national ‘Bounce Back Better’ campaign information is here (please click). We are also open to your thoughts, ideas and feedback.

 

Retail – Opening Date & Grant Confirmation

For those that can open, we are pleased to confirm that Warwick County Council are of the view, alongside many others, that the new tier structures will come into force one minute past midnight (00:01) on Wednesday 2nd December.

This means, for those that are permitted in Tier 3, you can open your doors on the 2nd of December.

We have also had confirmation that opening on the 2nd of December will not impact your eligibility to grant funding for the 28 day ‘closed’ period in November.

All information and links to grants are here (please click). Please note deadlines are fast approaching.

 

Free Parking in December – Some Good News

After consulting with key stakeholders across the District including ourselves, Warwick District Council (WDC) have agreed to offer free parking in off street car parks from the 2nd of December. Free parking in WDC off-street car parks will enhance the shopping experience, reduce contact between people and machines in car parks, and support customers to easily return to their favourite shops.

Accordingly, surface car parks will remain ‘short-stay’ for shoppers, while the multi-storey car parks, such as Covent Garden and St Peters, remain best suited those wishing to park all day – so please direct your staff in that direction.

Please also note, the Royal Priors is offering Free parking on Thursdays from 5pm (to support late night shopping). We are waiting to hear what the County Council will offer with respect to on-street / curbside parking.

 

Late Night Opening / Extended Trading

Royal Priors

  • Late night shopping in the Royal Priors will be on Thursdays, beginning on Thursday 3rd – till 8pm.
  • From Monday 14th the Royal Priors will be open till 7pm – except on Sundays which will be 5pm and Thursdays 8pm.

Please let us know if you are planning to extend your hours? … please include: Dates and times.

Materials to Support Opening

Alison has emailed you about obtaining any of the following – so if you haven’t already, please let us know what you would like and we will drop it in next week:

  • Shop Local window stickers
  • Spa Stars – window decorations
  • Noel Noses (Cover Your Nose) (A4 Poster)
  • Sanitised Santa (Hands) (A4 Poster)
  • Inside Instructions (A4 Poster)
  • Spa Space – Fill in text (A4 Poster)
  • Spa Space – Parade Safely (A4 Poster)

THANK YOU! … as always … we remain inspired by everything we can see you doing to navigate a path forwards and we are here to help in any way we can.

Don’t forget to join our Leamington Town Centre Facebook Group if you haven’t already. We will also post updates on the BID Leamington Facebook page – and the Royal Leamington Spa Town Centre Facebook page is where we will showcase what you are now doing. You can also find this email update as well as previous ones on our website: www.bidleamington.com.

Best wishes and we look forward to seeing you soon,

Steph & Alison

 

Business Grants Links – Now LIVE: 17th November

Business Grants Links – Now LIVE: 17th November

Business Grants Links – NOW LIVE: 17th November

The link to access the ‘National Restrictions Support Grant’ is now live. This is for businesses that have been forced to close by the Government and include non-essential retail, leisure, personal care, sports facilities and hospitality businesses. A full list can be found on gov.uk.

The link and associated eligibility criteria can be found here (please click).

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For those businesses that are NOT eligible for the Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) such as those who have who have not been forced to close (e.g. dry cleaners), a new Discretionary Grant Scheme is available – called the ‘Additional restrictions grant fund’. The application deadline is Monday 30 November. The eligibility policy is here.

The application details and links to apply can be found here (please click).

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Update – PLEASE ALSO NOTE!

As set out above, two grants are currently available from WDC. This includes the Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) and the Additional restrictions grant (ARG – Part A & B).

Some businesses who have physical properties may find they are eligible for BOTH, so please review the eligibility criteria carefully:

Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG)

Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG)

  • Criteria: Additional restrictions grant (ARG)
  • To apply for the ARG Grant please click here.
  • The deadline is Monday 30th November 2020
  • Amount: £1000.00
  • This is being offered to physical businesses that previously received the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) or Local Authority Discretionary Fund (LAGF) – and you should apply to Part A.
  • Please note, the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) was the £10,000 grant offered to businesses who were in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief, back in April 2020. The Local Authority Discretionary Fund (LAGF) was available in July and August to businesses who missed out on other grants. This was extended to include those businesses whose property has an RV above £51,000, who did not receive the £25,000 Retail, Leisure & Hospitality Business Grant (RHLGF) or any other grants for ‘that business’.

Please note, for businesses with an RV of £15,000 and under, this Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) is only available to those who previously received Small Business Rate Relief. This means you met the criteria at this link – which includes only having one Business Rates liability within England or Wales etc. If you did not receive ‘Small Business Rates relief’ on your property and therefore, received the £10,000 or the £25,000 Retail, Leisure & Hospitality Business Grant (RHLGF), then you are NOT eligible for the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG).

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Please get in touch if you have any issues and we will do our best to support you in finding a solution.

We know that these funds will be welcome but for many, do not cover your costs. With this in mind, we continue to lobby nationally to ensure our member businesses are supported further e.g. seeking an extension to the business rate relief beyond March 2021. We welcome your feedback on this.

Don’t forget to join our Leamington Town Centre Facebook Group if you haven’t already as we regularly post helpful advice and share ideas / support. We will also post updates on the BID Leamington Facebook Page – and the Royal Leamington Spa Town Centre Facebook page is where we will showcase what you are now doing.

We will also be updating you in the coming week on all of our Christmas plans.

Best wishes, Steph & Alison

Grants & HR – Important Dates: 10th November

Grants & HR – Important Dates: 10th November

Grants & HR – Important Dates: 10th November

Please read on for two important updates relating to business grants and the furlough scheme.

Business Grant Update – Applications Open: November 16th

The Government has announced a new grant support package for businesses that have been forced to close due to the new Covid-19 national restrictions (November 5th, 2020).

Specifically, grants are for the following amounts:

  • For properties with a rateable value of £15k or under, grants will be £1,334 per 28 day qualifying period
  • For properties with a rateable value of between £15k to £51k grants will be £2,000 per 28 day qualifying period
  • For properties with a rateable value of £51k or over grants will be £3,000 per 28 day qualifying period

Eligible businesses are those that meet the following criteria:

  • have a rateable value and pay non-domestic rates (business rates)
  • have been forced to close by the government and include non-essential retail, leisure, personal care, sports facilities and hospitality businesses. A full list can be found on uk
  • were trading as of 4 November 2020
  • are occupying a non-domestic premises on the ratings list as of 5 November 2020

Warwick District Council will begin to accept applications for these grants week commencing 16 November 2020. Please keep checking on this page for the application forms to become available.

For more information including the criteria, please click here.

Please get in touch (info@bidleamington.com) with any questions you have and we will seek to have them answered.

 

 

HR Update – Important Deadline: November 13th 

Please see this helpful note below from our HR advisors – Absolute Works. This relates to business owners who have not yet furloughed themselves or a staff member and don’t know whether you might need to going forwards. In this case, it is recommended that an agreement is in place by the end of this week to be prepared in the case furlough is needed in future. Given the change to the flexible furlough scheme, it is also worth checking that any existing furlough agreements are sufficient for the future.

Guidance is being updated regularly so it always pays to check with your HR advisors if you have any questions. Also, if you do not have this support and this presents any questions for you please get in touch.

———Furlough Scheme Update———

We are writing to you to highlight an important deadline in terms of the furlough scheme.

If you intend to utilise the Job Retention Scheme for employees where you have not done so previously you must have an agreement in place where you intend to furlough or flexibly furlough those employees. These agreements can be made retrospectively (having effect from 1 November 2020) but only retrospective agreements put in place up to and including the 13 November 2020 may be relied on for the purposes of a CJRS claim.

What do you need to do?

If you already have in place a furlough agreement for the employees that you have furloughed or intend to furlough between now and the end of the scheme (March 2021) then check whether the agreement requires any amendments or whether your employees require a further letter/ communication to reconfirm their status.

If you do not already have a furlough agreement in place for employees you intend to furlough between now and the end of the scheme (March 2021) this need to be rectified. Please get in touch if you would like some support with this.

Other important things to note

  • Employers do not need to place all of their employees on furlough and they can fully furlough employees if they wish. Employees cannot undertake any work for their employer during the hours that the employer records them as being on furlough.
  • There is no minimum furlough period. Flexible furlough agreements can last any amount of time. Employees can enter into a flexible furlough agreement more than once.

Employers can:

  • Fully furlough employees – this means the employee does no work for the employer
  • Flexibly furlough employees – this means employees can work for any amount of time, and any work pattern and claim the grant for the furloughed hours, with reference to hours the employee would usually have worked in that period

Employers should discuss with their staff and make any changes to the employment contract by agreement. When employers are making decisions in relation to the CJRS process, including deciding who to offer furlough to, employment, equality and discrimination laws will apply in the usual way.

To be eligible for the grant, employers must have confirmed to their employee (or reached a collective agreement with a trade union) in writing that they have been furloughed or flexibly furloughed.

Employers must:

  • Make sure that the agreement is consistent with employment, equality and discrimination laws
  • Keep a written record of the agreement for 5 years
  • Keep records of how many hours their employees work and the number of hours they are furloughed (for example, not working), for 6 years

The employee does not have to provide a written response and employers do not need to place all their employees on furlough. Although, it is prudent to at least obtain an acknowledgement from the employee to save any future dispute or misunderstanding.

If you have any queries, or need any support with your HR and Employment Law, please let us know.

——-ENDS ——-

Best wishes,

Steph & Alison

 

Lockdown 2 – Info, Support & Grants: 2nd November

Lockdown 2 – Info, Support & Grants: 2nd November

Lockdown 2 – Info, Support & Grants: 2nd November

Following Saturdays announcement of a further lockdown from Thursday, November 5th we know once again you face an array of information, questions, uncertainty and worry. As was the case last time, our resources and energy are entirely focused on supporting local businesses, and we have plans in place to do this.

For now, we have kept this brief as this week will be busy and we will continue to update you further in coming days. Please bookmark the following pages, as this is where we will also be posting regular updates and advice as this evolves:

Our first priority is to support you, so please get in touch if there is anything you wish to discuss. We have a variety of partners on hand who can help with any HR, furlough, financial or legal questions you may have. Related to the point below, we also offer digital support. In addition to the 80% furlough extension, further business grants have been announced here (para 4) so we have been in contact with Warwick District Council over the weekend to support the process of getting funds moving. We will update businesses as soon as we have any details.

For evening economy businesses, you may find this blog helpful. On the back of a tough summer and Christmas trading, we know the impact of this will be magnified for many and funding support will likely need to go further, so in the days ahead we will be working with local and national partners to understand and lobby for this. Your continued feedback is essential.

Secondly, we are about to launch our Christmas campaign. This will be focused on encouraging people to shop local where they can, and buying from local businesses who are online. To support this we direct customers to our www.loveleamington.com website to find out who is open, online and delivering in Leamington Town Centre. Please take a look. We are happy to link to your website, or Facebook Marketplace, Insta Shop or any online trading platform you use. Please get in touch if you need some support in this area too.

Reflecting this, here are some helpful actions for this week. Please email alison@bidleamington.com to let us know if (after Thursday 5th)…

  1. Are you ‘open’? All ‘essential businesses’ will be listed on the Love Leam website homepage.
  2. Are you ‘trading online’, offering ‘click and collect’ ‘takeaway’ and/ or ‘delivering’? Please visit www.loveleamington.com … to see if your business is listed here.
  3. Get social – and we can help magnify your efforts. Please share your content with us, ‘tag’ us and use the relevant hash-tags. We have over 25,000 followers/ likes across our platforms. Join our Leamington Town Centre Facebook Group. The Royal Leamington Spa Town Centre Facebook page is where we showcase what you are now doing. We have nearly 13,000 followers @LeamingtonGuide and are active on Instagram – Leamington_Town_Centre. Popular Hashtags are #LoveLeam #TasteLeam #LeamDelivers.
  4. Don’t forget to tell your customers what you are doing and how much you love them and value their support.
  5. Please find attached some social media assets relating to ‘Shop Local’ and ‘Supporting Leam Online’. You are welcome to use these. We do not want Amazon to win.

Finally, we know this is an unsettling time. We are so proud of how hard we have seen businesses work, adapt, re-build and support each other – it’s amazing. However we know this takes its toll on business owners and staff. Wellbeing support for you and your team is available if you need advice, guidance or an ear, so please reach out to us or email business@warwickshire.gov.uk.

This was not the update we hoped for this morning as on balance, October has been a positive month for many. We really were bouncing back – and we will do it again. We have a variety of things planned for Christmas which we will update you on in the coming days and weeks.

For now, please consider the ‘asks’ above and please do not hesitate to pick up the phone. Alison and I are here and will do our best to signpost you to the information you need as it becomes available. You can phone us on 01926 470634 or please email: info@bidleamington.com.

We will be in touch again very soon with further information.

Best wishes,

Steph & Alison