Like you, we have been monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely and we appreciate that this will be impacting you, your business and staff in many different ways. We also understand that you have been facing a dizzying array of information, questions, uncertainty and worry.
Firstly, we wish to reassure you that we are refocusing our resources and energy entirely on how we can support you. This includes providing information to address any immediate concerns you may have around access to financial support as well as practical advice and strategies we can employ to support one another going forwards.
We know we need to think creatively and act in a decisive way, and we welcome your feedback. This will help us direct our activity and enable us to feedback to our MP and policy makers at a national level, to ensure the right kind of additional support is made available going forwards.
Emerging government advice can also be found below and is summarised alongside a number of other helpful sources.
In the meantime, we would very much like to hear about any new ways you are looking to serve your customers so that we can help you disseminate this information? This may be by offering online or phone purchases, deliveries or incentives, that we can compile and make accessible to a wider audience.
Recent government guidance can be found here:
In summary, this covers:
- a statutory sick pay relief package for SMEs
- a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England
- small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
- grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
- the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support long-term viable businesses who may need to respond to cash-flow pressures by seeking additional finance
- the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme
Please note, we are awaiting advice from the Local Authority about how businesses can access this funding. We will update this page and email businesses as soon as we know.
A number of other organisations also provide some very helpful advice:
- Government Advice: This provides general advice about the virus, symptoms, protection and isolations measures for individuals and employees.
- FSB Advice: This provides an excellent summary of common questions and concerns relating to running a small business.
- Night Time Economy blog: This provides a summary of relevant information and guidance on health and safety, government support, insurance etc.
- Coventry and Warwickshire Growth Hub: Updates, advice and support for all businesses.
We recommend that you contact your bank as soon as possible to discuss overdraft and lending options. We are however aware that some of you have already done this with mixed results. We will be making contact with local banks over the coming days and post relevant updates on this.
HMRC – Time to Pay Helpline
Businesses are being offered a time-limited deferral period on HMRC liabilities (e.g. VAT, PAYE and corporation tax ) owed and a pre-agreed time period to pay these back. HMRC will also waive late payment penalties and interest where a business experiences administrative difficulty contacting HMRC or paying taxes due to COVID-19.
The helpline number is 0800 0159 559 and lines are open Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm and on Saturday, 8am to 4pm.
We also recommend contacting your insurance provider to discuss your policy. We are however aware that this may be deemed to fall outside your cover. We welcome any feedback on your experiences with this so we can understand the scale of the issue.
Local Support Group / Community Cooperation
A fantastic local support group has been established. This is a helpful way to stay connected to the wider community, swap ideas and get support and inspiration.
- Leamington and Warwick COVID-19 Help Group.
Going Forwards – BID Leamington Planning
We are exploring a range of short and longer-term activities aimed at supporting our members during these challenging times. We will be circulating a survey in the coming days to understand what you will find most helpful and help us focus our resources. Actions that we are developing include:
Short Term actions:
- Provide advice on what members can do to immediately and in the coming weeks.
- Highlight measures businesses are using to engage with their customers on our website and social media channels e.g. ‘video-shopping’ and delivery etc. Please let us know.
- Showcase the online offer on www.loveleamington.com and www.tasteleamington.com. These specifically highlight businesses with an online offer. Please let us know if you need to be added.
- Move our Easter Egg hunt online – so eggs and clues will be hidden on the relevant profile pages of each business (as well as on the high street).
- Exploring how we can support home delivery and click and collect services.
- Collating best practice, providing inspiration and generally helping to foster the local community spirit.
Long Term actions:
- A plan to welcome visitors back to the high street, recognising that we may be operating in a slightly changed environment.
- Delivering competitions with prizes that can be redeemed in local businesses at a later date to showcase stores and maintain loyalty and engagement.
Public Information and Advice
- Public advice to help prevent the virus from spreading can be found on the NHS website here.
- Further government advice for employers and businesses can be found here.