What a week. These are certainly unusual times, but open or closed, please be reassured we are working on ways to support our town centre, its businesses and the wider community – so please read on. This note includes the latest announcements and some emerging ideas.
To summarise, the March 20th announcements included:
- The closure of cafes, pubs and restaurants and the eminent closure of nightclubs, theatres, cinemas, gyms and leisure centres.
- Restaurants are able to provide a ‘take-out’ option (Please let us know if this applies and we will add you to tasteleamington.com).
- The Job Retention Scheme, meaning companies will be able to apply for 80% of wages paid for employees unable to work, up to £2,500 a month. This can be claimed from March 1st and will cover 3 months of wages and will be delivered via HMRC (see details below).
- Differed VAT Payments in the next quarter meaning, VAT bill’s will not be due until the end of June and you will have till the end of the financial year to pay it.
- The Coronavirus Loan scheme will be interest-free for 12 months (extended from 6 months). Please see our March 19 Update for application details. They are expected to open this coming week so please contact your bank.
- The Universal Credit standard limit has been increased by £1000 and the Working Tax Credit will be extended by £1000 per year.
- People who are self-employed can now access statutory sick pay and the next self-assessment for self-employed people has been deferred until 2021.
No doubt there are mixed feelings about these announcements and a range of new questions come to mind, which we will endeavour to understand over the coming week.
Latest Business Support Details – Eligibility & How to Access
The ‘UK GOV Support for Businesses – Updated March 20’ document, provides helpful details, including ‘eligibility’ and ‘how to access’ information on the ‘Support for Businesses’ package. It can also be viewed by clicking here.
This document includes the latest information on:
- the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (employee wage relief)
- deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
- Statutory Sick Pay relief package for SMEs
- the 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England (you may have recently received your bills?)
- small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief (rateable Value under £15,000)
- 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 offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
- a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
- the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme
As we find out more about these things we will be in touch.
We are not sure what is around the corner, but we are still exploring / developing ideas and we welcome your thoughts. This includes:
- Love Leamington Online – Showcasing local businesses who are trading online or adopting new trading practices via loveleamington.com (Please note, this is ‘live’ but work in progress. We will promote this when it is ready. Please get touch if you would like your profile amended or added? (we have not quite got everyone yet).
- Taste Leamington – We are updating the tasteleamington.com to feature businesses who are now offering ‘Take-away’ and / or delivery. This includes identifying business who are using Deliveroo, Uber Eats and Just Eat. Please let us know if your details need to be added / amended?
- Supporting Those Who are not Online – We are exploring a localised online platform that you could post your products on, sell them and arrange collection or delivery etc. Please get in touch if this interests you?
- Leam Delivers! – We are exploring the idea of offering a home delivery service to support local businesses. Please get in touch if this interests you? We are looking to understand the logistics of this asap.
- What’s App You Say? – Would you like to be part of a Leam retailers ‘Whats-App’ Group? This could be focused on sharing ideas, support and information with each other. Please let us know if this interests you? If there is enough interest, we will get it organised.
- Join the Conversation – Alternatively, please 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.
Please let us know if any of these things interest you and we will be in touch to discuss further. Please also note, we are conscious that government guidance on working in town / at home may change, so bear with us as we try to work around any future changes that may impact us all.
Local Community Support Group
Some local Leamington and Warwick people have set up a support group here: https://warwickleamingtoncovidhelp.wordpress.com/. This also links to a Facebook page where people are looking for support finding products etc. There may be opportunities for you to help if your business stocks certain products people are looking for or is doing deliveries.
We will continue to keep you updated on grant funding, employee support and business critical matters are soon as the information becomes available. You can also find previous updates on our website:
Please keep us updated with how things are going for you and we will be in touch again soon. Stay safe, look after each other, and enjoy your Sunday / Mother’s Day.