Newsletter | 20th May 2020

Here at the Heart of the South West Growth Hub we look to keep you updated on the latest Government and local business support to help you with mitigating the impacts of Coronavirus (Covid-19) and to assist with actions to support your business adaption, resilience and recovery.

You can find links to the latest information, advice and support on the Growth Hub Covid-19 business support pages on the website here Covid-19 Support for Business.

Future Fund opens for applications
The Future Fund has opened for applications today for innovative companies facing financing difficulties due to the Coronavirus outbreak. This scheme will provide Government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors. The Future Fund was developed by the Government and is being delivered by the British Business Bank. Find more information and apply here Future Fund.

Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme
The Government has extended the maximum loan size available through the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) from £50 million to £200 million. Loans under the expanded scheme will be made available to large businesses affected by Coronavirus from 26th May. Read more here Larger businesses to benefit from loans of up to £200 million.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme open
Applications are open for the Government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). The scheme is aimed at self-employed individuals or members of partnerships whose business has been adversely affected by Coronavirus. Those who are eligible will be able to claim a taxable grant of 80% of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months, and capped at £7,500. Claimants will need to have their Self-Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference to hand. Find more information and apply here Check if you can claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

There are a range of measures and schemes available to businesses such as grant funding, business rate relief and loans. You can find out the latest updates on our Growth Hub Covid-19 business support pages and further details on the Government’s Coronavirus Business Support Hub. See HM Government Coronavirus Business Support Hub.

Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme 
From 26th May, small and medium-sized employers, with fewer than 250 employees, will be able to apply to recover the costs of paying Coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments they have made to their employees. Employers will be able to make claims to the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme through a new online service. Employers 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. Find out more here Check if you can claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid to employees due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Coronavirus Business Financial Support Finder Tool
The Government has launched an online tool to help employers and the self-employed find Coronavirus financial support. The support finder will show businesses which loans, tax relief and cash grants they can access. Use the business financial support finder tool.

Guidance to help keep workplaces safe
The Government has produced guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the pandemic. The 8 guides cover a range of workplace settings. The guidance sets out practical steps for working safely during Coronavirus. You should also bear in mind the 5 key over-arching points, which should be implemented as soon as it is practical:

  1. Work from home, if you can.
  2. Carry out a Covid-19 risk assessment, in consultation with workers or trade unions.
  3. Maintain 2 metres social distancing, wherever possible.
  4. Where people cannot be 2 metres apart, manage transmission risk.
  5. Reinforcing cleaning processes.

Read the full guidance here Working safely during coronavirus (Covid-19).

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is running a series of webinars looking at how to make a range of different workplaces Covid-secure. Find the details and register here Working safely during coronavirus webinars.

The Health and Safety Executive has published guidance to help you work safely during the Coronavirus outbreak and control the risks associated with running your business. Read it here Working safely during the coronavirus outbreak.

Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards has produced a checklist for businesses to help you put in place measures in your workplace to keep employees and customers safe. Find it here Covid-19 checklist for businesses.

Look after your mental wellbeing 
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week run by the Mental Health Foundation. Modern life can be a challenge and with the Coronavirus outbreak impacting all our lives both at home and at work in recent months, the challenges on our mental health have increased. It’s vital to look after your mental health and wellbeing and to reach out for support if you need it. Here are some resources and organisations that can help:

Cyber security guidance for SMEs
The National Cyber Security Centre has published cyber security guidance to support businesses who are relying more heavily on IT services to run their business as a result of Covid-19. Read it here Covid-19: Moving your business from the physical to the digital.

Training and events
Learn ways to support and develop your business in these upcoming webinars:

Free tailored trading standards advice
To help businesses diversify and operate during lockdown, all businesses in Devon and Somerset can get free tailored trading standards regulatory advice through their local trading standards service until the end of July. Contact your local service for more information:

Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service
Plymouth Trading Standards

Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards has published a range of online guides to help businesses during the Covid-19 outbreak. The guides cover general advice, supplying personal protective equipment and hand sanitiser, food business frequently asked questions, and other topics. Read the guides here Trading Standards Covid-19 advice for businesses.

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