The Government has updated guidance on businesses that must stay closed. Check the guidance on GOV.UK: Closing certain businesses and venues in England

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Government guidance

The Government has published and is continually updating the following guidance:

Guidance for employers and businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19)

Financial support for businesses during coronavirus (COVID-19)

COVID-19: guidance for employees. You can find further advice on financial support on our information for residents page.

Face coverings

From Friday 24 July it is mandatory to wear a face covering in any shop. Check our information about acceptable face coverings and how to wear and remove postcard. Businesses are welcome to download and print our face covering poster for use in shops.

Car sharing

At the current time, employees should not be car sharing with anyone they do not live with or who is not in their support bubble. We are supporting businesses in reinforcing this message. You can download our poster to put up in your premises or flyer to give to your staff.

If car sharing is absolutely essential, make sure everyone in the vehicle is aware of these guidelines:

  • keep apart as much as possible
  • wear face coverings
  • keep windows open
  • limit the number of people in the vehicle
  • wash your hands before and after each journey
  • clean the vehicle, paying particular attention to the door handles, after every journey


Business rates relief

A number of business rates reliefs have been introduced:

Business rates retail relief to be increased from 50% to 100% during 2020/21 and available to all retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with no rateable value cap as set out in the government’s expanded retail discount guidance.

Pub relief is available for those with a rateable value below £100,000 during 2020/21 to receive a £5,000 reduction instead of £1,000.

Find out about business rates relief for nurseries during 2020/21.

VAT and tax

You can find guidance on the GOV.UK website on the deferral of VAT payments due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Self Assessment tax payments due in June have been deferred until January 2021. Visit the GOV.UK page on Pay your Self Assessment tax bill.

Business support grants

Local authorities have been given funding from central Government to administer grant schemes for our local businesses.

Government COVID Small Business or Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant

In response to the coronavirus emergency, the Government announced grant schemes for small businesses and businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.

Applications for Business Discretionary Grants, Small Business and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants have now closed in line with government guidance.  If you have applied and not yet heard the outcome of the application all payments will be made by 30 September 2020.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

The grant funding provides support for those who are self-employed either as a sole trader/freelancer or a member of a partnership and have been trading during the 2018/19 tax year.

Claims for loss of earnings can be backdated from March. The grants will be issued as soon as possible as a single instalment worth 80% of their average monthly trading profits and will cover three months work.

For more information and how to apply for the scheme read the GOV.UK guidance: Claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

Existing support available

Financial hardship scheme

Any business experiencing financial hardship may make a claim for help with their business rates. In extreme cases of hardship, up to 100% relief can be awarded. This reduction will usually be granted where it is evident that the business is particularly important to the local community.

Financial advice

  • if you are struggling to pay your business rates, call us so that we can discuss alternative options with you on 01454 867700
  • we are applying the 100% discount for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses for 12 months automatically and will write to you with a revised bill
  • we are awaiting further guidance on the cash grants referenced by the Government for small businesses at which point we will write to eligible businesses
  • we are contacting our commercial tenants and we will provide support to those facing difficulties in paying their rent

Government support

For the central Government information about the financial options available and advice on how to reopen safely visit GOV.UK: Business support

Support for local businesses reopening

We are making our public spaces safer to enable our local businesses to reopen and enable residents to travel to work safely. Check our Making public spaces safer page.

Advice for food businesses

If you run a business that makes or prepares food the council will carry out regular checks on your food business to help you comply with the food hygiene law, to ensure the public is protected and that high standards are maintained.

Following the latest government and Food Standards Agency advice on social distancing, our food safety officers are not currently conducting routine food hygiene inspections in the usual way, to safeguard the businesses and our staff.  However our inspections are resuming but we are working to support businesses by collecting as much information from them as we can from a distance (by phone or email), so that our visits are quicker and we can spend time supporting on COVID controls as well as hygiene.

The lockdown means our programme is delayed.

If you are setting up a new food business, you should register on GOV.UK: Food business registration

The Food Standards Agency have produced guidance for food businesses to operate safely during COVID-19

Advice for sports clubs and organisations

Support from Sport England

Sport England has announced a £195 million funding package to help sport and physical activity through the COVID-19 outbreak. Supported by the government and the National Lottery, the package is made up of:

  • a £20 million Community Emergency Fund, to which clubs and community organisations are able to bid for grants between £300 and £10,000 to help meet their obligations, such as rent and utility costs
  • a £5 million pot for existing partners of Sport England to bid into if they are facing specific financial difficulty
  • a £55 million pot to fund new and innovative ways to keep people active and, when the period of restrictions is over, to help organisations get back to business and adjust to a different environment
  • a £115 million rollover of current funding into 2021/22 to give long term certainty to over 100 well established partners of Sport England, who play a vital role in the delivery of sport and physical activity


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