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CoronaVirus (Covid-19) Outbreak:

 

Business Advice and Guidance Update

On 03 April the Government stepped up measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus and save lives. All non-essential premises must now close.


The Government has posted an updated Coronavirus FAQ for businesses  which covers some of the mostly commonly asked questions about business support during the pandemic.

The Business Growth Hub has launched their #HereForBusiness campaign. Building on the excellent resources on their website, the campaign is encouraging businesses to call the Growth Hub on 0161 359 2050 to access support and guidance on issues such as revenue loss, supply chain management and mental health and well being, as well as up to date information on the Government's schemes. The Campaign will feature an outbound call campaign, so you could be hearing from the Growth Hub shortly.

Tameside Council is also continuing to keep up to date links to information on the national support offer, as well as local information and contact routes through the support for business section of our website.

Tameside's Business Rates team have updated their page with details of the COVID-19  Business Grants and Rates Relief Schemes.
 
Supporting our suppliers
We recognise the key role we have to play in supporting the economy by keeping payments moving through our supply chain. We have written to all our suppliers, offering to work with those that are struggling financially or with capacity to deliver, to provide support and flexibility on payment and contract terms.

So we can support our suppliers, the council has set up the covidsupplier.relief@tameside.gov.uk email address. We’re asking suppliers seeking assistance in this way to contact the email address and their contract manager if they wish to take advantage of any advanced payments or other support, and can meet the open book and performance criteria needed to allow this.

We are also working with STAR Procurement to streamline the procurement process to ensure that new goods and services can be accessed as soon as practically possible. 
 
Should I continue to trade?
 
Questions about trade continuation are amongst the most frequently received by Government, local authorities and business support organisations. In response, the below statement has been issued by the GMCA.

At this time our main priority must be on the health and welfare of all employees. The Government has issued clear guidance about businesses and venues that must remain closed, but for others has stressed the importance of employees working from home unless it is impossible for them to do so.
 
Where home working is not possible, and it is absolutely necessary for employees to continue to attend work, Public Health England (PHE) guidelines including 2 metre social distancing and personal hygiene measures must be observed.  These measures have been widely publicised by the Government.
 
Employers must follow the Public Health England Guidelines in order to remain compliant with their legal duty of care requirements to their employees. Without full compliance across the business community there is a risk this pandemic could be unnecessarily prolonged.
 
As agencies with responsibility for protecting the public and the safe operation of the NHS and other crucial services at this time, it is important that we take every possible step to minimise the spread of this virus. This is why local authority trading standards and environmental health teams are proactively following up on any reports of employers not complying with public health guidance, with enforcement action being taken where deemed necessary.
 
If any employers would welcome further advice then they can contact The Growth Company.
 
If any employees need to report any concerns then they should contact Tameside Council through licensing@tameside.gov.uk.
 
Annual leave changes
The Government have amended the regulations on annual leave so more time can be carried over. This gives employers and staff more flexibility at this key time.

Currently, almost all workers are entitled to 28 days holiday including bank holidays each year. However, most of this entitlement cannot be carried between leave years, so workers lose their holiday if they do not take it.

The regulations will allow up to 4 weeks of unused leave to be carried into the next 2 leave years. This eases the requirements on business to ensure that workers take the statutory amount of annual leave in any one year.
 
Supporting the fight against COVID-19
With the number of businesses stepping up to offer help and support in response to the crisis increasing by the day, the Government have introduced a new portal for companies to register what they can do to help the national effort.
The support needed includes things like:
  • medical testing equipment.
  • medical equipment design.
  • protective equipment for healthcare workers, such as masks, gowns and sanitiser.
  • hotel rooms.
  • transport and logistics, for moving goods or people.
  • manufacturing equipment.
  • warehouse or office space, for medical use or storage.
  • expertise or support on IT, manufacturing, construction, project management, procurement or engineering.
  • social care or childcare.
The portal asks some questions about the type of support you can give. Once you have filled it in you will then be contacted as soon as possible if your support is needed.
You’ll need your company number if you have one.
If you would like to offer help and support locally, please email EmploymentandSkills@Tameside.gov.uk.
 
Supporting vulnerable residents
Tameside Council and partners are supporting vulnerable residents who need food packages. If your business can donate food or food packaging or would like to discuss how you could support in any way please contact us on employmentandskills@tameside.gov.uk.
 
Linking people to employment
Tameside Council and partners are supporting vulnerable residents who need food packages. If your business can donate food or food packaging or would like to discuss how you could support in any way please contact us on employmentandskills@tameside.gov.uk.
 
Job Retention Scheme
The Government has released more details on how the Job Retention Scheme, which will pay for 80% of furloughed employees salaries, will work.

If you have made staff redundant since 28th February, but upon seeing the expanded guidance on this scheme would like to have furloughed them instead, then you can rehire them to do so.

The portal for claiming this grant funding is expected to be available by the end of April 2020.

As soon as the portal is available we will link to if from our Coronavirus Information Web Page and the Tameside Council Twitter account.
 
Self-employment support package
 
The Government set out plans that will see the self-employed receive up to £2,500 per month in grants for at least three months (paid from June 2020).

HMRC will identify eligible taxpayers and contact them directly.

Further information and details of the scheme will be shared shortly by HMRC and we will update you when this is available.
 
Business rates relief and grants
Government has confirmed a package of financial measures to support businesses, which you can find details of on our Business Rates web page.
 
Letters have now gone out to businesses who are eligible for the Small Business Grants Fund (£10k Grant) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Grants Fund (£25k grant).

You can view draft letters sent out to businesses here:
 
Small Business Grants Fund 
 
Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Grants Fund 

If you think you are eligible, but haven’t heard from us by 15 April, please email us on businessrates@tameside.gov.uk.


 
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