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Email newsletter 9 April


The Business Growth Hub has now fully kicked off the #HereForBusiness campaign. This builds on the excellent resources on the organisation’s website, by offering support and guidance on issues such as revenue loss, supply chain management and mental health and wellbeing.  Additionally, there is up to date information on the Government's support schemes. The Business Growth Hub is contacting businesses across GM and if you want to access this support you can call them on 0161 359 3050.

A key part of the #HereForBusiness campaign is the Employ GM service, which is linking businesses in need of staff to the skills they need. Employers with vacancies can post their jobs on the site.

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 a link to the Government's latest FAQ on their grant schemes.

The Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce is giving free access to the GM Business Community to all businesses in the city region. This gives all companies access to COVID-19 updates, access to the MyGMCR business network app, entry to the Camber's new digital events and access to online training and workplace planning resources. You can sign up free of charge here.
 
Job Retention Scheme
 
The Government has now given a much more detailed picture of how the Job Retention Scheme, which will pay for 80% of furloughed employees salaries, will work.

They have expanded and updated the guidance on:
  1. Who can claim
  2. Employees you can claim for
  3. Agreeing to furlough employees
  4. How much you can claim
  5. What you’ll need to make a claim
  6. Claim
  7. After you’ve claimed
  8. When your employees are on furlough
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.
 
Retaining apprentices
 
For businesses that are taking decisions on using the Job Retention Scheme to furlough their staff, the Government and the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) have now issued guidance to make it clearer that apprentices can be furloughed in the same way as other employees, and that they can continue to train whilst furloughed.
 
The ESFA has taken a number of steps to ensure that, wherever possible, apprentices can continue and complete their apprenticeship. This enables the apprentice and their employer to continue benefitting from the skills they have developed and to help with the post coronavirus recovery.

More information about how to handle breaks in training, and to take advantage of the new flexibility in the apprenticeship process, has also been made into a video by the ESFA.

A helpline has also been set up to offer advice to any apprentices who may be worried about their qualification. Apprentices can phone the National Apprenticeship Service for advice on 0800 0150 600 or email helpdesk@manage-apprenticeships.service.gov.uk

Tameside Council remains committed to supporting local employers and training providers in delivering apprenticeships. Please contact us on employmentandskills@tameside.gov.uk if you require support. 
 
Supporting vulnerable residents
Tameside Council and our partners have been supporting vulnerable residents across the borough unable to go out and shop, by delivering food parcels and medication to their doors.

This effort to ensure that those in need of the most support are still being looked after was pulled together in under a week, with over a 1000 packages having been delivered since the start of April. This amazing achievement has been made possible thanks to the generosity and flexibility of businesses across the borough and beyond. We’ve received fantastic donations and deliveries of food and cleaning supplies, as well as vital logistical support for the effort.

Vital food supplies have come from ASDA and Kerry Foods in Hyde, Robertson and Brakes which provide some of the borough's school meals and Park Cakes in Oldham.

To make the collation and distribution of this food possible; IKEA in Ashton has donated carrier bags; Weedon Group in Audenshaw has given over 2000 cardboard boxes; and Stamford Taxis and Hyde Accessible Transport has shifted from transporting vulnerable people to delivering their meals.

One of the first businesses to respond to the call for help was Challenger Site Services which donated six portable toilets for staff operating the hub. Shaun Allen, a partner at the 2015 Pride of Tameside Business of the Year winner said: “Challenger Site Services were more than happy to assist Tameside Council in their effort to support the borough’s most vulnerable during these difficult times.” 
 
Tameside Council would like to say a huge thank you to all these businesses and those which asked not to be named.

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.
 
Supporting frontline charities
 
Charities across the UK will receive a £750 million package of support to ensure they can continue their vital work during the coronavirus outbreak. The Government announced this package on Wednesday 8 April.
 
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.
 
 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.
 
Should I continue to trade?
The Government has issued updated guidance for employers and businesses on staying open during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
 
The updated guidance can be found here, including guidance for individual sectors such as construction at the link to ‘sector specific guidance’.
 
BEIS has also published sector specific letters for the retail sector and to manufacturers, similar to the one previously issued to the construction sector.
 
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.
 
Linking people to employment
A new service has been launched to help match the skills of our residents with demand for employees across Greater Manchester. If you wish to advertise a vacancy, or look for work Employ GM is now live.

Tameside Council usually holds two job fairs a year. However, due to the current situation, instead of a physical job fair we are sharing current opportunities in Tameside online for people seeking employment or extra income. Click here to visit the virtual jobs fair.
 
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
Over £1 million has been paid out by Tameside Council in the last three days to businesses, to support them through the crisis. There are more grants in the pipeline and the team are working as quickly as possible to issue grants to eligible businesses.  

We are distributing the Small Business Grant Fund and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund locally. It is expecting to make overall payments of £51 million in cash grants to businesses in these sectors, subject to eligibility, during April.

The government has provided new guidance on the grants, aimed at reducing fraud, and put together an updated FAQ to address the most common questions about the schemes.

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