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CoronaVirus (Covid-19) Outbreak:


A new tool has been launched by the Government to help businesses identify which of the COVID-19 support services they may be eligible for. By answering a few questions about your business you can be signposted to more detail on how to access the help you are entitled to.

The Business Growth Hub continues to provide up to date information on the Government's support schemes. The Business Growth Hub is now proactively contacting businesses across GM as part of the #HereForBusiness campaign. If you want to access this support you can call them on 0161 237 4128.

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. 
 
SME Bounce Back Loans
A new loan scheme has been launched to help SME businesses access vital funds. The Government is providing 100% guarantees to lenders to cover loans of between £2,000 and £50,000 to small businesses affected by the coronavirus.

The loans will be accessible through a simple on-line form, with no fees to pay, no interest accrued or repayments to be made in the first 12 months. 

Funds from the loans should reach businesses within days of completion of the application form.
 
Support for businesses with leasehold premises
The Government has introduced new measures to protect businesses which fall behind on paying their rent during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The new protections have been introduced to stop the use of aggressive debt collection measures by a minority of landlords. The newly announced changes temporarily ban the use of statutory demands (made between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2020) and winding up petitions presented from Monday 27 April, through to 30 June, where a company cannot pay its bills due to coronavirus.

Additionally, landlords will be prevented from using Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR) unless more than 90 days of rent are outstanding.

These new steps reinforce the commitment made by the Government in March that they would protect business tenants who fell behind on payments due to COVID-19.
 
Business Rates relief and grants
We are currently distributing the Small Business Grant Fund and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund to those businesses which have responded to provide us with the correct detail. We have paid out to 91% of the business who have given us their correct details.

There are still eligible businesses which have not applied for the grants and are missing out on funding that they are entitled to. To enquire about the grant, and confirm that your business is eligible, please contact businessrates@tameside.gov.uk or call 0161 342 2233.
 
Supporting the fight against Covid-19
Local firm Fabricon, based in Ashton-under-Lyne, is more used to designing component parts for stair-lifts and showering systems.  The company is now a brilliant example of local businesses working collaboratively to produce much needed equipment for the NHS.

When Tameside Hospital told the council that they needed a vital valve to support machines used to treat COVID-19 patients, our Employment and Skills team introduced them to Fabricon.  The company has a design and rapid-prototyping facility here in the borough. Working with the hospital's physiotherapists they created a prototype plastic valve over a weekend that was tested on hospital staff with 100% success. It is now being used to support virus patients who haven't needed to go on ventilators but do need respiratory machine support.

If you think your business can help with producing PPE or other equipment to support the fight against COVID-19, the Government have introduced a new portal for companies to register what they can do to help the national effort.

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.
 
Job Retention Scheme
The HMRC portal for businesses to claiming the Government Job Retention Scheme grant is now live.

To help businesses make accurate claims, the Government have published a step-by-step guide for employers, and placed a pre-recorded webinar on You-Tube

Guidance on making a claim, the information to have to hand, and what to do after you have claimed is here:
  1. Before you start.
  2. What you’ll need.
  3. How to claim.
After you’ve claimed.
 
Self-employment support package
The Enterprising You self-employment support scheme is hosting a series of webinars to help the self-employed and gig workers to understand and access the Government's financial support packages. The sessions will be live on Monday 20 and Tuesday 21 April, at 10am and 1pm.

The Government has published more information on the Self-Employment Support package, announced at the end of last month.
 
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.
 
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.

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.

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.
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.
 
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