Coronavirus (COVID-19) Supporting businesses

We are aware that many businesses are worried about the current situation and so we have created this page to bring together various advice and links which might help.

We recognise that cashflow and keeping your business afloat are major concerns but finding the right information can be difficult. We will try to keep the information and links here as current as possible.

Financial support from Government

The Government’s Winter Economy Plan set out a range of measures designed to support businesses. They include:

  • support for businesses to bring people back to work and save jobs with a new Job Support Scheme and an extension to the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS). The grant is being extended from 1 November 2020. The grant will be increased from the previously announced level of 40% of trading profits to 80% for November 2020. Find out if you are eligible and how much you can get.
  • help for the hospitality and tourism sectors through a continuation of the reduction in VAT
  • support for over 1 million businesses to relieve pressure on their finances and cashflow through an extension to the application period for four government-backed loans schemes, and changes to the terms of repayment for Bounce Back Loans (BBLS) and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans (CBILS)
  • new payment schemes to ease the burden of paying deferred VAT and Self-Assessment tax liabilities.

This is in addition to the already established Future Fund which offers loans of between £125K and £5m to innovative companies who are facing financial difficulties because of the Coronavirus outbreak.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan scheme and the Future Fund are now open for applications until 31 January 2021.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, also known as the furlough scheme, has been extended to December 2020. Check to find:

There has been recent announcements about a Job Support Scheme but this will now not be introduced until after Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends.

The Government also introduced two schemes for businesses looking to offer job placements:

You may also be able to claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid to employees: The scheme has been updated so employers can ask for a ‘shielding note’ or a letter from their employees' doctor or health authority advising them to shield because they’re at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus.

To find out what funding is available to support your particular business visit the financial support for business section on the GOV.UK website or call their business support helpline.

Bounce Back Loan Scheme from the British Business Bank

To find out more visit the British Business Bank website. The scheme is open until 30 November 2020.

Business grants

The government have announced a business support grant scheme.

The scheme will cover businesses occupying properties that appear on the rating list and that have been required by law to close by Central Government.

Find out more about the National Lockdown Grant scheme.

Emergency funding for food distribution

Funding is available from WRAP and Defra to assist surplus non-for-profit food redistributors in overcoming challenges that they are currently facing in obtaining surplus food from food businesses (such as retailers and food manufacturers) and distributing this to people in need or those considered vulnerable. The grant can be used to fund both capital and revenue costs associated with redistribution activities such as:

  • access to surplus food through logistical collections;
  • sorting, storing, freezing, labelling / repackaging food; and
  • onward distribution of food to charities or end beneficiaries

Further information is available on the Wrap website.

Further sources of help and advice

Guidance on business closures

As part of the Government’s second Coronavirus lock down, many businesses will be required to close until December 2 2020. Government guidance has been issued on the closures, but if you need the detail, you should view the full legislation.

You can seek advice from Peterborough City Council’s dedicated Covid-19 Business Advice team on
covidcompliance@peterborough.gov.uk.

All advice for SMEs will be free of charge. For larger businesses, there may be a small charge. Any charges will be detailed upfront so that you can decide whether to take up our offer of advice. Our hourly rate is £68p/h plus VAT.

Guidance for businesses on operating during Covid-19

For those businesses that continue to operate, ensuring businesses can operate safely and reduce the spread of disease continues to be vital. To find the latest guidance related to your type of business visit the GOV.UK website.

A number of webinars have also been produced by Government and the NHS on working safely during Covid, covering a wide range of sectors, and for advice and guidance on staying safe and alert visit the GOV.UK website.

Additional guidance on risk assessments for those businesses looking to re-open is also available here. In addition, the Food Standards Agency has produced guidance specific to the Food sector on safe re-opening and adapting your food business during Covid-19 and operating a food business safely in the pandemic.

Government advice is that anyone who can work from home should. Furthermore, employers must not knowingly require or encourage someone who is being required to self-isolate to come to work.

Advice resources and training

Support from Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority

  • Business Support One to Ones

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority are offering a free one hour consultation, on the phone or via video link, from an experienced business adviser to discuss your needs and provide guidance on how to access relevant support from our services and central government.

This might include how you can address immediate challenges, how you can engage with broader resilience issues, helping you to explore different ways to conduct your business or diversify. The CPCA business support sessions can also help you to understand and mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on your clients, staff, suppliers and others, and help you to lay out an initial roadmap for a return to business. Visit https://cpcabusinesssupport.co.uk/business-support/ to find out more.

  • Business Support Seminars

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority are also providing free access to a range of webinars that are designed to support your business through the impact of Covid-19. Visit CPCA Business Support Seminars to find out more

  • Employers Talent Portal

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority are also connecting employers with staff with the relevant skills they need during this difficult time. For more information visit https://cpcabusinesssupport.co.uk/talent-portal/employers/

Training provided by Accelerator Programme offered by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

Accelerator is offering free support to help SMEs rapidly innovate during the Covid-19 crisis. SMEs based in the Greater Cambridgeshire and Greater Peterborough area will be eligible for support to enable them to find new innovative ways to operate, rewire supply chains, and ensure that the needs of the most vulnerable are met. Support will be delivered through a combination of one-to-one business support, capacity building and mentoring, as well as convening partnerships, and drawing on the collective knowledge of CISL’s global network to support small businesses via webinars tailored to local business needs. SMEs, start-ups and entrepreneurs can express their interest here:

The focus is on two strands:

Business resilience for existing businesses: how small businesses, particularly in the food retail sector, can adapt during the crisis, and recover rapidly in its wake. The programme will explore approaches that enable business to be more robust, developing ability to cope with future shocks, from pandemics, to extreme weather, such as the floods experienced across the UK only weeks before this.

Innovation Call: A cross-sector call for new and innovative business ideas in response to the Covid-19 outbreak, which will address the multiple issues that have so far arisen from the crisis. The programme offers an online Accelerator package over eight weeks to assist in the development of these ideas. This could range from health-tech, to ed-tech or supply chain innovation, as well as social innovations that enable businesses, communities and our public services respond better to future crises.

Digital connectivity

The Connecting Cambridgeshire digital connectivity programme, led by Cambridgeshire County Council, is working with businesses and communities across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to keep everyone connected during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

Read the business brief about improving your broadband / mobile and grants available for gigabit-capable fibre connections on the Connecting Cambridgeshire website.

Advice and support on adapting your business to survive Covid-19

Trading Standards, Environmental Health and Licensing teams have worked together to provide advice about the compliance challenges businesses are facing in having to rapidly respond to coronavirus. We want businesses to feel confident in taking these major steps. The advice below is intended to help you adapt.

Trading Standards and Environmental Health are offering all SMEs in Peterborough free initial business compliance advice, both legal and operational, on any matters arising from the government’s emergency controls. Simply email covidcompliance@peterborough.gov.uk, and one of our dedicated businesses advisers will then be in touch.

In addition, a range of guidance is available on the Business Companion website, run by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, covering the home improvement, travel and food sectors.

Fair trading

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Hand sanitiser

Restrictions on supply

Claims

Food products

The Government has published extensive guidance on the GOV.UK website on Coronavirus for Food Businesses which you should read in conjunction with the food related frequently asked questions (FAQs) below.

Making food

Alcohol Licensing

Register with TrustMark to become an approved installer under the Green Home Grant Scheme

Coronavirus has had a devastating impact on numerous sectors within our economy. We recognise that many businesses may be looking to diversify and green energy is likely to be a popular field to move in to. The Green Homes Grant will create 100,000 jobs for tradespeople this winter. If your business is certified to install energy efficiency and/or low carbon heating improvements in homes, you can now register to become a Green Homes Grant installer so you can deliver work in the 600,000 homes that will receive vouchers.

Only TrustMark-registered tradespeople can carry out work for the 600,000 households receiving grants for green home improvements. If you install energy efficiency and/or low carbon heating improvements, you must register for TrustMark accreditation to carry out improvements through the Green Homes Grant.

Find out more and register here.

Mental health

We recognise that this will be a stressful time for many so looking after your physical and mental health is important. The following links may be useful:-