Coronavirus (Covid-19) information for businesses and employers

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February 10, 2020
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April 24, 2020

Coronavirus (Covid-19) information for businesses and employers

Update 03/08/2020: Round two of Gosport’s Local Authority Discretionary Grant Scheme is open for applications from Monday 3rd August 13:00 to Sunday 16th August 23:59. The criteria and priorities remain the same as for round one, but businesses and organisations occupying premises with a rateable value up to £100,000 can now also apply.

Update 15/06/20: Gosport’s Local Authority Discretionary Grant Scheme is open for applications from Monday 15th June 12:00 to Friday 3rd July 23:59. This new government funded Coronavirus (Covid-19) related grant is aimed at those Gosport based small businesses and other organisations with proportionally high property related fixed costs that are not eligible for, or have not already been paid, the Small Business Grant or the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grant.

Update 08/06/20: The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Resilience Forum is asking local businesses for feedback on how Covid-19 has impacted them, where more support is needed and where new opportunities can be created. Please complete the 10 minute University of Portsmouth created survey via the following link: https://portsmouth.fra1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_82qoj7setyXCqNv.

Update 05/06/20: The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership launches its ‘Covid-19 Restart, Restore and Recover Loan’ scheme. Loans of between £100,000 and £1,500,000 for limited companies.

Update 11/05/2020: The UK Government, in consultation with industry, has produced guidance to help ensure workplaces in England are as safe as possible during the coronavirus pandemic. Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles. You may need to use more than one of the guides as you think through what you need to do to keep people safe. Each guide has specific actions for businesses to take based on 5 steps to working safely.

Update 02/05/2020: Top-up to local business grant funds scheme. A discretionary fund has been set up to accommodate certain small businesses previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme. This additional fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs. Businesses must be small, under 50 employees, and they must also be able to demonstrate that they have seen a significant drop of income due to Coronavirus restriction measures. N.B. Further guidance is awaited from Central Government before local authorities can implement the scheme. Therefore please check back here for updates.

Update 28/04/2020: New 100% government backed loan scheme for small businesses. The new Bounce Back Loans scheme, will allow businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days. Loans will be interest free for the first 12 months, and from Monday 4 May, businesses can apply online through a short and simple form. 

Update 23/04/2020: Don’t miss out on free money to help you through the coronavirus crisis. That’s the message from the Council to eligible businesses and organisations in Gosport and Lee-on-the-Solent who haven’t yet received a grant to help them survive the current situation. So far Gosport Borough Council has paid out £8.5 million in total, to 735 local claimants. To find out if they’re eligible for a grant, and to apply, businesses and organisations should go here or call 023 9254 5470.

Update 20/04/2020: The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is now open for applications. Employers can now claim online for a grant for 80% of their furloughed employees’ salaries, up to a maximum of £2,500 per employee. Click here to make a claim. HMRC have produced this step by step guidance on how to make a claim. There is also a calculator to help you work out your claim.

Update 15/04/2020: Over £7.2 million in grants paid to Gosport based businesses/organisations to date. More than 600 Small Business and Retail, Hospitality & Leisure grants have already been paid by Gosport Borough Council to eligible businesses and organisations. If a business or organisation believes it is eligible and has not yet been paid please check the Council’s website for details of the criteria and payment process.

Update 09/04/2020: Crisis volunteer service launches cash appeal. The Gosport Community Response volunteer service, set up by the council and GVA, needs to raise money to buy food for those in need, along with supplies including PPE, phones and computer kit. It also needs to cover volunteer checks, and expenses including petrol and equipment. Funding is also needed to cover running costs as it recruits more staff and volunteers to meet demand.

Update 06/04/2020: Small Business Grants and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants are now being paid to eligible businesses and organisations by Gosport Borough Council. As at 04/04/2020 businesses in Gosport have been given a total of more than £2.6m in grants, to help them through the coronavirus emergency. See related content below for more details about the eligibility criteria and the grant payment process.

Local Authority Discretionary Grant Scheme

This new government funded Coronavirus (Covid-19) related grant is aimed at those Gosport based small businesses and other organisations with proportionally high property related fixed costs that are not eligible for, or have not already been paid, the Small Business Grant or the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grant.

As per the government guidance these grants are primarily and predominantly aimed at Gosport based:

  • Small and micro businesses, as defined in Section 33 Part 2 of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 and the Companies Act 2006.
  • Businesses with relatively high ongoing fixed property-related costs.
  • Businesses which can demonstrate that they have suffered a significant fall in income due to the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Businesses which occupy property, or part of a property, with a rateable value or annual rent or annual mortgage payments below £100,000.

The government has asked local authorities to prioritise:

  • Businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces. Examples could include units in industrial parks, science parks and incubators which do not have their own business rates assessment;
  • Regular market traders with fixed building costs, such as rent, who do not have their own business rates assessment;
  • Bed & Breakfasts which pay Council Tax instead of business rates; and
  • Charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief.

As part of our discretion we will then prioritise payments to small businesses and other organisations according to local economic need. In summary, as a result we are targeting the following:

  • Businesses of specific criticality to the Borough, for instance they are vital to the Borough’s infrastructure, or are the only business of its type in the Borough and provide a vital service;
  • Businesses primarily operating in engineering and manufacturing, including marine and aerospace;
  • Businesses based on self-catering holiday accommodation which pay Council Tax instead of business rates;
  • Businesses primarily operating in marine and tourism/leisure sectors that do not have premises with rateable values but still have proportionally significant ‘property’ costs e.g. mooring/berthing fees and concessions; and
  • Businesses that are suppliers to companies in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector.

As per the government guidance local authorities may pay grants to the value of £25,000, £10,000 or any amount under £10,000. The value of the payment to be made to a business is at the discretion of the local authority. However please note that the government expects payments of under £10,000 may be appropriate in many cases.

There is limited funding available for this scheme with £635,000 allocated to Gosport. Therefore there is an application process for which you will need to describe and evidence the significant impact of Coronavirus (covid-19) on your business or organisation i.e. significant fall in income and costs remaining ongoing.

Two thirds of the funding was allocated during round one with round two open for applications from Monday 3rd August 13:00 until Sunday 16th August 23.59.

For more details of the scheme, the application process and to access the online application form please see: https://www.gosport.gov.uk/businessrates.

Small Business Grant and Retail, Hospitality & Leisure (RHL) Grants

These Government funded grants are being implemented via Local Authorities and the business rates system. They are as follows:

  • Small Business Grant funding of £10,000 for all businesses and organisations in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief as at 11/03/2020.
  • RHL Grant funding of £10,000 for eligible businesses/organisations in those sectors occupying premises as at 11/03/2020 with a rateable value of up to £14,999.
  • RHL Grant funding of £25,000 for eligible businesses/organisations in those sectors occupying premises as at 11/03/2020 with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000.

RHL businesses in the eligible sectors will also qualify for a business rates payment holiday during the 2020/21 financial year.

For more information about these grants, including sector eligibility please see the Government’s Small Business Grant Fund and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund Guidance.

For more details of its implementation locally, including the payment process please see the Business Rates section of Gosport Borough Council’s website. Grant payments are already being made to eligible businesses.

Solent Local Enterprise Partnership’s ‘Pay it Forward’ Grant (£2,000 or £5,000)

The Solent LEP’s ‘Pay it Forward’ fund is seeking projects that can demonstrate how they will help a business cope with current challenging trading conditions. There is a maximum pledge of up to £2,000 per micro business (fewer than 10 staff) and up to £5,000 per small business (fewer than 50 staff) available, contributing up to 50% towards the total target.  For more details please see the Solent LEP website.

Solent Local Enterprise Partnership’s ‘Covid-19 Restart, Restore and Recover Loan’ Scheme (from £100,000 and up to £1,500,000)

This Loan Fund has been shaped to provide two routes to funding for local limited companies:

  • Loans of between £250,000 and £1,500,000 for businesses providing Economic Lifeline and Essential services who need bridging finance ahead of accessing other government support, or for those who need loan finance and cannot access other government support, such as the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).
  • Loan funding of between £100,000 and up to £1,500,000 where other Covid-19 support is not available, or the amount businesses can access is insufficient to deliver their recovery plan.

Government provided business advice and support information

Please see the following links for the information and latest updates provided by the Government:

This includes specific information on:

Gosport Borough Council provided information

General service related information and advice

Processing invoices for payment of goods and services provided

All council suppliers are advised to email scan copies of invoices to accounts.payable@gosport.gov.uk.

Other locally provided business advice and support information

Both Enterprise South and WSX Enterprise are offering free 1-2-1 advice to local start-up and small businesses, see:

The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership and its Solent Growth Hub are offering business advice and financial support, including the Crowdfunder’s Pay it Forward grant scheme for the self-employed, micro and small businesses :

Plus from the Federation of Small Businesses and Hampshire Chamber of Commerce: