Progressing all opportunities to support improved resilience of SME sector (COVID grants and stats)
Since March 2020, the Business Investment Team's main role has been to support local SMEs during the pandemic. They have liaised with over 1200 businesses across all sectors since early March 2020. This has included supporting them to access government grants, where they are eligible, as well as signposting them to other forms of support including the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Scheme (CLBILS), and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS).
The council set up dedicated web pages for businesses and employers with links to key information, advice and guidance to help ensure the city's businesses were able to maximise the take-up of the support for which they are eligible. This has been maintained on a regular basis, with social media regularly signposting businesses to updates.
A range of support measures have been introduced by Government in relation to coronavirus and its impact on businesses, from March 2020 onwards. These measures have included:
- Additional business rates reliefs, waiving charges to the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors as well as nurseries for 2020/21
- Loan programmes (Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Bounce-Back Loan Scheme
- Deferral of VAT payments
- Changes to statutory sick pay
- The Self-Employed Income Support Scheme
- The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (allowing businesses to furlough employees) with the subsequent associated Job Retention Bonus
- The Kickstart job placement scheme