Life looks very different in Tulse Hill and West Norwood today on the first day of our national lockdown, and although many businesses have closed for the time being, many will remain open to allow the provision of essential services such as food and medicine.
In order to keep everyone SAFE, we all need to observe SOCIAL DISTANCING PRACTICES: KEEP 2m/6ft APART AT ALL TIMES. This applies both to you and your staff as well as your customers. Here are posters you can print out and put up inside and outside your business. And simple measures like gaffer taping 2m spaces along isles and outside on the pavement are easy to implement.
Below is the information on some of the financial assistance available to your staff and business to help you through this unprecedented and frightening time. We will support any of you who need help with accessing this funding, so don’t worry if it looks daunting. Lambeth will also be setting up Business Support Hub which you can call or email for help – more details as soon as we have them.
Some of you have already received our levy bills. We will not be enforcing the collection of this bill and will be working on a deferred payment date later in the year, or the possibility of external funding for us to continue providing the support you will all need both now and for our district’s future economic recovery.
Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant (RHLG)
This is a grant not a loan, so you won’t need to pay it back. Businesses and premises in England in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will be eligible for cash grants of up to £25,000 per property.
Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of up to £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000. Eligible businesses and premises in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000. Businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000 are not included in this scheme. For more information please visit gov.uk.
For those of you whose business falls between the gaps, you are now called the ‘stranded middle’ and there is a lot being done behind the scenes to address this, more information when we have it.
The grants will be awarded automatically, hopefully by the end of the first week in April. If your premises is too small for you to pay business rates, Lambeth will be writing to you to ask for your bank details so that they can give you the grant.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
This is a grant not a loan so you won’t need to pay it back. Wages will be covered from 1 March 2020 up to £2500pcm and you can also apply for staff that you have laid off if you want to re-employ them. The HMRC will contact you in the next couple of weeks for information on your employees.
Employees cannot work for you while they are being paid this.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
This loan of up to £5million is available to businesses that are UK based and have a turnover of less than £45 million. The money can be repaid over 6 years and is interest free for the first 12 months.
Apply to your lender via their website as phonelines will be very busy.
Just as with the advice to people panic buying food, please don’t panic – the money is there and you will get it – it just may not be immediate.
Help for the Self Employed
Please do not put your health or the health of others at risk to continue working, there will be more help coming from the government for self-employed people, it is just more difficult to administer.
More info can be found on the websites of these organisations campaigning on behalf of the self employed.
Federation of Small Businesses www.fsb.org.uk
Small Business Commissioner www.smallbusinesscommissioner.gov.uk
Paying your rent
Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction and no business will be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment in the next 3 months. At the moment you will still be liable for this rent at some point.
Station to Station information updates
As you know, the situation changes daily, sometimes even hourly. We have a specific page on our website dedicated to the Coronavirus which includes safe working practices and updates from Lambeth and central government. Please visit it for information as it will be updated regularly.