Information for businesses

Last updated: 3 August 2020

In addition to the information below: if you are member of any business organisations or bodies, you may wish to contact them for more information or advice.

Cash grants  

Below you can find all the information you need about the cash grants that are available from the Government, including what action you need to take, if any. For more information please look at the business grants frequently asked questions

The first round of Discretionary Grants Funding Scheme applications is now closed. The first round was targeted on national prioritised businesses. All eligible businesses have now received payment.

The second round of Discretionary Grants Funding Scheme applications is now open. Southampton City Council has determined to prioritise businesses with rateable of £51,000 up to £101,000 subject to set criteria. Please see item 16 in "More information about the Discretionary Grants Funding Scheme - second round" for full details before applying. If the fund is oversubscribed, Southampton City Council reserves the right to amend the grant levels downward, on a pro-rata basis, to enable as many grants to be paid as possible to eligible businesses and ensure the fund remains in budget.

On completion of the second round, if there is any remaining budget then Southampton City Council will review our position in order to maximise support to local businesses and decide how the remaining funds can be used to assist local businesses.

Letter to businesses  

Councillor Christopher Hammond, Leader at Southampton City Council, will be sending a letter to all businesses with advice and information about Coronavirus (COVID-19) which should arrive from 3 April 2020 (depending on postal system). You can find a copy of this letter here.

To receive the most up-to-date news for businesses you can sign up to our Business News e-newsletter.


Last updated: 06 April 2020

The government has issued guidance to public bodies (PPN 02/20) relating to payment of their suppliers to ensure service continuity during and after the current COVID-19 outbreak. The council has produced the following letter which sets out the approach we are taking in respect of paying and working with our suppliers during this challenging time.

Also included below is PPN 02/20 and the related FAQs

Government support  

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

There is a new ‘Workers Support’ package to help pay people’s wages. Employers who cannot cover staff costs can apply to HMRC for a grant to cover most of the wages of ‘retained’ employees who are not working which will enable them to be kept on the payroll rather than being laid off or made redundant.

The support package means:

  • Employers can apply for a grant to cover 80 per cent of a ‘retained’ employee’s wages up to a maximum of £2,500 a month
  • Support will be backdated to 1 March 2020 and will be available for at least 3 months and will be extended if necessary
  • The scheme will be available to all employers across the UK including charitable or non-profit will be eligible for the scheme

See more information and how to apply

Bounce Back loans

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) enables smaller businesses to access finance more quickly during the coronavirus outbreak.

See more information and how to apply

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

If you're self-employed or a member of a partnership and have been adversely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) use this scheme if you're eligible to claim the grant.

See more information and how to apply

Further information

You can read the Government's information about the support available including grant funding, statutory sick pay measures, and reliefs on business rates. There is also guidance for employers and businesses including how you can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and what to do if an employee becomes ill. You might also be interested in more information about business rates from the council.

Paying the council during COVID-19  

If you can’t pay us your council tax, business rates, commercial rents or any other council bill, please get in touch to look at what options we have to support you. You can also read the information above about government support. For a temporary period until the end of May 2020 we suspended all recovery action to reduce the pressure you are experiencing and to give you time to get support e.g. from the Government’s furlough scheme and business grants. Now other support is available, from 1 June 2020 we will be starting recovery action again.

We still want to support you as much as we can and know that you may still be struggling financially because of Coronavirus. So we will be talking to you about affordable payment options that are based on your personal circumstances. We will be using a mixture of phone calls, letters and texts. We will avoid taking more formal action as much as we possibly can.

For those paying commercial rents please contact your case worker in the Customer Payment and Debt Team.

Building control  

  • Building control surveyors are working remotely but are available on their mobile phones and email – view contact details
  • All new building regulation applications should be submitted electronically at Submit-a-Plan
  • Site inspection requests will be risk assessed to determine whether a site visit is safe and necessary or whether compliance can be determined by alternative means such as photographic evidence

GO! Southampton  

All of GO! Southampton’s patrolling services such as their ranger, cleaning and security teams are continuing to operate and are available to assist their member businesses. Visit GO! Southampton for the latest information.

Looking after wellbeing 

As a manager or business owner you’ll be dealing with a lot business concerns as well as personal ones. Even so, your staff will still be looking to you for leadership. How you communicate, manage, motivate and support them now will affect how they cope with these changed times. It will also impact current and future business performance.

Wellbeing@Work gives information and links to help you to support staff health, wellbeing, motivation and performance so they can support your business.

You can find information and links, and sign up to our e-newsletter, on the Wellbeing@Work webpages.

Business events 

Most public events and gatherings are being cancelled or postponed following government advice, so check ahead if you have booked into a training or conference event of any kind in the near future.

Tables and chairs consent  

Last updated: 31 July 2020

The recent Government announcements and follow up Planning Business Act 2020 has made it much quicker and cost effective for businesses to apply to put removable tables and chairs out on the highway and undertake the application process to receive permission to do so.

So there are now two ways in which to apply for permission to put tables and chairs out on the highway:

  • Pavement Licences under the Planning and Business Act 2020
  • Tables and Chairs Consent under the Highways Act 1980.

Details on Tables and Chairs Consent

New pavement licenses are valid until the 30 September 2021, after which the existing tables and chairs consent returns to being the only route of applying.

Pavement licences will automatically be granted until 30th September 2021 unless requested otherwise. The minimum length of time is three months.

A fee of £100 is payable.

The following businesses are eligible to apply for a pavement licence:

  • Pubs
  • Restaurants
  • Bars
  • Cafes
  • Snack bars
  • Coffee shops
  • Ice cream parlours

What’s the process and what happens?

There are several key and legally required stages to the application and decision process, as per below.


Please complete our application form and submit the relevant background information, so it can fully reviewed. Our team will also visit the site to review the suitability of the proposal and ensure its viability.

Table and chairs application form

Please read the below guidance when applying:

  • Submit a clear and legible highway plan with dimensions of the relevant area and showing a clear 1.8m space to allow pedestrians to pass any tables and chairs area
  • Please also show any nearby street furniture, cabinets, streetlighting
  • This should include clearly labelled smoking and non-smoking sections in 50% of the proposed area
  • Businesses must submit evidence of £5m public liability insurance, which covers the additional seating area
  • Submit the premises Covid secure risk assessment, which should include any outdoor seating areas
  • Tables and Chairs areas need to allow for customers to be able to adhere to social distancing guidance, please show this on the highway plan
  • Details of any furniture proposed, so the type and number of any items and layout proposed
  • Please ensure there are no standing drinking areas, customers must be seated
  • Specify that the purpose of the tables and chairs and other furniture will be to sell or consume food or drink
  • Specify the days of the week and the hours of each day that you intend to use the highway (pavement licences will only be granted for use between 8am and 11pm)
  • Specify the date of application

Conditions and Requirements

Please carefully read our set of local conditions, which also include national conditions, ensuring accessibility for all, COVID-19 related guidance and enabling a smoke free area within the tables and chairs area. These outline the requirements and responsibilities for an applicant as well as outlining the potential reasons permission can be revoked or enforcement action can be taken by the relevant city council departments.

Pavement Licence conditions

Consultation & advertising application

The consultation and decision period for pavement licences are now 14 days overall.

Premises applying must display a notice of their application and a plan of the proposed area in clear view at the premises window, the day the application is submitted, with the consultation period running for seven days starting from the next working day after the application is made.

Notice of application form

Please amend to your own premises details, application details and plan.

The consultation process is the legally required means for the public and stakeholders to object where necessary to proposals.

Applications are also advertised publicly on the Southampton City Council website and objections can be made by email:

Permission granted or declined

Once the consultation period is over, a seven-day decision period is started to allow for the review of any objections and a decision is made to either grant or refuse the request; the city council will notify the applicant as soon as possible after the 7-day consultation period of the outcome. Should no decision be made in that seven-day period, the licence is considered granted.

This website will list all the properties who have been granted a pavement licence.