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Information for businesses during COVID-19

Last updated: 27 October 2020

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Last updated: 27 October 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.

Outdoor seating licence  

Last updated: 12 August 2020

To help with the post lockdown recovery of the hospitality sector, businesses can now apply for outdoor seating in a much quicker and cost-effective way. Southampton City Council is working in partnership with GO!Southampton to create more opportunities for outdoor dining. The initiative includes extending existing seating areas and introducing new ones but also opening up outdoor areas of the city for businesses that currently have no outdoor space.

To make things easier, the Government has introduced the Planning Business Act 2020 which caps the application fee for a pavement licence at £100 and reduces the minimum consultation period to seven days. The existing Tables and Chairs Consent continues its 28 days consultation period.

Essentially there are now two ways to apply for a licence for outdoor seating:

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.

Cash grants  

  • Small business grants - closed 28 August 2020
  • Retail, hospitality and leisure grants - closed 28 August 2020
  • Discretionary Grant Fund - closed 28 August 2020