Information for businesses

Last updated: 3 July 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 while we assess all submissions against the criteria. We aim to contact all successful applicants and process payments for eligible businesses within 10 days commencing Monday, 6 July 2020. Please be advised that a significant number of submissions did not meet the Government’s eligibility criteria.

We will communicate through our social media and business e-newsletter should we open a round two for 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: 03 July 2020

With the reopening of bars, cafes and restaurants in the city on the 4 July 2020, we are keen to support local businesses by offering the opportunity to extend their dining facilities out on the public highway with consent for tables and chairs.

We are also looking at alternative areas for businesses to use for outdoor dining, so welcome enquiries from interested businesses. Please see the link at the bottom for full contact details.

We are also offering the opportunity of offering a temporary 3-month licence, ideal for those sites where an alternative dining location is being explored as temporary measure but is not a fixed solution beyond the pandemic.

We will try to accommodate requests where possible but need to ensure social distancing and public safety is maintained.

Annual tables and chairs permits are already offered by the city council, but in light of the recent pandemic we are also offering a 3-month licence for £50, as an alternative with the opportunity to extend by 9 months if the business wishes to continue placing tables and chairs out on the highway, by paying the remaining £50 of the renewal fee. The 3-month licence period will begin once the consultation period of your application has finished, and you gain consent.


To assist businesses, we are offering reduced rates as set out below:

  • Renewal of existing consent or new application is £100 for 12 months
  • 3-month temporary consent is £50
  • Extending the temporary 3-month consent to an overall 12-month consent is £50
  • Amendments to an existing consent is free

How long does it take?

With new government announcements reducing the consultation process for tables and chairs consent, there is now a reduced consultation period of 5 working days after the application date, instead of 28 days.

Please note this consultation period will involve a visit to check the suitability of the site and any details after the application has been submitted.

Once the consultation process has concluded and no valid objections have been received, consent or rejection will be formalised within 5 days of the consultation period ending.

We are keen to work with businesses to get things right in this new normal, so enforcement action or revocation of the licence would only be necessary if there was a breach of the conditions it was issued under or complaints were received and could not be resolved.

We will monitor locations and address any issues if necessary, should complaints occur.

Where do I apply?

Application forms and further information, including conditions can be found on our tables and chairs permission page.

Licensing for alcohol sales

Similarly, recent government announcements now mean license holders with a valid licence to sell alcohol on their premises can temporarily extend this to include off premises, so customers can enjoy at drink at the premises new tables and chairs area.

Check your alcohol licensing details, which can be done via our public registers page or contact

Additional information

Businesses must have current £5m public liability insurance.

Please note tables and chairs need to be in good order and must be stored in the premises overnight.

Our street cleansing teams are undertaking essential cleaning throughout the city, so please ensure areas are clean and clear to undertake cleansing unhindered and make sure any litter and recycling is disposed of. As both of the above are conditions of the consent being granted, this is enforceable and something we will monitor closely to ensure is being met by premises.

We do have some guidance on equipment and layouts below but will be flexible to accommodate businesses adapting to the situation.

Seated areas only will be considered, no vertical drinking areas.

Contact us