Business info: lockdown rules, financial support, and more

Government announces additional support for businesses

As a result of the 5 November lockdown, the government has increased the economic support available to businesses. This includes the following:

Furlough: Furlough has been extended until end the of March. It was initially due to be replaced by the Job Support Scheme at the start of November, but due to national lockdown, furlough will stay in place. The government will pay 80% of employees wages until the end of March, with a review in January.

Mortgage holidays: Mortgage payment holidays have been extended. Borrowers who have been impacted by coronavirus and have not yet had a mortgage payment holiday will be entitled to a six month holiday, and those that have already started a mortgage payment holiday will be able to top up to six months without this being recorded in their credit file.

Self Employed Income Support Scheme: The government has doubled the amount that self-employed individuals will receive, from 40% to 80% of their average trading profits for November.

Business grants: If you run a business that is required to close due to national restrictions, you will be eligible for a business grant. Bristol City Council is awaiting detailed policy guidance to inform the application process for these grants, and will have a webpage ready for applications to the Local Restricted Grant (closed) live later this week.

Read more on the GOV.UK website

Bristol businesses invited to Living Wage event

This week is Living Wage Week, and Bristol City Council is holding a free online Living Wage City Celebration, on Wednesday 11 November at 3.30pm.

We are inviting businesses from the city and surrounding areas to come along and learn about the Living Wage. We are aware that with national lockdown in place and businesses feeling anxious, changing wages might not be the top of your priority list. That’s why we’re inviting business owners to attend the event with absolutely no obligation – just come and listen.

A wide range of employers from across Bristol will be at the event, as well as guests from across the UK.

The Mayor of Bristol will be speaking, and there will be an opportunity to hear from recently accredited Living Wage employers on how and why they made their decision to pay the real Living Wage to their staff.

Register here

Lockdown 2.0: which businesses need to close?

England is now in national lockdown. Hospitality businesses, leisure facilities, holiday accommodation, non-essential shops, and close-contact services such as hairdressers must all close from 5 November.

However, there are exceptions to these restrictions. Non-essential retail can open for ‘click and collect’, whereby items are pre-ordered and collected without entering the premises. People can also leave home to collect or return orders from these businesses.

Additionally, hospitality businesses can remain open for takeaway of food and non-alcoholic drinks between 5am and 10pm. Hospitality businesses can also provide food and drinks between 10pm and 5am, via ‘click and collect’ and drive through only. Alcohol can also be sold for consumption off the premises via delivery, ‘click and collect’ and drive through. It must be pre-ordered and collected without entering the premises.

To read more about restrictions on the GOV.UK website, click here

For Bristol-specific hospitality guidance, click here

Quick updates

•  As part of next week’s Festival of Economics, Business West will be hosting an online event to delve into the local and regional business response to the pandemic, as well as recovery and rebuild planning. Sign up here

•  Additionally, Business West is looking for local businesses to take part in its quarterly survey, where your views can be aired directly to MPs and Ministers, government departments and council officials. Take part here

•  Bristol’s independent gift stores have come together to encourage shoppers to buy local in the run up to Christmas. Shop Bristol is a directory of 23 lifestyle and present stores from across the city.

•  WECA’s Growth Hub has a range of programmes and information to help businesses during this difficult time, including business support, mental health training and more. Click here to visit the Growth Hub

•  Bristol Technology Festival 2020 is taking place this week, till Sunday 15 November; more here

•  The consultation on new Traffic Clean Air Zone options for central Bristol closes on Sunday 22 November; find out more and give your views here

•  Bridge to Equality – a new report from Babbasa – focuses on understanding the needs of ethnically diverse young people in Bristol and includes recommendations to help bridge the employment and opportunity equality gap, with key actions for employers, education providers, communities and policy makers; read the report here

•  The Office for National Statistics has issued a report on the health, social and economic impact of COVID-19 for the period of March to October 2020. Read the report here

•  Boost with Facebook Online, in partnership with Be the Business, have launched a programme to help SMEs in the UK to restart and recover. Discover more

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