* indicates required

Business support finder launched to navigate through the Covid-19 support options


Sponsored Message

A NEW ‘support finder’ tool has been launched to help businesses and self-employed people across the UK to quickly and easily determine what financial support is available to them during the coronavirus pandemic.

The finder tool on GOV.UK will ask business owners to fill out a simple online questionnaire, which can take minutes to complete, and they will then be directed to a list of all the financial support they may be eligible for.

To support business, workers and the self-employed during the coronavirus outbreak, government has:

  • Made up to £330 billion of loans and guarantees for businesses, including £45 million of small business grants in Central Bedfordshire; 
  • Offered to pay 80% of the wages of furloughed workers, up to £2,500;
  • Deferred the next quarter of VAT payments for firms, until the end of June – representing a £30 billion injection into the economy;
  • Introduced £20 billion in tax relief and cash grants to help businesses with cashflow;
  • Introduced the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Schemes for both SMEs and larger businesses to make it easier to access vital financial support;
  • Offered to cover the cost of statutory sick pay;
  • Entirely removed all eligible properties in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector from business rates temporarily;
  • Introduced the Self-employment Income Support Scheme, offering a taxable grant worth 80% of trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 a month;
  • Deferred Self Assessment payments due in July 2020 until 31 January 2021;
  • Allowed companies required to hold AGMs to do so flexibly, which may include postponing them or holding them online;
  • Ssuspended wrongful trading provisions for company directors to remove the threat of personal liability during the pandemic;
  • Offered a 3 month extension for filing accounts to businesses hit by coronavirus.

The new business support finder tool can be found at https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder.


Where can I get local business support and one-to-one guidance?’

SEMLEP’s Growth Hub is a government-funded local business support service, providing information, advice and support to business directors. SEMLEP’s business advisers can help you to navigate through the current COVID19 financial support measures and official guidance, as well as helping you to work through options if you are not eligible for the Government schemes.

They can also support you directly on your business continuity planning and overall business resilience.

The Growth Hub has established a series of webinars with more in depth advice on different aspects of running a business during the crisis. They are all free to join and you can register at https://www.semlepgrowthhub.com/events/

11am-12 noon May 7

Adapting your supply chains during a pandemic: imports and exports.

To contact the team, email growthhub@semlep.com or call 0300 01234 35. For more information on the support available go to www.semlepgrowthhub.com/coronavirus/


Can your business help with essential supplies?

ACROSS Bedfordshire, all blue light services (police, fire, ambulance), NHS organisations, councils (Bedford, Luton and Central Bedfordshire) and other key stakeholders such as the voluntary sector, work together in co-ordinating responses to emergencies.

These organisations work together as the Bedfordshire Local Resilience Forum to deliver the requirements of the Government’s COBRA Committee, take action and develop plans in this context.

In response to this Central Bedfordshire Council has mobilised a team to build a strong supply chain for sourcing and distributing emergency supplies of PPE to frontline staff. 

The team is filling the gap when services have had difficulty obtaining both PPE and essential hygiene supplies and then arranging delivery to not just  the council’s own services but to other care home providers and funeral directors. 

The team is still looking for new suppliers of essential kit such as goggles, masks, full protective suits, body bags, and large and medium sized gloves.

If you think your business can help please get in touch at business@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk


COVID-19 Emergency Surplus Food Grant

BOTH WRAP and Defra appreciate the significant challenges and hard work that many not-for-profit food redistributors are currently facing as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

These essential organisations play a vital role in ensuring surplus food can reach people in need or those considered most vulnerable while also preventing this essential resource from becoming waste.

As part of the UK government’s collaborative response to supporting key infrastructure throughout this difficult time, Defra is making £3.25 millionavailable through the Resource Action Fund administered by WRAP. The COVID-19 Emergency Surplus Food Grant will be delivered in three phases.

  • Phase 1: WRAP has approached a target list of small redistribution organisations who have previously applied to the fund to ascertain their immediate need for potential funding support.
  • Phase 2 provides funding opportunities for small surplus food redistributors and is open until June 4.
  • Phase 3 is aimed aimed at medium-to-larger operators and is open until May 21 2020

The aim of the grant is to assist surplus food redistributors in overcoming challenges that they are currently facing in obtaining surplus food from food businesses (such as retailers and food manufacturers) and distributing this to people in need or those considered vulnerable. The grant can be used to fund both capital and revenue costs associated with redistribution activities such as:

  • Access to surplus food through logistical collections;
  • Sorting, storing, freezing, labelling / repackaging food; and
  • Onward distribution of food to charities or end beneficiaries.

 Click here for more details.

Published in association with Central Bedfordshire Council.