Print Icon

Supporting Your Business – We’re Stronger Together 

27 March 2020 - Update #5

This is our latest email bulletin relating to the COVID-19 outbreak - for all the latest information about our services, how we can help you and links to national and local updates, please visit our dedicated webpage.

Thank You!

As well as all the usual national and local updates, which you'll find below, we also wanted to take this chance to reflect on the past fortnight or so and say a big thank you to all our members and the wider community for shining such a positive light on our city at such a difficult time. 

We've seen innovative ways of interacting with customers and great efforts to support the community from Banana Wharf launching a community stall selling essential items, various eateries offering delivery services and God's House Tower's virtual exhibition. 

We've also experienced fantastic cooperation and collaboration with key agencies in the city, including Southampton City Council and Hampshire Constabulary, as well as positive conversations with other business membership organisations locally, to ensure we're sharing information and best practice to benefit all our members. 

And, of course, a huge thank you to everyone who is keeping essential businesses and services running for the benefit of all. Most notably all our NHS workers in the city, but also all of the emergency services workers, front-line staff in our supermarkets, pharmacies, banks and so on, hotel staff at those staying open for key workers, school teachers and support staff working to provide a provision for keyworkers' children, and our colleagues in the Council who are working tirelessly to understand and administer central Government measures to support businesses and individuals. It’s also worth acknowledging the efforts of everyone who is adapting to working solely from home to ensure various business and customer services remain available remotely. 

What a great all-round effort, we are stronger together.

Latest Government Announcements

There have been quite a few new measures announced in the last few days, as well as fuller guidance being issued for some previously outlined business support - see below summary:

  • Further guidance has now been issued regarding the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - view guidance for employers here and for employees here
  • Self-Employment Income Support Scheme - this scheme was announced last night to protect incomes for the self-employed, and broadly speaking offers similar support to what the Job Retention Scheme provides for PAYE staff. Read more here - it may be useful in the context of your own suppliers
  • Guidance has now been published regarding eligibility and delivery of the previously announced Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF) - view the national guidance here, and see below section for a Council update on how to apply
  • A joint initiative between the Government and Companies House has been announced, giving companies a three month extension on filing their annual accounts - read the press release here
  • Hotels - the Government has written to hotel chief executives regarding exemptions on them closing if they're supporting key workers and/or vulnerable people - details here
  • A new FAQs section has been launched on the Government's Business Support website - view it here
  • For those with key workers still commuting from the Isle of Wight, this announcement regarding the temporary suspension of competition law for the Island's ferry operators may be worth a read
Council Update - Business Rates Relief & Grant Funding
As of today (27 March), the systems are now in place and the support schemes are now live for Southampton City Council to deliver business rates relief and grant funding to local businesses in the city.
  • Business Rates for Retail, Hospitality, Leisure - businesses in the retail,  hospitality and leisure sectors will not have to pay business rates for the 2020-21 tax year. This reduction will be applied automatically to businesses' bills by 1 April. If businesses have not received an amended bill by 3 April 2020 they should email
  • Small Business Grant Funding - the Government is providing additional funding to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBRR). This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs. Businesses can find out more and apply here
  • Cash Grant for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure - businesses in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector will receive a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property. Businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of under £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000. Businesses with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000. Businesses can find out more and apply here
BID News
  • Security - as per our previous bulletin, our security team remain in operation. We're working more closely with Hampshire Constabulary and the Council's Welfare Wardens to ensure a joined up approach at this challenging time. Our Security Team's hours have changed temporarily to 12pm-8pm daily, and we've also added vehicle patrols into their daily duties, to ensure they can cover the BID area more easily. They can be contacted on 07725 737236. Thank you also to our colleagues in the Police for ensuring all customer-facing levy payers who are currently still trading received a visit this week
  • Our business events - in light of the current situation, we've made some changes to our business events programme, namely 1) April's Urban Lecture Series will now be held as a webcast via Zoom (all registered attendees will receive an email early next week with details of how to join the event). As a result there is still the opportunity to sign up here. We are working with Studio B.A.D. to confirm the same plan for the May lecture, plus we are exploring the opportunity to re-host the two Urban Lecture Series events that have already taken place 2) Our workshop events in April / May are postponed and will be rescheduled in due course 3) Events from June onwards will be reviewed nearer the time
  • Major public events - we are liaising with the organisers for some of the city's major events to understand and support their plans in terms of any postponements or cancellations and will communicate further updates in due course. In the meantime we're working with The List (the events platform that populates our Visit Southampton What's On listings) to get all March / April event listings automatically removed from the Visit Southampton website by the end of the weekend at the latest, to avoid any confusion for website visitors
  • Can your business help the vulnerable? - we are part of Southampton Connect and the SafeCity Partnership, which is looking for support to aid the most vulnerable individuals in the city centre. In the near future, Southampton City Council will be coordinating the collation of food for those individuals in need. If your business is able to support these efforts through the donation of non-perishable food we'd love to hear from you. For more information please email 
  • Southampton still open for business - view our latest Visit Southampton blog detailing ways in which customers can still access and engage with our customer-facing businesses, including a list of the 38 retail stores that are still trading in the city centre (in line with Government guidance)

Useful Links  

  • For Government guidance for businesses, employers and employees go here
  • Sign up for government email updates here
  • Find out about the Government's new WhatsApp service here
  • View the Council's latest coronavirus information here
  • View the Council's specific updates about Business Rates here
  • Sign up for the Council's business e-newsletter here
  • Visit Britain / Visit England have published advice specifically for tourism and event businesses - view here
  • View legal advice and guidance from Paris Smith LLP here
  • For helpful advice from ACAS on employment issues go here
  • For NHS coronavirus advice and information go here 
  • The Association of Convenience Stores has issued some useful guidance for smaller retailers looking to offer home delivery services - view it here

Our Contact Information  

You can reach the BID team via Contact details for individual team members are on our website here.

If you have any queries at all, or if you think we might be able to help you with something specific, please do not hesitate to contact us.