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30 April 2020 - Update #13

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. The page also includes links to our previous coronavirus bulletins. 

Over the past few weeks we’ve sent these bulletins as often as necessary to try and keep you updated on the many national and local announcements in terms of business support and funding. As the pace of such announcements begins to slow, we’re now moving these emails to weekly, on a Thursday, to round-up developments over the previous seven days. Please follow our Twitter feed and LinkedIn page for daily news and updates.  

In this week’s bulletin we have outlined the new Government-backed Bounce Back Loan scheme for small businesses, along with other local and national updates. We have also recapped the different funding support available for businesses under the useful links section. 


Government News
Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan Scheme
Earlier this week the Chancellor announced a new funding scheme to help support small businesses who need critical support in the immediate term. The Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan scheme, launching on 4 May, will allow businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and loans should reach businesses within days. The loans will be interest free for the first 12 months with no repayments due in that period either. The scheme is 100% backed by the Government, who will work with lenders to ensure the loans are advanced as quickly as possible and to agree a low standardised level of interest for the remaining period of the loan. From Monday, businesses can apply via a network of accredited lenders using a simple, standardised online form. For more guidance go here.

The Skills Toolkit
This week the Department for Education released a new online platform, encouraging employees to learn and develop their skills whilst staying at home. The Skills Toolkit features free online digital and numeracy courses, tools and resources divided into introductory, intermediate and advanced levels. If you or your employees are furloughed, this is a great opportunity to build essential skills that will be needed for future working practices.

Business Support Webinar
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is hosting a webinar on Tuesday 5 May at 11am to guide businesses through the Government support available to them. The session will cover eligibility for small business grants, applying for a loan, tax and claiming for wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions during the webinar. Register for free here.

Local Grant Applications
Southampton City Council announced last week that approximately 1,200 eligible businesses had yet to apply for the cash grants it is administering on behalf of the Government in response to COVID-19, with over £18m of grant funding still available. We hear that whilst there has been an encouraging response since then, there are still a significant number of eligible businesses yet to make a claim. To check if you could be eligible for a grant call the Council's dedicated COVID-19 business helpline on 023 8083 4300 or visit their website here.

BID News
  • Our Operations Director, Rebecca Handley, has written an insightful LinkedIn article entitledLife after lockdown – clues from other countries. The article examines the phased approach to reopening some other countries are taking, and considers the types of measures that may be needed in the UK to maintain some level of social distancing in the future.
  • Join like-minded people next Tuesday 5 May from 5.30pm for our next Urban Lecture Series where you will hear from guest speakers who are at the forefront of the contemporary urban debate in Southampton. During this online webinar, Amanda Reynolds (AR Urbanism) and Stephen Greenberg (Principle Metaphor) will be discussing the ‘curated city’.You can register for your free place here. You can also watch April's session on 'growing creative communities' here.
  • The petition for the national Raise The Bar campaign, which is appealing for the upper rateable value threshold for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant to increase from £51,000 to £150,000, has seen over 6,000 signatures to date. We encourage all our members sign the petition, particularly of course if your businesses would benefit if the campaign is successful. As a BID we are fully supportive of the campaign and have joined over 100 other BIDs in co-signing a letter to Government as part of the campaign. You can sign the petition here and find out more information about the campaign here.

Useful Funding and Support Links
  • Apply for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme here.
  • Claim for a Small Business Grant or a Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant here.
  • Apply for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme here.
  • Apply for the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme here.
  • Find out how to defer your VAT payments here.
  • Find out how to defer your Self Assessment tax bill here.
  • Find out if you can apply for the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme here
  • Check if your business is eligible for business rates relief here.
  • Apply for the Coronavirus Future Fund here.
  • Apply for the Bounce Back Loan Scheme from 4 May here.
  • Furloughed workers to receive full parental leave entitlement - read more

Local and National Government Links
  • For Government guidance for businesses, employers and employees go here.
  • Sign up for the Government’s specific business support email bulletins here.
  • Sign up for general Government coronavirus email updates here.
  • Use the finder tool to see what support your business is eligible for here.
  • Essential workers can apply for a coronavirus test online here.
  • View the Council's latest coronavirus information here.
  • Sign up for the Council's business e-newsletter here.
  • Have your say on the City Vision (Local Plan) here.

    Our Contact Information  

    You can reach the BID team via 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.