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07 May 2020 - Update #14

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. 

National News

Bounce Back Loan Scheme Applications Open

The Bounce Back Loan scheme opened earlier this week, with 100,000 applications made across the country in a single day. The scheme, aimed at small and medium sized businesses, allows them to access cash loans of between £2,000 and £50,000, paid within days from a selected list of accredited lenders. The loans are 100% guaranteed by the Government and are interest-free for the first 12 months but the borrower will still always be liable for the debt. An agreed flat rate of 2.5% interest will be charged on these loans after the first year. 

You can apply if: 

  • Your business is based in the UK
  • Your business has been negatively affected by coronavirus 
  • Your business was not an ‘undertaking in difficulty’ as at 31 December 2019

Note: You cannot apply if you are already claiming under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), although if you have applied for a CBILS loan of up to £50,000 you may be able to convert it into a Bounce Back Loan (ask you lender for more information). Like the CBILS and CLBILS schemes, businesses need to approach lenders to apply – find out more information and a list of lenders here.

Top-Up Funding Released
An additional £617m has been made available for local authorities to distribute out to small businesses in the area with ongoing fixed property-related costs. This is a 5% top-up on the current £12.33b Government grant funding pot to support small and medium sized businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. This scheme is designed to help companies who may not qualify for the other grant funding but it will be up to the local authority to prioritise businesses based on local economic need. Grants of £10,000 and £25,000 will be allocated to small businesses who have under 50 employees and can verify that their income has been affected by COVID-19. Whilst full eligibility criteria is set to follow, the Government has stated that it is up to the discretion of the local authorities to make payments under £10,000 and they must adapt to suit the needs of the local economy. Read the full story here.

Business Rates Revaluation Postponed 
The Communities Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP announced yesterday that to help minimise uncertainty for businesses during the pandemic the revaluation of business rates originally set to take place in 2021 has been postponed. To read the full story go here.

Funding For BIDs
High Streets Minister Simon Clarke MP announced on 1 May that Business Improvement Districts across the country are set to receive a share of £6.1m to help high streets and local economies during COVID-19. As a BID, we are glad to receive recognition from the Government who highlighted that we play a ‘crucial role’ at this time to help support businesses. We await to hear the specific funding allocation and what that might mean for us financially. 

Our Executive Director Giles Semper says: "We are pleased the government has acknowledged the role BIDs play in managing high streets across the UK. The grant will play a small part in keeping the BID afloat so that we can in turn support our members through these difficult times."

High Streets Minister Simon Clarke MP said: "BIDs are uniquely placed and have a proven track record of success in supporting local businesses, empowering communities, championing our town centres and driving forward the renewal of our high streets". Read the full story here.

Support Webinars For Businesses
Various Government departments are hosting a number of webinars in the coming weeks to give guidance around the financial support available to businesses. They cover areas such as making a claim for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, VAT deferrals and applying for the Statutory Sick Pay rebate scheme. You can register for future webinars as well as watch previous sessions

BID News
Post Lockdown Planning 
With the Government due to set out its plans for the country’s phased lifting of lockdown measures on Sunday, we’ve been working hard behind the scenes to prepare for how things might look in the BID area. As well as following national (and international) developments keenly and participating in BID Foundation and Institute of Place Management discussions, we’re also working closely with Southampton City Council and other stakeholders to make more detailed local plans. 

Our specific recovery plan for the BID area is very much a live, evolving piece of work, given the many unknowns we’re all still due to face, but rest assured we’re fully focused on how we can continue to support our members through the rest of lockdown and into the recovery period. 

We will be launching a questionnaire on Monday for our levy payers, to help us gain further understanding of how we can continue to best support businesses.

Is Your Business Reopening?
We are starting to see more businesses re-open using click and collect or delivery services, in line with Government guidance. Get in touch if this applies to you and we can promote via our Visit Southampton channels. Contact us at

Wellbeing At Work
For many of us, working from home has become the ‘new normal’. It’s important to keep individual and team mentality positive especially when staff members can feel isolated at home. The Every Mind Matters webpage has tips and tools to encourage positive mental health, including these '7 tips to tackle working from home'. You can also download an ‘employee health and wellbeing’ toolkit here. Here at the BID we’re continuing to have daily virtual meetings to not only liaise on projects and workplans but also to check in on each other’s health and wellbeing.

Useful 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.
  • Read 'Life after lockdown - cues from other countries' blog, written by our Operations Directorhere.
  • Sign the #RaiseTheBar petition here.
  • Share information with your employees about domestic abuse using the Home Office employers pack here.
  • Read the office re-occupancy roadmap from Knight Frank here.
  • Read the Bounce Back Loan Scheme factsheet from British Business Bank 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.