Advice for Business - Covid-19

Are You A Food Business Looking To Reopen Or Diversify? Do You Provide Takeaway Or Delivery Services?

Is your food business looking to reopen or looking to change the way you sell food, before you do make sure you follow the guides and helpful check sheet on the Food Standards Agency Website.  The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has also produced some helpful advice and resources for Food Deliveries and Takeaways this is also available in welsh

Last Updated 8.13am | 28.05.20


With the Covid-19 pandemic causing almost hourly changes for businesses and public services, we wanted to share what support we can offer to companies here in Blaenau Gwent.
All the following information can also be found at the Blaenau Gwent Business Hub website. 

In Blaenau Gwent, we can confirm the following:

Help with your Business Rates

All eligible retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with a rateable value of £500,000 or less will receive 100% non-domestic rates relief in 2020-21 (i.e. nothing to pay for the year). If you are eligible for this relief, this will automatically be applied to your business rates account. 
 
Please follow this link for further details on the scheme. 
 
If you require any further assistance, please contact the Revenues Section on telephone number:  01495 355212.


In addition, the Welsh Government has recently announced a support package for businesses in Wales to help combat the economic impact of Coronavirus.

Grants Available

Grant 1

Retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with a rateable value between £12,001 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.  

Grant 2

All businesses currently eligible for Small Business Rates Relief – those with a rateable value up to £12,000 – will receive a grant of £10,000. 

Applications should be made via this link on or before 30 June 2020. No applications will be accepted after this date.

Please note that the multiple property restriction which applies to the SBRR Scheme also applies to this grant. Therefore, the same ratepayer may only receive the grant for a maximum of two properties in each local authority area.  

If you are currently paying your Business Rates by Direct Debit there is no requirement to fill in the online form because we already hold your bank details.

If you pay by any other method please complete the online form and supply your bank details.

If you are successful, the grant will be paid directly into your bank account.

Once you’ve made your application, we ask you to be patient in not following-up by telephone as that will result in grants taking longer to process.  We will contact you if we need to clarify anything. We aim to process your payment within 10 working days. We very much appreciate the major challenges being faced by businesses, and our staff will be making every effort to get your grant paid to you as soon as possible. 

This grant is being provided to you as de minimis aid under EC Regulation 1407/2013. You can find out more about what this is here:  ‘de minimis aid summary’.

A grant provided to you under this scheme will be relevant if you have applied or are planning to apply for support in the future under de minimis.

The value of the support you are receiving under this scheme will be either £10,000 or £25,000 depending on which grant you qualify for.

You will need to declare this amount to any other support agencies that ask you how much de minimis aid you have had.  For the purposes of the de minimis Regulation, you must keep a record of this grant for 3 years from the date you receive it.

Applications should be made via the link below on or before 30 June 2020. No applications will be accepted after this date.

Apply Now


We have begun to issue grants to Blaenau Gwent businesses who are eligible for Welsh Government support.

The Finance team are currently dealing with a very high volume of applications and continue to process these on a daily basis to ensure payments are sent as soon as possible.

Where applications have been submitted but we require further information to process the application, we will contact you.  


As a country, we all need to do what we can to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

On 26th March the Government, stepped up measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus and save lives. The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) Regulations 2020 introduced the requirement for certain businesses to close. Closure of the businesses lasts until a further direction is given by the Welsh Ministers allowing them to re-open.

All non-essential premises must now close. Takeaway and delivery services may remain open and operational. Online retail is still open and encouraged. Postal and delivery service will continue to run.

On the 11th May an amendment to the regulations took place which changed the requirements in relation to “click and collect” services. The changes mean that all businesses not listed in Part 4 of Schedule 1, of offering goods for sale or for hire in a shop, may offer click and collect services to the public, provided that they are able to comply with the social distancing requirements. Businesses offering this service must ensure the exchange of goods with their customers can take place without customers physically entering into their retail building.

A full list of the businesses that are required to remain closed and other relevant guidance relating to the closure and restriction requirements is available here:

https://gov.wales/coronavirus-covid-19-closure-businesses-and-premises-0

Those businesses and workplaces that are permitted to remain open are subject to strict social distancing requirements.

Businesses and premises that breach the Regulations will be subject to fixed penalty notices incurring immediate financial penalties, prohibition notices forcing them to close, and potentially unlimited fines.

If you are a business and want further advice in respect of any of the above please contact your local Environmental Health Team on 01495 357813 or alternatively at environmental.health@blaenau-gwent.gov.uk

General advice for all businesses is available here:

https://gov.wales/guidance-employers-and-businesses-covid-19

Additional advice for food businesses can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-food-businesses/guidance-for-food-businesses-on-coronavirus-covid-19

Additional advice from Welsh Government on ‘reasonable measures’ is available here:

https://gov.wales/taking-all-reasonable-measures-maintain-physical-distancing-workplace

Reporting a Non-compliant Business:

If you would to report a business that you believe is operating in breach of the COVID-19 closure or restriction requirements please use our online report it tool accessible here:

https://iweb.itouchvision.com/portal/f?p=customer:category_link:::::CUID,LANG:A1D39E0AA6A661505A85E20531401A98C0DFC438,EN&P_LANG=en

Other Support for Business:

The government has put in place a range of financial and other supporting measures for businesses. For information about support for business, please go to Welsh Government’s Business Support Page:

https://businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice?_ga=2.76469333.1734938049.1586192705-871453955.1567599494

Additional info relevant to businesses is also available on the Blaenau Gwent website here:

https://www.blaenau-gwent.gov.uk/cy/busnes/blaenau-gwent-cbc-business-community-covid-19-updates/

This information is correct as to 3.00pm | 29.04.20

Criteria for Economic Resilience Fund Revealed

The next phase of Welsh Government’s new £500m Economic Resilience Fund will go live for applications on April 17. It will be targeted at microbusinesses, SMEs and large businesses with critical social or economic importance to Wales.

The criteria to be satisfied by businesses or organisations applying for this grant include; demonstration of a significant reduction in turnover, VAT registration, being an employer in Wales and attempting to trade out of the crisis.

The full criteria can be seen here and you can find out if you are eligible by using the Business Support Eligibility Checker now. It is important to do this as it will give you time to prepare ahead of the opening of the application process. Check now and apply as soon as possible, as the fund will be made available on a ‘first come first served’ basis.

Please note this funding will not be available to any business who has already qualified for business rate relief support, or any other form of Welsh Government Covid-19 related non-repayable funding.

Last Updated 1.09pm | 16.04.2020

Business Wales Support

https://businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Guidance for businesses and workers

The Government has today published guidance for businesses and workers on how to access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers with a PAYE scheme will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.
This applies to employees who have been asked to stop working, but who are being kept on the pay roll, otherwise described as ‘furloughed workers’. HMRC will reimburse 80% of their wages, up to £2,500 per month. This is to safeguard workers from being made redundant. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to 1 March and is initially open for 3 months, but will be extended if necessary.

Guidance for Employers

Employers will be able to use a portal to claim for 80% of furloughed employees’ (employees on a leave of absence) monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that wage. We expect the scheme to be up and running by the end of April.
Please use the following link to access the guidance:
www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

Gov.uk - Employers and Businesses in Wales

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-individuals-and-businesses-in-wales

Guidance for Employees

The guidance published today will support workers understand whether they are eligible for the scheme, and how much the employer can claim if they are unable to operate or if there is no work due to coronavirus (COVID 19).
Please use the following link to access the guidance:
www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-could-be-covered-by-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

Employers and Businesses

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-guidance-for-employees

 

If your pay has been reduced or you have been made redundant you may be entitled to access to benefits such as Universal Credit. Job Centres are closed to the public but staff will be available to support online and over the phone. You can also make a claim online.
Visit www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/coronavirus  for more information or for additional support with applications telephone: 0800 328 5644
N.B. The Universal Credit helpline will reduce its opening hours starting from the 27th March. The line will be open between 9:30am and 3:30pm in order to protect time for Case Managers to work through payments.

Visit www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/coronavirus  for more information or for additional support with applications telephone: 0800 328 5644
N.B. The Universal Credit helpline will reduce its opening hours starting from the 27th March. The line will be open between 9:30am and 3:30pm in order to protect time for Case Managers to work through payments.

Self Employed

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme

HMRC tax helpline

HMRC has set up a helpline for businesses and self-employed people who are concerned about paying their tax due to COVID-19.
Call 08000 241222 for help and advice.
Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm

Further Links
Citizens Advice      Tel: 0300 330 2117   Website:  www.citizensadvice.org.uk/wales
Help to Claim        Tel: 0800 024 1220
Pensionwise          Tel: 0800 138 3944
Adviceline Wales   Tel: 0344 477 2020

If you have not already done so, please consider registering onto the Blaenau Gwent Business Hub which is a free online resource for all Blaenau Gwent businesses - https://www.blaenaugwentbusinesshub.co.uk/BusinessRegister.aspx


ACAS

Acas is an independent public body that receives funding from the government.  They provide free and impartial advice to employers, employees and their representatives on: 

  • Employment rights
  • Best practice and policies
  • workplace conflict 

https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus     Helpline 0300 123 1100      Open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.

 

Social Business Wales 

https://businesswales.gov.wales/socialbusinesswales/covid-19-support-your-social-business
Provides a comprehensive list of guidance, factsheets and support for the third sector, social enterprise, charities and other social business, as well as a wealth of other links for further information and advice.

WCVA 

http://wcva.cymru/coronavirus-statement/

WCVA provide information and guidance for volunteers relating to safe and effective practices when organising community responses to the coronavirus.  They also offer a daily update which people can sign up to.

Social Entrepreneurs 

https://www.unltd.org.uk/blog/news/covid-19-advice-and-support-for-social-entrepreneurs/

COVID-19: Advice and support for social entrepreneurs – Unltd have prepared an information document, which will be updated regularly with advice for social entrepreneurs as we monitor the situation and government guidelines.

Blaenau Gwent Employment Liaison Service

To discuss recruitment needs or to register your CV on the Blaenau Gwent Skills Database to be kept up to date on local vacancies please visit:
https://www.blaenau-gwent.gov.uk/en/business/jobs-skills/employment-facilitation/

Blaenau Gwent Business Hub

If you are a Blaenau Gwent Business and have not already done so, please consider registering onto the Blaenau Gwent Business Hub which is a free online resource for all Blaenau Gwent businesses

https://www.blaenaugwentbusinesshub.co.uk/BusinessRegister.aspx

Economic Development Team
• Tel - 01495 355700 / 01495 353328 / 01495 355937
• Email – business@blaenau-gwent.gov.uk

Further Links

• Citizens Advice                Tel: 0300 332117       Website:  www.citizensadvice.org.uk/wales
• Help to Claim                   Tel: 0800 024 1220
• Pensionwise                     Tel: 0800 138 3944
• Adviceline Wales              Tel: 0344 477 2020