This is a direct cut-and-paste of an email I’ve received from Stockport Council. Thought it might be useful to some of you…
Stockport Council understands that this is a very difficult and uncertain time for business and is putting in place a number of measures to ensure that all businesses are getting the best and latest help and information as soon as possible.
An Economic Resilience Group is meeting daily and is comprised of the Council and several key business sector representatives and local partners to ensure we have:
- Strong and up-to-date information from businesses on the issues they are facing to help respond to needs and highlight to Government the real day-to-day challenges being experienced, in particular those most vulnerable such as the self-employed;
- Effective arrangements in place to get business support finance and advice out to businesses as quickly as possible;
- Ensure we share information for businesses through one agreed communication channel in conjunction with Marketing Stockport – this can be accessed via marketingstockport.co.uk;
In particular, as an immediate priority, the Council is ready to deliver on two key areas: Business Grants and Rates Relief.
The Government have announced two new grant funding schemes:
- Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses who occupy a property where the rateable value is between £15,000 and £51,000. We are committed to making the payments as soon as we have details from Government for the mechanism for this and are currently identifying businesses that are entitled to the grant.
We encourage businesses not to cancel your direct debit if you believe you are entitled to this relief, as we will not collect payment from you in April, and we will use you bank details to make payment of the grant.
- Business grant funding of £10,000 for all businesses (regardless of sector) if you already qualify for Small Business Rates Relief.
For many of these businesses the Council do not hold bank details, and therefore we are developing an online form to be uploaded to the Council website for businesses to provide bank details in order to receive payments. As soon as this form is available we will communicate this.
Both of these grants are still subject to confirmation from Government but we are ensuring we have the staff in place to get this money out to businesses as soon as it becomes available, paying directly into bank account details of those customers that pay business rates.
In addition the Council is taking the following action with regard to Business Rates and Rates Relief:
- We will not take any Business Rates direct debits that are due in April for those properties entitled to the 100% Retail Relief.
- For businesses that are in the retail, hospitality or leisure industry, we have suspended all recovery action for an initial three-month period. We will consider requests from other businesses and organisations based on their circumstances.
- We would urge all businesses to pay what they can and seek advice where possible from their bank or other business support;
- Any businesses that are experiencing difficulty paying their Business Rates should contact us, we can agree special payment plans so that the business rates due for 2020/21 are split over 9 months from July 2020 to March 2021, meaning that businesses will not have to pay anything until July;
- We would urge all businesses to keep in touch with us, ensure that they are getting all the reliefs and support that they are entitled to, and to let us know how we can support them during this challenging period.
The Business Rates team can be contacted via webchat through the Council website – https://www.stockport.gov.uk/topic/business-rates – using the pink pop-up box in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. Unfortunately this can’t be accessed through Windows Explorer. Alternatively the team can be contacted by email on Business.Rates@stockport.gov.uk .
We are also contacting all food premises from today through our staff locally to understand the issues they are also facing in terms of closure and employment.
The Council is also actively developing plans with partners to have a matching service between employers recruiting additional staff due to demand, e.g. Food Retailers and those individuals needing alternative employment/additional hours due to the economic impact. This includes regular updating of known job opportunities via Marketing Stockport and we will communicate the details of this as soon as we have them.
If you would like to contact us on any of the issues raised above, please contact:
- Business rates – see contact details above
- Wider business issues – email firstname.lastname@example.org
There is also further support and information available at:
GM Business Growth Hub – https://www.businessgrowthhub.com/coronavirus
HM Government COVID-19: guidance for employees, employers and businesses – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19#
Greater Manchester Combined Authority – https://greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk/coronavirus/
Marketing Stockport – www.marketingstockport.co.uk
As further information and guidance is announced by the Government later today and on Monday to support economic resilience we will ensure we respond urgently with local partners to support our local business community.
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