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Government has introduced a three-tier lockdown system for the whole of the UK which classifies regions as being on “medium”, “high” or “very high” alert.

Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar & Cleveland and Stockton-On-Tees are currently placed in COVID alert level of High (tier two) category. On top of the rule of six and 10pm curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants, this prevents all social mixing between households indoors, with the rule of six in place outdoors, in public spaces or private gardens

For a full list of guidance, click here. To find out what the alert level is in your area, visit the Government Postcode Tracker online here.

How do I make my business safe?

All employers should ensure they follow Covid-19 Secure guidelines for the workplace, which can be found by clicking here.

Government has launched a Test & Trace service to help stop the spread of the virus. It provides testing for anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus to find out if they have the virus.

It gets in touch with anyone who has had a positive test result to help them share information about any close recent contacts they have had. It alerts those contacts, where necessary, and notifies them they need to self-isolate from 14 days since their last contact with the infected person

For more information, click here.

Employers can reduce the risk of co-workers having to self-isolate if a member of staff tests positive for coronavirus by following the COVID-19 Secure guidelines. You should encourage workers to heed any notifications to self-isolate and support them in self-isolation. For full workplace guidance for employers regarding Test and Trace, click here.

If your business falls into one of the below categories, you must get, print out and display a QR code on your property and encourage people to check in on arrival with the Test and Trace app.

  • Hospitality services including pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes
  • Tourism and leisure services, including hotels, museums, cinemas and amusement arcades
  • Close contact services including hairdressers, barbers, tailors and mobile businesses
  • Facilities provided by Local Authorities including community centres, libraries and village halls

To create your QR code and for more information, click here

What support is available for my business?

Government has put in place support packages for businesses to help them reopen following the coronavirus pandemic. For information of all the help available, please click here.

Cultural Development and Innovation Fund

Intended to support the recovery of Tees Valley based SMEs/sole traders operating within the culture sector by enabling them to make strategic step changes in business activity with a view to diversifying income streams, building resilience and safeguarding jobs. (Cultural Sector – those focused on the creation, delivery, curation or technical production of the following: Visual arts; Performing arts; Heritage; Film & TV; Music; Literature; and Combined Arts).

Grant support is available for those with well-developed plans for new ways of working which have been prompted by challenges to existing business models presented by the Covid-19 pandemic. These adaptations might include activity such as developing new products; realising new partnerships (including with the wider creative industries & other sectors); engaging with new markets and deploying new technologies. Proposals should be for interventions which could lead to sustained ways of working rather than interim solutions.

Two tiers of grants are available for eligible businesses to apply for:

  1. Grant of up to £10,000 (businesses with turnover of below circa £100,000) and
  2. Grant of up to £25,000 (businesses with a turnover of £100,000 or above)

Further information including an EOI can be accessed here.

Deadline for submission of Expressions of Interests (EOI) is Friday 30th October 2020.

Kickstart Scheme

The Department for Work and Pensions has launched a £2billion Kickstart Scheme which will put young people at the heart of the economic recovery by supporting the creation of six month paid work placements for young people aged 16-24 years of age. This is for any business across all sectors including the private, public and voluntary and community sectors.

For full details of the Kickstart Scheme please click here

Businesses that wish to employ 30 or more young people through the scheme can apply directly to the Government, for more information click here.

To support the many small and medium sized companies in the Tees Valley to access this support and create jobs, Mayor Houchen has pledged to act as a representative for any businesses who wish to offer less than 30 Job Placements.

In addition to acting as a representative for Tees Valley businesses the Tees Valley Combined Authority will also provide extended wrap around support for the young person to access skills training and support to ensure a positive progression once the Kickstart Job placement ends.

For further information, guidance and frequently asked questions, click here.

If you are an employer that wishes to engage with the Combined Authority to act as the representative, please click here.

Job Retention (Furlough) Scheme

This scheme has been extended for those who have previously furloughed employees before 30 June 2020, and you submitted a claim for this by 31 July 2020. For more on the recent changes brought about to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, click here.

30 November 2020 is the last day you can submit claims for periods ending on or before 31 October 2020. After this date, you will not be able to submit any further claims or add to existing claims. For more information on the scheme and eligibility, please click here.

Job Retention Bonus

This is a one-off £1,000 taxable payment to you as an employer for each eligible employee you furloughed and kept continuously employed until 31 January 2021. You may be eligible to apply but you cannot apply to claim for it until after 15 February 2021. For more information, please click here.

Statutory Sick Pay Scheme

You may be able to use the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme to claim back employees’ coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

This will repay employers up to two weeks of the Statutory Sick Pay paid to current or former employees if they have been sick from work with coronavirus.

To see if you are eligible and to apply, click here.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to access loans and other kinds of finance up to £5 million.

The government guarantees 80% of the finance to the lender and pays interest and any fees for the first 12 months.

You can apply for a loan if your business is based in the UK and has an annual turnover of up to £45 million.

Further details can be found on the British Business Bank website by clicking here.

A further support scheme, for firms with a turnover of more than £45 million, has also been launched. More details on how to apply can be found by clicking here.

Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan Scheme

This helps small and medium-sized businesses borrow between £2,000 and £50,000, up to a maximum of 25% of their turnover, if they have been impacted by the coronavirus. Government will guarantee 100% of the loan, with no fees or interest for the first 12 months. Loan terms will be up to six years.

Businesses cannot apply if they are already claiming under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, but they may transfer an existing CBILS loan by arranging it with their lender before 4 November 2020.

Businesses can apply now. See more information by clicking here.

Deferral of VAT Payments

Businesses who deferred VAT due from 20 March to 30 June 2020 now have the option to pay in smaller payments over a longer period.

Instead of paying the full amount by the end of March 2021, you can make smaller payments up to the end of March 2022, interest free.

You will need to opt-in to the scheme, and for those who do, this means that your VAT liabilities due between 20 March and 30 June 2020 do not need to be paid in full until the end of March 2022.

Those that can pay their deferred VAT can still do so by 31 March 2021.

If you are still unable to pay the VAT due and need more time, see the guidance about what to do if you cannot pay your tax bill on time you can also contact us by phoning: 0300 200 3835.

I am self-employed, what support is there for me?

The Self-Employed Income Support Scheme is being extended from November 1. The grant extension is for self-employed individuals who are currently eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and are actively continuing to trade, but are facing reduced demand due to coronavirus

For more information, click here.

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