What’s New For Small Businesses This Week? – 20/11/2020

What’s New For Small Businesses This Week? – 20/11/2020

Some good news for businesses with a potential vaccine for Coronavirus only weeks away and the additional support being offered at a local level by companies like SAGE. Here is an at a glance look at the news you need to know:

  • COVID-19 Vaccine potentially only weeks away
  • £1.4m support package for businesses in North of Tyne
  • £2m support package for businesses in Leeds
  • Guidance for Taxi and Private Hire Vehicles
  • £2.2B in government grants for small businesses

Potential COVID-19 Vaccine coming soon

Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that a mass vaccination programme for COVID-19 is potentially only weeks away. With several promising vaccines against Coronavirus being secured by the UK government, this is some welcome news for businesses looking to bounce back in 2021 after a challenging 2020. A vaccine will play a crucial role in the road to recovery for businesses across the UK.

Sage pledges £1.4m programme to help the North East’s small businesses build back stronger

The Small Business Growth Programme was announced by popular accounting software company Sage. The £1.4 million Covid recovery package is set to build on the North of Tyne’s digital growth programme with the intention to provide long-term support for micro and small businesses across the region, it will include:

  • Supporting businesses improve their digital readiness and adopt technology
  • Webinars to businesses covering financial and digital advice and to help plan for the year ahead
  • 10,000 extended free trials of Sage Accounting software

Businesses can sign up to the Sage small business growth programme here, this will also give them access to the five webinars starting in January 2021 to cover the “Financial and Digital Foundations” to help businesses. The programme is aimed at a small business with 0-9 employees or those with a business idea that you want to start.

£2m funding package launched to support 500 SMEs across Leeds

The £2m Strategic Growth Programme has been made to support more than 500 SMEs that have been trading for more than 3 years across the Leeds City Region.

Joining the Strategic Growth Programme is intended to provide business owners with the support required to grow your businesses. The following is what you can expect from the programme:

  • Experienced team of Strategic Growth Managers that understand SME’s growth challenges and how to develop effective plans for growth
  • Use of digital assessment tool (GROWTHmapper) to measure the alignment on key business growth areas
  • A comprehensive assessment to examine the ‘Ambition, Capacity and Opportunity’ of your company’s potential for growth
  • Custom Growth Specification document detailing your needs and key actions to grow your business
  • One to one bespoke growth mentoring and account management from our Strategic Growth Managers
  • Access to a number of funded Coaching days delivered by a dedicated external Growth Coach to address your growth actions
  • Measurement of progress via access to a second GROWTHmapper Evolution assessment at the end of the support to help update and enhance your growth specification as you exit the support (subject to support offered)
  • The opportunity to apply for additional grant schemes

For further information and to apply, visit the Strategic Growth Programme.

Guidance: Coronavirus (COVID-19): taxis and PHVs

The government have published guidance for Taxi and private hire vehicles (PHVs) drivers and operators to operate safely during the national lockdown.

For drivers:

Drivers may accept passengers travelling for any reason, however you should remind them of the rules that state;

Before a passenger enters your vehicle, you should ask if they have:

  • coronavirus symptoms – a fever, new cough or loss of smell or taste
  • had a positive coronavirus test in the last 10 days

You should refuse service if they have.

You should wash or sanitise your hands before and after you come into contact with a passenger or their luggage.

You must continue to provide support to disabled passengers to safely enter and exit your vehicle. You must continue to assist disabled passengers with their luggage and mobility equipment.

Self-employed drivers must conduct a risk assessment to understand the risks and what you can do about them. See the government guidelines for vehicles and being COVID-19 Safe here.

In the vehicle

Passengers must wear a face covering in a taxi or PHV, unless they are exempt. You can refuse to take a passenger if they are not wearing a face covering and they are not exempt. Passengers do not have to provide proof that they are exempt.

Drivers do not have to wear a facemask. Your licensing authority or operator may ask you to wear a face covering. You should follow their guidance if it does not affect your ability to drive safely.

You should ask passengers to sit as far from you as possible or put a mark where you would like them to sit. Where possible they should not sit in the front of the vehicle.

Open windows when carrying passengers and/or use the car’s vents to bring in fresh air from outside. You should not use the recirculated air option for the car’s ventilation system when carrying passengers.

Preparing your vehicle for the next passenger

Between every journey you should:

  • clean those parts of your vehicle that you or passengers may have touched, for example door handles, payment devices, protective screens, buttons, seats
  • open doors / windows to ventilate the car for 5 minutes
  • wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser

If you have coronavirus symptoms or have been told to self-isolate

You should not work if you have coronavirus symptoms or you have been told to self-isolate. If you have coronavirus symptoms you should get a test as soon as possible. You should stay at home until you get the result.

Businesses in England to receive £2.2 billion to see them through national restrictions

The government have announced £2.2 billion in grants to support small businesses in England during the second national lockdown. The grants will come in 2 forms. The first will provide support for businesses that are forced to close whilst the second will be provided to businesses at the discretion of the local authority.

The Local Restrictions Support Grants, for businesses which have had to close will provide the following support:

  • business owners will receive £1,334 per 4 weeks if they have a rateable value below £15,000
  • they will receive £2,000 per 4 weeks if they have a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • they will receive £3,000 per 4 weeks if they have a rateable value above £51,000

Businesses can apply for the discretionary Additional Restrictions Grant from their local councils, you can find your local council here: https://www.gov.uk/find-local-council

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