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COVID-19 Business Toolkit

If you are specifically looking for help with finances please click this link: FINANCE HELP

As a small business creation team, we understand the pressures you are facing during these challenging and uncertain times.  Although the government guidance for employees, employers and businesses will remain the authoritative source of guidance for businesses and entrepreneurs (and being constantly updated/expanded based on queries being submitted to government by business groups), there is currently a great deal of other information/help circulating and this can be difficult to navigate and absorb.  So to help, we have collated what we think is a concise ‘Small Business Toolkit’.

This contains resources, guides and information which will be continually updated in the coming weeks — if there’s something you’d find useful and we haven’t provided it or you are offering help yourself then let us know and we can assess and update our network.


Staffordshire is set to move to ‘High’ alert level

Staffordshire is set to move from ‘Medium’ to the ‘High’ in the COVID-19 alert levels system.  The exact date of the move to high alert is yet to be confirmed, but it could be as early as this weekend.  Despite great efforts from residents and businesses to keep our county safe and open, cases continue to rise rapidly and we are now facing tighter restrictions.

The government’s three tier alerts are Medium, High and Very high.  The main difference between Medium and High is the additional laws on households mixing indoors.   The virus is spreading in Staffordshire largely through social contact, so this extra guidance will hopefully help reduce the rate of infection.

When Staffordshire moves into ‘High’, it means the following for business:

  • It is against the law for people to meet socially with friends and family indoors in any setting unless they live with them or have formed a support bubble with them. Businesses must ensure customers do not socially meet in their premises with people from outside of their household or support bubble.
  • Outdoors, must not meet in group of more than 6 people (including children of any age), which includes in pubs and restaurants, leisure and entertainment venues and places of worship.
  • People should aim to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible.
  • People should not visit relatives in care homes unless there are exceptional circumstances.

The measures will be reviewed every 14 days to consider whether they are still appropriate.

The rest of the ‘Medium’ restrictions continue to apply, which include:

  • certain businesses selling food or drink on their premises being required to close between 10pm and 5am.
  • businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive through. Orders have to have been made online or via phone.
  • collecting customer, visitor and staff data to support NHS Test and Trace

Full details of the government guidance can be found here 

What support is there for business when we go to ‘High’?

  • The new ‘JSS Open’ scheme – enhanced support from the Job Support Scheme which is particularly aimed at businesses in ‘High’ – Those businesses that can show an impact of Covid-19 on revenues but are not forced to close can get support to retain employees.  An example of how it works:
    • Employee must work at least 20% of their normal hours
    • Employer pays 4% (and NI and minimum pension contributions)
    • Government pays 49%
    • Pay falls by 27%

FIND OUT MORE about the changes to the Job Support Scheme 

  • New grant – The district and borough councils will have access to a new ‘Local Restrictions Support Grant’ to support businesses in ‘High’ areas which are not legally closed, but are severely impacted by the restrictions on socialising. The funding the district and borough councils will receive will be based on the number of hospitality, B&B and leisure businesses in their area. Depending on their rateable value,  businesses affected but not legally required to close could get grants of up £2,100 a month.  There will be smaller amounts available to businesses that do not fit into these categories.

FIND OUT MORE about the Local Restrictions Support Grant for ‘High’

See below for more sources of support



govWinter Recovery Plan

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced the government’s plans to support businesses and protect jobs over the coming winter as we all continue to tackle the spread of coronavirus. The new package includes:

·         a new Jobs Support Scheme that will start at the end of the Job Retention Scheme (a.k.a.furlough scheme) at the end of October  – this is to protect returning workers. The scheme will run for six months. Employers will continue to pay the wages for staff for the hours worked, but for the hours not worked, the government and the employer will each pay one third of their equivalent salary.  Employees must be working at least 33% of their usual hours to qualify for government support. JOB SUPPORT SCHEME FACTSHEET

·         extending the Self Employment Income Support Scheme –  A grant will be provided to those who are currently eligible for SEISS and are continuing to trade but face reduced demand due to Covid-19.  The initial lump sum will cover three months’ worth of profits (November to January) up to a total of £1,875. A second grant will be available to cover the period from February 2021 to the end of April.  SEISS GRANT EXTENSION FACTSHEET

·         extension of 15% VAT cut for hospitality and tourism sectors and deferred VAT bills until March  – which can now be paid in smaller instalments rather than one lump sum. Self-assessment taxpayers who deferred payments from July 2020 to January 2021 will now not need to be pay until January 2022.

·         help for businesses in repaying government-backed loans and extension of deadline – Those who took out a Bounce Back Loan or a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan  can now extend the loan from six years to ten to cut monthly repayments. The deadline for applications for government loans will be extended until the end of November.



This superb resource provides Employment & Self-Employment Coronavirus Help – Your rights as an employee, self-employed etc.

It clearly explains (with videos) what help the Government are offering who is and isn’t eligible, how to apply and new measures being campaigned for.  Now with 7 constantly updated guides:

Coronavirus employees’ help, incl furloughing rights

Coronavirus self-employed & small ltd co help, incl income scheme – Self-Employment Income Support now LIVE (Wed) – three key tips, incl if you’re turned down.

Coronavirus finance & bills help, incl mortgages, energy & TV

Coronavirus universal credit & benefits, what are you due?

Coronavirus travel rights, incl refunds & insurance

Coronavirus life in lockdown, incl MOTs, food & entertainment

Coronavirus financial FAQs, commonly asked Q&As

 Permanently updated so worth rechecking regularly.


Mind Tools is one of the world’s most popular digital, on-demand career, business and management learning solutions, helping more than 24 million1 people each year.

This fantastic Business Support Pack includes:

  • working from home effectively;
  • best practice in stress/crisis situations;
  • mental health & self care;
  • Strategy, preparedness & mitigation;
  • staying informed – spotting real and fake news;
  • thinking critically & making effective decisions

1 Source: Google Analytics Annual User Count, based on average performance for years 2017 to 2019. Count of users deduped by GA User ID

Where to find other useful Guidance

  • Entrepreneurs can call the BEIS business support helpline or the HMRC Covid-19 helpline.
  • Enterprise Nation is collating private-sector support (e.g. the $100m Facebook small business grants programme), offering support via live chat and running a ‘Pay it Forward‘ fundraising campaign for small businesses with Crowdfunder.
  • Former Number 10 business advisor Jimmy McLoughlin is publishing daily newsletters called ‘Navigating the business of Coronavirus’ featuring the latest government guidance, as well as insight, resources and inspiration.
  • The Prince’s Trust and NatWest have launched an Enterprise Relief Fund to help 18-30-year olds who are self-employed and/or running their own business.
  • Forward Partners has launched ‘Forward Advances‘, a revenue-based finance solution for startups
  • Innovate UK has announced £20m of grant funding for businesses to help build UK resilience
  • Eze Vidra (Reimagine Ventures) has compiled alternative startup job boards from several countries, including a UK list created by David Fogel (ADV)
  • Look here for information on CRAFT business support (Creatives)

What advice is there for a charity?

Use resources such as those from Charity Bank


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