Our businesses are vitally important to our town. The government and Middlesbrough Council are working together to support businesses through this challenging time. To help you overcome this situation we have a range of practical information below.
New NHS COVID-19 app
Following a successful pilot, the government will be releasing an NHS COVID-19 app for mass use on Thursday 24 September. The app will be a critical enhancement of NHS Test and Trace in England and will allow us all to know quicker if we’re at risk of the virus, so we can take action, fast, to protect our communities and the ones we love.
The app will provide users with local risk information, alert them if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, and very importantly has a built-in QR scanner to check-in at venues.
The app is a vital part of the overall NHS Test and Trace service, and it is an important new way to control the spread of the virus. But to make it a success, we need businesses and venues across Middlesbrough who will require QR code posters to start generating and displaying NHS QR code posters, so visitors and customers can start checking in safely and securely to those settings from Thursday 24 September.
The more people who use the app, the better it will work – and it will help us get ahead of the virus, preventing a second wave and further disruption to the economy.
You can download:
Middlesbrough Council supports your business
All business grant schemes are now closed.
Business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure
Our retail, hospitality and leisure businesses are vitally important to Middlesbrough and the UK economy. The government has announced these businesses will be supported with a 100% retail rates relief discount for the next 12 months.
If the scheme applies to you, you should get a letter from us. You will also get a revised bill. This means that your business will not need to make any business rates payments during the financial year 2020/2021. Please do not pay anything in the meantime.
Support from Middlesbrough Community Learning
During this time of uncertainty and opportunity, Middlesbrough Community Learning is reaching out to local businesses throughout the Tees Valley to offer advice and support.
You can get in touch for information and advice on how they can help you to identify funding and training available for your staff. They can offer tailored resources with access to online training in many areas, and also signposting to partner organisations for additional support.
Their current offer includes:
- apprenticeships for new and current staff (including furloughed)
- Functional Skills in Maths, English, and ICT
- everyday computing, including Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Google Docs
- ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) and Ways to Work
- a suite of free online courses, including stress management, first aid, risk assessments, mental health awareness, safeguarding, health and safety, and more
- Community Learning, for family learning and support into work
Call Kevin Sedgwick on 07825 203214 or Diane O’Connell on 07971 351854 to find out more about how Middlesbrough Community Learning can help you move forward.
Middlesbrough Community Learning also offers support for unemployed residents of all ages via the Routes to Work and Youth Employment Initiative programmes.
Volunteering schemes continue to support the work of Middlesbrough Council and its partners, offering valuable work experience while allowing residents to provide the support that makes us stronger together.
Government support available
Middlesbrough businesses have more support from government to help you. Below is a list of other support available which you can find out more about on the government’s business support website:
- The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is now open for applications
- Tech start-up and innovation businesses will be able to benefit from new funding from the Treasury
- Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (SMEs) – please note this deadline has been extended – find more about the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
- Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme – find more about the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme
- Small businesses affected by coronavirus can apply for Bounce Back Loans between £2,000 and £50,000 with a 100% guarantee
- Self Employment Income Support Scheme – if you need help now find out about Universal Credit and other support which may be available to you
- Statutory Sick Pay rebate – the online system to claim the rebate is live now
- Support for businesses paying tax
- COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility
- Business Rates holiday for nurseries
- VAT deferral
- Deferral of self-assessment payment
- Guidance about precautions to take when returning to work
HMRC are contacting people who may be eligible for the government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) to explain how to apply and what they need to prepare before they make a claim.
SEISS is a temporary scheme for self-employed people or those in a partnership whose business has been affected by coronavirus. Those eligible will be able to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their average trading profits up to a maximum of £7,500 (equivalent to three months’ profits) in a single instalment.
Customers are eligible if their business has been adversely affected by coronavirus, they traded in 2019-20, intend to continue trading, and they:
- Earn at least half of their income through self-employment;
- Have trading profits of no more than £50,000 per year; and
- Traded in the tax year 2018 to 2019 and submitted their Self Assessment tax return on or before 23 April 2020 for that year.
The claim service opens on Wednesday 13 May, with payments reaching bank accounts by 25 May, or six working days after the claim is made.
HMRC is using information that customers have provided in their 2018-19 tax return – and returns for 2016-17 and 2017-18 where needed – to determine their eligibility, and contacting customers who may be eligible via email, SMS (text), or letter. They also have an online checker so customers can check their eligibility for themselves, as well as getting a date for when they can apply.
If someone isn’t eligible for the scheme, HMRC will help them understand why they are not eligible, and offer advice about other support that might be available to them such as: income tax deferrals, rental support, Universal Credit, access to mortgage holidays, and the various business support schemes the government has introduced to protect businesses.
24/7 support from the Tees Valley Business Support Line
Help for businesses is available from the Tees Valley Business Support Line which was established by the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority. The support line operates 24 hours, 7 days a week and can provide specific advice to businesses across the region.
The service can signpost you other organisations and support to give your business relevant advice.
If you own a business, are an employer, or are self-employed, you can get in touch with the Tees Valley Business Support Line on 01642 662 777 or email email@example.com.
Working safely during coronavirus
The government has produced guidance to help employers, employees, and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic. It has been updated to reflect industry feedback, as well as guidance on Test & Trace, safer travel, and managing security risks.
These 8 guides cover a range of different types of work:
- Construction and other outdoor work
- Factories, plants and warehouses
- Labs and research facilities
- Offices and contact centres
- Other people’s homes
- Restaurants offering takeaway or delivery
- Shops and branches
Read the government guidance now. You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep people safe.
Can my business help?
If your company manufactures ventilators or if you can help in their production contact the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The secondment of skilled workers for this purpose may be helpful. If you can help please call the BEIS Business Support helpline on 0300 456 3565 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you have space? If you can offer manufacturing and warehouse space, are within the medical supply chain, can support deliveries, or any other sector of strategic importance to the coronavirus response please contact email@example.com.
The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is looking for rapid sanitising technology to speed up the time it takes to clean ambulances to help in the national effort against Coronavirus and save lives. Email Tees Valley Combined Authority if you can help firstname.lastname@example.org.