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22nd April 2020

COVID-19 update from Wiltshire Council

COVID-19 UPDATE – Tuesday 21 April 2020 from Wiltshire Council

Good evening

Please see the latest update regarding COVID-19.

Business Support

Grant schemes administered by the Council
So far, we have received over 6,000 forms which are currently being assessed and over £50 million has been cleared for payment to local businesses. Over 4,300 businesses have received a grant.

About 3000 eligible businesses have not yet applied for their grant – this represents approximately a third of our estimated number of eligible businesses. We have directly contacted, by either email/telephone, about 1,000 of these eligible businesses to encourage them to apply for the support that is available to them. The grant is not a loan so it does not need to be paid back.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The online service to claim 80% of wages costs, up to £2,500 per month, for furloughed staff (employees who have been asked to stop working but have not been made redundant) opened yesterday. Employers who apply by Wednesday 22 April 2020 will receive their money before the end of the month.

This is a temporary scheme in place for 4 months starting from 1 March 2020, but it may be extended if necessary and employers can use this scheme anytime during this period. It is designed to help employers whose operations have been severely affected by coronavirus to retain their employees and protect the UK economy. All employers are eligible to claim under the scheme.

Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme

This new government-backed loan scheme for large businesses affected by coronavirus has now been launched.

All eligible businesses with a turnover of more than £45 million per year will now be able to apply for up to £25 million of finance. Firms with a turnover of more than £250 million will be able to apply for up to £50 million of finance.

The scheme will be available through a series of accredited lenders. The Government will provide lenders with an 80% guarantee on individual loans. This will give banks the confidence to lend to many more businesses which are impacted by coronavirus. Find out more about the scheme and how to apply https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-the-coronavirus-large-business-interruption-loan-scheme

Support package for innovative firms hit by coronavirus
The Government has announced a new £1.25 billion coronavirus package to protect firms driving innovation in the UK. The targeted and tailored help aims to ensure some of the most dynamic sectors, ranging from tech to life sciences, are protected and can continue to develop innovative new products and help the UK economy grow.
The package includes a £500 million investment fund for high-growth companies impacted by COVID-19, called the ‘Future Fund’, made up of funding from the Government and the private sector. Launching in May, the fund will provide UK-based companies with between £125,000 and £5 million from the Government, with private investors at least matching the Government commitment.
SMEs focusing on research and development will also benefit from £750 million of grants and loans. Initially open until the end of September 2020, the scheme will be available through Innovate UK’s grants and loan scheme.
Innovate UK will accelerate up to £200 million of grant and loan payments for its 2,500 existing Innovate UK customers on an opt-in basis. An extra £550 million will also be made available to increase support for existing customers and £175,000 of support will be offered to around 1,200 firms not currently in receipt of Innovate UK funding. The first payments will be made by mid-May 2020.
Take Extra Care, keep roads safe and protect the NHS
In partnership with Road Safety GB and the THINK! campaign, we’re encouraging all road users to Take Extra Care when making essential journeys and help reduce the strain on the emergency services.
Social distancing has significantly reduced the number of vehicles on the road, but many cars and motorcycles are taking advantage of this and driving at excessive speeds, which is why we’re stressing to all road users – drivers, motorcyclists and cyclists – the importance of taking extra care while making essential journeys.
Many road accidents require police attendance, the care of paramedics and hospital visits – all of which need to be reduced as much as possible during this time.
We can all take small steps to make the roads safer while making essential journeys, including:
• Always drive at an appropriate speed
• Always wear a seatbelt
• Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs
• Never use a mobile phone behind the wheel
Please stay safe on Wiltshire’s roads and Take Extra Care!
Regards

Cllr Philip Whitehead

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