COVID-19 Business Update – 2 July 2020
Welcome back to our Weekly Update. We hope you and your family are safe and doing well. Read on for this week’s update.
Leicester on Lockdown to Curb COVID-19 Outbreak
UK’s COVID-19 Alert Level moved to Level 3 last week, which means the virus is now “in general circulation” and there could be a “gradual relaxation of restrictions,” according to the Department of Health. However, the government has imposed a lockdown on Leicester, where there is a much higher COVID-19 infection rate than anywhere else in the UK. This marks the government’s first major attempt to control an outbreak with local rather than national measures.
We are starting to see the gradual easing of national lockdown requirements, with non-essential shops now open and further relaxation of restrictions due on July 4. However, the planned opening of restaurants, pubs, cafes, hairdressers, and cinemas across England from Saturday will also be put on hold in the East Midlands.
If your business is permitted to open and you need further guidance on how to operate safely after a period of inaction, you can drop us an email. Also, feel free to get in touch with us if you need personalised business advice, especially around your business finances.
Growth During a Recession
The battle against COVID-19 has no doubt had an impact on global financial markets. As a result, consumers are tightening their belts, and general demand is falling. These signs indicate that the next economic downturn may just be right around the corner.
Throughout history, we have seen that recessions can be brutal especially for small businesses. However, it is possible to grow a stronger business during a recession, and we’re here to help. In this Harvard Business Review article, they list four steps to capitalise on the problems encountered by your rivals during tough economic conditions. These are:
- Invest heavily in research and development.
- Spend some time learning about the customers of your weakest competitors.
- Identify your most critical suppliers and distributors.
- Think carefully about your talent needs – now could be a good time to hire!.
If you want to talk about your specific situation, please get in touch with us and we’ll help you work out a strategic plan to build a successful future-proof business.
What Funding is Available for your Business?
To cover the impact of the crisis, there are grants made available by the government such as the £1.25b Future Fund and R&D rescue package for fast-growth businesses and smaller businesses with a Research & Development focus. The UK government has recently expanded this rescue package for start-ups to include those whose parent companies are based abroad.
There is also the Small Business Grant Fund, which is a one-off grant of £10,000 that supports small businesses that pay little or no business rates as a result of small business rate relief (SBBR), rural rate relief (RRR), and tapered relief.
If your business has been severely hit by COVID-19 and you need more support, the government is giving small- and medium-sized businesses access to financial support through various initiatives such as the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), where you can get up to £50,000 no-interest loans for the first 12 months, and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, which offers a maximum loan of £5 million made available through commercial banks.
You can also claim for 80% of your employee’s wages plus any employer National Insurance and pension contributions if you have put them on furlough because of COVID-19 under the Job Retention Scheme, which has been recently extended until the end of October. You can check your eligibility here.
With all the financial assistance schemes available for businesses, it can be difficult to assess which one is suitable for your business. Let us help you evaluate your options.
Please feel free to get in touch with us for more personalised business advice tailored to your situation.