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COVID-19 - Business Update 02/10/2020

Published: Saturday, 3rd October 2020

The latest COVID-19 Southend business update for 2nd October 2020.


Southend-on-Sea Borough Council is keen to maintain an open dialog with businesses, so that we can work together to keep Southend open. On 7 October, from 11:30am – 12:30pm, we will be hosting an open door session where representatives from Public Health, Southend Council and the Police will be available to answer questions. Please click here to book a place and the link will be sent to you to enable you to access the meeting.

In addition, if you have any specific questions then please contact the Economic Development team on 01702 215022 or email us. They will be able to act as a conduit to find the right person for you to speak to or answer your question directly.

Financial support for those self-isolating

The Test and Trace Support Payment has been introduced to help people on a means-tested benefit and a low income, who are advised by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate but who are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result. The scheme runs from 28 September 2020. If you have staff who will qualify for this payment as they have been asked to self-isolate and you are unable to pay them during this period, please share this link with them: Financial support for those self-isolating

Please note: payments will not be made straights away although the form can now be completed. Payments will be backdated and start to be made by 12 October.

Financial support for businesses during COVID-19

The Government has made a range of support measures available to businesses which are suffering hardship as a result of COVID. More information about these measures can be found by clicking here.

Self-Isolation and Testing

We are aware of some cases where individuals are not self-isolating, even though they have been in contact with someone who has had a confirmed case of COVID-19. We need to stress the importance of self-isolation in these situations. Please do not wait to be contacted by the test and trace teams if you know you have been in contact with a confirmed case you must self-isolate with immediate effect.

Individuals should not go for a test unless they have symptoms or have been advised to do so. We have been made aware of situations where employers are asking employees to get a test even though they have no symptoms, to provide evidence that they can come back into work.  Due to the incubation period of the virus, it is essential that individuals self-isolate for the correct period of time and a test does not over-rule this requirement. Click here for more details.

  • If you have symptoms or test positive – self-isolate for at least 10 days
  • If you live with someone who has symptoms or has tested positive – self-isolate for 14 days
  • If you have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app, self-isolate for 14 days.

Tests must be booked by either ringing 119 or through the website

Job Support Scheme

The Job Support Scheme has taken over from the Furlough Scheme which finished at the end of September. It is designed to protect viable jobs in businesses which are facing lower demand over the winter months due to COVID-19. The company will continue to pay its employee for time worked but the burden of hours not worked will be split between the employer and the Government (through wage support) and the employee (through a wage reduction), meaning the employee will keep their job.

For every hour not worked by the employee, both the Government and employer will pay a third each of the usual hourly wage for that employee. The Government contribution will be capped at £697.92 a month.

The scheme will open on 1 November 2020 and run for 6 months, until April 2021. Further guidance will be published shortly but to access a short fact sheet, please click here

Self Employed Income Support Scheme

The SEISS Grant Extension provides critical support to the self-employed. The grant will be limited to self-employed individuals who are currently eligible for the SEISS and are actively continuing to trade but are facing reduced demand due to COVID-19.

Click here for more information

The Extension of the temporary VAT reduced rate for hospitality and tourism

To continue supporting the cashflow and viability of over 150,000 UK businesses and to protect 2.4 million jobs, the government is extending the temporary reduced rate of VAT (5%) from 12 January to 31 March 2021. This will continue to apply to supplies of food and non-alcoholic drinks from restaurants, pubs, bars, cafés and similar premises; supplies of accommodation and admission to attractions across the UK. Click here for more information

Extension of access to finance schemes

The government is extending four temporary loan schemes, which have helped over a million businesses to date, to 30 November 2020 for new applications:

  • Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS)
  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
  • Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) 
  • Future Fund

Support also continues through the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility which will remain open until 22 March 2021. Where a company has exhausted all other options and is of strategic importance to the UK, the government may also consider providing bespoke financial support.

  • Pay as you Grow - The government will give all businesses that borrowed under the BBLS the option to repay their loan over a period of up to ten years. This will reduce their average monthly repayments on the loan by almost half.
  • CBILS loan extension – The government intends to allow CBILS lenders to extend the term of a loan up to ten years, providing additional flexibility for UK-based SMEs who may otherwise be unable to repay their loans.
  • VAT deferral ‘New Payment Scheme’ – The government will give businesses which deferred VAT due in March to June 2020 the option to spread their payments over the financial year 2021-2022. 
  • Enhanced Time to Pay for Self-Assessment taxpayers – The government will give the self-employed and other taxpayers more time to pay taxes due in January 2021, building on the Self-Assessment deferral provided in July 2020.

For more information on all of these schemes please click here to view the Winter Economy Plan – policy paper.