secretary@essexlibdems.org.uk
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Chelmsford City Council doing all that they can to support the vulnerable and also local businesses

April 7, 2020 12:37 PM
Originally published by Chelmsford Liberal Democrats

Chelmsford City Council logo (Chelmsford City Council)Below is an open letter written by the Council's Liberal Democrat Leader Stephen Robinson and its Chief Executive Nick Eveleigh.

Coronavirus: Letter to Chelmsford businesses

Dear Chelmsford business,

We wanted to let you know that Chelmsford City Council is backing Chelmsford businesses and recognises the great challenges you face.

We appreciate that this is a very difficult period for you and we want to reassure all businesses that we are working closely with our partners, both local and national, to provide advice, guidance and targeted support to ensure that our businesses get the right help at the right time.

At Chelmsford City Council we are:

  • suspending business rate direct debits so that no payment is taken from businesses that benefit from the 12-month business rates holiday announced by the government
  • applying the 100% discount for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses for 12-months automatically and will write to you shortly with a revised bill.
  • speaking to the Chelmsford Business Board and engaging with Chelmsford businesses and business networks about the support needed and understanding how we can facilitate that support.
  • issuing parking dispensations to park within Chelmsford, to any food delivery service.
  • sending regular communications to our businesses via e-bulletins and ensuring our webpages are up-to-date so that you receive timely business support information and advice.

We have received further guidance on the Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund available for some businesses, announced by the Government. We are working as quickly as possible to set up processes to make these grants available.

The business advice service, delivered in partnership with Colbea, is now also available online. To book a slot visit colbea.co.uk/business-advice-chelmsford/

In addition, the government has announced a number of measures to support local businesses across the country.

This is what the Government is doing:

  • HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, enabling businesses to continue paying part of their employees' salary for those employees who would otherwise have been laid off.
  • The Government have deferred VAT and Income Tax payments.
  • Statutory Sick Pay will be available from day one, and if your business employs fewer than 250 people, the Statutory Sick Pay will be refunded in full by the government.
  • A new Business Interruption Loan Scheme delivered by the British Business Bank will support small and medium sized business to access bank lending and overdrafts. The scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value.
  • The Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies under the new COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility.
  • Support for businesses with outstanding tax liabilities can call the HMRC's dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559 and may be eligible to receive support through HMRC's Time To Pay service.

The situation is constantly changing, with new advice and guidance being issued daily. Please do regularly check this page for the most up-to-date information, guidance and support. Please also share the link with your colleagues, networks and contacts.

We know that the impact of COVID-19 will be enormous for many of our businesses. We will need to work together to get through this and to ensure our business community is able to recover together. Chelmsford's business community has always stood out for being strong, resilient, and diverse; today these traits are more important than ever.

We are here to support you as much as we can.

Please do make contact with our Business Rates Team if we can help in any way (business.rates@chelmsford.gov.uk / 01245 606805).

With very best wishes,

Stephen Robinson, Leader of the Council

Nick Eveleigh, Chief Executive

Thursday 26 March 2020.