What is BedfordBID doing to help during the Coronavirus crisis?

Published on 14 April 2020


Promotion and publicity 

BedfordBID initially launched the Love Bedford ‘Open for Business’ campaign asking people to shop local and support our town centre business. This was widely shared on Social Media. As advice from Government changed, we launched the #OnlineForBusiness to help those who were still “delivering" a service.

Business updates 

If you would like any updates made to your business directory listing on www.lovebedford.co.uk to reflect changes to your operation during this time, please email info@lovebedford.co.uk with information. Updates can also be shared across our social media platforms to audiences.

Local Advice

Some commercial insurance policies stipulate that premises should be accessed at specified intervals, for example, once every 30 days. If you have closed your business premises, please check your insurance policy or speak to your broker/insurer to check.

Finding your way with KSK

Finding your way through the complicated business/employee arrangements being updated daily by the Government and applying them to your circumstances is a job for experts.

KSK KeenShayKeens is pulling together all that information on the company’s website ksk.co.uk

Following the Government's announcements, their office on the corner of St Cuthbert’s was closed, however all work is continuing as normal and all staff are contactable by telephone (01234 301000) and email (bedford@ksk.co.uk).

Soaring advice from Alex

Businesses trying to make sense of the information about government help and issues like statutory sick pay can seek advice from town centre business Soaring Falcon Accountancy. The team are featured the latest BedfordBID business magazine.

There are some situations where tenants, leaseholders and licensees have had difficulty in accessing grants because their business rates are included and ‘bundled’ within their rent, lease or licence fees.

Soaring Falcon Accountancy have had discussions with a number of Councils when claims have been denied or you think you’re not eligible.

Small companies should all apply - please take a look at your local Council’s website to see how you can apply. For Bedford Borough Council, please visit http://www.bedford.gov.uk/covid19business

If your business in Bedford Borough is not currently in receipt of small business rates relief (SBRR) but you think you should be, please follow these steps:

1.Obtain your Business Rates Account Number which starts 16. If you do not have a bill or correspondence with this, please email localtaxation@bedford.gov.uk to obtain

2.Complete the form available here attaching your rent / lease / licence agreement. You should also include your public liability insurance (PLI) advice which is in your name when you commenced trading and that you are a standalone company who rented space in a larger building.

If, following the previous steps, your application is declined, contact the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) here who can review and change your premises to a non-domestic rating.

Soaring Falcon Accountancy have some useful advice on their website and invite you to get in contact with them if you need any further advice or support.

£££ Tips from Utilitrack

Our town centre utility advisors, who are expert negotiators suggest these tips to businesses:

1.If you have a bill you can’t pay - speak to the supplier and ask for payment plan

2.Submit monthly meter readings so you are paying ONLY for what you are using - not what you were using when fully open/functioning.

3.If cash flow permits, come OFF Direct Debit and change to variable payments for same reason as 2

Any further advice, speak to Utilitrack on Tel 01234 267883 or go to www.utilitrack.co.uk

Getting ready to bounce forward with Cranfield University’s Business Growth Programme (BGP)

Take some advice from experts at Cranfield University with free virtual workshops and drop-in clinics with business counsellors to help SMEs triage and stabilise their organisations at www.bgpresponseprogramme.co.uk

Bedford Borough Council Support for Local Businesses

Local businesses can apply for a business support grant via the Council’s website if they meet the Government’s qualifying criteria.

The Government has announced a range of grant funding for certain businesses affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Bedford Borough Council has set up an online form, enabling local businesses to apply for this money.

To qualify the business must occupy a business property that has a rateable value of less than £51,000 and either:

  • Receive small business rate relief or rural rate relief; or
  • Be a retail, hospitality or leisure business

The support for businesses also includes a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses, as well as the small business grant funding for those who receive small business rate relief or rural rate relief; and grant funding for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value under £51,000.

Mayor Dave Hodgson said “We know that businesses across the country are struggling, and we want to make it as easy as possible for businesses in our Borough to access the support that the Government is providing. We have already had nearly 100 businesses apply for funding, and we would encourage every single business that is entitled to this support to get in touch using the form on our website.”

“Any business having difficulty paying their business rates bill should contact the Council’s Business Rates team for further advice”.

Further information and the form can be accessed at www.bedford.gov.uk/covid19business

National Information

Extra protection for businesses with ban on evictions for commercial tenants who miss rent payments

  • Commercial tenants unable to pay rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction
  • Measures support ongoing conversations between landlords and tenants about voluntary arrangements
  • Latest measure builds on the unprecedented package of support for businesses already announced

Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction, the government has announced.

Many landlords and tenants are already having conversations and reaching voluntary arrangements about rental payments due shortly but the government recognises businesses struggling with their cashflow due to coronavirus remain worried about eviction.

These measures, included in the emergency Coronavirus Bill currently going through Parliament, will mean no business will be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment in the next 3 months.

This builds on the unprecedented package of support announced for businesses who are affected by coronavirus.

As commercial tenants will still be liable for the rent after this period, the government is also actively monitoring the impact on commercial landlords’ cash flow and continues to be in dialogue with them.

Further information can be found here.

 

 

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