Update – working to support local businesses in response to Coronavirus pandemic
Published on 20th March 2020
The council welcomes the latest financial measures from government to help local businesses, and is working hard to award the additional retail discounts as announced in the budget.
Letters confirming the discount have already been issued to 300 businesses this week, and more work is being carried out to identify the additional businesses that will qualify as a result of the more recent announcements.
The government has also revealed plans for new grants of £10,000 and £25,000, and the council is seeking further information on how these grants will be allocated
Cllr Steve Jordan, leader of the council, says: “We’re currently in the process of identifying businesses that qualify for the latest grants. Once the finer details and the funding becomes available we will pay it to the qualifying businesses as swiftly as possible.
“We will continue to work with our partners to ensure local businesses get the financial support they need, and keep impacts on Cheltenham under review.”
For more information on new retail business rate relief, please visit the council’s website: https://www.cheltenham.gov.uk/businessrates.
HMRC have launched a helpline for help businesses concerned about paying their tax due to coronavirus.
The Federation of Small Businesses has issued urgent advice to all its members – and other interested small businesses – about how to deal with the current Covid-19 virus to try to help reduce the risk of major disruption to local SMEs. The advice includes information about business insurance, the FSB's own health and medical service and the importance to all SMEs of business continuity plans. Visit their website for full details.
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The Municipal Offices currently remains open for our customers though the council politely requests that members of the public avoid any unnecessary calls or visits to council offices, if they are able to access the information they need online at www.cheltenham.gov.uk.
There are a range of online tools which can help people with issues. Customers can also go online to manage their council tax, business rates, housing benefit and council tax support accounts.
Key services are being re-prioritised to focus on vital issues including homelessness, environmental health and benefit payments.
To ensure the council is fully equipped to support its communities and the most vulnerable, it is working at a strategic level with its multi-agency partners including the NHS, public health, police and partner councils, through the Local Resilience Forum, to ensure we are best placed to provide to support over the coming weeks and months.
Due to the need to refocus priorities, some changes have been made to some meetings and events. Planning committee (19 March) and Overview and Scrutiny (30 March) have been postponed. Shopmobility is currently closed. The decision has also been taken to cancel a number of local events, such as the Midsummer Fiesta, VE day activities, Children’s Festival and Cycling Festival. This is to ensure that the council is best placed to support local communities over the coming months.
The council will continue to review the situation, with government guidance and the public can stay informed using the council’s website and social media channels.