Support for business

Updated 12.08.20

We understand this is an incredibly tough time for all our businesses especially those who have had to remain closed following the government’s intervention because of rising cases in the borough.

We share the concerns and frustrations of those businesses who have had to remain closed but it’s important that we get the virus under control. We are continually lobbying government for extra funding and help.

We are offering as much support as we can to all businesses within the resources we have available. Sadly, the Council is also facing extremely challenging times and is facing a significant shortfall in funding without further government support.

Here’s our public statement on our efforts to lobby for more support for our businesses.

Why some businesses in Blackburn with Darwen had to remain closed

The restrictions in place are due to government legislation and guidance – the Council has not closed premises, this a measure (imposed by government) to try to contain the escalation in the number of Covid cases in the borough.

Financial support available for businesses affected by the closures

We understand the concerns of our businesses and traders and we are doing what we can to provide support within the resources that have been available to us by government; we have also offered flexibility to businesses in making their repayments of amounts owed to the Council in these difficult times.

  • The Government has provided funding for businesses who are liable for Business Rates and who are either;
    • in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief (which attracted a grant payment of £10,000) and
    • for businesses who operate in the Retail Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure industry (who have a rateable value on their premises of less than £51,000) (dependant on this value they have received either £10,000 or £25,000)

The Council has administered the payment of these grants on behalf of the government in line with the strict eligibility criteria they set out. The Council has distributed almost £40 million of these grants over the last 3 months to businesses across the borough.

  • The Government has also provided funding to the Council to support those businesses who did not qualify for the above grants, albeit a much lower amount. A total of £2.2 million was provided to the Council to distribute as Discretionary Grants which opened to applications at the start of June and closed on 14th June. Successful applicants have received grants of between £1,000 and £25,000.
  • The Government has stated that all of these grants are to assist businesses in meeting their fixed costs such as rent, service charges, utilities, mortgage payments etc during the crisis.
  • Although further Government support has been made available to businesses through various government departments (e.g. Furlough Scheme, Self-Employed Income Support Scheme Bounce Back loans etc), no further funding has been provided to the Council to provide any further assistance to businesses in the borough.
  • We are continuing to lobby government for financial assistance to do this but at the present time, no such funding has been made available.
  • As reported in the Executive Board Report of 9th July, the Council is itself forecasting a budget deficit of £19.5 million due to the costs and income losses arising from the pandemic. Whilst some further funding has been announced, there is a lack of clarity on exactly what this will cover, however what is clear from the information provided to date, is that this will be significantly short of the funding required to close this gap.
  • We will provide further updates as soon as the information becomes available.
Grants

The closing date for the Government grants has now been announced as Friday, August 28 2020 and applications must be received prior to this date. The grants available include:

  • A cash grant of £10,000 for all businesses in receipt of small business rate relief or rural relief.
  • A cash grant of £10,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses who are not in receipt of small business rate relief but have a rateable value of up to and including 15,000.
  • A cash grant of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value of between 15,000.01 and less than 51,000
  • Businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or over are not eligible for this scheme

If you believe you are eligible for either grant we would ask that you complete the online form and provide the required information. This will help the council get the money to you quickly. Any grants will be paid through your business bank account.

To apply you will need your:

  • Business rates account number
  • Bank account details
  • VAT registration number (if applicable)
  • Company registration number (if applicable)

Apply for a grant

Covid-19 discretionary business grant programme

The deadline for receiving applications into the discretionary grant programme closed on midnight Sunday 14th June 2020.

Enquiries regarding the status of individual applications can be emailed to businessgrowth@blackburn.gov.uk

Business rates discount

100% rates discount; retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses.

There is a 12 month business rates holiday for all retail hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England.

More information on rates

Invoices paid to the council

If your business is struggling to pay any outstanding invoices or accounts with the Council, then please get in touch with us as quickly as possible using our online form.

Get in touch

This includes:

  • Commercial rent
  • Commercial waste collection
  • Premises Licence
  • Selective Housing Licence
Business and premises which need to close and remain closed

The Government has required certain businesses in the Borough to stay closed due to the Covid-19 situation in the Borough.

Latest details about local measures.

Businesses and premises which can remain open and for those preparing to re-open

For those businesses that are able to remain open steps must be put in place to make sure it can be done safely.

Find out the latest government guidance.

If your business has been closed during the lockdown but may soon be reopening

It is important whilst businesses are shutdown during the COVID-19 pandemic that you control the risk of Legionella growth in your water systems. When you re-open a building there is a danger that the water supply may be unsafe.

Find out information and guidance on controlling the risk of Legionella.

Resources
Health and safety guidance

You must make sure your business addresses the risks of COVID-19.

Use the guidance below to complete your risk assessment and inform your decisions and control measures.

Find out more information about the guidance on social distancing.

When you have completed your risk assessment you could let your staff and/or customers know by displaying the poster.

Reporting a business

How to report a business

If you want to report a businesses that remains open when you believe it should be closed or if you have concerns that a retail business, office or warehouse does not have proper social distancing precautions in place please email publicprotection@blackburn.gov.uk.

Open non retail premises which are failing with social distancing

Please report manufacturing businesses if they are failing to comply with social distancing using the Health and Safety Executive's online form.

The responsible persons (Owners, Managers, and Directors etc.) can be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice or prosecuted if steps haven’t been taken to make the workplace Covid secure.

Local support for businesses

#askforhelp at Boost; Lancashire's business growth hub

Support offer for care providers

Support to providers that the local authority has contracts with:

  • PPE offer - same day supply of quantity and quality.
  • Trained and ready to deploy auxiliary workforce supply
  • Flexible Template for providers to request financial assistance/ submit additional costs - including changes to care packages, PPE purchases and other costs including staffing, agency staff, food supplies
  • Established weekly group for review of financial assistance claims and immediate payment.
  • Infection Prevention and Control Training Offer delivered through Health.
  • Help Hub support with food to service users and accommodation provision where individuals self-isolating or no access to food helping providers to focus on care provision
  • Co-ordinated support with health colleagues and Neighbourhood teams including Infection Prevention Control, Telemeds and virtual ward rounds.
  • BwD Online Learning portal available for all regulated care staff including training on IPC amongst many other areas.

Support being offered specifically to domiciliary care:

  • Daily payment of invoices
  • Commissioned additional crisis support hours

Support being offered specifically to residential care:

  • Moved to fortnightly payment in advance
  • Support of additional recovery beds within the system
  • Review of occupancy levels for average occupancy payments

Support being offered specifically to other provisions:

  • Block Contracts paid at commissioned levels

Support to providers that the local authority does not have contracts with:

  • PPE offer - same day supply of quantity and quality.
  • Trained and ready to deploy auxiliary workforce supply
  • Flexible Template for providers to request financial assistance/ submit additional costs - including changes to care packages, PPE purchases and other costs including staffing, agency staff, food supplies
  • Established weekly group for review of financial assistance claims and immediate payment.
  • Infection Prevention and Control Training Offer delivered through Health.
  • Help Hub support with food to service users and accommodation provision where individuals self-isolating or no access to food helping providers to focus on care provision
  • BwD Online Learning portal available for all regulated care staff including training on IPC amongst many other areas.
Government support for businesses

The government is supporting businesses and their employees through a package of measures.

Taxis

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - advice for taxi drivers/operators