Coronavirus: Help for Businesses latest update

New Job Support Scheme announced

The Government has announced a new Job Support scheme to help protect viable jobs in businesses facing lower demand over the winter months due to Covid-19.

The scheme will open on 1 November 2020 and run for six months.

Under the scheme, businesses will continue to pay employees for the time they work. The cost of hours not worked, will be split between the employer, the Government (through wage support) and the employee, by way of a wage reduction.

Find out more about the Job Support Scheme.

Cllr. Richard Morris
Wychavon District Council
Deputy Leader and portfolio holder for economic growth and tourism

Funding for Worcestershire agri-tech support industries

Pershore College is launching a call for grant proposals to support the development of the agri-tech sector within Worcestershire.

The grants of £1000 upwards will support Worcestershire companies to make capital purchases needed to develop innovations to improve efficiency, profitability, and resilience in the horticultural and agricultural sectors.

A total grant pot of £160,000 aims to help approximately forty businesses at a forty percent intervention rate making a total investment of £400,000.

The project is part of GrowAgri Worcestershire, a £1.5m joint initiative between the college and the European Regional Development Fund, which also delivers tailored business support to small businesses operating within agri-tech and agri-food industries.

For more information please call Project Manager Mark Harwood-Browne on 07809 163008.

Latest visitor economy updates

Visitor economy businesses can now check if they are eligible for the Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG). The grant is for businesses that were open as usual, providing services in person to customers from their business premises, but which were then required to close for at least 3 weeks due to local lockdown restrictions imposed by government. The grant is for businesses that pay business rates on their premises.

Many visitor economy businesses may have queries on the details in the recent guidance. Please see The visitor economy guidance for clarifications from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). This includes advice for hospitality staff when wearing face coverings; and how event venues and hotel function spaces should comply with COVID secure regulations. There is also advice for coach tour operators and for guided tours.

Guidance on working safely during COVID-19 in England has been updated following the national measures announced last week.

Other guidance updates are as follows:

The deferral of VAT payments guidance has been updated, see Businesses who deferred VAT.

The list of jobs that qualify for travel exemptions now apply to National Lottery and advertising productions, and guidance has been updated for elite sportspersons.

The safer travel guidance for passengers reflects latest rules on social contact and face coverings.

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme video guidance has been updated with information on how to claim the second grant.

Updates have been made to the guidance on how to self-isolate when arriving in the UK.

For more information on guidance and support available to businesses see the Visit Britain/Visit England Business Advice Hub.

See all COVID-19 updates and guidance for business here.

Malvern Festival of Innovation

Despite the pandemic the annual Malvern Festival of Innovation, Covid-19, Innovation-20, will not be beaten into submission this year and returns on 5 to 10 October 2020.

The Festival includes popular events such as The Next Generation Innovators schools’ event which will be entirely virtual with a curated morning on Tuesday 6 October. It will provide a unique and fascinating insight into STEM careers and tech innovation.

The popular Start-up Stories evening on Wednesday 7 October will feature insights from entrepreneurs. And on Friday 9 October at the morning session, the Environment & Sustainability business symposium returns.

The Family Show rounds off the Festival on Saturday morning featuring neuroscientist Professor Gina Rippon author of ‘The Gendered Brain’. This will be followed by the National Physical Laboratory’s outreach manager Andrew Hanson MBE explaining the fascinating science of colour, of which there is more than meets the eye!

Dr Adrian Burden explains “As we near the Festival dates, we’re looking carefully to see what we can host safely within the evolving legislation in front of a restricted live audience at The Coach House Theatre and the Malvern Theatres, as well as streaming the events live using Zoom and Facebook for a wider reach.”

Please see the Festival programme for updates and details about registering.

Construction starts on new workspace units at Vale Park, Evesham

Evesham based developer, Chase Commercial Ltd, has started construction on 28,200 sq.ft. of production and warehouse accommodation at Vale Park South, Evesham.

In conjunction with Wychavon District Council, Chase Commercial is constructing 10 new units ranging in size from 2,100 sq.ft. to 5,000 sq.ft. The units which are to be constructed in two terraces can be combined, if required, for larger occupiers.  The units are due to reach practical completion in April 2021 and are available on either a freehold or leasehold basis.

The units, targeted at small businesses, are the first phase of a wider planning consent that includes two further units of 22,500sq.ft. and 28,200sq.ft. respectively.

Julian Meredith, Director of Chase Commercial stated “We are delighted to be able to start construction with these units for which we are already seeing strong demand from both local occupiers and other small businesses from outside the immediate area. There remains a shortage of small new units for occupiers in and around Evesham and these units will go some way to filling that requirement.”

Wychavon is underwriting the cost of the units as part of its plan to help rebuild the local economy because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The scheme has received £600,000 from the Government’s Getting Building Fund, which supports job creation, skills, and infrastructure projects.

Cllr Richard Morris, Deputy Leader of Wychavon District Council and Portfolio Holder for Economic Development stated “We are committed to helping our local economy build back better from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Coronavirus crisis has undermined private investor confidence despite strong evidence of growing demand for small to medium sized flexible business space from local companies. This impasse threatened to stifle economic growth and job creation just when it is needed most, this is why Wychavon has stepped up to fund this scheme and demonstrate its confidence in our local economy.”

For further information please contact the letting agents on the scheme Alder King Adrian Rowley 01452 627133, SBK Tony Rowland 01386,765700 and Savills Christian Smith 0121 200 4507, or see www.valeparksouth.co.uk.

Julian Meredith, Chase Commercial Ltd; Kevin Zamur, Benniman Construction Group; Phoebe Dawson, Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership; Cllr Richard Morris, Deputy Leader for Wychavon District Council; Shawn Riley, Wychavon District Council

Government apprenticeship incentive – don’t miss out!

Don’t forget, you still have time to hire an apprentice and take advantage of the Government’s apprenticeship incentive.

All employers that hire an apprentice between 1 August 2020 and 31 January 2021, will be entitled to Government incentive payments of £2,000 for apprentices aged between 16 and 24 and £1,500 for apprentices aged 25 and over.

The incentives are in addition to the £1,000 incentive already in place for those hiring 16 to 18-year-old apprentices.

To find out more contact Worcester Apprenticeships  on 0300 666 3 666,  info@worcsapprenticeships.org.uk.

Support from Wychavon to employ an apprentice

Along with the Governments incentive package, Wychavon is committed to helping and encouraging businesses to grow and employ apprentices.  We have been given extra funding to help businesses with the cost of taking on an apprentice, your business can apply for this funding as well as receiving the Governments incentives.

We have now added a tiered funding system to our business apprentice grant scheme, starting at £1000 moving up to £2000 for the higher-level apprenticeship. Funding is available to award an apprenticeship grant depending on the level of the apprenticeship being take (subject to qualifying criteria).

  • £1,000 Intermediate apprentice, Level 2
  • £1,500 Advanced apprentice, Level 3
  • £2,000 Higher and Degree apprentice, Level 4 and above
  • Low carbon sector applications will receive an extra £100 per grant
  • All funding will be granted on a first come first serve basis
  • To apply for a bursary, or business grant please complete the application forms at wychavon.gov.uk/business/apprenticeships and send them to Wychavon’s Skills Officer, Sue Owens, at Sue.Owens@wychavon.gov.uk

Apprentices – get help funding your apprenticeship

A new bursary has been made available to help encourage young people across Wychavon to enroll in an apprenticeship.

Apprentices can apply for Wychavon District Council’s new Apprenticeship bursary to help them cover the costs of travel, clothing and tools or equipment.

Apprentices can claim the following, where applicable:

  • Maximum of £50 per month for up to 6 months for travel expenses
  • One-off grant payment with a maximum value of £75 for clothing
  • One-off grant payment with a maximum value of £100 for tools or equipment

To be eligible for the bursary, apprentices must live within the district of Wychavon, be aged between 16 and 24 years old and be in receipt of an apprenticeship salary of £175 or less per week (this can be flexible depending on individual circumstances).

The aim of the bursaries is to encourage more young people to consider an apprenticeship as a viable choice for a career and to help them overcome cost barriers. More apprenticeship qualifications are being made available and some industries now offer degree level apprenticeships, which provide work experience while studying for a degree.

Funding will be granted on a first come first serve basis.

To apply for a bursary contact Sue Owens, at Sue.Owens@wychavon.gov.uk. Or complete the application form at www.wychavon.gov.uk/business/apprenticeships and send it to Sue Owens, Wychavon’s Skills Officer.

Employer Guide to the Summer Statement – People and Skills

In response to the challenges faced by businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic there has been significant investment in skills from central and local Government to support business recovery plans.

Apprenticeships, Traineeships, investment in the National Careers Service, and a new Kickstart scheme are the crucial elements of a new ‘Plan for Jobs’.

If you offer a traineeship in your business for 16 to 24-year olds you can claim up to £1000. A traineeship is a skills development programme that includes a work placement. It can last from 6 weeks up to 1 year (although most will last for less than 6 months). Traineeships help 16 to 24-year olds get ready for an apprenticeship or job if they don’t have the appropriate skills or experience.

New or expanding employers can claim incentive payments of £1,000 for up to 10 learners to help with employer costs such as administration, equipment, and set up costs for example.

Employ a 16 to24 year old in your business for 6 months and claim up to £6500 from the Kickstart scheme.

The Kickstart scheme is for those aged 16 to24, claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. It is worth £2 billion and will give hundreds of thousands of young people, in every region, the best possible chance of getting on and getting a job. There is no cap on the number of places per employer. Funding available for each six-month job placement will cover 100% of the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week and employers will be able to top this wage up.

For more information on how to access these schemes please contact Worcestershire Business Central on 01905 677 888 or email info@business-central.co.uk.

Worcestershire LEP conference goes digital this October

A new virtual business conference has been confirmed for October 2020 to bring businesses across the county together and demonstrate the progress and scope of key programmes being delivered in Worcestershire.

For the first time spread out over 5 days, the Worcestershire LEP (WLEP) virtual conference will allow for a more comprehensive delivery of content on key business concerns, local growth projects and schemes helping to achieve the vision of a connected, creative, dynamic economy for all.

Taking place from 12 to16 October, each day will focus on a theme with a daily format allowing for users to plan their day around the content they would like to see from wherever they may be.

Each morning will start with an ‘Espresso update’ available in both a short-written piece and video format. This breakfast update will not only recap and reveal, but it will also be the perfect instant update for those that want to stay informed with links to find out more.

The main feature each day will be ‘Connections Time with Have Your say” where Worcestershire LEP Chief Executive, Gary Woodman will be joined by a panel of guest speakers to discuss and highlight what has been achieved so far on the subject, the benefits these achievements bring and their aims for the future. Viewers will be asked to contribute through polls to help shape the future approach.

Available on demand, WLEP will also release both new and archive footage every day through the week that will both inform and promote business in Worcestershire.

Each day will then end with some catch-up responses across social media to the day’s content alongside some previews of the content coming later in the week.

Visit the Worcestershire LEP website to find out more information on the topics, speakers and to register for the virtual conference – www.wlep.co.uk.

Everything online

The Chamber of Commerce Herefordshire and Worcestershire, and Worcestershire Business Central are just two of many business support organisations that are providing online advice to support current business needs and future recovery plans. They both have a series of webinars available in place of events, training courses and face to face meetings to inform you on the latest government updates, business support, HR and legal advice, mental wellbeing and much more.

Here are links to book some of the latest Chamber webinars:

HR focus the new Job Support Scheme

Home working

EU Exit Are You Ready?

Kickstart

You can view all past webinars on their YouTube Channel. To find out about their virtual training days for the recovering business head straight to the training calendar for upcoming courses.

WBC offer free business support webinars to help your business during the COVID-19 pandemic they are listed here – upcoming events.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you need to do

www.gov.uk/coronavirus

The information available to businesses is changing regularly. We will continue to actively provide a regular information service as soon as we receive information.

Businesses can receive these updates by signing up to our business e-newsletter

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