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News and information for West Oxfordshire’s businesses - 05 Mar 21

Preparing to come out of lockdown

I am sure that you will be aware the Chancellor has announced new 'Restart Grants' which will take the place of the LRSGs. We don’t yet have a confirmed approach from Government but our current understanding is these grants will not be available to businesses until April at the earliest. We will do our very best to administer the grants as quickly as possible when the details are announced.

I am pleased to report that we continue to fine-tune our assessment and payment processes and that 770 grants (worth £1.9m) from the last tranche covering the period from 16 February to 31 March have been processed and paid.

While it does seem like there is finally some light at the end of this very long tunnel it is important that we all continue to comply with the restrictions to ensure there are no delays to the easing of lockdown.  I would like to remind any businesses planning to place furniture on the pavement when restrictions allow that they will need a licence to do so. The application process for Pavement Licences is quick and simple and, as we took the decision not to charge for them, they are free. Please apply using the link below. 
Apply for a Pavement Licence

Business Investment Fund

OxLEP has launched a new £2.1m Business Investment Fund offering grants ranging from £25,000 to £100,000.  The fund will target:
  • Increased R&D and product development
  • Diversification into new business markets
  • Increased export capacity
  • De-risked and strengthened supply chains
  • Reduction of carbon footprint
The deadline of the applications (express of interest) is Friday 19 March.
Business Investment Fund

Workplace EV Charging Scheme

WCS is a voucher based scheme to help businesses with the purchase and installation of electric vehicle charge points. The scheme will contribute 75% of the purchase and installation costs up to a maximum of £350 per socket, up to a maximum of 40 sockets across all sites for each applicant. The voucher will be valid for six months from the date of issue.
Workplace Charging Scheme

Spot checks on businesses

The council is working with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to contact local businesses to check they have COVID-secure measures in place. The spot checks will ensure businesses have measures in place to manage the risk and protect workers and others from coronavirus. Officers will provide advice and guidance but can issue enforcement notices should they be required. 

For further information on how to manage the risk of coronavirus in different business sectors please read the government guidance below.
Guidance on COVID-secure workplaces

Green Homes training scheme

The government is currently providing training in home energy retrofitting and low carbon heat insulation. This training is aimed at tradespeople or businesses that install energy efficient measures (e.g. wall insulation or heat pumps). There are 17 training providers to choose from, offering a range of different training packages.
Green Homes training scheme

Business rates revaluation 2023

The Valuation Office Agency is currently sending requests for rental, lease and ownership details to ratepayers as part of the 2023 revaluation process. Businesses receiving such requests are encouraged to complete the form in order to ensure an up to date and accurate revaluation.
For more information:
Business rates revaluation

Skills Support for Oxfordshire Business

The OxLEP is currently offering advice and support on the following:
  • Apprenticeships (& the Apprenticeship Levy)
  • Functional skills
  • Work-based learning
  • Engaging with education
Additionally, they can support you by identifying your learning and development gaps as well as providing various training and workshops aimed at your company’s growth. 
Skills advice and support

COVID-19 testing for workers and volunteers

Oxfordshire county council is offering rapid COVID-19 tests for workers and volunteers who are working in close contact with people outside their home. It is important to note that these tests are only available for people who do not have COVID-19 symptoms and that are unable to be tested through their employers.
To book your free rapid COVID-19 test

Countryside Grant Programme

The Prince’s Countryside Fund is currently providing up to £10,000 in grants for innovative projects that build resilience through community-led solutions. This grant is available for groups or organisation working within villages with less than 3,000 residents. Applications will close on 19 March 2021.
Countryside Grant Programme

Helping to support local democracy

We would appreciate your support in helping share the following messages with your staff so they are aware of what they need to do to take part in the local elections:

Registering to vote
Anyone who wishes to vote must be registered on the electoral register. The deadline for those who are not registered to make an application is Monday 19 April. For more information and to register see

Postal voting 
For anyone interested in voting by post this year they just need to make sure they apply before 20 April 2021. They can request a postal vote application form by visiting We would encourage people to sign up to do this as soon as possible.

Proxy voting 
If a resident is unable to make it to the polling station, then they can nominate someone to be their proxy and cast their vote for them. The proxy needs to be a registered voter and able to attend the voter’s own polling station. Applications for proxy voting need to be sent to the District Council by no later than 5pm on Tuesday 27 April. More information around the local elections for 2021 can be found at our website.
West Oxfordshire elections

Other helpful organisations

Several business groups are coming up trumps with help and advice for businesses. The ones below are good but do also check the trade association for your own sector.

Keeping up to date

Please forward this email to others to whom this might be useful and encourage them to sign up to further updates.  Please note that you can access previous editions of this newsletter too.
Sign up for this newsletter and see previous editions
COVID-19 Latest information and advice
The council Coronavirus web pages have updates about business support, communities and leisure, bins and recycling, elections and council meetings, planning, building and council news.
Visit our website
We hope you found this newsletter useful. We would like them to be as relevant as possible so please let us know what you think and don’t forget to send us your news to
Copyright © 2021 West Oxfordshire District Council, All rights reserved.

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West Oxfordshire District Council, Elmfield, New Yatt Road, Witney OX28 1PB.

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West Oxfordshire District Council · Elmfield · New Yatt Road · Witney, Oxfordshire OX28 1PB · United Kingdom

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