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News and information for West Oxfordshire’s businesses - 19 Feb 21

Update on COVID grants

I am pleased to say that 82% of COVID grants have now been paid. Since November, we have assessed and paid out 1,307 grants amounting to £7.1m. If you haven't received your grant please do check your emails because we may have requested further information from you.

We have learned lessons from previous rounds and we simplified the application process in January by aggregating the nine different grant schemes into just two forms. We appreciate that the system is still not perfect but we are taking your feedback on-board and we will continue to improve the process for future rounds wherever we can.

The last round of grants expired on 14 February and like you, we are waiting for an announcement from the Government on what happens next and then the specific guidance that usually follows several days later. Once we have the guidance on who is eligible for what grants we will work as quickly as possible to arrange any application and payment processes. We will then inform you on what you need to do.
Thank you for your patience as we work as hard as we can to get you this vital funding. We really do hope that there is now light at the end of this long tunnel.

Lateral flow testing for businesses

There is a new drive to increase workplace testing in businesses open during lockdown.  Testing is key to breaking the chains of transmission and the threshold for joining the workplace testing programme has been reduced:
  • you employ 50 people or more
  • your business is registered in England
  • your employees cannot work from home
Register to order test kit on the website.
Register your business for testing

Flexible bounce back loans repayment

Businesses that took out a Bounce Back loan will be allowed to be more flexible in their repayments. The government is allowing businesses to tailor their repayments based on their circumstances as well as allowing businesses to use the “Pay as You Grow” option which will enable borrowers to:
  • Delay all repayment for a further six months
  • Extend their loans from six to ten years
  • Make interest-only payments for six months
For more information: 
Bounce back loan delay repayment

SME Brexit trading Support Fund

The government has announced a £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund to support businesses to adjust to new customs, rules of origin and VAT rules when trading with the EU. Businesses will be able to apply for a grant of up to £2,000 to pay for practical support for importing and exporting. It is important to note that this grant has not been opened yet and we will post an update when this grant goes live.
SME Brexit trading support fund

National Lottery Grants for Heritage 2021-22

Applications are now open for grants from £3,000 to £5 million through the National Lottery Grants for Heritage scheme. These grants are targeted at heritage projects that will:
  • boost the local economy
  • encourage skills development and job creation
  • support wellbeing
  • create better places to live, work and visit
  • improve the resilience of organisations working in heritage
Finally, projects are expected to demonstrate environmental sustainability as well as the participation of a wider range of people within their long-term heritage plans.
National Lottery Grants for Heritage

We Value Nature – sustainable changes

We Value Nature and its partners will be running a 10-day business challenge for businesses or organisations that want to make a real change for nature.
The event is open from the 11 to 24 March and will offer a set of sessions and challenges to help businesses make better sustainable decisions that will benefit themselves, society and the planet.
We Value Nature 10-day challenge

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
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Our mailing address is:
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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