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:
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:
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.
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.