News and information for West Oxfordshire’s businesses - 19 Mar 21
Preparing for the easing of restrictions
I reported in the last edition of this newsletter that the Government had just announced new Restart grants. We received the guidance yesterday and the team is now working hard to set up the systems to administer the new scheme. We will be in touch with eligible businesses as soon as we can but it is important to clarify that the Restart scheme does not start until April.
The Local Restrictions Support Grants (LRSG) will close on Wednesday 31 March so it is important that any outstanding applications are received by the council before then.
As we move closer to the reopening of the hospitality sector, I would like to remind all businesses that are planning to use chairs and tables outside their premises that they will need a pavement licence. This is simple to apply for and free but it is never the less required.
An open letter to all businesses from Oxfordshire's Head of Public Health sets out the COVID testing options for businesses and their staff. It also includes information about self isolation and supporting clinically vulnerable individuals. Please take time to read the letter.
ALL businesses in England are now eligible for free rapid workplace testing and are encouraged to register their interest by 31 March.
This is a reminder that the council is working with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) conducting spot checks on businesses. The checks are to 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. If a business has any concerns about the legitimacy of the HSE inspector, they can call a verification line on 0300 790 6896.
For further information on how to manage the risk of coronavirus in different business sectors please read the government guidance below.
The Government has launched its SME Brexit Support Fund to help small businesses trade with the EU. Grants of up to £2,000 are on offer to pay for training and professional advice to help businesses meet their customs, excise, import VAT or safety and security declaration requirements.
Applications will close on 30 June 2021 or earlier if all funding is allocated before this date.
DBACE is awarding a cash prize and business support for a year for individuals who want to start a new business or already have a business in the creative industry. Applicants must be 18 to 30 years old and need a strong desire to create social impact through enterprise. The closing date for applications is on 31 March 2021.
Energy Solutions Oxfordshire offers a complete ‘one-stop shop’ for energy efficiency. It helps businesses to lower carbon emissions and access pre-approved, low-interest loans and finance opportunities. It is run by a team of energy experts from the Low Carbon Hub and the Environmental Information Exchange team at Oxford Brookes University.
The government has announced the fourth round of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme which will cover the period of February 2021 to April 2021. This grant is available for those who are self-employed or are members of a partnership. You will be able to submit your claim from late April 2021 until 31 May 2021.
The Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment is currently offering grants of up to £10,000 to community groups and other charitable or non-profit organisations throughout Oxfordshire. The grants are intended for those projects covering any of the following priorities:
Applications are assessed quarterly and the next deadlines are 26 April, 19 July and 25 October 2021.