Latest Covid business support information

Lockdown easing roadmap

The Government’s lockdown easing roadmap is a step-by-step plan to ease restrictions in England cautiously. It sets out the earliest dates possible for when certain businesses may be allowed to reopen.

Read the Government’s lockdown easing roadmap here.


Restart Grant Scheme

On 3 March, the Chancellor announced further business grant funding for councils to support businesses affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Restart Grant will support non-essential retail premises with one-off grants of up to £6,000 and up to £18,000 for hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care, and gym business premises.

You will need to apply for this funding, even if you have previously received funding from us from a previous business support scheme.

Applications for the Restart Grant scheme will open shortly and will be open for applications until 30 June 2021. The form will be available here on this page shortly so please check back later or sign up to our business e-newsletter and we will let you know.

Read on for more information about the scheme. If you do not meet the qualifying criteria for the Restart Grant you may be able to apply for discretionary business support funding, (please see below).

Restart Grant payments to non-essential retail businesses

The amount you receive will depend on your rateable value.

  • Businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under on 1 April 2021 will receive £2,667.
  • Businesses with a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 on 21 April 2021 will receive £4,000.
  • Businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or more will receive £6,000.

Restart Grant payments to hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care, and gym business premises

  • Businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under on 1 April 2021 will receive £8,000.
  • Businesses with a rateable value of more than £15,000 and less than £51,000 on 1 April 2021 will receive £12,000.
  • Businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or over on 1 April 2021 will receive £18,000.

Qualifying criteria

Businesses must have been trading on 1 April 2021 to qualify to receive funding under this scheme.

A business is considered to be trading if it is carrying out business activity such as carrying on a trade or profession or buying and selling goods or services in order to generate turnover.

Other indicators a business is trading, for the purposes of this scheme, are:

  • The business has staff on furlough
  • The business continues to trade online, via click and collect services etc.
  • The business is not in liquidation, dissolved, struck off or subject to a striking of notice or under notice
  • The business is engaged in business activity – managing accounts, preparing for reopening, planning, and implementing COVID-safe measures

Fully constituted businesses in liquidation, dissolved, struck off or subject to a striking-off notice are not eligible for this funding.

Please click here for a list of qualifying businesses.


Additional Restrictions Grant (discretionary funding scheme)

Our discretionary funding scheme is now fully committed and closed to new applicants on Friday 12 March.

The Government announced in the budget on 3 March 2021 new discretionary grant funding for councils. We are waiting for the money and more information on how it is to be distributed from April.

We currently do not know if we are able to make grants from April to businesses who have already received money as part of our discretionary funding scheme.

We will update our website at this page with more information as soon as we have it or please sign up to our business e-newsletter and we will email you directly when we have more details.


COVID testing for businesses

Register to order free rapid lateral flow coronavirus tests for your employees.

You can order free rapid lateral flow tests here to test your employees twice a week in the workplace.

If you have 10 or more employees, from early April you’ll be able to order tests for your employees to collect from their workplace and use at home twice a week. You can do this if you cannot provide testing in the workplace.

For businesses that do want to access onsite testing Worcestershire County Council have a team that can provide onsite support. This can be accessed through emailing CV19Testing@worcestershire.gov.uk.


Enterprising Worcestershire grant funding available

The Spring Call for the Enterprising Worcestershire Grant Fund is now open and offering grants from £1,000 up to a maximum of £15,000, at a funding rate of 60% / 40% (60% provided by the SME).

You could use this to invest in new equipment, have a website built or purchase software, whatever will help to develop your business in the early years. The scheme will enable SME’s to establish and grow whilst making a positive contribution to the Worcestershire economy and employment rates across the County by creating more sustainable SME’s. Different from the previous program, the maximum grant fund has been considerably increased allowing SME’s to make a much more significant investment. For more details click here


Incentive payments for hiring a new apprentice

Employers will receive £3,000 for new employees of any age who start their apprenticeship from 1 April 2021 to 30 September 2021.

The incentive payment is in addition to the £1,000 employers already receive for hiring an apprentice aged 16 to 18 years old or under 25 with an education, health, and care plan or who has been in the care of their local authority

Apprentices who joined your organisation before 1 April 2021

For new apprentices who joined your organisation between 1 August 2020 and 31 March 2021 aged:

  • 16 to 24, employers will receive £2,000
  • 25 and over, employers will receive £1,500

You must apply for these apprentices before 31 May 2021.

Apprentices who joined your organisation from 1 April 2021

Employers will receive £3,000 for new employees of any age who start their apprenticeship from 1 April 2021 to 30 September 2021.

You can apply for incentive payments for these apprentices from 1 June 2021.

What you can use the payment for

The payment is different to apprenticeship levy funds, so you can spend it on anything to support your organisation’s costs. For example, on uniforms, your apprentice’s travel, or their salary. You do not have to pay it back.

Eligibility

You can only apply for new apprentices who joined your organisation between 1 August 2020 and 30 September 2021.

You cannot apply for an existing employee who joined your organisation before 1 August 2020, even if they started an apprenticeship after this date.

How to apply

You can apply for the incentive payment after you add new apprentices to your apprenticeship service account.

You must set up an apprenticeship service account to apply. After you apply, you can view applications, estimated payment dates, and check the status of each payment in your apprenticeship service account.

When you’ll get paid

Payments are made in 2 equal instalments for each apprentice. The first payment is sent after an apprentice completes 90 days of their apprenticeship and the second is sent after 365 days. Payments are made by Bacs on the 14th working day of the month. It usually takes 3 working days to process.

Worcestershire Apprenticeships


Support from Wychavon to grow your business

As part of our commitment to help and encourage businesses to grow, Wychavon has extra funding to help businesses with the cost of taking on an apprentice.

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 depending, on the level of the apprenticeship being taken:

  • £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.

The grants from Wychavon are in addition to any grants you may be eligible for from the Government, if you take on an apprentice you could potentially receive up to £5,000 in extra funding. (subject to qualifying criteria)

Get help funding your apprenticeship

A bursary is 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, they will need to be aged between 16-24 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.

To apply for a bursary, or business grant please contact Wychavon Skills Officer Sue Owens, email Sue.Owens@wychavon.gov.uk.


Reset.Restart webinar programme

Worcestershire Business & IP Centre (BIPC) in partnership with the British Library have collaborated to create a Reset.Restart webinar programme. This is aimed at supporting companies refocus their business plans in response to the challenges of Covid. People will initially enrol on the first webinar ‘From good ideas to good business’. Participants are then invited to attend all four elements of the programme, after which they qualify for a two hour, bespoke 121 session. The programme is aimed at early stage businesses who have been trading up to three years, and are Worcestershire based.

Find out more and register here.


Park That Bike

Available across Worcestershire, Park That Bike offers a range of free bike stands to businesses with the only cost/responsibility being the installation (instructions provided). For more information about the scheme please click here ParkThatBike.


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

www.gov.uk/coronavirus


The information available to businesses is changing regularly. We will continue to provide information as soon as we receive it. If you know of any businesses that would benefit from receiving these updates, please let them know they can sign up to our e-newsletter.

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