Bridgend County Borough Council is looking at a range of measures to assist businesses over the coming weeks as they prepare for further government announcements around reopening safely.
The measures include providing online training for businesses around infection prevention and control, and possible products such as sneeze screens.
Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Cllr Charles Smith, said:
“We are exploring the use of different measures which would help businesses develop start back packs safely.
“We know these measures will not be the only solution but will help provide some support alongside that of other partners to small and medium businesses as they remodel their business management plans in the coming weeks towards trading once again.
“We will continue to communicate with partners and businesses as new government guidelines emerge, and are keen to hear from businesses on how we can offer further support.
“With regards to training around infection prevention and control, having an official qualification and accreditation would enable businesses to display a quality mark on their wall or door, helping to provide consumers with more confidence as they return to the high street.
“We will do everything we can to support our businesses in the county borough as they navigate through this extremely challenging period.”
The council is also seeking information from businesses in order to target the right business support. An online form has been set up for companies to send in their responses.
For any business support queries, email: [email protected]
Financial support for businesses
With over 2,000 applications from local firms processed to date, business grant funding issued by Bridgend County Borough Council has reached more than £25.5m. The support is available for businesses that are eligible for small business rates relief in Wales and who occupy premises with a rateable value of £12,000 or less. It also includes those who fall under small business rates relief but who do not currently pay business rates, and retail, leisure or hospitality businesses with a rateable value of £12,001 to £51,000. Applications can be made by completing the online form.
New business loan scheme
The UK Government’s new coronavirus Bounce Back Loan Scheme is now open for applications. With businesses able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 over terms of up to six years, the Government will guarantee 100 per cent of the loan. There are no fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months, and the Government will work with lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan. The scheme will be delivered through a network of accredited lenders and details are available at the Gov website.
Plans for rates relief
Bridgend County Borough Council is working to implement Welsh Government plans for a new Expanded Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Relief Scheme designed to support eligible businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic. Under the scheme, businesses which qualified for High Street relief in 2019/20 will have their rates bills amended so that they can receive 100 per cent relief for the current financial year. Businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality sector that have been eligible for a grant will also be automatically awarded the 100 per cent expanded relief. Any business that becomes liable for business rates during the year, such as a new occupier, will be issued with application forms to confirm eligibility.