Support for business

Updated 01.03.21 @ 14:35

England is in a national lockdown. Please follow the National Lockdown restrictions.

Read the government’s ‘Covid-19 Response – Spring 2021’. This sets out a four-step roadmap to ease restrictions across England and provide a route back to a normal way of life. Step one starts on 8th March with all children and students returning to face to face education in schools and colleges, and people can leave home for recreation outdoors with their household or support bubble or with one person outside their household.

Taxi drivers and operators

Blackburn with Darwen Taxi Driver Covid 19 grant

As part of its Covid19 discretionary business grant programme, the Council will award a one-off grant payment of £500 to taxi drivers who have continued to operate but are affected by the current restrictions.

The Council recognises that restrictions on travel, as well as the closure of many venues across the hospitality and leisure sectors, has reduced overall demand for taxi services.

To be eligible, a driver must be:

  • a resident of Blackburn with Darwen,
  • hold an existing Taxi Driver license issued by Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council
  • able to provide evidence of trading since September 2020
  • able to identify the impact of Covid19, such as loss of income
  • able to provide information which allows the Council to verify the applicant’s bank account details

The deadline for applications is 23:59 Sunday 14th March 2021

Given the volume of applications, payments are unlikely to be made until after the application window has closed

Apply

How to create a customer account on DCP - YouTube

Please see the full information for taxi drivers and operators.

Business grants

Following the announcement on the 22nd February 2021, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council is currently identifying those businesses who remain eligible for grant funding as a result of the continuing national restrictions. The grant payment will cover the 44 day period from the 16th February 2021 to the 31st March 2021. It is anticipated that payments will be made the week commencing the 1st March 2021.

If you have already been awarded a grant from the 5th November 2020 and are legally required to close, you do not need to reapply. The Council will automatically make payments on a recurring basis in line with the government guidelines.
If you have not already been awarded a grant but have been legally forced to close, please complete the Support Grant application form.

New Lockdown Grants

The Chancellor has announced one-off top up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses worth up to £9,000 per property to help businesses through to the Spring.

All businesses mandated to close as part of measures introduced for the national lockdown on the 5th January 2021 are eligible for this scheme.

The one-off top-ups will be granted to closed businesses as follows:

  • £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under
  • £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value over £15,000 and less than £51,000
  • £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000.

Businesses which applied for the Support Grant as a result of the National lockdown in November do not need to re-apply. Payments will start to be made from Wednesday 20th January 2021. The scheme will close on the 31st March 2021 and all payments to eligible businesses will have been made by the 30th April 2021.

By accepting a grant payment, the business is confirming that they are eligible for it.

This new one-off grant comes in addition to the existing business support available.

Support Grant

The Government has announced further funding to support businesses that are required to close to due to either local or national restrictions.

Businesses that are eligible to claim the grant are those that have a business rates assessment and have been forced to close by the Government, and include non-essential retail, leisure, personal care, sports facilities and hospitality businesses. This will also include those businesses that were required to close under the Tier 4 local restrictions, in place from the 31st December 2020.

How to apply

To apply for the support grant you must be registered for business rates with Blackburn with Darwen BC and have a business rates account number. Businesses who have been required to close and who do not have a business rates number, or open businesses severely impacted by the restrictions, should go to the “Discretionary grants” section below.

The Support Grant is split into two periods:

  • 5th January 2021 – 15th February 2021: The scheme will close for new applications on the 31st March 2021
  • 16th February 2021 -31st March 2021: The scheme will close for new applications on the 31st May 2021

Businesses which applied for and were awarded the Support Grant as a result of the National lockdown in November 2020 do not need to re-apply.

By accepting a grant payment, the business is confirming that they are eligible for it.

Apply

Watch a tutorial on how to create an account.

Rateable value and amount of support available

If you are successful with your application the payments will be made as soon as possible, based on the rateable value of your property.

Discretionary grant

In response to the current restrictions, the Council’s discretionary grant programme will continue to deliver limited financial support for businesses required to close who do not have a Business Rates assessment (such as those in shared accommodation), as well as those businesses which remain open but are severely impacted. In line with the guidance provided to Local Authorities by Government, the Council will look to provide ongoing financial support to cover fixed property costs, subject to eligibility and available funds, as outlined in the table below. The window for new applications closed on midnight Sunday 31st January 2021.Further calls for applications will be made subject to local business need and available funds.

Following the Prime Minister’s update on restrictions (22nd February), the next payment cycle covers 16th February to 31st March 2021. Businesses which have successfully applied for a discretionary grant since the National Lockdown in November 2020 will be contacted in due course.

Discretionary grant information table
Rateable value Annual rent or mortgage (where no rateable value) Grant value covering 5th January-15th Feb 2021 Grant value covering 16th Feb-31st March 2021
Businesses required to close by law Severely impacted open businesses Businesses required to close by law Severely impacted open businesses
£15,000 or less £15,000 or less £2,000 £1,400 £2,096 £1,467

Over £15,000 and less than £51,000

Over £15,000 and less than £25,000

£3,000 £2,100 £3,143 £2,200
£51,000 and over £25,000 and over £4,500 £3,150 £4,714 £3,300

State aid rules

The Local and National Restrictions Support Grant counts towards state aid. The rules are fully explained in the Government state aid guidance.

By accepting a grant you are confirming that you are not in breach of these rules.

Christmas support payment

The Christmas Support Payment for wet-led pubs is a one-off payment of £1000, to support pubs in Tier 2 and Tier 3 areas where less than 50% of their income is from food sales.

We have now contacted all businesses who we understand would qualify for this support. If you believe that you qualify and have not been contacted, please email us at businessrates@blackburn.gov.uk.

Please note that this scheme closes on the 28th February 2021

Business and venues that must close

To reduce social contact, the Government have imposed restrictions on how some businesses provide goods and services. The following businesses and venues must remain closed:

  • non-essential retail, such as clothing and homeware stores
  • vehicle showrooms (other than for rental)
  • betting shops, tailors
  • tobacco and vape shops
  • electronic goods and mobile phone shops
  • some auction houses and market stalls selling non-essential goods.

These venues can continue to be able to operate click-and-collect and delivery services.

  • hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs; with the exception of providing food and drink for takeaway (until 11pm), click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery.
  • personal care facilities such as hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons. Tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services must also close. These services should not be provided in other people’s homes.
  • leisure and sports facilities such as leisure centres and gyms, swimming pools, sports courts, fitness and dance studios, riding centres, golf courses, climbing walls
  • accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites, except for specific circumstances, such as where these act as someone’s main residence, where the person cannot return home, for providing accommodation or to the homeless, or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes
  • entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, amusement arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, go-karting venues, indoor play and soft play centres and areas (including inflatable parks and trampolining centres), animal attractions, water parks, theme parks
  • indoor attractions at venues such as botanical gardens, heritage homes and landmarks must also close, though outdoor grounds of these premises can stay open for outdoor exercise
  • community centres and halls must close except for a limited number of exempt activities, as set out below. Libraries can also remain open to provide access to IT and digital services - for example for people who do not have it at home - and for click-and-collect services

Some of these businesses and places will also be permitted to be open for a small number of exempt activities, including:

  • education and training - for schools to use sports, leisure and community facilities where that is part of their normal provision
  • childcare purposes and supervised activities for children
  • hosting blood donation sessions and food banks
  • to provide medical treatment
  • for elite sports persons to train and compete (in indoor and outdoor sports facilities), and professional dancers and choreographers to work (in fitness and dance studios)
  • for training and rehearsal without an audience (in theatres and concert halls)
  • for the purposes of film and TV filming

Full guidance.

Business and venues which can stay open

The following businesses and venues are permitted to stay open if they follow COVID-19 Secure guidelines. This includes those providing essential goods and services, including:

  • essential retail such as food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres, building merchants and suppliers of building products and off-licences
  • market stalls selling essential retail
  • businesses providing repair services may also stay open, where they primarily offer repair services
  • petrol stations, automatic (but not manual) car washes, vehicle repair and MOT services, bicycle shops, and taxi and vehicle hire businesses
  • banks, building societies, post offices, short-term loan providers and money transfer businesses
  • funeral directors
  • laundrettes and dry cleaners
  • medical and dental services
  • vets and pet shops
  • animal rescue centres, boarding facilities, and animal groomers (only for animal welfare, not aesthetic reasons)
  • agricultural supplies shops
  • mobility and disability support shops
  • storage and distribution facilities
  • car parks, public toilets and motorway service areas
  • outdoor playgrounds
  • outdoor parts of botanical gardens and heritage sites for exercise
  • places of worship
  • crematoriums and burial grounds

Full guidance.

Hospitality venues, including restaurants and takeaways

Hospitality settings, such as bars (including shisha venues), pubs, cafes and restaurants are to remain closed.

They can open for takeaways to be consumed off the premises between 5am and 11pm. Between 11pm and 5am they can to take orders through click and collect, delivery or drive through.

Full details.

What to do if you have cases of COVID-19 in your workplace

COVID-19 Resource pack for workplaces including templates to assist with the management of individual cases and their contacts, for recording details of staff absence/illness and letters to distribute to staff in the event of one or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the workplace.

Covid-secure/test and trace in the work place

Making your workplace covid-secure

Use the guidance below to complete your risk assessment and inform your decisions and control measures.

When you have completed your risk assessment you could let your staff and/or customers know by displaying the poster.

Test and Trace for Employees

The NHS Test and Trace system is in place to provide testing for anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus, to make contact with people who have tested positive and to help them share information about who they have had close contact with recently and finally, to identify these contacts and ask them to self-isolate where necessary.

The government is asking employers to support the NHS Test and Trace system by:

  • making their workplaces as safe as possible (where working from home is not possible)
  • requesting that workers self-isolate if they have been asked to do so
  • supporting their workers when in isolation

If a worker develops symptoms they should request a test as soon as possible. NHS Test and Trace will ask them for details of their close contacts in the 48 hours before their symptoms started. These contacts will only be asked to self-isolate if the test is positive. You may need to keep your workers informed about COVID-19 cases amongst staff members but you are asked not to name individuals.

If an employee is asked to self-isolate you should:

  • not ask them to come into work and tell them to stay at home for their period of self-isolation
  • continue to communicate with them and provide support
  • allow them to work from home if they remain well and it is practicable to do so, for example, by finding alternative work that can be completed at home

If a worker cannot work from home, you:

  • must ensure they receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) provided they meet the eligibility criteria
  • may consider giving them the option to use their paid leave days if they prefer

If multiple cases occur in a workplace then you should contact the local health protection team on 0344 225 0562 (option 2) or email cl.hpt@phe.gov.uk or PHE.clhpt@nhs.net.

We have created FAQ for those businesses who are part of the SMART testing programme. If you are interested in joining the programme please email: bwd.covid19@blackburn.gov.uk

Collecting customer and visitor data for NHS Test and Trace

The following information must be recorded:

  • ask at least one member of every party of customers or visitors (up to 6 people) to provide their name and contact details if they have not scanned the official NHS QR code
  • keep a record of all staff working on the premises and shift times on a given day and their contact details
  • keep these records of customers, visitors and staff for 21 days and provide data to NHS Test and Trace if requested
  • display an official NHS QR code poster, so that customers and visitors can ‘check in’ using this option as an alternative to providing their contact details
  • the hospitality sector is required to ensure that anyone visiting pubs, restaurants and other venues provides their contact information or checks in using the official NHS QR code before being allowed entry to the venue
  • adhere to General Data Protection Regulations

A business or venue may face financial penalties if these rules are not adhered to. Official NHS QR posters can be generated online. Organisations can find out more about NHS QR codes and how to generate them on the NHS COVID-19 app website.

Further resources and support

The government is also supporting businesses and their employees through a package of measures.

Guidance for people who are self-employed is available on the government website.

You can also watch videos and register for free webinars to learn about the support available to help you deal with the economic impacts of coronavirus.

Support offer for care providers

Support to providers that the local authority has contracts with:

  • PPE offer - same day supply of quantity and quality.
  • Trained and ready to deploy auxiliary workforce supply
  • Flexible Template for providers to request financial assistance/ submit additional costs - including changes to care packages, PPE purchases and other costs including staffing, agency staff, food supplies
  • Established weekly group for review of financial assistance claims and immediate payment.
  • Infection Prevention and Control Training Offer delivered through Health.
  • Help Hub support with food to service users and accommodation provision where individuals self-isolating or no access to food helping providers to focus on care provision
  • Co-ordinated support with health colleagues and Neighbourhood teams including Infection Prevention Control, Telemeds and virtual ward rounds.
  • BwD Online Learning portal available for all regulated care staff including training on IPC amongst many other areas.

Support being offered specifically to domiciliary care:

  • Daily payment of invoices
  • Commissioned additional crisis support hours

Support being offered specifically to residential care:

  • Moved to fortnightly payment in advance
  • Support of additional recovery beds within the system
  • Review of occupancy levels for average occupancy payments

Support being offered specifically to other provisions:

  • Block Contracts paid at commissioned levels

Support to providers that the local authority does not have contracts with:

  • PPE offer - same day supply of quantity and quality.
  • Trained and ready to deploy auxiliary workforce supply
  • Flexible Template for providers to request financial assistance/ submit additional costs - including changes to care packages, PPE purchases and other costs including staffing, agency staff, food supplies
  • Established weekly group for review of financial assistance claims and immediate payment.
  • Infection Prevention and Control Training Offer delivered through Health.
  • Help Hub support with food to service users and accommodation provision where individuals self-isolating or no access to food helping providers to focus on care provision
  • BwD Online Learning portal available for all regulated care staff including training on IPC amongst many other areas.
Reporting a business for breaching restrictions

How to report a business

If you want to report a businesses that remains open when you believe it should be closed or if you have concerns that a retail business, office or warehouse does not have proper social distancing precautions in place you can report them using our online form.

Open non retail premises which are failing with social distancing

Please report manufacturing businesses if they are failing to comply with social distancing using the Health and Safety Executive's online form.

The responsible persons (Owners, Managers, and Directors etc.) can be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice or prosecuted if steps haven’t been taken to make the workplace Covid secure.

Events

If you are thinking about holding an event for the public, particularly in the lead up to seasonal activities, please register and tell us about it so that we can provide guidance.