COVID-19 and its spread is affecting each of us. During times of crisis decision making can only be made with knowledge and evidence so the Swindon and Wiltshire Growth Hub’s top priority is ensuring timely guidance and reliable information to local SMEs. We also recognise that local businesses will be concerned about the effect it will have on their livelihood through reduced demand, potential disruptions to supply chains and export markets, and to their workforce during this temporary period.
To safeguard the vulnerable, and to care for the ill whilst researching the virus requires a coordinated response, and all of our buy in. We wanted to highlight some of the ways we’re all working together to help local businesses during this difficult period.
The Growth Hub has launched a COVID19 support page where all the latest news, announcements and advice can be found. This is the first port of call for local business and national news updates. We ask that, if you haven’t already, register for free with the Growth Hub to keep up to date with announcements and advice, and share this message with family, friends and other members of the business community who are worried about this crisis.
The Budget announced a £12 billion plan to provide support for public services, individuals and businesses, whose finances are affected by COVID-19. For individuals this includes extending Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for those advised to self-isolate, and those caring for others who self-isolate, also support through the welfare system for those who cannot claim SSP, as well as a hardship fund.
Finally, the government will support businesses that experience increased costs or disruptions to their cash flow. This includes expanded Business Rates reliefs, a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support up to a further £1 billion lending to SMEs, a £2.2 billion grant scheme for small businesses, and a dedicated helpline for those who need a deferral period on their tax liabilities.
There is no mistaking the challenges we face at this moment. Working together we can rise to meet these challenges.