Coronavirus support for Sandwell businesses: general information
We know this pandemic has been unimaginably stressful for many business owners – and the challenges are ongoing. Please know Sandwell Council is working hard to support you wherever and however possible. Please see also our pages on grants and finance.
> Go to to coronavirus support for Sandwell businesses.
In February 2021, Sandwell Council’s Environmental Health team issued a letter to businesses in the borough, outlining vital control measures for limiting the spread of coronavirus. You can read a PDF of the letter here.
See also Sandwell Council’s warning to Sandwell shops and supermarkets, published in late January.
The Covid-19 government guidance for employers and businesses includes advice about business rates relief and the government support available to businesses. There are also a number of downloadable publications providing guidance for employees, employers and businesses about Covid-19.
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Business responsibilities and NHS Covid-19 app: Test and Trace
Healthy Sandwell has produced this comprehensive page of information on the NHS Covid-19 app. Scroll down to a dedicated section for businesses and organisations
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (also known as the furlough scheme)
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ended on 30 September 2021. We will update this page if alternative support becomes available.
A £2bn scheme has been launched to create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people across the country. Those aged 16-24, claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment will be eligible. Funding available for each six-month job placement will cover 100 per cent of the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week – and employers will be able to top this wage up. More information for Sandwell businesses.
VAT reduction for the hospitality and tourism industries
If you have a VAT-registered business, check if you can temporarily reduce the rate of VAT on supplies relating to hospitality or accommodation, or admission to certain attractions.
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Council support in Sandwell
Here is info on what Sandwell Council is doing to support businesses, including suspending court action for recovery of business rates, and negotiating payments where possible. You can also find the council’s general coronavirus advice page here
During the first lockdown, Sandwell Council’s Environmental Health team wrote to businesses regarding the potential increased risk of Legionella infection in water systems while premises are closed. This is still relevant. You can download the letter or read our Legionella article here with details of further support.
The team also refers you to the coronavirus pages from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.
Here is government guidance on cleaning.
The Chartered Institute of Public Relations published these tips for communicating with employees at times of crisis.
Here is the latest government guidance for businesses trading internationally, regarding Department for International Trade support and financial support.
A job brokerage service from the Black Country LEP and the Black Country Growth Hub aims to match people at risk of redundancy with vacancies in sectors experiencing a surge in demand such as food retail, distribution and care. The service engages with employers needing to make redundancies to ensure a smooth transition for employees into new work. So if you are needing to make redundancies or looking to fill vacancies, this is the form you need to complete.
Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill
The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill received royal assent on 25 June and is now an Act. The measures in this Act were drawn up to relieve the burden on businesses during the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak and allow them to focus their efforts on continuing to operate.
* Introduces temporary easements for Annual General Meetings and filing requirements for public limited companies
* Introduces new corporate restructuring tools to the insolvency regime to give companies the time they need to maximise their chance of survival
* Temporarily suspends parts of insolvency law to support directors during this difficult time.
Under the secondary legislation, companies will receive an automatic extension for:
* Confirmation statements
* Registrations of charges (mortgage)
* Event-driven filings, such as a change to your company’s directors or people with significant control.
Most companies will also be given more time to file their accounts.
You can find out more about the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill here.
Annual General Meetings
As you will see above, the regulations surrounding the requirement for companies to hold AGMs are being relaxed to comply with the current need for social distancing. Here are guidelines from the Chartered Governance Institute in ensuring meetings are quorate and so on.
Domestic abuse: supporting employees
Employers can be a lifeline for people living with domestic abuse – reassuring someone at risk that they are not alone, and signposting them towards help available. Read more.
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The Environmental Health team at Sandwell Council has created printable signage for small Sandwell retailers reminding the public of distancing, hand sanitising, one-way aisles and so on. Download the social distancing posters.
Food delivery and takeaway guidance
If you are still diversifying your food business to provide delivery or takeaway options, this downloadable guidance will help ensure you trade safely.
Make UK has compiled a list of answers to FAQs from the manufacturing industry. You may also be interested in this briefing paper from the Manufacturing Growth Programme, showing analysis into research on the impact of the pandemic on the sector.
Aston Business School is releasing a series of podcasts focusing on the stories of SMEs responding to the coronavirus crisis, looking at topics such as mental health, building resilience, and managing international operations.
The Black Country Chamber of Commerce has a dedicated page and package of support for local businesses, including briefing papers and a business helpline. BCCC is also holding online industry-specific business clinics and webinars: see what’s coming up.
DIT Midlands (from the Department for International Trade) is holding a series of webinars to help businesses learn new e-commerce skills and thrive in international markets at this difficult time.
Black Country Growth Hub offers comprehensive information on its Coronavirus Support pages.
West Midlands Combined Authority has a Covid-19 Business Support website, rounding up online resources and courses, health advice for working at home, and more.
ACAS (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration) has extensive advice for employers and employees on safe working and reasonable expectations from both sides.
CBI has a Coronavirus Hub of information, insight and analysis, and is holding a daily webinar (with previous webinars also hosted online).
Audit, tax, advisory and risk firm Crowe UK has a comprehensive page of advice to help businesses manage the impact of coronavirus, with webinars to share knowledge and support.
See the latest Covid-19 funding support flowchart from Crowe UK.
The Federation of Small Businesses has an extensive COVID-19 support section, available to both members and non-members.
You can also sign up for FSB’s monthly newsletter.
The blog of online talent platform Hoxby has many resources on remote working.