So – how are you doing?

If the answer is ‘could be (a lot) better’, then this newsletter is for you.  Now you’ve had time to take stock you’ll want to know what you can do, and how you can do it.


Help from the Chamber

The first thing you can do is restart your Chamber networking – we’ll be hosting a free virtual breakfast meeting on Zoom at 9.00 am on Friday 17 April.  (So no early alarm call, no driving but, sadly, no Mix breakfast either)  Details in our next newsletter – but in the meantime have a think about how you can help other businesses, and what questions you still have that aren’t already answered here …


Help for small(er) businesses

Here are the key elements of support available from HM government:

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – gives employees up to 80% of their salary while on furlough (FAQs on this produced by the British Chambers of Commerce – it includes a template for a ‘furlough letter’)
  • Statutory Sick Pay Rebate – government will refund businesses for payments made to staff who are on sick leave due to Covid-19.
  • Grants, and a business rates holiday, for businesses in the leisure, retail and hospitality sectors – and grants for those that pay low or no business rates (delivered through local authorities – Babergh and Mid-Suffolk and West Suffolk are here).
  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme – to support businesses during the outbreak (FSB update here)
  • Deferred VAT and Income Tax payments.


Help for the self-employed

  • Self-employed income support – providing wage and salary support for those affected by Covid-19
  • Deferral of self-assessment payments
  • Support does not cover every business and there is a particular issue with self-employed directors of limited companies.
  • Self-employed claimants will be notified if they are eligible by HMRC. Few, if any, notifications have yet been received. Like the rest of us the government is facing staff shortages, supply issues, and an urgent requirement to act. And, like the rest of us, its response often has to be made up as it goes along. If you don’t qualify you may need to apply for Universal Credit – which is currently very challenging to do.

There are (very) useful and regularly updated summaries of all this on the New Anglia Growth Hub website and on Tony Groom’s Turnaround Guru website.


And help for those on the front line

New Anglia Growth Hub is organising this region’s efforts to source items needed by carers and the emergency services. If you think you or your business could help please follow this link.


Meanwhile . . .

Watch out for our next newsletter with more details of virtual networking and how you can participate.

Take care of yourself, stay well, and don’t give up!


Allan Scott

Chair, Stowmarket & District Chamber of Commerce

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