Guide East Devon business coronavirus update - 30 April 2020

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1. Introduction

This week Councillor Ian Thomas, East Devon District Council’s portfolio holder for finance, introduces the business update, with a request to businesses who want to decline grants from Government:

East Devon District Council has paid a staggering £35m+ in grants to support 2999 local businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. A further 47 claims are being processed for payment and 51 organisations have declined the grant. There are now less than 1000 businesses who are yet to respond.  In the event that your business does not wish to accept the grant, please complete the grant refusal form because confirmation is needed when a grant is declined.

Government has issued new advice on these payments, confirming that grants are taxable when a business is in profit.

We have set up a new fund called 'Financial Support due to Covid-19'. Devon County Council has made £1 million available to help those affected by Coronavirus and who may not be able to access funding or support elsewhere. East Devon has been allocated £181,487. The fund will help to build financial resilience and provide emergency financial support. It can help people who may have no income, savings or are having to use credit cards to pay for essentials. Find out if you are eligible by completing the online form, which will be followed up with a telephone interview.

Government has recognised difficulties faced by small and medium sized businesses, by launching the Bounce Back Loan scheme. This scheme launches on Monday 4 May and will provide 100% guaranteed loans for a period of up to 6 years between £2000 and £50,000, with no repayments fees or interest in the first 12 months. Businesses which have claimed a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) cannot take a Bounce Back Loan, but loans can be transferred to the new scheme.

Due to popular demand, we’ve extended the number of places available for FREE training (brought to you by East Devon District Council and Cosmic). These online webinars help you respond to the current challenging circumstances. Currently you can book to increase online sales  and maximise business opportunities remotely. More webinars will soon be announced.

Finally, as a former Director of the Exeter Science Park Company and current Chair of the Exeter & East Devon Enterprise Zone Board, I would like to pay tribute to Professor Sir William Wakeham.

Bill is standing down after more than 10 years as Chair of the Science Park Company.  Under his leadership and guidance, the Science Park developed rapidly, from an open green field just ten years ago, into a vibrant innovative community. The Science Park has established real momentum now offering top quality accommodation to start up, growing and established Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine companies in fulfilling its role as a hub for innovation and knowledge driven employment. 

I would also like to welcome Nick Ames, Chief Executive of SC Group, as the incoming Chair.

I’m confident Nick, a graduate of Trinity College Cambridge, will add not just his skill and experience at SC Group, but also that with Serco Group and PricewaterhouseCoopers, to lead the Science Park Company forward to a bright future.