East Devon District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Economy, Asset Management and Regeneration, Cllr Paul Hayward, introduces this week’s business update:
This week, it has been a welcome sight to see our shops reopening and people returning to the High Street. As lockdown restrictions slowly start to ease, our businesses are working hard to open safely and get ready for next steps on the road to normality. Each and every one of us can help to support businesses and jobs in our community by shopping locally, both on our High Streets and with all kinds of local suppliers. Making that positive decision to shop locally will make all the difference for the survival of the businesses in our towns and villages across East Devon.
We are supporting East Devon small and micro businesses affected by coronavirus with the recently launched Discretionary Grant Fund. Don’t delay if you meet the eligibility criteria, as the fund is only open until 5pm on the 24th June, see www.eastdevon.gov.uk/discretionary-business-grant. As of 17th June, more than 100 applications have been received from local businesses.
We have received data on the numbers of furloughed employees, which is quite high. In our district, 16,300 were furloughed out of 53,000 employed people, representing 31% of the workforce. This compares with 25% across the county of Devon (90,600 in the Devon County Council area). As time progresses and the furlough scheme is slowly scaled back by HM Treasury, there will be further challenges for business to deal with. We will be there, every step of the way, to assist, advise and support where we are able to.
Rest assured, the District Council is doing all we can to support businesses to get back to work in a safe way. For those eager to embrace new e-learning opportunities, there are just a few spaces remaining on our business continuity webinars so book your place before those spaces are snapped up. So far, 217 local businesses have taken part in these webinars, on a wide variety of topics and feedback has been very positive. A further 113 are already booked in to attend future webinars and workshops.
Finally, I would invite you to subscribe to this business update, as you may not receive future updates if you do not take these important steps. Simply follow the link, add your email address and choose the ‘business’ topic. We will then send you regular updates, straight to your inbox, to keep you abreast of what is going on to help your business. Thank you for your time.
If you have any questions, please contact your ward member(s) who are all eager and waiting to assist you, or feel free to contact me directly. If I can’t help, I know someone who can!