COVID-19 business help desk
Blackpool Council has set up a dedicated helpdesk to support local businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. The council’s helpdesk will be manned by business support experts, familiar with the needs of local businesses and knowledgeable about the business support available in Blackpool.
The helpdesk helps businesses to understand and access the package of support announced by the government. It will also work with you to identify any other relevant business support that is available.
Businesses should complete an enquiry form. The team will then respond with bespoke help and guidance.
The team will then respond with bespoke help and guidance.
Regular updates on government support for business during the pandemic.
Local restriction support grant
The Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) supports businesses which have been affected by the LCAL3 (Tier 3) restrictions placed on Blackpool on 17 October 2020 and the further national lockdown restrictions imposed on 5 November 2020.
Financial support is available to business who have been severely impacted by the localised restrictions on socialising or which were required to close.
Find out more information
A number of financial supports have been introduced by the government to help businesses. These include:
- Business rates relief
- Business support grant funds
- Support for the self-employed
- Support for small and medium-sized businesses
- Support for large businesses
View full details of financial support available
Discretionary grant funding
Applications are invited for financial support under a new £2.4m discretionary grants scheme which goes live from Monday 1 June.
The Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund supports small businesses and charities that have fallen outside of the scope of current grant schemes - the Small Business Grants Fund and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund. The top-up fund is 5% of the value of those funds.
The fund will provide support for active small businesses and charities who can demonstrate on-going fixed property-related costs and suffered a significant fall in income due to the COVID-19 crisis.
For further information, including full eligibility criteria, and details of how to apply.
Job retention scheme
The government's coronavirus job retention scheme went live on 20 April, with businesses able to claim up to £2,500 a month towards staff wages.
Employers can furlough anyone they employ, provided that on or before 19 March they were on PAYE payroll and HMRC has been notified of payment via the RTI system.
The scheme has now been extended to the end of October. Key details to note:
- Furloughed workers across the UK will continue to receive 80% of their current salary, up to £2,500
- From August, furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time with employers being asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff
- The employer payments will substitute the contribution HMG is currently making, ensuring that staff continue to receive 80% of their salary, up to £2,500 a month
Further details on implementation will be made available by the end of the month
Working safely guidance
The government has issued new guidance to help businesses in the UK to get back up and running and workplaces operating as safely as possible.
This follows the Prime Minster setting out steps to beat the virus and restart the economy, so we can protect jobs, restore people's livelihoods and fund the country's vital public services.
View the guidance
Helping businesses to stay safe
Blackpool Council wants to assist business as much as possible during these incredibly challenging times.
It is of paramount importance that we all follow the government guidelines to limit the spread of coronavirus.
Where workplaces are permitted to be open, precautions need to be taken to reduce the risks; to yourself, your employees, and to the general public.
We have therefore provided a checklist for businesses, of measures that must be in place to control the risk of coronavirus.
View coronavirus checklist for businesses
Unfortunately, if businesses cannot comply with the relevant requirements, then the business will be asked to temporarily cease trading.
Shops and businesses reopening
As of 4 July 2020, many of the businesses and venues that were previously required to stay closed to the public will be able to reopen:
- Restaurants and pubs will be allowed to reopen, providing they follow safety guidelines. Customers will have to give their contact details on entry.
- Holiday accommodation will reopen and people in England will be able to stay away from home
- Hairdressers will be able to reopen. Other close contact services such as nail bars cannot open yet
- Libraries, community centres, cinemas, museums, theme parks and amusement arcades among other venues will be able to reopen
- Places of worship will be able to open for prayers and services and weddings with up to 30 guests
- Nightclubs, gyms, swimming pools and indoor play areas remain closed
You can find more information on the changes that come into effect from 4 July on the government website.
Businesses must carry out a risk assessment before they reopen in order to identify the risks and controls required in the business to open safely with social distancing measures. This guidance should help you with this.
We have also produced a number of signs/posters that you may find useful. These can be downloaded and used as you need.
It is also the business owners responsibility to manage queues both inside and outside the premises.
Any businesses that would like advice on how to protect people from coronavirus in the workplace are encouraged to call the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) telephone advice line 0300 790 6787.
NHS Test and Trace app
The NHS Test and Trace App will be released to the public on 24 September. For this to work successfully it will need the support of businesses and venues.
The app will be a critical enhancement of NHS Test and Trace in England. It will allow us to know quicker if we're at risk of the virus, so we can take action, fast, to protect our communities, friends and families.
The app will provide users with local information, alert you if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, and very importantly has a built-in QR scanner to check-in at venues.
As a business or venue you must download your unique QR code poster and display it prominently at the entrances to your premises. Do this now and be ready for the launch of the app
Find more information and download your QR poster now.
We are working with the Lancashire Skills Hub to make sure people have access to the employment support and skills training they need during this difficult period and to assure you that there is help available whether you've been:
- Made redundant
- Are at risk of redundancy
- Have been unemployed for a while
Find what support is available in Blackpool to help you learn new skills, access training courses, get careers advice and guidance and get one-to-one support to help you get back to work.
Licensing service advice
Advice on contacting planning
COVID fraud hotline
A new national hotline has recently been launched to stop fraudsters illegally targeting COVID-19 help schemes.
In an initiative between the government and the charity Crimestoppers, the public can now call a new COVID Fraud Hotline anonymously, free of charge, to report any concerns of suspected fraudulent activity in relation to COVID related support schemes.
This hotline is open 24/7, 365 days a year on either 0800 587 5030 – or by completing a simple and secure anonymous form at Covidfraudhotline.org