COVID-19 Partner Update

18 March 2020

Dear Partners,

These are certainly very worrying and difficult times for us all and the staff at Marketing Lancashire, taking government advice in the hope of lessening the impact on our NHS, are now working remotely from their homes. Our aim is to continue supporting and working in the interest of our partners and colleagues across Lancashire. We have been sharing updates and advice through newsletters, social media and – a resource that we will continue to build throughout this crisis.

Marketing Lancashire has been closely monitoring the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, and I have been liaising with other North West colleagues as well as Visit Britain/Visit England in order to share our concerns with Government via the Tourism Industry Emergency Response Group. We need as much intelligence as possible to feed into Government. If you have had to close your business due to COVID-19, or are at imminent risk of having to do so, please let us know – complete this quick form.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a £330 billion financial rescue package to support and protect businesses affected by COVID-19 including those in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. 

This includes:

  • All retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England will receive a 100% business rates holiday for the next 12 months.
  • Confirmation that stated Government actions are sufficient to trigger payments for those businesses with pandemic insurance
  • Increase in grants to small businesses eligible for Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief from £3,000 to £10,000, plus £25,000 grants to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000, for those without specific pandemic insurance.
  • Relaxation in planning regulations to allow pubs and restaurants to start providing takeaways without a planning application.
  • Increasing the amount businesses can borrow through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme from £1.2 million to £5 million, and ensuring businesses can access the first 6 months of that finance interest free, as Government will cover the first 6 months of interest payments
  • Strengthened support for people. In addition to the measures in the budget, mortgage lenders will offer a three-month “mortgage holiday” for those in financial difficulty due to the COVID-19 outbreak

The new measures are in addition to the £12 billion announced to support businesses in the budget last week and follows earlier announcements this week by Government on travel and the need for people to practice ‘social distancing’ to avoid spreading the virus. The Chancellor stated that this financial package is due to be in place by next week. It is expected that the grants will be administered by local authorities and that they will be in touch with all eligible businesses rather than you having to apply. We are seeking confirmation of that and will let you know as soon as possible. Loans will need to be applied for.

As social distancing is now important to the slowing of the spread of the virus, we have cancelled our upcoming drop-in sessions and hope to reinstate these when it is safe to do so. In the meantime you can contact the team at Marketing Lancashire via email, direct phone lines and through Marketing Lancashire Twitter. Contact Marketing Lancashire here.

Please share your business continuity and public information messages and we’ll do our best to share those through our most appropriate social media channels.

Over the coming days and weeks we will be considering ways to support partners through our marketing initiatives and in the longer term, discussing further opportunities with VisitBritain/VisitEngland on a national strategic response – when the time is right.

We are here for you and know that together, we can get through these extraordinary days and weeks ahead.

#WeAreLancashireRachel McQueen
Chief Executive
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