COVID-19 Update: April 27

Eastbourne COBRA Meeting
COBRA Update: 22nd April
April 22, 2020
BBC South East
Government Announce Top Up Grants
May 2, 2020

Government Bounce Back Loan Announced:

The new Bounce Back Loans scheme, announced by the Chancellor today, will allow businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days. Loans will be interest free for the first 12 months, and from Monday 4 May, businesses can apply online through a short and simple form. 

The Government, which has been consulting extensively with business representatives about the design of the new scheme, will provide lenders with a 100% guarantee for the loan and pay any fees and interest for the first 12 months. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months. 

The scheme will launch for applications on Monday 4 May. Firms will be able to access these loans through a network of accredited lenders. The government will work with lenders to ensure loans delivered through this scheme are advanced as quickly as possible and agree a low standardised level of interest for the remaining period of the loan. 

The new scheme will run alongside the existing Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS). 

The Government is also taking additional steps on the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) to ensure that lenders have the confidence they need to process finance applications quickly, including removing the per lender portfolio cap for the government guarantee, and changing the viability tests that so that all banks will need to assess is whether a business was viable pre COVID-19. 

New measures to protect UK High Street from aggressive rent collection and closure

New temporary new measures are being introduced to safeguard the UK High Street against aggressive debt recovery actions during the coronavirus pandemic. Statutory demands and winding up petitions issued to commercial tenants will be temporarily voided and changes will be made to the use of Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery, building on measures already introduced in the Coronavirus Act. Find more information here.

Essential Worker COVID-19

All essential workers and members of their households who are showing symptoms of coronavirus are now able to get tested.

Booking the test has been made simpler via a new online system. Employers can register and refer self-isolating staff and employees are able to book a test directly for themselves or members of their household who are experiencing symptoms.

Essential workers using the new portal can enter their details and will then receive a text or email the same day inviting them to book an appointment at one of more than 30 drive-through testing sites across the country, or to receive a home testing kit.  Please note more allocations of tests are made available everyday.

Test results from the drive-through sites will be sent out by text within 48hrs, and within 72hrs of collection of the home delivery tests.

Anyone who thinks they are eligible and has symptoms and would like to be tested should speak to their employer or use the self-referral website to request a test. Find further information here.


Support for Businesses without a Rateable Value

  • Christina Ewbank (Chamber of Commerce) has been speaking to Peter Sharpe on this issue and has produced statistics
  • Written a paper that has been sent to Caroline Ansell and David Tutt this morning with a proposal
  • Proposed an Economic Resilience fund for East Sussex for micro-businesses which is similar to that announced by Welsh Government – for those who work from home, co-hub spaces, rent offices or rooms or businesses such as the Enterprise Centre without a rateable value.
  • Business East Sussex would administer the fund, due diligence carried out by Edeal, Brighton Uni, Let’s Do Business Group and other agencies. Work together with Business East Sussex and Locate East Sussex to give Paul Scully MP the power to provide a fund for this.
  • Would address a big problem for East Sussex – make up of businesses are predominantly smaller businesses. Need to lobby to support businesses
  • Gathering the evidence is extremely helpful – David is passing onto LGA – as it is a significant concern to many other authorities across the UK.
  • Has spoken at Team East Sussex about this – and with Richard Dawson. Ian Fitzpatrick happy to take to County.