What is BedfordBID doing to help during the Coronavirus crisis?

Published on 26 March 2020

Promotion and publicity 
BedfordBID initially launched the Love Bedford ‘Open for Business’ campaign asking people to shop local and support our town centre business. This was widely shared on Social Media. As advice from Government changed, we launched the #OnlineForBusiness to help those who were still “delivering" a service.
Business updates 
If you would like any updates made to your business directory listing on www.lovebedford.co.uk to reflect changes to your operation during this time, please email info@lovebedford.co.uk with information. Updates can also be shared across our social media platforms to audiences.
Bedford Borough Council Support for Local Businesses
Local businesses can apply for a business support grant via the Council’s website if they meet the Government’s qualifying criteria.
The Government has announced a range of grant funding for certain businesses affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Bedford Borough Council has set up an online form, enabling local businesses to apply for this money.
To qualify the business must occupy a business property that has a rateable value of less than £51,000 and either:

  • Receive small business rate relief or rural rate relief; or
  • Be a retail, hospitality or leisure business

The support for businesses also includes a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses, as well as the small business grant funding for those who receive small business rate relief or rural rate relief; and grant funding for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value under £51,000.
Mayor Dave Hodgson said “We know that businesses across the country are struggling, and we want to make it as easy as possible for businesses in our Borough to access the support that the Government is providing. We have already had nearly 100 businesses apply for funding, and we would encourage every single business that is entitled to this support to get in touch using the form on our website.”
“Any business having difficulty paying their business rates bill should contact the Council’s Business Rates team for further advice”.
Further information and the form can be accessed at www.bedford.gov.uk/covid19business
National Information
Extra protection for businesses with ban on evictions for commercial tenants who miss rent payments

  • Commercial tenants unable to pay rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction
  • Measures support ongoing conversations between landlords and tenants about voluntary arrangements
  • Latest measure builds on the unprecedented package of support for businesses already announced

Many landlords and tenants are already having conversations and reaching voluntary arrangements about rental payments due shortly but the government recognises businesses struggling with their cashflow due to coronavirus remain worried about eviction.
These measures, included in the emergency Coronavirus Bill currently going through Parliament, will mean no business will be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment in the next 3 months.
This builds on the unprecedented package of support announced for businesses who are affected by coronavirus.
As commercial tenants will still be liable for the rent after this period, the government is also actively monitoring the impact on commercial landlords’ cash flow and continues to be in dialogue with them.
Further information can be found here.
Local Advice
Finding your way with KSK
Finding your way through the complicated business/employee arrangements being updated daily by the Government and applying them to your circumstances is a job for experts.
KSK KeenShayKeens is pulling together all that information on the company’s website ksk.co.uk
Following the Government's announcements, their office on the corner of St Cuthbert’s was closed, however all work is continuing as normal and all staff are contactable by telephone (01234 301000) and email (bedford@ksk.co.uk).
Soaring advice from Alex
Businesses trying to make sense of the information about government help and issues like statutory sick pay may find this post by town centre business Soaring Falcon Accountancy very helpful.
The team are featured the latest BedfordBID business magazine which will be distributed shortly
£££ Tips from Utilitrack
Our town centre utility advisors, who are expert negotiators suggest these tips to businesses:

  1. If you have a bill you can’t pay - speak to the supplier and ask for payment plan
  2. Submit monthly meter readings so you are paying ONLY for what you are using - not what you were using when fully open/functioning.
  3. If cash flow permits, come OFF Direct Debit and change to variable payments for same reason as 2

Any further advice, speak to Utilitrack on Tel 01234 267883 or go to www.utilitrack.co.uk

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