Coronavirus - Business and licensing
The best source of advice for businesses, which includes more detail on all national business support schemes, is GOV.UK.
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Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors
The government announced cash grants of up to £25,000 for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.
For businesses that were actively trading and occupying properties with rateable values of £15,000 or less the grant is expected to be £10,000.
For businesses that were actively trading and occupying properties with rateable values between £15,000 and £51,000 the grant is expected to be £25,000.
Businesses in any sector receiving the small business rate relief
Businesses in receipt of small business rate relief on 11 March 2020 will receive a grant of £10,000. There are some exceptions:
- properties which are occupied for personal use, for example, private stables, beach huts and moorings will not qualify for a cash grant even if they are in receipt of relief
- properties where the liability is calculated using the small business multiplier but not in receipt of small business rate relief will not qualify for the grant.
Please see the government guidance for full details of the scheme.
If your business meets the eligibility criteria complete the form and return it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Government will not accept deliberate manipulation and fraud, any business caught falsifying their records to gain additional grant money will face prosecution and any funding issued will be subject to clawback.
Support for businesses
We are working with the Local Enterprise Partnership for Gloucestershire who have created a business survey. Please fill it out so we can find out what businesses need and how you are being affected. The results will help us provide support where it's needed most.
Business rate relief
We are working to identify businesses that will qualify for the additional business rate relief announced by Government. We will be contacting eligible businesses to notify you of the relief and revised business rate bills will be issued as fast as possible.
Business rates payments deferred
We will not be collecting any business rates payments by direct debit during April 2020 to help ease business cashflow concerns. Instead, this payment will be deferred until all appropriate reliefs and grants have been applied. For those businesses that pay their business rates from April to January, this change will mean that payment instalments will move from May to February. The deferral will take place automatically - no action is required from businesses.
Workers' Support Package
The Government has announced a Workers' Support Package to ensure staff are still paid during the COVID-19 crisis:
- the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which will pay 80% of workers' wages up to £2,500 per month
- VAT payments due between now and the end of June will be deferred
- Income tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021
- The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, launched at Budget, will now be interest free for twelve months.
If you are an employee you can check if you are eligible for the job retention scheme.
Support for the self-employed
The Self-employed Income Support Scheme is a grant worth 80% of the person's monthly profits over the last three years, up to £2,500 a month. To be eligible for the scheme, you must:
- earn the majority of income from self-employment
- earn a maximum of £50,000 per year averaged over the last three years
- have a tax return for 2019
People that have only been trading for one or two years will still be eligible. There will be an extra four weeks grace for those who have not yet submitted their 2019 tax return so they can be included in the scheme.
The scheme will be administered by HMRC and it is hoped it will be up and running in June. If you are eligible HMRC will contact you directly.
Support for charitable organisations
The Charities Aid Foundation has set up a grant scheme for small charitable organisations. They are providing grants of up to £10,000. For more information and to apply visit their website.
To reduce social contact, the government has ordered some businesses and venues to close. You can read the list of businesses and venues that must remain closed.
Business continuity – Licensing
In line with government advice, officers will be working from home more often. This means our capacity to meet with people will be affected. We request that you please do the following:
- In the first instance, please use email as a means of contact with us. Our email address (email@example.com) will be monitored throughout the day and we will respond as soon as we are able.
- If you need to provide any documents, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any problems with emailing please contact us on 01594 810000 and we try and find a solution.
- Any phone messages will continue to be passed through to licensing and callers can expect a call back within two working days.
- From now on, knowledge tests will be cancelled until further notice.
- Payments can be made by calling us on 01594 810000
Food businesses and takeaway regulations
For the latest guidance for food businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19):
Due to Coronavirus many of our food businesses may wish to diversify and offer collection, delivery or takeaway services. Please read our leaflet and contact us on email@example.com you need further advice or information.
To register your premises to serve or sell food or drink whether or not the premises operate commercially visit the Starting a food business page.
Where possible delivery staff should have minimal contact with staff and also customers and follow the food safety guidelines. Use contactless payments or pre-payments wherever possible. Arrange for orders to be left on doorsteps to avoid physical contact with the customers and keep to two metres away for social distancing. Sanitise hands regularly and before and after drop off.
Taxi and Private Hire licence holders
The situation is constantly changing so please keep checking for updates. We will do our best to keep you informed but we appreciate your understanding and patience.
Licensing committees have been postponed for the time being until alternative arrangements have been put in place.
We will deal with complaints and compliance issues as normal.
We are aware that drivers may face difficulties with getting medicals done as surgeries are cancelling non-urgent appointments. There has been no official advice from the government and so we will be seeking permission to do the following:
- If you have had an appointment cancelled or are unable to make an appointment we will require a letter stating your medical condition has not changed since your last medical report. If no contact is made before expiry then suspensions will be issued in the normal way.
- New applicants will not be issued with a licence until they have complied with all the requirements including medicals.
- Existing drivers with pre-existing health conditions will be dealt with on a case-to-case basis.
Due to recent Government guidance MOTs have been extended for a further six months.
Please follow the official advice for your own and your passengers protection.
If you are vulnerable either due to your age, suppressed immunity or pre-existing health conditions, please consider whether it is in your interest to work.
If you believe you may have been exposed to the virus through a passenger (or anyone else), please consider the official advice to self-isolate particularly if you are displaying symptoms.
Read the official COVID-19: guidance for staff in the transport sector
Advice from Department for Transport on COVID-19 (released 25/3/20)
Taxis and private hire vehicles can continue to work. But the advice is absolutely clear, people should stay at home if possible and avoid travel unless absolutely essential. The only reasons to leave our houses are set out in the government guidance.
Critical Worker Status
Taxi and private hire drivers are not generally considered Critical Workers. Home to School transport or the transport of ‘extremely vulnerable’ people may be considered Critical Workers on a case-by-case basis. Critical Workers should also whenever possible make suitable arrangements for their children to stay at home; requests for children to attend school should be discussed with the school.
Renewals due in the next 6 months
We have been given approval to permit the following measures. These arrangements will not be a permanent arrangement and are for 6 months. This will be reviewed in the future and may be extended if the COVID-19 situation does not improve.
To save money on insurance, you can voluntarily surrender your plate to us and this will be retained until such time that you reinstate your insurance. The plate will be returned to you (with the original expiry date) once you can provide the necessary documents. No refunds will be given for any period of time lost on the plate. During the time that we retain your plate and you have no insurance, you cannot use the vehicle for any journey that requires a licence
For any renewal (driver or vehicle) that is due in the next 6 months the we will allow you to take the opportunity to pay over a 12 month period. This will be 12 monthly direct debits and a mandate must be completed before the licence is issued. Failure to pay an instalment will result in the licence being suspended
You can also take the opportunity to defer the application and the renewal application will be honoured at a later date. Provided that all requirements are met for licensing then the application will be charged as a renewal. If this is a vehicle, it must be for the same vehicle registration number. The 15 year upper age limit will still apply and vehicles will not be relicensed that have met this age limit
We are looking for licensed taxi or private hire drivers to help transport our homeless clients to emergency accommodation. We are particularly looking for companies who have licensed minibuses or six seater vehicles and are willing to take bookings after hours. If you are interested email firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact details.
The NHS are looking for volunteers to help transport patients and to help move vital equipment.
Bars, pubs, leisure venues, street trading and animal activity licensing
If your renewal is due in the next six months to save money on insurance, you can voluntarily surrender your Consent or licence to us and this will be retained until such time that you reinstate your insurance. The licence will be returned to you (with the original expiry date) once you can provide necessary insurance. No refunds will be given for any period of time lost on the licence. During the time that we retain your licence and you have no insurance, you cannot conduct any business that requires a licence
For any renewal that is due in the next six months you can pay over a 12 month period. This will be 12 monthly direct debits and a mandate must be completed before the licence is issued. Failure to pay an instalment will result in the licence being suspended
You can also take the opportunity to defer the application and the renewal application will be honoured at a later date. Provided that all requirements are met for licensing then the application will be charged as a renewal
These arrangements will not be a permanent arrangement and are for six months. This will be reviewed in the future and may be extended if the COVID-19 situation does not improve.
Premises Licence Annual Fees
Invoices will still be sent out as usual. The licence can contact the licensing team to defer payment for 6 months. If you choose to do this, the next annual fee will be due 6 months after (e.g. 2 fees will be due in a 12 month period).
What does your premises licence allow you to do?
We are still waiting for more information from the government, but based on what we know from the announcement:
The delivery of food is not licensable under the Licensing Act 2003. It is therefore open to businesses to start food delivery services immediately from a licensing perspective.
However, note that hot food and beverage delivered between 11pm and 5am will require a Late Night Refreshment Licence.
Alcohol deliveries cannot be included in your food deliveries unless:
- you have an off sales licence for alcohol
- payment for alcohol deliveries is taken where you hold the licence and is taken during your licensing times.
- you must ensure you have adequate age verification procedures in place for deliveries that include alcohol.
Cancelling or postponing an event
If you need to postpone your event due to the Covid-19 outbreak, you need to check your licence very carefully. Most premises licenses will be issued in perpetuity and can therefore be used at any time in the future. Some premises licences however may be time limited. If your premises licence is time limited, it cannot be relied on for different dates. You can check if your premises licence is time limited. On the front page of your licence please refer to the section that read “Where the licence is time limited the dates”.
Temporary Event Notice
We will accept a Temporary Event Notice without payment for a different date providing that you inform us that the event is being postponed. This will be subject to the statutory consultation with the Police and Environmental Health. We will not issue a refund for any cancelled event.