Open letter to businesses from the leader of Derby City Council

Published: 25 March 2020

Council House at night

We realise that COVID-19 is causing all businesses, large and small, to face extremely difficult decisions and an indefinite period of uncertainty.

We want you to know that Derby City Council is committed to helping you through this.

We are writing to the business community in Derby today to let you know that our priority is to safeguard as many businesses and jobs in the city as possible. The best way for us to do this is to ensure that you receive all the business support announced by the government in the most timely and efficient manner, and we have a dedicated team working hard to make this happen. We will keep you updated as more details continue to become available, particularly relating to availability and timescales.

By now you will have heard the government announce new support schemes involving loans, grants and rate relief. We are working in partnership with the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, Derbyshire County Council, and East Midlands Chamber to understand how these support schemes will be delivered to you in the coming weeks and months. For the latest information regarding these schemes, including whether you are eligible and how you can access them, we recommend that you visit the D2N2 Growth Hub COVID-19 web page or call their helpline to speak to a business adviser on 0333 006 9178. In addition, for help with business planning we recommend that you visit the East Midlands Chamber Coronavirus web page.

We currently expect the small business grants of £10k to £25k to become available in April. If you are experiencing immediate cash flow difficulties then we recommend that you engage in discussions with some of the lenders participating in the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, which opened for applications on Monday 23rd March. They may be able to provide a loan that would not have previously been available to you, as well as a 12-month interest free period.

I would also like to personally ask that all employers of all sizes, in all sectors, think carefully about the implications of laying-off staff during this difficult period. This is one of the most difficult decisions that any business has to make, but there is help on the way to assist you with your staffing costs in the form of the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – we would ask that you explore the possibility of making use of this scheme before taking the difficult decision to lay-off any of your valuable employees. It is currently expected that the online portal for accessing this scheme will go live by the end of April.

Lastly, whilst this is an extremely challenging situation for businesses and communities around the world, we firmly believe that by working together, showing solidarity and caring for others, we can and will get through this.

Yours sincerely,

Chris Poulter, Leader of Derby City Council

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