Survey, newsletters and email updates

Thank you to all the businesses who have already been in touch with us to share what information and support you need. We have gathered the latest information here.

We continue to listen to our local businesses and want to know how to support you short and long term. We also want to ensure that the voices of Camden’s businesses are represented. We would be really grateful for your stories about how this challenge is affecting you, your staff and your community. This is so we can effectively lobby the government. Let us know your thoughts by completing the survey.

You will not receive a personal response after completing this survey so if you need to talk to us directly please use the relevant contact details listed in the sections below.

Businesses: Share your situation

Newsletters and email updates

We send regular information for businesses by e-newsletter. You can read the latest bulletinApril’s newsletter and sign up to receive future editions.

Our new frontline presence teams are also out daily supporting businesses on high streets and markets across the borough with advice and support on social distancing. You can see what the teams have been up to on our news page.

Business grant support

There are two grant funding schemes, the Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund.

If you received small business rates relief as of 11 March 2020, you’ll be eligible for a Small Business Support Grant Fund payment of £10,000. This includes those in receipt of tapered relief (where your rateable value falls between £12,000 - £15,000). We will not make awards retrospectively, where the relief is not currently in place, except in exceptional circumstances.

Properties whose liability is calculated using the small business multiplier (where your rateable value is above £15,000, but below £51,000) but are not in receipt of small business rates relief, will not qualify for this grant.

If your business is in the retail, hospitality or leisure industry, you’ll be eligible for a grant payment through the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Grant fund. If your rateable value is £15,000 or less, you’ll be entitled to a grant of £10,000. If your rateable value is greater than £15,000 and less than £51,000, you’ll be entitled to a grant of £25,000. State Aid limits are applied, meaning they are capped at an 800,000 euro limit per company.

More information on the two grants is available on the government website.

What we are doing

So far the council has made 1,549 awards of the £25,000 government business grant, totalling £38.75m. Staff from the business rates team are currently processing the forms already received from the remaining eligible businesses for both the £10,000 and £25,000 grants.

What you need to do

If you pay business rates by direct debit or where we already hold your bank details, the grant will automatically be transferred into your bank account so you don’t need to do anything. If you have not received a grant please share your bank details with us by filling in this form so that we can make the payment or call us on 020 7974 6460.

New discretionary grant fund

The government announced a new discretionary grant fund on the 2nd May to support those businesses who are not eligible for the existing business grants scheme. This top-up fund will be administered by local councils according to criteria set out by government.  
We recognise that these are very challenging times for businesses in Camden and ask for patience as we put an application process in place. Given the funding expected for each council area, it is highly likely that demand will exceed the available grants and we will have to give very careful consideration to ensure this funding can make a difference where it is most needed.

What are we doing?

We received final guidance on these criteria on the 13 May and, whilst we await final confirmation of the funding available locally for Camden, we are now beginning to finalise the details of the scheme in line with the guidelines set out by government. 
We will work as quickly as possible in the coming days and weeks to put together our scheme and we would encourage eligible businesses to submit their applications in good time once the process opens. We contact businesses once the application process has been finalised, and with the details of when the fund is expected to go live. Information will also be added to these webpages.

What do I need to do?

Please wait for the application process and local criteria to be published before contacting us on this new grant scheme and we thank you for your patience in the meantime. If you have any related general queries on doing business in Camden please direct them to the economic development team at economicdevelopment@camden.gov.uk 

Coronavirus Business Loan Schemes

The government have announced a number of schemes for businesses affected by coronavirus to access loans more easily. 

Bounce Back Loans: Open to small and medium-sized businesses through a simple application process to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. No fees, interest or repayments to pay for the first 12 months, and loan terms will be up to 6 years. 

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS): access to loans, overdraft, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million for up to 6 years. No fees, interest or repayments to pay for the first 12 months. 

Applications are no longer limited to businesses that have been refused a loan on commercial terms, extending the number who benefit. Banks will be banned from asking company owners to guarantee loans with their own savings or property when borrowing up to £250,000.

Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS): aimed at larger firms with a turnover of between £45m and £500m, providing state-backed loans of up to £25m.

What you need to do

More information on the scheme can be found on the government website including how to check if you are eligible.

Wage support

The government are support for employers to furlough staff at 80% of their wages has been extended until the end of October. The scheme will continue in its current form until the end of June. From the 1st July businesses can bring furloughed employees back part time. From August the level of government grant support will start to be tapered with employers paying more but employees will continue to receive 80% of their salary. Claims can be made for any employees on PAYE payroll on or before 19 March. Employees that were employed as of 28 February, but were subsequently made redundant can also be reemployed and placed on furlough. 

What do I need to do

More information on the scheme and how to claim can be found on the government website, with claim amounts backdated to 1 March: coronavirus job retention scheme. The government announcement on changes to the furlough scheme can be found here 

Rent support for business tenants in council owned properties

Camden Council is committed to supporting business tenants in our commercial properties during this difficult time.  

What we are doing

We are contacting commercial tenants in Camden Council-owned properties and will provide support where we can to those who are facing difficulty in paying their rent.
For those businesses in our properties who have contacted us (or wish to contact us) about their rent, we are proposing to defer collection and are speaking to tenants over the course of the next few days and weeks to discuss individual circumstances.
 
Whilst business tenants will still be liable for this rent, this will give you time to plan ahead and ensure the future continuation of your business in the premises leased to you by the Council. In order to ensure we provide a coherent business support package, when we call we will be asking for some further information around how your business has been affected, for example, your drop in trade, any forced closure, reduced staff and what government grants you may have applied for etc. We are also likely to ask for the provision of supporting financial documentation.

What you need to do

If you are a business tenant in a Camden property and would like to talk to us about you rent you can get in touch via 020 7974 6459 or email us at commercialrents@camden.gov.uk

Advice for businesses on operating during the coronavirus pandemic

There is a range of guidance and requirements for businesses operating at this time. 

From 13 May:

  • Food retailers and food markets, hardware stores, garden centres and certain other retailers can now open. 
  • Outdoor sports facilities – such as tennis and basketball courts, golf courses and bowling greens can open, but you should only use these alone, with members of your household, or with one other person from outside your household, while keeping two metres apart at all times.

From 1 June:

From 15 June:

  • All other non-essential retail including shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books, and electronics, plus tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets, are expected to be able to reopen
  • This is dependent on completing a risk assessment, in consultation with trade union representatives or workers, and businesses must be confident they are managing the risks. They must have taken the necessary steps to become COVID-19 secure in line with the current Health and Safety legislation. Businesses should be prepared for spot checks to be carried out, including following any concerns raised by members of the public.

More information on the new staying alert and safe guidance can be found on the government website here.

Listed below are the current key resources that all businesses should refer to:

Keeping your business safe

The National Cyber Security Centre has created a scam reporting service so you can flag any suspicious emails. They also have advice on hosting online video conferences.

You can also find out more keeping aware of fraud and scams on the Business Against Scams website which has some practical steps to reduce the risk of scams and fraud.

Other support available for businesses

There is a host of additional support available during this time including the following:

  • Social distancing support and advice: Camden’s frontline presence team are out across Camden 7 days a week providing support and advice to businesses. You’ll recognise our officers as they’ll be wearing Camden high visibility jackets with ‘stay home, protect the NHS, save lives’ on them. It’s really important that everyone follows social distancing guidance to stop the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and to save lives. As part of their role the team are providing posters (which you can also download here) and advice to local businesses to make sure that they are maintaining 2m distancing to protect customers and their workforce. You can find more information on the teams here.
  • Finding support: The government has launched a Coronavirus Business Support Finder tool, to support businesses easily find the support they’re eligible for
  • Tackling cash-flow: The Mayor of London has launched the PayItForward campaign, to support London businesses in the Retail, Hospitality, Leisure, Travel and Tourism sectors to pre-sell vouchers, goods and services for delivery once the restrictions are lifted
  • Paying tax:  If you or a member of your workforce are worried about being able to pay tax as a result of Coronavirus, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559. You are now able to choose to defer any VAT payment due between the 20th March and 30th June. Find out more on the government website.
  • Support for workers: If you or your staff have concerns on financial support you can find out more via our page on financial support for workers. Camden Job Hub can also provide direct support to any Camden resident on employment matters including links to vacancies, support for CVs and applications and access to financial support. You can register for their help via our website.  If any of your employees have a zero-hours contract, please let them know they’ll be able to access Universal Credit and the new Employment Support Allowance. More information on this can be found on the government website.
  • Statutory sick pay: Statutory Sick Pay will be available from day 1 rather than day 4 and if you employ fewer than 250 people, the cost of providing 14 days of Statutory Sick Pay per employee will be refunded in full by the government. Find out more on the government website.
  • Some mortgage lenders will support customers who are experiencing financial difficulties by giving them mortgage holidays for up to 3 months. Contact your provider for information

We need your help

Laptops and iPads needed to help vulnerable pupils learn at home

We know that times are tough for businesses right now, but we are calling for any businesses who might be able to donate spare laptops and iPads for vulnerable students to get in touch. We are looking to support children who don’t have a device at home to help them to access vital online learning while schools are closed.

The Council is also working with Camden Learning, schools, community groups and local businesses to find ways to ensure pupils have a Wi-Fi connection in their homes.

If your business has any laptops or iPads that you can donate to a school in Camden that are less than five years old and in good condition, we will collect them from you and work with schools to distribute them to children who most need them.

Companies can also make financial donations and sponsor schools to help purchase or repurpose laptops for students.

Find the short form here to tell us about your laptops or iPads.

Can you support young people with virtual work experience?

We are calling on Camden employers to be part of a pioneering Virtual Work Experience Programme, providing local students, with their first experiences of work this June/July.

We know that many Camden students will have had their crucial first experiences of work cancelled. Work experience has a significant positive impact on young people’s outcomes, particularly on those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

This is why Camden has partnered with Speakers for Schools – a national educational charity backed by employers including the Bank of England, BP, Marie Curie and Spotify – to offer STEAM Pledge employers the opportunity to provide Virtual Work Experience (VWEX).

For further information on how to get involved contact Steampledge@camden.gov.uk