Information and support for businesses during COVID-19

In this special edition of the business e-bulletin, find out what you will need to do in preparation for re-opening business premises, more about how to access the financial assistance available from the government, and steps you can take to protect your business against scammers.  We also provide information about a range of local business groups and events ready to support your business.

The information in this e-bulletin is accurate on 13th May 2020.  Stay informed at

Preparing for recovery

COVID-19 Secure Guidelines published to support businesses to manage risk

Following the Prime Minister’s address on Sunday 10th May, the government has published its roadmap to recovery and further advice on how businesses should plan for and approach making workplaces safe.

Whilst employers must make every effort to enable employees to work from home, where work can only be done in the workplace, businesses may allow employees to return to work where it is safe to do so.

Most businesses that were previously asked to close, particularly those in non-essential retail and hospitality, should remain closed.  The list of businesses asked to close is here.

Where businesses are permitted to open workspaces, they must take all practical steps to create safe places for their employees to work.

Businesses are required to produce a COVID-19 risk assessment before they re-open their business or ask employees to re-enter the workplace.  The Health and Safety Executive have published advice on completing the risk assessment here

The government has published Covid-19 secure guidelines setting out how different workplaces can be adapted to operate safely.  

The principles behind all guidance are:

  • Maintain social distancing
  • Introduce measures to manage transmission where needed (e.g. through shift work or staggering working times, or using physical barriers)
  • Increase the cleaning regime

Guidance on social distancing in retail premises

The British Retail Consortium published a guide suggesting issues that retailers may need to consider as they start to plan to re-open their premises.  More here.

Free online learning platform to boost workplace skills

The government has launched an online learning platform to help boost the nation’s skills while people are staying at home.

Free courses are available through The Skills Toolkit platform, giving people access to free, high-quality digital and numeracy courses to help build up their skills, progress in work and boost their job prospects.

Information on government grants and financial assistance

Could your business be eligible for a small business grant or a retail, hospitality and leisure grant?

The council are urging those businesses that may be eligible for a small business grant or retail, hospitality or leisure grant to access the support available to them.

With some grants remaining unclaimed, businesses are encouraged to review their eligibility.  In order to claim a grant against your business property, your business must have been solvent on 11th March 2020.

Businesses are eligible for a Retail, Hospitality or Leisure Grant if on 11th March 2020, their property was:

  • Occupied (this includes properties that are closed because of COVID-19)
  • Reasonably accessible to the public (including properties that are closed because of COVID-19)
  • Used wholly or mainly for the purposes of Retail, Hospitality or Leisure
  • Has a rateable value of less than £51k

Businesses are eligible for a Small Business Grant if on 11th March 2020, their property was:

  • In receipt of Small Business Rate Relief
  • Occupied for business purposes

Full guidance on eligibility is available in the government’s guidance note.

When reviewing your eligibility, it might be helpful to note:

  • Businesses from outside the retail, hospitality and leisure sector can access a Small Business Grant if they are in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief.  This includes some professional services and medical businesses.
  • Your property’s rateable value is not the same as the amount that you pay for business rates.  You can find out the rateable value of your property here.

To request a grant, please complete the form on the Council’s website.  You will need your Business Rates Reference Number (you can request this here) and your business bank account details to hand.

Discretionary business support funding for small businesses

The government has announced that additional funding will be made available to small businesses that have not been able to access other government grants.  This funding will be administered by the council who will distribute the funding in accordance with national criteria but using their discretion to support local economic need. More to follow – please check for updates.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme now open

From Wednesday 13th May 2020, self-employed individuals or members of partnerships whose business has been adversely affected by coronavirus will be able to apply for a Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant, worth 80% of their average monthly trading profits, up to a maximum of £7,500, paid in a single instalment. 

You can check if you are eligible to make a claim, and when you can make it, click here.

In order to access the funding, you will need your:

  • Unique Taxpayer Reference
  • National Insurance Number
  • Government Gateway ID and password
  • UK bank details.

Most people who are eligible should have already been contacted by HMRC.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme extended by 4 months

The Chancellor announced that the Government scheme to pay the wages of employees who have been ‘furloughed’ has been extended to October.  The Government will ask companies to start ‘sharing the cost’ of the scheme from August.  Press coverage can be found here

You can find out if you are eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme here. If you have already worked out how much you can claim, you can now claim for wages online through the government’s website.

The scheme is being administered by HMRC.   Businesses can call 0800 024 122 for support with their application Monday to Friday: 8am to 4pm. You will need to have your PAYE number to hand.

Bounce back loan scheme for small businesses

Small and medium sized businesses have been making use of this fast-track finance scheme providing loans with a 100% Government-backed guarantee for lenders.

Under the ‘Bounce Back Loan’ scheme:

  • The Government will provide lenders with a 100% guarantee for the loan
  • There are no fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months
  • Businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 up to 25% of their annual turnover (up to £50,000)
  • The loans are easy to apply for through a short, standardised online application, and access to cash is quick.

Find out more and how to apply here.

Protecting businesses against scams

As a direct result of COVID-19 (coronavirus), people are working from home more than ever. Increased stress, less opportunities to talk to colleagues and a different working environment are all things that criminals are using to their advantage to commit fraud. Employees are having to make decisions on their own without verification from their colleagues, making businesses more susceptible to scams.

Bromley Trading Standards are supporting Businesses Against Scams, a new initiative set up by the National Trading Standards (NTS) Scams Team that includes free online training and a number of free resources that companies can share with their employees to educate them on a variety of common business related frauds, such as:

  • Government grant and tax rebate scams;
  • CEO impersonation scams;
  • Invoice/mandate fraud;
  • Tech support scams

Criminals will try and gain access to businesses devices and networks, and everything stored on them. They can do this by:

  • Sending emails with malicious attachments;
  • Exploiting vulnerabilities in operating systems if they are not up-to-date;
  • Trying to get you to click links or visit malicious websites.

Once they have access to devices and data, they may try to steal data or extract money by getting you to pay a ransom.

If a business believes they have been the victim of a scam they must contact their bank immediately and report any suspicious activity to Action Fraud or by calling 0300 123 2040.

At a time when businesses are already facing challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, the proliferation of related scams are adding further strain on businesses.

Businesses Against Scams provides free tools for businesses to help upskill and train their workforce through free online training modules that will help staff identify and prevent potential scams. 

Protect your employees & business today by joining Businesses Against Scams at

Local Business Groups and Events

Local Business Group Updates

Orpington Oracle: In conversation with Gareth Bacon MP

In the first of a series of online conversations with local leaders, the Orpington 1st BID team speak with Gareth Bacon MP about government support, tax reform, lobbying, and the way forward for Orpington town centre:

Your Bromley Supporting Businesses

The team at Your Bromley BID have been working closely with the council to help identify the gaps in support available to businesses. The BID conducted a survey last month to help identify specific help needed by different businesses which has informed their lobbying.   

The BID have also been campaigning together with many BIDs around the country to the Government to #RaiseTheBar and increase the rateable value threshold from £51,000 to £150,000 and save tens of thousands of businesses in the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality sector from going under by allowing more businesses the opportunity to access government grants.

In addition Your Bromley BID are trying to make contact with businesses within Bromley town centre who appear to be eligible for government grants but who have not yet claimed them.  For more information contact

Successful Mums to help 25 Bromley Mums Start a Business in COVID 19

The Bromley based training company have funding to take 25 women through an online Business Start-up and Digital Course.

 “Despite this challenging time, it can be a great opportunity to kick start your Business Idea and turn it into reality in 2020. We’ve made the course flexible to fit around the home schooling and other caring responsibilities at this time” said the company’s founder, Jane Knight.

The accredited and flexible course includes an experienced Business Coach, 121 support and a range of enterprising subjects including business planning, marketing and financial planning and funding.

Click here to find out more information, check eligibility and book your FREE place today.


The South East London Business Network (SELBN™) runs the region’s largest LinkedIn group.  Recently, they hosted a free masterclass on using LinkedIn in response to business feedback.  You can access a video of the event and a record of the live chat by applying to join SELBN’s LinkedIn group and then clicking here.

Local Business Events

Orpington Virtual Business Forum | Every Tuesday | 10:00am

Orpington 1st BID’s weekly webinars will discuss a variety of business support measures and includes a panel answering questions. For more info and to register click here:

1230 TWC | Every Wednesday | 12:30pm

Currently 1230 TWC is holding weekly virtual meetings with supportive informative speakers.  Everyone gets an opportunity to introduce themselves and there’s an opportunity for brainstorming too.

Beckenham Business Association | Weekly

Beckenham Business Association is holding weekly virtual meetings supporting all businesses: more here.

Business Continuity Group for Small Businesses

The Business Continuity Support Group (BCS) has been set up to support small businesses in the borough. 

Both events are advertised on the Business Continuity Support Facebook page and are FREE to attend. There is some open networking before the main speakers.

For more information please visit:

A list of local networking groups can also be found on our website

Bromley Business Support Team

Town Centre Management & Business Support,
London Borough Bromley B42a St Blaise, Civic Centre, Stockwell Close, Bromley BR1 3UH

Disclaimer: Please note the editor has made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the contents of this e-bulletin, but we cannot always verify the authenticity of information that we receive from other organisations or individuals contained in the notices that we circulate within the Bromley Business e-bulletin. Readers should therefore independently satisfy themselves as to the accuracy of any information set out in such notices, as the London Borough Bromley will not accept any liability for inaccuracies contained in the information provided.