Information and support for businesses during COVID-19

In this special edition of the Council’s business e-bulletin, read about the Government’s plans for recovery, the Council’s public consultation process to shape Bromley and Orpington Town Centres and information on the re-opening of more business sectors. Additionally you’ll find information about a range of local business groups and events ready to support your business.

The information in this e-bulletin is accurate on 13 July 2020.

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Have a say in the future of your Town Centre

Bromley Council is producing new planning guidance for Bromley and Orpington town centres and has begun a 12 week public consultation process to shape this guidance. The consultation is seeking views from a broad range of individuals and organisations, representative of the community, on how the Council should guide the development of the town centres in line with the policies set out in the Bromley Local Plan.

In recent years, the general role of town centres has been shifting from largely retail-focused areas to more mixed-use retail, cultural and leisure areas, with a focus on creating functional and enjoyable civic spaces. This includes the introduction of residential uses into town centres and prioritising pedestrian use through improved sustainable transport links and public realm improvements. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way we live and work, potentially in the longer term. These changes threaten to have significant impacts on the vitality and viability of town centres, hence the Council wants to utilise its planning function to plan ahead, and put in place guidance which will help the Borough evolve sustainably.

To have your say on the content of the planning guidance for Bromley and Orpington town centres, visit

Bromley Town Centre
Orpington Town Centre

The consultation will run until 5 October 2020. The Council will consider the comments received and use these to inform preparation of draft guidance documents. Consultation on these documents will likely be undertaken in early 2021.

The Chancellor's Plans for Recovery

On the 8th July, during his Summer Economic Update to Parliament, the Chancellor unveiled plans to support the UK’s recovery from COVID-19.

Key points from this speech are detailed below:

  • A Jobs Retention Bonus will be introduced to help firms keep furloughed workers. UK Employers will receive a one-off bonus of £1,000 for each furloughed employee who is still employed as of 31 January 2021.
  • A new £2 billion Kickstart Scheme will also be launched to create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people across the country.
  • A range of employment support schemes will be up scaled to encourage businesses to employ apprentices to their industry.
  • A temporary VAT cut from 20% to 5% on most tourism and hospitality related activities. If you are a VAT registered business check if you can temporarily reduce the VAT on supplies relating to hospitality, accommodation, or admission to certain attractions here.
  • The new ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ discount scheme will provide 50% reduction for sit down meals throughout August on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday night. Businesses can read guidance on the scheme and register  from the 13th July.
  • A temporary increase to the Nil Rate Band of Residential SDLT (Stamp Duty) from £125,000 to £500,000 until March 2021
  • A rescue package of £1.57bn (announced on 5 July) providing emergency grants and loans for Britain’s cultural, arts and heritage institutions.  Read more here.

Read more here.

Flexible Furlough

Businesses now have the flexibility to bring furloughed employees back to work part time as of 1 July.

  • Firms will be given the flexibility to decide the hours and shift patterns of their employees – with the government continuing to pay 80% of salaries for the hours they do not work
  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has so far helped protect more than 9.3 million jobs through the pandemic, with employers claiming more than £25.5 billion to support wages
  • The scheme will remain open until the end of October  

Read more here.

Future Fund

More start-ups and innovative firms are now able to apply for investment from the government’s Future Fund.  Under the scheme, early-stage, high-growth businesses from a diverse range of sectors can apply for a convertible loan of between £125,000 and £5 million to help them through the Coronavirus outbreak.

Read the Government’s press release here.

Government announces reopening of indoor gyms, leisure centres, pools and outdoor performances

The Government has outlined the measures that will allow outdoor pools to reopen from 11 July and indoor gyms, swimming pools and sports facilities to reopen from 25 July, ensuring millions of people can get back into more sport and fitness activities.  Please see guidance for further details.

Performing arts can now take place outdoors from 11 July with a socially distanced audience present.  This means that outdoor theatres, opera, dance and music can resume from 11th July so long as they take place outside and with a limited and socially distanced audience.

New guidance, published by the Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport today, will help performing arts organisations, venue operators and participants in the UK understand how they can work and take part in the performing arts safely, and keep their audiences safe.

Beauty salons set to reopen some services under Government guidelines

Businesses including beauty salons, nail bars and tattoo studios can reopen safely from Monday 13 July.

  • Practical guidelines to allow more beauty businesses, including tattoo studios, nail bars and spas, to reopen for some services from 13 July
  • Businesses must be able to meet the COVID-19 secure guidelines developed in consultation with the beauty industry to reopen, protecting customers and workers
  • Only services that do not involve work in the highest risk zone – directly in front of the face – should be made available to clients

Read the press release here.

Growth Hub help and advice on re-opening

The GLA Growth Hub now has a dedicated section on reopening safely where guidance and factsheets are being published, including information from the NEXSTART group in relation to hospitality.  This can be found at the link below and is being update regularly as new information becomes available.

Read more here.

The GLA’s Growth Hub is also providing one-to-one advice and support to help London businesses face the challenges of  COVID-19. Book a call

New Pavement Licence for outdoor seating

A new Pavement Licence is being introduced to make it easier for all operators to obtain permission to put tables and chairs on the public highway. This is not law until it passes in Parliament, anticipated towards the end of July 2020. 

In preparation, businesses are advised to gather supporting documentation that will need to be submitted with your application

  • Prepare and provide detailed plans of the external areas, showing dimensions of where tables and chairs will be placed.
  • Specify days of the week and times the furniture will be on the street.
  • Describe the furniture to be used
  • Provide details of your current insurance to cover third party and public liability risk for activities on the street. This must be to a minimum of £5m
  • Be prepared to pay the application fee (capped at £100)

 For more detailed information contact

Takeaway Draught Alcohol

As Covid-19 restrictions are changing, if as a licenced premises you are decanting draught beer, lager or cider for take away sales they must be sold in pints, halves, a third or two thirds of a pint, or a multiple of half a pint. 

When using equipment to measure the drinks, always use ‘Government stamped’ equipment such as an automatic metering system or an ‘out’ pouring measure to deliver the correct quantity.  Stamped glasses are not accurate enough to use as a measure to dispense take out sales and should not be used.

Trading Standards provides free online weights and measures advice: (

Local Business Events

London Growth Hub COVID-19 Business Help Series

The London Growth Hub continues to offer a range of FREE Webinars designed to guide London’s small businesses as they navigate the challenges of COVID-19.  Upcoming Webinars from the ‘COVID-19 Business Help Series’ includes:

16th July – Managing HR issues and Employment Law
23rd July – Adapting your workplace: Staff, Safety and Risk Management
28th July – Supercharge your sales
30th July – Managing your cashflow

View all webinars

Event: tech and retail reopening

Please join Resilience First, in partnership with Intel, for a webinar briefing and discussion on the role technologies can play in transforming the retail sector's ability to adapt to our new normal ways of working and living following the calamitous impacts of Covid-19.

Wednesday 22nd July 2020, 10am to 11am. Sign up here.

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

Beckenham Business Association | Every Tuesday | 10:00am

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

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.