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UPDATED INFORMATION Hitchin Town Centre Businesses 29/4/20
As we move over the peak of this virus, I am starting work on a Hitchin town centre recovery strategy. Although the Government has yet to release information on how and when the restrictions will be lifted, there are lots of ideas and suggestions coming out to ensure we can help as many businesses as possible to get back up and running and continue to trade. There is a lot of speculation around how the Governments strategy will be laid out, I have held meetings with the MP and North Herts Council on the measures likely be to be put in place and how Hitchin BID and the council can work together to reboot the town and bring back consumer confidence. A Government plan is likely to be released in the coming weeks and Hitchin BID is working hard to be ready to support businesses and use the BID levy to reboot the town.

Keep Hitchin Moving
We are working on an information document to help highlight businesses offering ‘deliveries’, ‘click and collect’ and ‘open to the public’. This will be widely advertised on social media to inform people that they can still access food and products from their favourite town centre businesses. We are using information on websites and social media to create this document. If you have a specific 25 word description of the type of product and food you are offering, please email me on tom.hardy@hitchinherts.com 
 
Hitchin Recovery Strategy
Although we are all awaiting guidance form Central Government on the short and long term plan to ease restriction, we are starting work on a recovery strategy. There are a number of projects and activities being discussed and ways we can best use the BID levy to reboot the town and benefit the most businesses. If you have any ideas you would like to add to these discussion, please email me tom.hardy@hitchinherts.com 

Government Support Grants
North Herts Council have reviewed and paid out almost all grants to eligible businesses. They have taken every possible measure to ensure grant funding has been sent out to the correct businesses. If you have completed an application form and not yet received the funding, please get in touch with me. If you have not yet applied for your grant, please do so now. If you do not apply you may not receive your grant. Please follow this link to apply 
https://www.north-herts.gov.uk/home/emergency-planning/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-help-businesses

Government Furlough Scheme
Wages for furloughed employees are now being paid through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, just six working days after claims opened.

Don’t worry if you have already made a claim and not received payment yet – it takes six working days from when you claimed. Please don’t HMRC to chase payment as they won’t be able to update you before the six working days have ended. You don’t need to do anything to receive payment. It will automatically be sent to the bank account you nominated in your claim.

Please retain all records and calculations for your claims in case HMRC need to contact you about them in future, as they continue to check claims made through the scheme.

If you have not yet made a claim you can still claim online for a grant for 80% of your furloughed employees’ salaries, up to a maximum of £2,500 per employee, per month. You will receive the funds six working days after you claim, provided your claim matches records that HMRC hold for your PAYE scheme. Please read all the available guidance before you apply. To find this, go to GOV‌.UK and search for 'Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme'.

Stay vigilant about scams, which may mimic government messages such as 'Stay at home' and 'Stay home, stay safe', as a way of appearing authentic and unthreatening. Don’t give out private information or reply to text messages, and don’t download attachments or click on links in texts or emails you weren’t expecting.

If you have any questions on the furlough scheme or need some advice please get in contact with me tom.hardy@hitchinherts.com