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Covid Business Support

Posted: Thursday 4th March 2021
HITCHIN TOWN CENTRE BUSINESSES



 


Hitchin Town Centre Businesses 

The Chancellors Budget & Eat Alfresco 


Today the Chancellor set out his budget and explained how the Government will be supporting businesses over the coming months. I have set out the relevant points for your information. If you have any questions on these please email me – tom.hardy@hitchinherts.com

Business Support


Incentives for businesses to take on apprentices to rise to £3,000.
Lower VAT rate for hospitality businesses to be maintained at 5% rate until September. An interim 12.5% rate will then apply for the following six months.
Business rates holiday for businesses in England to continue until June with 75% discount after that.

Furlough to be extended until the end of September 2021.
Government to continue paying 80% of employees' wages for hours they cannot work.
Employers to be asked to contribute 10% in July and 20% in August and September
Support for the self-employed also to be extended until September.
Minimum wage to increase to £8.91 an hour from April.

 
£5bn in Restart grants for shops and other businesses in England forced to close.


Up to £6,000 per premises for non-essential businesses due to re-open in April
Up to £18,000 for gyms, personal care providers and other hospitality and leisure businesses

Taxation


No changes to rates of income tax, national insurance, or VAT.
Personal income tax allowance to be frozen at £12,570 from April 2022 to 2026.
Higher rate income tax threshold to be frozen at £50,270 from 2022 to 2026.
Corporation tax on company profits to rise from 19% to 25% in April 2023.

Hitchin Eat Alfresco
We are launching the popular Hitchin Eat Alfresco from 12th April on the Market Place. This is exclusively available for Hitchin town centre businesses and will run Monday to Friday 10am to 9pm. To ensure we are able to offer this opportunity to as many businesses as possible, slots will be given for 2 weeks at a time. We are also going to allow businesses to cook food on the Market Place to serve to seated customers. Please CLICK HERE to download the booking form. If you have any further questions, please contact marketing@hitchinherts.com
 
We are also working with NHDC and Hitchin Markets to offer space in Bancroft Gardens and the riverside. If you are interested in these alternative locations please email tom.hardy@hitchinherts.com

Outdoor dining
Businesses unable to take a slot on the Market Place for the Eat Alfresco, we are happy to help you apply for a pavement licence to serve customers on the pavement or bays. We are also working with Hitchin Market to make use of the riverside for outdoor dining and other open spaces around the town. Please email tom.hardy@hitchinherts.com for more information
 
Social Media
We will be starting our reopening campaign soon and are looking for as many businesses as possible to come forward with posts, pictures and stories about reopening your doors to the public. Please send them in to rangers@hitchinherts.com
 
Hand Sanitisers, Face Masks & Floor Stickers  
We have plenty of equipment available to ensure you and your staff are as safe as possible while trading in the town centre. The Information Centre is open Monday to Saturday 9:30am to 4:30pm for you to come and collect reopening packs and extra products. Please call 07540706832 or email rangers@hitchinherts.com   


Reopening packs – Posters, 10 masks, 500ml hand sanitiser & wipes - £10
Hand Sanitiser 500ml 70% Alcohol - £5
External social distancing floor stickers - £2
Cotton washable facemasks - £25 (pack of 50)
Anti-bacterial wipes - £3

 





 





 





 





 
 
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Posted: Tuesday 23rd February 2021
UPDATED INFORMATION Hitchin Town Centre Businesses 23/2/21
Following yesterday announcement, the Government will hopefully start to lift restrictions on businesses from 12th April. We have been busy working on a reopening plan as well as a wide range of events, publications, and promotions to give Hitchin the best chance of bouncing back this year. I wanted to remind of the Governments 4-step plan, some opportunity we have for you and our reopening packs for businesses. As always, I am here to answer your questions or point you in the right direction for support during this time please contact me on tom.hardy@hitchinherts.com
 
Business Grants
NHDC have received the guidance from the Government with regard to the next grant period for the National Restriction, although they will not get the funding until next week. This is for ratepayers that are mandated to close only, they will not have a discretionary Additional Restrictions Grant scheme available again until possibly mid- March.
 
Grant awards are for 16th February – 31st March 2021 and amounts are as follows:
 
RV 15,000 or less - £2,096
RV 15,001 – 50,999 - £3,143
RV 51, 000 and over - £4,714
 
These grant awards will be made automatically based on the previous applications for the Business Support Lockdown Package (5th January – 15th February), businesses will NOT need to reapply. NHDC have emailed all of those previous applicants to advise them of this.
 
If eligible businesses have not made the application for the Business Support Lockdown Package for the period 5th January – 15th February, then please do so. If you have issues with applications, please email revenues@north-herts.gov.uk
 
Hitchin Eat Alfresco

If we get the green light from Government to allow outdoor hospitality to reopen from 12th April, we will be relaunching the popular Eat Alfresco on the Market Place. This is exclusively available for Hitchin town centre businesses and will run Monday to Friday 10am to 9pm. To ensure we are able to offer this opportunity to as many businesses as possible, slots will be given for 2 weeks at a time. We are also going to allow businesses to cook food on the Market Place to serve to seated customers. If you are interested in receiving more information and a booking form, please contact marketing@hitchinherts.com
 
Outdoor dining
Businesses unable to take a slot on the Market Place for the Eat Alfresco, we are happy to help you apply for a pavement licence to serve customers on the pavement or bays. We are also working with Hitchin Market to make use of the riverside for outdoor dining and other open spaces around the town. Please email tom.hardy@hitchinherts.com for more information
 
Social Media
We will be starting our reopening campaign soon and are looking for as many businesses as possible to come forward with posts, pictures and stories about reopening your doors to the public. Please send them in to rangers@hitchinherts.com
 
Promotional Video
We will be producing a Hitchin town centre promotional video to remind the public of what the town has to offer and the great mix of businesses eager to welcome them back. If you are interested in being a part of this, please get in touch.   
 
Hand Sanitisers, Face Masks & Floor Stickers  
We have plenty of equipment available to ensure you and your staff are as safe as possible while trading in the town centre. The Information Centre is open Monday to Saturday 9:30am to 4:30pm for you to come and collect reopening packs and extra products. Please call 07540706832 or email rangers@hitchinherts.com   


Reopening packs – Posters, 10 masks, 500ml hand sanitiser & wipes - £10
Hand Sanitiser 500ml 70% Alcohol - £5
External social distancing floor stickers - £2
Cotton washable facemasks - £25 (pack of 50)
Anti-bacterial wipes - £3

 
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Posted: Tuesday 16th February 2021
UPDATED INFORMATION Hitchin Town Centre Businesses 16/2/21
Local Restrictions Support Grants
I have put together a summary of the grants available to you as of today.  Please CLICK HERE to view.
If you need any more information on these please get in touch with me tom.hardy@hitchinherts.com
 
Hitchinbasket.com improvements
In the coming weeks, the Hitchinbasket.com website will undergo major improvements. You will not only be able to search for products and services in the town centre but also buy them. Businesses e-commerce sites will be linked to their profiles making it easier for visits to buy and support the local traders. This link will mean that the public can choose a product to buy and then be automatically directed to your website to complete the sale. In order to make this improvement we need you to answer 4 simple questions.


Do you have a website address?
If so, can you take orders/reservations via this website?
Can you take payment via this website?
Do you know if you have Google shopping?
Do you know what platform you use to sign in i.e. GoDaddy, WordPress, Wix?

Please send your answers to Info@hitchinherts.com  
 
Reopening the town centre
Although there is uncertainty around when and how you can reopen your doors to the public, we have been using this time to plan and prepare a robust reopening plan. Lots of projects are well underway and follow the 4 main reopening objectives.
 
Reminding the public of what Hitchin Town Centre has to offer.
Reassuring the public of the shop safe measure in place.
Encouraging the public back to the town centre.
Promoting Hitchin Town Centre as whole and its eclectic mix of businesses.
 
To meet these objects, we have come up with a list of specific projects and activities with the highest impact in the most cost-effective way. Combining online promotions, printed media and eye-catching posters, banners, videos, and publications. The Hitchin BID team are busy working on the following projects.


Hitchin Town Centre Promotional Video
Hitchin Town Centre Newspaper to all Hitchin households
Promotional banners and posters
Social Media Campaigns
Town Centre spring cleanup
H-town Business Awards
Town Centre events programme

Social Media
 
Instagram Story Shares
The rangers will be sharing the Instagram stories of a specific business to the @ourhitchin stories for the day. This will double the exposure of your stories as they will be across two accounts.
 
Create your Instagram stories as usual and remember to tag @ourhitchin in each one so the rangers can share, the easiest way is to use the mention sticker. The rangers will try and share your tagged stories as soon you tag @ourhitchin but this cannot be guaranteed. Story sharing will cease at 5pm on the day.

If this is something that you would like to be involved in, please get in touch with rangers@hitchinherts.com for more information. Each business who gets in touch will get one Instagram story share day.  
 
Mother’s Day Instagram Promotion
If anyone has any Mother’s Day related products, they wish for the rangers to promote on Instagram, please send a photo and a caption to rangers@hitchinherts.com.
 


 
 
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Posted: Thursday 21st January 2021
UPDATED INFORMATION Hitchin Town Centre Businesses 21/1/21
The Business Support Packages have now gone live.
This is one application called Business Support Package and will cover the payment for both the National Restriction for the 6 week period 5th January to 15th February and the one-off Retail, Hospitality & Leisure payment.
 
I have detailed below the 3 most recent grants available for your information.
 
Claiming for businesses forced to close in Tier 4 26th December 2020 to 4th January 2021
Rateable Value up to £15,000 - £476.43
Rateable Value up to £51,000 - £714.29
Rateable Value over £51,000 - £1071.43
 
Claiming for national lockdown for businesses forced to close from 5th January 2021 to 15th February 2021
Rateable Value up to £15,000 - £2001
Rateable Value up to £51,000 - £3000
Rateable Value over £51,000 - £4500
 
One off grant for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses forced to close.
Rateable Value up to £15,000 - £4000
Rateable Value up to £51,000 - £6000
Rateable Value over £51,000 - £9000
 
Please CLICK HERE to apply 

Applications can be prefilled using information from previous applications. If you have any questions around eligibility or assistance in completing the application please contact: revenues@north-herts.gov.uk
 
Landlords
I received a number of emails and calls asking for advise on how to approach landlords with additional support requests. I have since spoken to a number of local landlords and formulated some guidance. If you are looking to contact your landlord and would like some additional advice, please email tom.hardy@hitchinherts.com
 
Business Interruption Insurance
In my last update email, I sent you a list of solicitors that can deal with business interruption claims. Please note, the use of these solicitors should be the last resort. In the first instance you should make contact with your insurance company or broker to clarify whether the High Court ruling has now affected the outcome of your claim.
 
Although the following insurance companies may be able to access funding, their fees vary and may result in you receiving a substantially reduced pay-out.  

Ashman’s Solicitors
https://www.ashmanssolicitors.com/legal-services/solicitor-business-interruption-claims/
Lex Law
https://lexlaw.co.uk/specialist-business-interruption-insurance-claim-lawyer-policyholder-insurance-covid-19-coronavirus-litigation-settlement-fca-advice/
Wright Hassall
https://www.wrighthassall.co.uk/coronavirus-and-business-interruption-insurance
 
Reopening Campaign
To ensure we are ready to welcome back visitors to the town centre once restrictions start to lift, we have been busy preparing a reopening campaign. This will consist of a one-off Hitchin Town Centre newspaper delivered to all residents in Hitchin, promotional material around the town welcoming the public back, social media campaigns, a town centre promotional video and speciality shopping maps. We are also undertaking substantial improvements to the Hitchinbasket.com website, launching a new Hitchin Business awards and investigating the delivery of a town centre spring clean project. If you have any additional suggestions you’d like us to consider, please email tom.hardy@hitchinherts.com   



 




 
 
 
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