SNC Briefing – 28 Apr 2020

The following is a summary of a briefing sent to all Parish Councils by Jonathan Pyle of SNC (details at end). This is a status summary of SNC services.

Helping residents

Our Help Hub continues to be busy with 50 food drops this week and although the average number of calls has reduced from 500 to 400 the issues that we are being asked to help with have become increasingly complex.

We have  included a couple of examples of how, working together, we are all making a huge difference to our residents’ lives.

A local family who are normally fiercely independent found themselves in difficulties. Both parents are on disability benefits and the teenage son was working full time. The son was laid off from work, effectively halving the family’s income. They were worried that they would struggle to buy fuel oil but had kept some money aside from benefits, sufficient to get them through to the end of the month.

Unfortunately, the family dog became seriously ill and had to be put down. This was at a cost of £300, all but wiping out the money put by and leaving the family with no money for shopping and no means to buy more fuel oil. They called the Hub. A full week’s shopping for the family was delivered within two hours and arrangements had been made to fill the fuel tank by the end of the day.

A lady who is bedridden found that her carers could no longer attend due to self- isolation and she had no means of getting her shopping or prescriptions. She was fearful as to how she was going to survive as she required help with bathing, cooking, and moving around. She called the Hub.

A full shop was done that morning by a local volunteer while one of our own officers arranged to pick up her medication. In the meantime, the Hub was contacting the Adult Safeguarding team who managed to arrange domiciliary support as an emergency, thus enabling her to remain independent in her own home as she wished.

Helping Businesses

We are continuing to try and contact our local businesses that have not come forward to claim a grant. We are phoning, emailing and writing to companies and we sent a press release asking local businesses to contact us to claim their money.

As the number of requests for help has fallen we have now moved to paying out grants every other day, rather than daily.

Summary of Business Rate Grants ProcessedBDC SNC 
 ValueNo of Grant PaymentsValueNo of Grant Payments
Total Processed    
Small Business Rate Relief £10k Grants13,510,0001,35115,370,0001,537
Retail, Hospitality and Leisure £10k Grants1,780,0001781,810,000181
Retail, Hospitality and Leisure £25k Grants3,575,0001434,775,000191
 18,865,0001,67221,955,0001,909
Estimate of Total Potential Claims    
Small Business Rate Relief £10k Grants18,190,0001,81922,180,0002,218
Retail, Hospitality and Leisure £10k Grants2,270,0002272,940,000294
Retail, Hospitality and Leisure £25k Grants3,750,0001505,225,000209
 24,210,0002,19630,345,0002,721
Number Unpaid    
Small Business Rate Relief £10k Grants 468 681
Retail, Hospitality and Leisure £10k Grants 49 113
Retail, Hospitality and Leisure £25k Grants 7 18
  524 812
Percentage Paid    
Small Business Rate Relief £10k Grants74%74%69%69%
Retail, Hospitality and Leisure £10k Grants78%78%62%62%
Retail, Hospitality and Leisure £25k Grants95%95%91%91%
 78%76%72%70%
Grant Paid on Account26,242,000 30,838,000 

We also wanted to let you know about a recent announcement from the government relating to rent collection on business premises.

Under the new temporary measures:

  • statutory demands and winding up petitions issued to commercial tenants are to be temporarily voided;
  • changes are to be made to the use of Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery, building on measures already introduced in the Coronavirus Act;
  • landlords and investors are being asked to work collaboratively with businesses unable to pay their bills.

For more details about this announcement, please see: https://bit.ly/rentannouncement

If you have any questions please contact me.

Jonathan Pyle
PR Manager
t 01508 533631 m 07894810890 e jpyle@s-norfolk.gov.uk  

Previous Briefing on 3 April 2020

Residents

A County Council help line number 0344 8008020 and residents can also visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/coronavirus

Our help hub team will respond to requests for help and support residents with practical help, mostly around food and medicine enquires.

There is a main distribution centre with sites at locations across the district holding a range of food products. We will be working with the current well-established food bank system to distribute food to residents. These supplies are emergency food for residents who are in need of immediate support. Central Government is also providing food for the most vulnerable and the first load was delivered this week.

We are contacting the most vulnerable residents (using a list created from SNC data, County Council and the national NHS lists) to check they have the support they need.

Volunteering

Volunteering is coordinated centrally by Voluntary Norfolk with a network of mutual-aid groups around the districts. These groups’ volunteers support local residents and use local knowledge to supply details of vulnerable residents.

We are working with the voluntary sector to recruit volunteers for a county wide effort to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. An additional 75 volunteers have been allocated in our districts. See NHS Volunteers (www.england.nhs.uk/)

Some help options:

  • Emergency income to assist with purchase of essentials (Food) or utilities, up to £150
  • One off payment to assist people whilst waiting for Universal credit or SSP to commence.
  • Further £150.00 deducted from all working age people who are in receipt of CTS. Where liability is below £150.00 this will be reduced to allow Council Tax liability to be zero
  • Discretionary Housing Payment from £500-£2k
  • Council Tax Assistance, up to 85%
  • Discretionary Council Tax Relief
  • Universal Credit
  • Renters whose income is impacted by COVID-19 should contact their landlord immediately, whether a registered provider (e.g. Saffron or Clarion) or a private landlord. Registered providers are keen to work with tenants but need to be told about those in hardship. Government has announced that private landlords can ask their mortgage providers for a 3 month payment holiday where tenants are affected by COVID-19; this saving is expected to be passed to the tenant. If landlords do not help, our housing team may be able to assist, but speak to your landlord first.

Businesses

Detailed information on our website and FAQs means businesses get the information they need.

We have helped hundreds of businesses since the restrictions began. We direct them to affiliated agencies handling elements of the available support and explain the planned payment mechanism for Council actioned support.

Where the Business Support Team has been critical, is in triaging those businesses that need further intervention at a local level, sometimes in the form of a friendly voice offering guidance and advice, and sometimes help in solving a real cashflow crisis.

There are several measures announced by Government to support businesses which include:

  • A Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • Deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
  • A Statutory Sick Pay relief package for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs)
  • A 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England
  • Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
  • More self-employed people will be eligible to apply for Universal Credit
  • A lending facility from the Bank of England to support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cashflows through loans
  • The HMRC Time To Pay Scheme
  • A £500 million Hardship Fund for residents to access financial support from the Council
  • Insurance cover related to pandemics and government-ordered closure.

This week, we have distributed just under £8 million in grants to 504 businesses in South Norfolk and Broadland.

Our team of advisers in our Economic Growth team are providing support and advice and can be contacted on 01508 533921 or by email at  businesssupport@s-norfolk or business@broadland.gov.uk

Supporting our vulnerable residents

Volunteers deliver to residents supplies of food and medicine. Most helped, so far, have been over 70 years old, but we are expecting more families to contact us as finances become tighter.

Some pharmacies have problems with queues. If your local pharmacy is having issues, please contact us and we will try and help. There is not a problem with stock or supply, but partly because people are stockpiling medicines.

We also contact the most vulnerable residents directly.

Domestic abuse issues, please report directly to the police on 101.

Support for housing can be requested via 0808 168 2222 (South Norfolk) 01603 430641 (Broadland) or go to the relevant District Councils’ website.

Jonathan Pyle
PR Manager t 01508 533631 m 07894810890 e jpyle@s-norfolk.gov.uk