Support for recovering businesses

By on 16/08/2011 in News

As a result of the disturbances that have taken place in the City Centre and other areas of Birmingham, the City Council is working with partner agencies to provide practical advice and support to those local businesses affected by the recent events.

A dedicated number has been set up for the council's Business Recovery Team and those needing support are also being encouraged to discuss any issues with their Business Improvement District Managers or Town Centre Managers.

The Business Recovery Team line is 0121 464 8164, while information can also be obtained via www.birmingham.gov.uk

Cllr Timothy Huxtable, Cabinet Member for Transport, Environment and Regeneration, said: “Over the past few days the situation has improved but it is vital we do everything we can to get our businesses on the road to recovery.

“We worked with the police and other partner agencies to get the city streets back to normal and have cleared debris from the City Centre and other highway locations.

“As such, this means all roads leading into the city are now open and public transport is operating as normal - but now it is time to focus on the recovery.

“We are committed to providing ongoing support to those affected and will be producing a series of further bulletins to ensure business owners are kept fully informed of what support and help is available.

“At the moment, businesses are asking for information more than anything else, so we are liaising with the four City Centre BIDs so that they keep their members – the businesses within their BID area – informed regarding the measures included in the national recovery package and the role of the local authority.”

Some of the important information already circulated to businesses includes the following checklist:

Support for businesses

Support and advice is available to help affected businesses back on their feet as quickly as possible. We have listed some helpful points below:

– Businesses which have suffered loss need to obtain a crime number from the police.

– If you have business insurance, contact your business insurance provider to check what you are covered for.

– If you require further information with regards to insurance issues contact the Association of British Insurers on 0207 600 3333 or at www.abi.org.uk

– If you do not have business insurance, you may be able to claim for compensation by notifying your local police authority within 42 days.

– Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs has announced that it will delay tax payments for businesses needing help through Time to Pay and will offer other practical support. Contact the Civil Disorder helpline number on 0845 366 1207 for detailed advice.

– Banks are putting in place special arrangements to make sure that emergency enquiries from affected customers can be dealt with simply and quickly. Please contact your bank for details.

The government has also announced a package of support, details of which are expected to be announced very shortly, including:

£20m High Street Support Scheme

The flexible scheme will be aimed at supporting the specific streets and areas where businesses have suffered most as a result of the disturbances. It can be used to:

– fund hardship relief from business rates.

– help affected firms to get back up and running quickly, for instance if assistance is needed with business clear-up, replacement of equipment, or costs of temporary accommodation.

Seriously damaged business properties will be taken off valuation lists, and the Secretary of State for Communities has strongly encouraged the Valuation Office Agency to do so as promptly as possible. This removes any liability for council tax or business rates.

Access to Finance

The Government is working closely with the British Bankers Association to ensure that affected businesses of all sizes, but especially small businesses, receive help.

Where businesses have been affected by the recent rioting, banks have put in place special arrangements to make sure that emergency enquiries from affected customers can be dealt with simply and quickly.

Banks have put in place numbers for customers to call, teams are available inside the banks to help and business relationship managers are getting in contact.

The banks will sympathetically and sensitively consider the problems of each business. Additional financial support will be available should it be required to provide solutions for the affected businesses.

These include for example, where necessary making available short to medium-term finance arrangements for repairs and to replace stock, and repayment holidays until insurance claims are settled.

For further information on all these points, businesses are being asked to visit the Department for Business Innovation and Skills website on www.bis.gov.uk

The council is also looking at support through the Planning process for those businesses which require new shop fronts. Further details will be announced as they become available.

ENDS

For more information, contact Kris Kowalewski on 0121 303 3621

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