Covid Business Support in West Berkshire

The economic impact of lockdown is significant for local businesses and employees:
     – over a thousand local businesses have needed grants and loans to stay alive.
     – 15.1% of West Berkshire employees are in the sectors most impacted by lockdown – retail, hospitality
     – 1.5% of West Berkshire residents were on Universal Credit in February 2020. This jumped to 4.1% in August 2020.

Hungerford Chamber of Commerce invited experts to outline the support available at their November meeting and is making this information available here for everyone’s benefit. See commentary on goverment policy from Laura Farris MP.

Business Support from West Berkshire Council 

Gabrielle Mancini, Economic Development Officer for West Berkshire Council explains the help available from the council

Sean Murphy explains how the Public Protection Partnership helps businesses comply to covid regulations.

  • West Berkshire Council was the only council to defer business rates for all businesses for April and May.
  • Nearly £30m of grants have been given to local businesses
  • Road closures and parking bay closures to ensure pedestrian social distancing safety
  • Speeding up of table and chairs licenses
  • Berkshire Growth Hub provides free advice on HR, marketing etc
  • Guidance from Public Protection Partnership on the changes businesses need to make in order to comply with regulations
  • We are working with town centres outside Newbury, working with Chambers of Commerce and parish/town councils to re-ignite footfall on high streets.
  • One third of jobs in West Berkshire can be done from home so we want to support people working from home


Local Restrictions Grant – for businesses forced to close. Calculated on their rateable value – with no top value capped this time. So larger properties can now apply.

Additional Restrictions Grant – we have discretion on this one to support businesses who have not had much support and have experienced significant hardship. Total funds available are £3.1m which has to last until end of 2021/22 financial year. This will be rolled out shortly.

For more information please see:


Public Protection Partnership

The Public Protection Partnership has been helping many businesses become compliant with covid regulations and also supporting organisers of events like Remembrance Day wreath laying.

For more information visit our website:

For support please contact: 01635 503242


Loans, Taxes, Furlough and Kickstart Apprenticeship Scheme

Steve Perkins from Claritas Accountancy offers advice on grants, loans and taxes for self-employed, partnerships, businesses.

Karen Ferris from Professionals in Partnership explains how she helps companies recruit apprentices through the government’s new Kickstart scheme.

For latest information from the government visit

Two kinds of loans can be applied for:

Bounceback Loan – a very simple application process for loans of up to 25% of your turnover (£50,000 maximum loan), but ideally you should use it for business expenses or business investment rather than income. If you do use it for income and don’t have company profits to pay dividends, section 455 corporation tax at 32.5% will be due on the balance of any outstanding Director’s Loan Account.  This tax is ultimately reclaimable on repayment of the Director’s Loan Account, however it could cause a significant cashflow problem. You can take up to 10 years to pay back the Bounce Back Loan and you can top-up a loan you have previously taken, if you didn’t take the maximum allowed.

CBILS – Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme – more expensive with higher and variable interest rate. However, much larger loans are available (up to £5 million).

You can ask for time to pay arrangement on corporation tax with no interest payments.

Furlough Scheme is back but different, not covering employers NI or pension contributions any more and can only cover the hours that employees haven’t worked (you have to pay for what they have worked).

Please do consult your own accountant but if you want a free chat with Steve please contact him on

Kickstart Apprenticeship Scheme

Kickstart is a new £2bn scheme as part of the Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s ‘plan for jobs’ focusing on young people aged 16-24. The scheme provides the opportunity for young people on Universal Credit to gain valuable skills and experience in the workplace, with a view to gaining long-term employment.

The benefits for employers are that there is 100% minimum-wage funding for 25 hours per week for a period of six months and a grant of £1500 per placement for set up and training costs. There is no limit to the number of applications for placements, so why not elevate your business through this Scheme!

All you need to do is provide evidence that the job is new (not a replacement), a job description, how the individual will be supported to find long term work, CV, interview preparation and support to develop their skills in areas such as teamwork, organisation and communication.

Professionals in Partnership HR Consultancy is acting as a Gateway organisation, to enable companies with fewer than 30 new roles to make an application to access the funding. Once the application has been approved, candidates will apply for the job placements and your usual selection process will be followed.

This is a fantastic opportunity for local businesses to collaborate and make a difference to the lives of our local young people.

If you are interested in getting involved, please contact Karen Ferris, MD of Professionals in Partnership HR Consultancy via 07855 439759.or


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