London’s boroughs’ response to the Covid-19 outbreak has seen them work individually and collectively to ensure key critical services are kept running and creating new ones in face of the emergency. There is a huge amount of activity taking place in partnership with the voluntary sector, community faith groups and frontline agencies to protect and support this vibrant and thriving City.
Enfield has forgone more than £1m in rent to support local businesses and charities due to coronavirus pandemic. The Council is waiving rental payments for local organisations that lease properties in council owned buildings for the period 25 March to 23 June to ease the impact of coronavirus on the community. Eligible organisations include locally based small and medium sized retail, hospitality and light industrial businesses and locally based registered charities, sports clubs and social enterprises with similar arrangements.
Hundreds of small and micro businesses will also be supported by fresh funding amounting to £2.2 million, to be made available by the Council. The funds will safeguard the financial futures of many businesses and families in the borough. The focus is on Enfield businesses which contribute to the vibrancy of the high-street, support the local economy and those which employ residents.
Shoppers can support small, local businesses and get essential goods delivered directly to their front doors, following Enfield Council’s partnership with online marketplace ShopAppy.com. Residents can arrange for a delivery that not only is fast and convenient but will provide a boost to the local economy during a time of great uncertainty. The partnership aims to provide a real and tangible benefit to Enfield businesses and the community.
With lockdown measures easing, Enfield Council sent 3,000 businesses ‘welcome packs’ to assist them to open safely, take care of their staff and customers and help them on the road to recovery. There was also a series of webinars where business owners could submit questions and queries to the Leader and Enfield Council’s Town Centres team. Enfield Council introduced measures to make further space for pedestrians so that they can distance from other people. Signs went up across town centres and along high streets to remind people how to enjoy the area safely.
Hammersmith and Fulham Council
Hammersmith and Fulham have been supporting the local economy with two campaigns promoting the borough’s businesses.
By encouraging residents to Shop Local Shop Safe, the council are supporting retailers and small businesses as they begin to reopen, while boosting the borough’s highstreets. To promote the campaign, residents and business owners can download posters and stickers to display in their windows from the council’s website.
Safety is at the heart of the initiative, with shop safe guidance, new signage and wider pavements in busy areas to encourage social distancing. Businesses will get support and advice on topics such as risk assessments and PPE to ensure they can reopen safely.
“While we’re all staying closer to home, this is the perfect time to do everything we possibly can to help our local economy bounce back,” said Cllr Andrew Jones, H&F Cabinet Member for the Economy.
H&F Food Guide
Though restaurants and cafes are still unable to fully reopen, Hammersmith and Fulham are encouraging residents to support the local economy by getting a takeaway.
The council have produced a handy H&F Food Guide, which highlights businesses in the area offering takeaway services. 10,000 copies have been distributed locally and its also available online.
Ealing Council has awarded more than £200,000 in fixed grants to local charities and groups since late March as part of its work to support the community response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The money is part of the £300,000 committed as part of the council’s overall £1.5 million emergency fund.
Islington Council launches an interactive directory of small, independent businesses in the borough. Operating during the coronavirus outbreak. All of the businesses listed on the map are operating safely and have been approved by the council’s environmental health team.
The council has also launched a new grants fund to help some of the small businesses that have slipped through the cracks of other Government financial support schemes. The council will carefully target the £2.87 million pot from central government to aid more than 400 businesses which support its vision for an inclusive local economy, and which have not received any other grant support. The one-off grants will be awarded in amounts up to £10,000, to be determined by the council, or a larger grant of £25,000 where appropriate.
Kensington and Chelsea Council
Businesses in Kensington and Chelsea will have an extra safety net, on top of the government’s support package, to support them during the global COVID-19 pandemic with a new £500,000 emergency business interruption fund from the Council. The fund has been designed for sole traders and small businesses with either fewer than 20 employees or a turnover of less than £2 million. Businesses which cannot access other government support will be able to apply for grants up to £5,000 until 31 May 2020.
So far, the council has administered over £26m government grants to more than 1800 businesses in need in the borough.
Southwark Council is investing a further £2m in funds for small businesses that do not qualify for the Government schemes, this is in addition to the £390,000 community grant for charities and voluntary organisations they are providing.
Tower Hamlets Council
The council has introduced a rent deferral scheme to support its commercial tenants during the coronavirus pandemic. It is aimed at allowing businesses to manage their cash flow, relieving stress during this unprecedented period and making it easier to meet immediate financial commitments such as paying staff and suppliers and meeting running costs. The scheme will enable tenants to delay the payment of their rent for three calendar months from 1 April 2020. So far £164, 327, 118 in grants and rate relief has been given to businesses.
Waltham Forest Council
Waltham Council has launched its Economic Recovery Plan which sets out how the Council intends to boost the local fortunes of residents, businesses, town centres and high streets, as the consequences of the Covid-19 crisis become clearer. This includes a detailed support package for local businesses and residents. As well as paying out over £40 million in grants to nearly 3,000 businesses and introducing a ‘rent holiday’ for businesses in Council property, the local authority is reimagining public spaces so its high streets are in the strongest position to start trading again with the High Street Recovery Action Plan.
Barking & Dagenham Council
Residents who are in need of short-term emergency assistance will be able to get help and support with food and utility bills from the council. The council has started giving discretionary hardship support payments, known as Individual Assistance Payments (IAP) to residents to help with emergency living expenses including food, fuel (gas and electric for customers who pay via a key meter), travel expenses (only on Oyster cards), and household appliances and/or clothing in exceptional circumstances.
Merton Council will be offering financial support to around 2,650 of the borough’s least well-off residents to help them with the economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. All residents of working age who are in receipt of council tax support and have a balance to pay will be eligible for up to £200 off their council tax bill.
Redbridge is currently emailing a weekly vacancy pack with a variety of local ‘essential roles’ and volunteering opportunities, as well as continuing to provide telephone and email support through its employment support service.
Tower Hamlets Council
Tower Hamlets is focusing efforts on making sure that the local supermarkets have a good supply of staff. The borough put out a call last week and received over 230 responses in one day, which it has referred to supermarkets. It has also been helping clients navigate online applications.
It is also focusing on identifying job seekers with skills that can support public realm and environmental health needs to build up a talent pool. The plan is to quickly and remotely interview candidates to get them onto its Internal Temporary Recruitment Service so people can be recruited and employed in a timely manner when needed.
Waltham Forest Council
The Council is also introducing a Rapids Job Brokerage service to help connect employers to local residents and provide practical support for those who may have recently lost their jobs, are at risk of being made redundant, or are self-employed and struggling.
Barking & Dagenham Council
Across the borough in Barking, pupils have been using their imaginations to thank the NHS by creating posters, models and cards for the amazing staff.
The council have produced a special issue of ‘Your Brent’ magazine celebrating key workers and providing coronavirus information for residents which was sent to every household in Brent.Produced special issue of ‘Your Brent’ magazine celebrating key workers and providing coronavirus information for residents which was sent to every household in Brent.