26 March 2020

Colleagues,

We wanted to reach out to you at this incredibly difficult time for our local businesses due to the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent restrictions.

We want to reassure you and your members that Torbay Council is working hard to help and support businesses across the Bay. We would particularly like to share some key online information with you and ask that you pass on to your members, customers, suppliers and business owners you know.

Firstly we would like to draw your attention to Torbay Council’s website where there is a page setting out all that we know about the financial support currently available for businesses and the self-employed. The page also contains links to other sources of support and information for businesses which we hope proves useful.

Secondly, the Chancellor has announced a scheme which allows businesses to retain employees and which will pay the wages of employees unable to work due to the coronavirus pandemic. This move is aimed at protecting people's jobs.

It will pay 80% of employment costs for staff who are kept on by their employer, capped at a maximum contribution of £2,500 a month.

Government intend that these unprecedented measures will stop workers being laid off due to the crisis and we stand with national government in encouraging all businesses to exhaust all available sources of support before they make redundancies. We understand that some local businesses are making redundancies perhaps unaware of this support and we would ask the leaders of our business organisations and key businesses across the Bay to help get the vital message out that the retention scheme is there to support them and businesses across the Bay in this time of need.

We know that Torbay’s economy is hard hit already by this and we want to work together, as a community to maintain our economy as best as we can in the coming weeks. The message then is loud and clear - businesses should not cut jobs unless they absolutely have to. Businesses can claim 80% of employee’s salaries and should do so via emergency Government funding - read more about the employee retention scheme.

We are also working with our two local MPs, the Local Enterprise Partnership and others to ensure that we are providing intelligence to Government about the very real impacts of this pandemic on our economy. I am sure that you will be sharing these issues with colleagues at the Council’s economic development company, TDA, and we urge you to continue to do that via your normal TDA contact or to enquiries@tda.uk.net.

Councillor Darren Cowell
Deputy Leader

Councillor Swithin Long
Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration, tourism and housing

P.S. Supplies of soap and hand sanitiser are running low across Torbay’s schools which all remain open. Our Health Trust has also indicated supplies of personal protective equipment would benefit from extra stock in anticipation of the days ahead. If you or a contact can help please get in touch via TDA.