COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Information for Kingston businesses

This page provides the latest information for Kingston businesses, including resources to support you and information on Business Grants and Rates Relief.

Business updates newsletter

Sign up for Business updates newsletter to receive business briefings by email.

View the latest business update here.

Have you had success in transitioning your business online? We would love to hear from you so we can share your experience and any advice with others. Please let us know by emailing [email protected].

28 May 2020 update - read the full update

Reopening our town centres safely 

This week the Prime Minister outlined plans to allow non essential retail shops across the country to reopen. Outdoor markets and car showrooms will be able to reopen from 1 June, while all other non-essential retail (with the exception of hairdressers, nail bars and beauty salons, and the hospitality sector) is expected to be able to open from 15 June providing businesses can keep customers safe by implementing guidance on safe working and social distancing. You can read the press release on the government website

The council is working closely with Kingston First and other partners to prepare for the safe reopening of Kingston town centre, along with other high streets across the borough. 

We’re working with all businesses to put in place measures to protect everyone who comes into our town centres and enable social distancing. 
Businesses will be responsible for ensuring that when they reopen, they do so safely, with primary consideration for customers, staff and visitors. A risk assessment will need to be completed in consultation with trade union representatives or workers and businesses will need to take the necessary steps to become COVID-19 secure.

To help businesses to re-open, the government is publishing updated COVID-19 secure guidelines. Based on this Kingston First are preparing guidance for businesses operating in Kingston town centre which will be available soon.  

Officers from Kingston Council will soon be making contact with businesses in the main town centres (Kingston, Tolworth, New Malden, and Surbiton) where application of social distancing measures will likely be more difficult, to see how we can help. It is crucial for the wellbeing of the community that businesses adhere to the guidelines, and new powers are in place to enforce action if they don’t. 

If you would like to talk to us about re-opening, please contact [email protected] or if your business is in Kingston town centre you can contact Kingston First on 020 8547 1221 or at [email protected]     

If you have any suggestions for how we could improve our streets please get in touch at [email protected]

21 May 2020 update - read the full update

Join us for our upcoming webinar on ‘Technology - The Part It Plays for Future Business’, where a team of experts will discuss technology and the part that it can play in helping you grow your business in a competitive environment. 

Soraya Lavery, co-founder of CPG and specialist in the SME sector says: “Business growth in the current climate is about relooking at what you provide and seeing how you can pivot your business and processes to work in today’s business climate. Naturally, better use of technology is a simple and easy way to improve team and client collaboration and increase productivity while allowing your staff new avenues to work safely.”
You can sign up to the webinar on Eventbrite

This webinar is the latest in Kingston’s Business Support Programme for local businesses which is currently free of charge for 90 days. Once signed up, you can access a range of current and historic webinars covering topics including sales and marketing, legal, finance, and operations and HR. Explore our upcoming sessions

The Government recently announced that councils will have some additional funds available to distribute as discretionary grants, targeting those not eligible for the current grants or Self Employment Income Support Scheme. 
Kingston Council has already distributed over £26m of grants to over 1,800 businesses in need. The additional funding is only £1.45m - a small amount compared to the anticipated need in the borough. While providing a degree of discretion on how these are prioritised, the Government has set out the businesses and charities that it wants us to support financially. As such, it's clear that no council will be able to support every business that needs access to funds. 

We understand the urgency of the needs of local businesses. Please be assured that we're working hard to establish an approach that will balance the competing needs of the business community, and an application process that meets our obligations for due diligence. This is a complex task and will take some time. 

We are awaiting further detail on key elements of this scheme. We hope that the local programme to provide these grants will be launched in early June. Until then, there is no action for businesses on this.

14 May 2020 update - read the full update 

Our Business Survey is now closed and we received 120 responses - thank you! We are now analysing your responses to help us best tailor our support and communications to you. 

After an early review of responses, a common challenge that has been identified is getting businesses online and acquiring the associated digital skills. We’ll be exploring opportunities to support this further, but there are a number of resources available online to help you right now: 

  • The Government’s Skills Toolkit offers courses to help improve your digital skills.
  • Open Learn, offered by the Open University and Department for Work & Pensions, includes courses on digital literacy and cyber security.
  • Future Learn offers courses from universities across the world to help you develop your business, including courses on Business & Management and The Digital Economy. 

As part of Kingston’s Business Support Programme, we will be hosting a webinar on ‘How to Maximise Selling Online’ on 10 June. You can sign up through Eventbrite.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy published new guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. The steps for businesses to take are focused on five key points, which should be implemented as soon as it is practical:

  • Work from home, if you can
  • Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, in consultation with workers or trade unions
  • Maintain 2 metres social distancing, wherever possible
  • Where people cannot be 2 metres apart, manage transmission risk
  • Reinforcing cleaning processes

You can read the government guidance on their website.

7 May 2020 update

The Government has announced plans for further grants for small businesses with ongoing property-related costs and COVID-19-related falls in income. Recipients of this funding are still to be determined, with more details to be provided by the Government in the coming days. There is NO ACTION required from businesses on these new funds at this time.

Businesses that are eligible for the existing grant schemes or Self-employed Income Support Scheme will not be eligible for these new funds, so it is important to understand which of the current support schemes your business is eligible for, and to take action where needed. The Government's Support Finder tool is the best starting point, and all support can be explored here.

Kingston Council has already distributed almost £26m of grants to businesses eligible for small business rate relief, and many businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. If you qualify for one of the current grants you must complete this simple online claim form as soon as possible. This will help ensure payment goes to the correct account for you. Enquiries to: 020 8547 5007 or [email protected]

Read more on the government website

22 April 2020 update

A video update for businesses from Councillor Caroline Kerr:

 

Practical support for your business - sign up now

We’ve developed a 90 Day programme of business support to provide practical advice & guidance to help you navigate your business through the current uncertain times and out the other side. The free programme will be delivered remotely through web summits and workshops.  This includes;

  • Managing cashflow
  • Accessing grants and support
  • Maximising online selling; application of tech
  • Business planning and modelling
  • Commercial lease issues
  • Managing people, and mental health and wellbeing

These sessions will be supported by an online learning portal. Read more and sign up here

Business update: 23/04/2020

Business update: 16/04/2020

 

 

16 April 2020 update

Over £15.3m of grants have been paid to businesses that are eligible for one of the government’s package of grants - this include businesses eligible for small business rate relief, and many businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. If you believe you are eligible for a grant you must complete the simple online form on our business rates page, even if you have had the credit added to your business rates account. We may not be able to make a payment into your bank account until you have completed the form as we need to make sure that payments go to the right bank account for you.

Read more about the grant funds and eligibility and check your rateable value on our website.  

9 April 2020 update

Over 1400 local businesses have submitted forms to access government grants so far. We expect to have paid the first batch of payments, totalling over £12m, by the end of Thursday 9th April. A further batch of payments will be made on Wednesday 15th. If you have not yet done so, please check your business’ eligibility and submit your form as soon as possible. 

Read more about eligibility here and check your rateable value here.

Important points to note:

  • Businesses that we believe qualify for the grant will have had the credit added to their business rates account. However:

  • This may not lead to a payment being made into your bank account until you have completed the simple grant form online. We need to make sure that payments go to the right bank account for you.

You will find the link to the form in our business rates page.  Read more about the Government’s wider financial support package here.

Business Grants and Rates Relief

There is no action required from you to ensure you receive the new rate relief, if your business is eligible. 

Businesses who have been identified to potentially qualify for the grant will be invited by email and letter to make an application online. This is needed to confirm bank details for payment and some other criteria. 

Please be aware that a number of scammers are offering services to help make claims for the new Business Rate Grants for a small fee. Claims are free to make and process, and businesses in Kingston should do so by visiting our Business rates page, where you will also be able to access the lates information about grants and relief, as well as the application form.

We understand that businesses are anxious to know more and to access this support quickly. 

Important guidance from council business-facing services

Service update from Licensing

Service updates from Parking

Service update from Environmental Health- changes to running a food business

Information for council service providers

Business support and advice 

Following the link below to find more Coronavirus specific support from leading regional and national business support organisations like the London Growth, FSB, British Retail Consortium and more.

Business Support and advice pages 

The Revenues & Benefits Team can be contacted at [email protected] or on 020 8547 5007 (Monday to Friday between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm).

Culture at Risk Business Support Fund

The Mayor of London has announced a £2.3 Culture at Risk Business Support Fund to help London's creative and cultural industries at risk due to the impact of COVID-19. This targeted emergency fund will help some of the most at-risk small businesses. If you are an arts organisation, business or individual working in the cultural sector, creative industries or night-time economy in London, please visit the Mayor of London’s Culture at Risk page to register your details for support, guidance and resources.