- I have looked into the cemetery matter for you and have copied the council's reasoning below. Essentially it is a balance between the potential risks of busy cemeteries, and the health advantages accrued by allowing people to walk through them. I am no public health expert so I cannot make a firm judgement, but I have asked that Cllr Livingstone reconsult the guidance to make sure we have made the right decision
On March 26 2020 the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 came into force. Section 5 Paragraph 8 requires that crematorium and burial grounds be closed to members of the public, except for funerals or burials.
We have sought further guidance from the Institute of Cemetery & Crematorium Management (ICCM) and the Federation of Burial & Cremation Authorities and they confirm that these necessary measures must be adhered to during this emergency period.
We have seen an increase of leisure activities with the cemetery and crematorium grounds with social distancing measures not being observed and very little respect being given to the bereaved families attending a funeral who already are experiencing loss and controlled measures at what is a difficult time.
Further to this, an update from the council about support for local businesses (this is a few days old, but I have not shared it on here yet.)
Cash grants for businesses will be awarded over the coming weeks and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is now open for applications.
Further information on these schemes is included below, along with updates on other support measures and guidance for businesses.
Please help by sharing this message across your local business networks.
We will continue to provide updates by email and we will keep our business support web page (https://www.southwark.gov.uk/business/business-support-and-advice/covid-19-support-and-information-for-businesses-and-employers) regularly updated.
We know this is a very difficult time for the Southwark business community. If you have questions or concerns, please do contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Business grants are now available for small businesses covered by the two schemes recently announced by the Chancellor.
The small business grant provides any business that is receiving small business rate relief with a cash grant of £10,000.
The retail, hospitality and leisure grant provides businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a cash grant. Businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of under £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000 per property and businesses with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000 per property.
We are already making grants to eligible small businesses where we have the business’s bank account details. Payments should arrive in accounts from this Friday 27th March.
If you believe you are eligible for a grant, please provide your business bank account details securely by entering them here [www.southwark.gov.uk
]. We will then undertake any necessary checks before we begin payments.
Qualifying businesses will receive payment directly by bank transfer.
We understand that many businesses will be experiencing financial hardship during these unprecedented times. Whilst instalments would be due in April and May please be assured that if you are unable to pay we will not be undertaking any recovery or enforcement activity for unpaid rates at this time. We will keep this under review and encourage businesses to contact us at an appropriate time to revise payment terms.
Government Job Retention Scheme
The government announced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme on Friday 20 March, which will provide support to all UK employers to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. HMRC will reimburse 80% of the wages of all workers affected, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. Payments will be backdated to 1 March and will be made available for at least three months. HMRC is working to set up a system for reimbursement.
To access the scheme you will need to:
· Designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change. Changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation.
· Submit information to HMRC about furloughed employees and their earnings through a new online portal which is being set up.
The council will provide further updates on the process for accessing the scheme as soon as these are released.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is now open for applications. The scheme supports a wide range of business finance products and can provide smaller businesses with loans of up to £5 million, with no interest for the first 12 months. The scheme provides the lender with a government backed guarantee of 80% of the loan and there is no fee for businesses accessing the scheme.
Businesses can access the scheme through participating lenders. You can find out more information about the scheme, eligibility criteria and how to apply on the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme website (https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils-2/).
Guidance for those who are self-employed
We are continuing to seek clarity from the government on support available to those who are self-employed.
We are currently aware of the following measures:
· Income tax deferral to January 2021 – this will happen automatically and no application is required. No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period.
· HMRC Time to Pay scheme – support is available to all firms and individuals who are in temporary financial distress as a result of COVID-19 and have outstanding tax liabilities. To access this support, please call HMRC’s helpline: 0800 0159 559.
You can claim Universal Credit if you are self-employed, providing you meet the usual eligibility criteria. From 6 April, the government will relax the requirements of the Minimum Income Floor for the duration of the outbreak. New claimants will not need to attend the job centre to demonstrate gainful self-employment. You can find more information in the government’s guidance on self-employment and Universal Credit (https://www.gov.uk/self-employment-and-universal-credit)
We are aware that support organisations are advising anyone who thinks they may need to apply for Universal Credit to do so as early as possible and we would echo this advice.
Free advertising in Southwark News
To support local businesses, Southwark News is offering free digital advertising during the outbreak. You can find out more on the Southwark News website (https://www.southwarknews.co.uk/comment/free-advertising-coronavirus-crisis/) and get in contact at email@example.com
I hope that this advice is useful.
James McAsh - Labour Councillor for Goose Green ward
Surgeries: 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month at 7pm, East Dulwich Community Centre on Darrell Road
Sign up to the Goose Green councillor newsletter: [www.jamesmcash.com
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was yesterday, 11:36am by jamesmcash.