Thank you to everyone who has contacted me about the current COVID19 pandemic.
This is a very worrying time for everyone. Unfortunately, due to the high volume of emails that I am receiving, I am not able to respond to everyone’s questions or concerns in detail, but, rest assured, they are helping to inform my questions to the Government and other relevant bodies.
If you contacted me about your business, employment, self-employment or because you are a vulnerable person or know a vulnerable person, then please read the below information.
If you are a business, local authorities are being tasked with administering/delivering the support locally. You might want to get in contact with Exeter City Council and Devon County Council, if you haven’t already done so.
My office and I have been in close contact with Exeter City Council, who have advised me that the following information may be helpful:
Medical advice: https://111.nhs.uk/service/COVID-19/
Make contact with the local Growth Hub for business advice, guidance and support: https://www.heartofswgrowthhub.co.uk/
Ensure your business has a business plan and especially an up to date business continuity plan: https://www.gov.uk/write-business-plan
Get help with tax: https://www.gov.uk/tax-help
Keep up to date with announcements and register for email alerts: https://www.gov.uk/email-signup?link=/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response
There were many business announcements in the budget in relation to Coronavirus: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/budget-2020 The City Council has yet to receive notification / information from central government on these announcements and how businesses can access them. I advise businesses to register their interest on firstname.lastname@example.org
Exeter City Council has put the following information on its website. https://exeter.gov.uk/clean-safe-city/community-safety/coronavirus/business-and-employers/
The Chancellor recently announced a package of measures, including a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, designed to protect businesses and jobs. If you are an employee, you can find more information about this in the below link. I would advise that you speak to your employer about this, if you have not already done so.
The Chancellor recently announced measures to help those who are self-employed: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/chancellor-gives-support-to-millions-of-self-employed-individuals
Whilst I welcome these measures, I am extremely concerned that self-employed people will have to wait until June to start receiving payments. There are also still gaps, for example in support for supply teachers, gig workers and foster carers, and my Labour colleagues and I are continuing to lobby the Government on these issues.
I have spoken to both the City Council and the County Council and understand that they are working with Wellbeing Exeter to create a community led response to this crisis. Exeter City Council’s support service is now live, and you can find more details below.
Please read the below guidance from Public Health England:
There is also extra support available for those considered extremely vulnerable. You can check if you are eligible for this: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable
Information on support from energy companies can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-agrees-measures-with-energy-industry-to-support-vulnerable-people-through-covid-19?utm_source=42a6f8ed-fe40-4953-8338-7172308f7bd4&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate.
The Government has announced certain measures for employers and employees, and to support those who have lost their job. You will find information at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
You may be able to claim Universal Credit. The following information may be helpful.
Exeter Job Centre (0845 604 3719), you can phone 0800 328 5644 or 0800 328 9344 for the Universal Credit lines though bear in mind these may be very busy, so you can also go online at https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit
More information has been provided at https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/coronavirus/
The Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital is providing regular updates on its services at: https://www.rdemembers.com/coronavirus/
And information on support from energy companies can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-agrees-measures-with-energy-industry-to-support-vulnerable-people-through-covid-19?utm_source=42a6f8ed-fe40-4953-8338-7172308f7bd4&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate
This is a very fast-moving situation and my strong recommendation is to follow closely the advice and guidance of Public Health England and the NHS as it changes and is updated.
With very best wishes,
Ben Bradshaw MP