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Coronavirus: Impact on ESBC Services

Last updated 19:00 - Friday 27th March 2020

This page will post updates on East Staffordshire Borough Council services affected by the Coronavirus.

Vulnerable People

The Council is urging those that are self-isolating to make use of their local networks such as friends, family and neighbours to access food and other essential items. If this is not possible, Support Staffordshire are mobilising volunteer groups to support residents. 

More information can be found on our vulnerable people page.

ESBC Services

Bin Collections

Brown bin (garden waste) collections are to be suspended from Monday 23rd March 2020. Residents should continue to present their blue and grey bins on alternate weeks on their usual collection day.

The Council has taken the decision to suspend its garden waste collection following a significant reduction to available refuse workers as a result of the coronavirus.

To help protect our bin crews and maintain waste collection services here in East Staffordshire, please follow the guidance issued by Government if you are self-isolating or displaying symptoms of coronavirus.

Brewhouse Arts Centre and Burton Town Hall

We have made the difficult decision to cancel all live performances at both the Brewhouse and Burton Town Hall until at least the 18th April.

The Brewhouse and Civic Function Suite at Burton Town Hall are closed. The Civic Function Suite is supporting essential services that continue to be delivered such as Blood Donation.

Business Support and Business Rates

Following the recent announcements of support for businesses, we are awaiting further guidance from Government on how this will be implemented. The Government have updated their web page on employer and business support please keep your eye on Government pages for updates. This business support page also provides useful information coronavirus business support.

The Stoke and Staffordshire Growth Hub has provided a summary and overview of what measures are to be put in place by central Government and you can find that here: https://stokestaffsgrowthhub.co.uk/news/covid-19s-business-support-information.

In the meantime, if you have any concerns about paying tax due to coronavirus, you can call HMRC’s helpline for help and advice: 0800 0159 559.

(new) On Thursday 26th March 2020, the Chancellor announced a support package for the self-employed whereby self-employed people with trading profits of up to £50,000 will be able to access a taxable grant based on 80% of their average monthly profits over the last 3 years, up to £2,500 per month. The scheme will be implemented no later than the beginning of June and HMRC will be contacting eligible people directly in due course. For more information please see the government guidance.

The Council has published a list of business types that are required to close or remain closed until otherwise directed. For businesses that wish to amend their service so that they can continue to trade, for example a restaurant may wish to offer takeaway or food delivery, they will need to email planning to let us know their intentions and ensure that they comply with their premises licence conditions.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is now open and is being provided by commercial lenders, backed by the British Business Bank. In order to enquire about this loan, please contact your bank or one of the accredited lenders on this list. For more information please go to https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/.

Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction for at least three months.

Business Rates

With regards to business rates, the Council has annouced that it intends to award the revised retail discount relief to all relevant accounts in the next few days and issue confirmation of the awards to those ratepayers, along with revised business rates bills showing no rates liability for 2020/21.

Ratepayers who pay by Direct Debit and who are awarded this relief will not have payments requested from their bank for their 2020/21 liability.

Small Business Grant Funding - If either Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief are shown on your Business Rates bill and you do not pay your Business Rates by Direct Debit, we do not hold any bank details for you. We’ll need you to confirm your business’s bank details in order to make a payment to you.

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Funding -  A grant of £10,000 for businesses with a Rateable Value of up to £15,000 and a grant of £25,000 for businesses with a Rateable Value of between £15,001 and £50,999. If you do not pay your Business Rates by Direct Debit, we do not hold any bank details for you. We’ll need you to confirm your business’s bank details in order to make a payment to you.

Please go to our Coronavirus Business Rate Relief page for more information and to submit your business's bank details.

Summary of support for business

Support General Eligibility How to access Notes
Retail discount will increase from one third of the liability to 100% in 2020/21 only. Retail, Hospitality and Leisure This is applied automatically via business rate billing, eligible businesses will be re-billed This has been awarded to eligible businesses.
£25,000 Cash Grant Retail, Hospitality and Leisure (RV £15,000 - £51,000) Businesses must go to our coronavirus business rate relief page for details. Government guidance has been issued. This funding scheme will be implemented in early April but businesses may need to submit their bank details.
£10,000 Cash Grant You are a business that occupies property. All businesses eligible for small business rate relief or rural relief.  Businesses must go to our coronavirus business rate relief page for details. Government guidance has been issued.  This funding scheme will be implemented in early April but businesses may need to submit their bank details. 
Business Rates Nursery Discount Scheme Properties occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register and providing the Early Years Foundation Stage This is applied automatically via business rate billing, eligible businesses will be re-billed. This has been awarded to eligible businesses.
(new) Self-employed Income Support Scheme 

Self-employed with trading profits up to £50,000.

Existing self-employed with a tax return for 2019 (those who have missed the filing deadline in January will get 4 weeks from 26th March 2020 to submit their tax return)

HMRC – 0800 0159 559

HMRC are working on implementing the scheme urgently with access being no later than the beginning of June. HMRC will contact eligible people directly and ask them to complete a form, after which HMRC will make a direct bank account payment. There is currently no application process as this will be implemented automatically. 

The scheme will be open for at least 3 months.

Government will pay a taxable grant worth 80% of average monthly profits over the last 3 years, up to £2,500 per month.

For more information please see the government guidance.

Reclaim Statutory Sick Pay Fewer than 250 employees as of 28/02/20. Via Government, process to be set up in coming months This will cover up to 2 weeks sick pay if the absence is COVID-19 related.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme SMEs. Turnover of <£41m and general British Business Bank criteria. Via British Business Bank accredited lenders from 23rd March Government guarantees 80% of loan value. Loans of up to £5m, first 12 months interest free (paid by Government).
Corporate Financing All UK businesses Via Bank of England (expected) from 23rd March Bank of England able to buy short term debt from larger companies.
Tax – Time to Pay Pay Tax to UK Government, have outstanding tax liabilities HMRC – 0800 0159 559 For advice and guidance on tax payments
VAT Deferred All UK businesses HMRC – 0800 0159 559 VAT for all businesses is being deferred until the end of June 2020.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme All UK businesses HMRC – 0800 0159 559

Grant covering up to 80% of retained workers, up to £2,500 a month, available initially for 3 months.

  • 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 the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC will set out further details on the information required)
  • HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.
Access to Universal Credit Self-Employed Department for Work and Pensions Self-employed will have access to Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to statutory sick pay

Bulky Waste Collection

The Council has made the decision to suspend Bulky Waste collections. The Council will be making every effort to contact those who have outstanding orders.

Business Closures and Enforcement

The Council has published a list of business types that are required to close or remain closed until otherwise directed. For businesses that wish to amend their service so that they can continue to trade, for example a restaurant may wish to offer takeaway or food delivery, they will need to email planning to let us know their intentions and ensure that they comply with their premises licence conditions.

Burton Market Hall

In response to the ongoing situation surrounding COVID-19, Burton Market Hall will be closed until further notice. A small selection food retail stalls and takeaways will still be available on the outdoor market, in line with the Governments guidelines.

Anyone choosing to visit these traders, should only do so if it is absolutely necessary and strictly adhere to the Governments COVID-19 guidelines.

For now, we would like to thank you for your understanding and patience. We’ll continue to provide ongoing updates as necessary.

Car Parks

East Staffordshire Borough Council has announced that it is temporarily suspending car parking charges due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The temporary suspension to parking charges will apply to all Council operated car parks across East Staffordshire.

Council Tax - Hardship Fund

Council Tax payers who pay their council tax instalments over 10 months can contact us and we will extend their payments to 12 months in the financial year. Please call us on 01283 508030 or email council.tax@eaststaffsbc.gov.uk to extend your instalment payments.

Council Tax payers who receive Council Tax Reduction due to receiving low incomes will soon be entitled to a reduction in their Council Tax via the Hardship Fund recently announced by Government.

We collect Council Tax on behalf of Staffordshire County Council, Fire, Police and Parishes. It is vitally important that Council Tax payers continue to pay in accordance with the instalments shown on their bills so that local services can continue to be provided and vulnerable people in our society can be supported, especially during the current pandemic.

Customer Service Centres

The customer service centres in Burton and Uttoxeter are to close with immediate effect. 

The decision to close the customer service centres has been made following the measures announced by Government yesterday [Monday 23rd March] evening.

Residents can still contact the Council by going to the website www.eaststaffsbc.gov.uk, where a number of our services are available online. Alternatively residents can call or email reception@eaststaffsbc.gov.uk(link sends e-mail) for further help and guidance.

  • To make a payment telephone please call 01283 508223.
  • To speak to someone about Council Tax or Business Rates, telephone 01283 508030.
  • To speak to someone about Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction, telephone 01283 508422
  • If you are homeless or at risk of being homeless please telephone 01283 508120 between 9am and 5pm, or in an emergency outside office hours please ring 01283 508126. Alternatively you can email the Council at housingoptions@eaststaffsbc.gov.uk(link sends e-mail) and we will aim to respond the same working day. If you are a Rough Sleeper please call 0800 130 3415. The YMCA’S dedicated Outreach team are available 24 hours a day, if for any reason there is no answer please leave a voicemail with your contact details.

Elections

East Staffordshire Borough Council has announced that The Returning Officer has taken the decision to suspend the Eton Park Ward By-Election with immediate effect. The election will take place on a date which will be confirmed when appropriate.

Leisure Centres

Everyone Active have closed Meadowside and Uttoxeter Leisure Centres and Shobnall Leisure Complex with immediate effect as of 20/03/2020. More information on memberships and online activities can be found here https://www.everyoneactive.com/coronavirus/

Licensing - Taxis

Information and advice relating to the Coronavirus is changing on a daily basis and we advise you to keep updated on the current Government & NHS Guidance and adhere to this at all times.

Can I continue to drive as a Licensed Driver?

At present we have not been advised that Licensed Drivers must stop driving but the decision whether to continue to work is with the individual. If you are in the “vulnerable” category or have underlying health issues then you should follow the current Government & NHS Guidance.

Licensing Service

The Licensing Department continue to operate a service but in-line with current guidance we are avoiding all unnecessary face to face office contact with all members of the public.

We are currently not accepting any New Driver or Vehicle applications.  We will consider new vehicle applications should they be a replacement for accident damaged vehicles or for vehicles going off the road due to the age limits.

All other applications will still be accepted and an appointment will still need to be made with the Licensing Office. We are requiring that all documentation is sent via e-mail prior to the appointment therefore removing the need for any applicant/driver coming into the office.

We have been in contact with all of our testing stations who have confirmed that they are all at present still opening and trading for MOT and essential works.  The current situation may change with some opting to operate reduced opening hours or even implementing a full closure.  We have asked that they notify the Licensing Office before closing so we can inform the trade.

Should drivers not wish to work or want to take vehicles off the road and not submit renewal paperwork we ask that they call the office first so we can outline the process.

Current Process

  • Driver/applicant to call licensing office to make appointment as normal- 01283 508585, 508310, 508692, 508505, 508684
  • Driver/applicant will send all documents into the office e-mail address prior to their appointment - e-mail address- licensing@eaststaffsbc.gov.uk(link sends e-mail) 
  • Driver/applicant will be contacted on their appointment date/time for the licensing officer to confirm all correct documentation has been received and any online checks will be carried out and any payments required will be made at this time. You will then be advised of date & time when to collect your plate/badge.
  • Any inspections that are required will be done on plate/badge collection which will be done outside the office

PLEASE NOTE ANYONE ATTENDING THE OFFICE WITHOUT AN APPOINTMENT WILL NOT BE SEEN

INFORMATION FROM THE DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT

Please see the following for information on the current situation regarding the continued working of taxis and private hire vehicles:

Taxis and private hire vehicles can continue to work. But the advice is absolutely clear - people should stay at home if possible. That is the way to save lives and protect our NHS. The public should avoid travel unless absolutely essential. The only reasons to leave our houses are set out in the government guidance.

Clearly if absolutely necessary to travel by taxi or private hire vehicle, best efforts should be used to follow the guidance as far as is practically possible, including washing your hands as soon as you get home.

Critical Worker Status

Taxi and private hire drivers should not generally be considered Critical Workers. Those undertaking Home to School transport or the transport of ‘extremely vulnerable’ people may be considered Critical Workers on a case-by-case basis. Critical Workers should also whenever possible make suitable arrangements for their children to stay at home; requests for children to attend school should be discussed with the school.”

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Parks and Open Spaces

All Council playgrounds, outdoor gyms and tennis courts will be closed. Our open spaces contractor will be performing limited maintenance in our parks and open spaces. Our parks and open spaces will remain open.

Public Toilets

All Council owned public toilets are closed.

Stapenhill Cemetery

The cemetery office is only receiving queries via telephone and email. All burials will now be restricted to a maximum of 12 mourners. On the day of the funeral, only the funeral cortege will be allowed in to the cemetery. The chapel and cemetery gates will be closed until further notice.