rating button
Skip to main content

Coronavirus (COVID-19) For information on changes to our services, what you can do to protect yourself, support your community and guidance to assist employers and businesses visit our Coronavirus pages.

Coronavirus - Business and licensing

The best source of advice for businesses, which includes more detail on all national business support schemes, is GOV.UK.

Keeping up to date

We will be sending out regular email updates in our business newsletter. Join our mailing list to receive the latest business news and read previous editions.

Sign up to Business Matters newsletter

We also encourage businesses across Gloucestershire to sign up for news from the Local Enterprise Partnership:

Sign up to GFirst LEP’s newsletter

Cash grants to businesses

Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors

The government announced cash grants of up to £25,000 for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.

For businesses that were actively trading and occupying properties with rateable values of £15,000 or less the grant is expected to be £10,000.

For businesses that were actively trading and occupying properties with rateable values between £15,000 and £51,000 the grant is expected to be £25,000.

Businesses in any sector receiving the small business rate relief

Businesses in receipt of small business rate relief on 11 March 2020 will receive a grant of £10,000. There are some exceptions:

  • properties which are occupied for personal use, for example, private stables, beach huts and moorings will not qualify for a cash grant even if they are in receipt of relief
  • properties where the liability is calculated using the small business multiplier but not in receipt of small business rate relief will not qualify for the grant.

Please see the government guidance for full details of the scheme.

If your business meets the eligibility criteria complete the form and return it to revenues@cotswold.gov.uk.

We expect payments to be sent by Friday 10 April. During this time our team will be exceptionally busy so only contact us by email to submit the form or if really urgent.

The Government will not accept deliberate manipulation and fraud, and any business caught falsifying their records to gain additional grant money will face prosecution and any funding issued will be subject to clawback.

Business and self-employed support

Please visit the Government’s Business Support website for the full range of financial support for businesses including for the self-employed.

Business rate relief

We are working to identify businesses that will qualify for the additional business rate relief announced by Government.  We will be contacting eligible businesses to notify you of the relief and revised business rate bills will be issued as fast as possible. 

Business rates payments deferred

We will not be collecting any business rates payments by direct debit during April 2020 to help ease business cashflow concerns. This payment will be deferred until all appropriate reliefs and grants have been applied. For those businesses that pay their business rates from April to January, this change will mean that payment instalments will move from May to February. This is automatic and you do not need to do anything.

Workers' Support Package

The Government has announced a Workers' Support Package to ensure staff are still paid during the COVID-19 crisis:

  • the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which will pay 80% of workers' wages up to £2,500 per month
  • VAT payments due between now and the end of June will be deferred
  • Income tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, launched at Budget, will now be interest free for twelve months.

If you are an employee you can check if you are eligible for the job retention scheme.

Support for the self-employed

The Self-employed Income Support Scheme is a grant worth 80% of the person's monthly profits over the last three years, up to £2,500 a month. To be eligible for the scheme, you must:

  • earn the majority of income from self-employment
  • earn a maximum of £50,000 per year averaged over the last three years
  • have a tax return for 2019

People that have only been trading for one or two years will still be eligible. There will be an extra four weeks grace for those who have not yet submitted their 2019 tax return so they can be included in the scheme.

The scheme will be administered by HMRC and it is hoped it will be up and running in June. If you are eligible HMRC will contact you directly.

Business closures

For an up to date list of businesses that need to close and the list of those allowed to remain open, please visit the Gov.uk website

 

Changes to licensing service

In line with government advice, our offices are closed to the public. This means our capacity to meet with people will be affected. We request that you please do the following:

  1. In the first instance, please use email as a means of contact with us. Our email address (ers@cotswold.gov.uk)will be monitored throughout the day and we will respond as soon as we are able.
  2. If you need to provide any documents, please email them to ers@cotswold.gov.uk.  If you have any problems with emailing please contact us on 01285 623000 and we will try and find a solution.
  3. Any phone messages will continue to be passed through to licensing and callers can expect a call back within two working days.
  4. From now on, knowledge tests will be cancelled until further notice.
  5. Payments can be made by calling the Council on (01285) 623000

Cancelling or postponing events

If you need to postpone your event due to the Covid-19 outbreak, you need to check your licence very carefully. Most premises licenses will be issued in perpetuity and can therefore be used at any time in the future. Some premises licences however may be time limited. If your premises licence is time limited, it cannot be relied on for different dates. You can check if your premises licence is time limited. On the front page of your licence please refer to the section that read “Where the licence is time limited the dates”.

Temporary Event Notice

We will accept a Temporary Event Notice without payment for a different date providing that you inform us that the event is being postponed.  This will be subject to the statutory consultation with the Police and Environmental Health.  We will not issue a refund for any cancelled event.

Premises Licence Annual Fees

These will be collected as normal and suspensions carried out on non-payment.

What does your premises licence allow you to do?

We are still waiting for more information from the government, but based on what we know from the announcement. The delivery of food is not licensable under the Licensing Act 2003. It is therefore open to businesses to start food delivery services immediately from a licensing perspective.

Hot food and beverage delivered between 11pm and 5am will require a Late Night Refreshment Licence.

Alcohol deliveries cannot be included in your food deliveries unless:

  • you have an off sales licence for alcohol
  • payment for alcohol deliveries is taken where you hold the licence and is taken during your licensing times.
  • you must ensure you have adequate age verification procedures in place for deliveries that include alcohol.

 

Food businesses and takeaway regulations

The latest government guidance for food businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19) is on GOV.UK.

Due to Coronavirus many of our food businesses may wish to diversify and offer collection, delivery or takeaway services. Please read our leaflet and contact us on ers@cotswold.gov.uk if you need further advice or information.

Serving of alcoholic drinks will continue to be subject to existing licensing laws.

To register your premises to serve or sell food or drink whether or not the premises operate commercially, please visit the food business registration page.

Delivery services

Where possible delivery staff should have minimal contact with staff and also customers and follow the food safety guidelines. Use contactless payments or pre-payments wherever possible. Arrange for orders to be left on doorsteps to avoid physical contact with the customers and keep to two metres away for social distancing. Sanitise hands regularly and before and after drop off.

Taxi and private hire licence holders

The situation is constantly changing so please keep checking for updates. We will do our best to keep you informed but we appreciate your understanding and patience.

Licensing committees have been postponed for the time being until alternative arrangements have been put in place.

We will deal with complaints and compliance issues as normal.

Medicals

We are aware that drivers may face difficulties with getting medicals done as surgeries are cancelling non-urgent appointments. There has been no official advice from the government and so we will be seeking permission to do the following:

  1. If you have had an appointment cancelled or are unable to make an appointment we will require a letter stating your medical condition has not changed since your last medical report.  If no contact is made before expiry then suspensions will be issued in the normal way. 
  2. New applicants will not be issued with a licence until they have complied with all the requirements including medicals.
  3. Existing drivers with pre-existing health conditions will be dealt with on a case-to-case basis.

MOTs

Due to recent Government guidance MOTs have been extended for a further six months.

Precautions

Please follow the official advice for your own and your passengers protection.

If you are vulnerable either due to your age, suppressed immunity or pre-existing health conditions, please consider whether it is in your interest to work.

If you believe you may have been exposed to the virus through a passenger (or anyone else), please consider the official advice to self-isolate particularly if you are displaying symptoms.

Read the official COVID-19: guidance for staff in the transport sector

Advice from Department for Transport on COVID-19 (released 25/3/20)

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

Critical Worker Status

Taxi and private hire drivers are not generally considered Critical Workers. 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.

Renewals due in the next 6 months

We have been given approval to permit the following measures. These arrangements will not be a permanent arrangement and are for 6 months. This will be reviewed in the future and may be extended if the COVID-19 situation does not improve.

Insurance

To save money on insurance, you can voluntarily surrender your plate to us and this will be retained until such time that you reinstate your insurance. The plate will be returned to you (with the original expiry date) once you can provide the necessary documents. No refunds will be given for any period of time lost on the plate. During the time that we retain your plate and you have no insurance, you cannot use the vehicle for any journey that requires a licence

Renewals

For any renewal (driver or vehicle) that is due in the next 6 months the we will allow you to take the opportunity to pay over a 12 month period. This will be 12 monthly direct debits and a mandate must be completed before the licence is issued. Failure to pay an instalment will result in the licence being suspended

You can also take the opportunity to defer the application and the renewal application will be honoured at a later date. Provided that all requirements are met for licensing then the application will be charged as a renewal. If this is a vehicle, it must be for the same vehicle registration number. The 15 year upper age limit will still apply and vehicles will not be relicensed that have met this age limit

Contact us

All of our reception areas are now closed.  If you have an application to make please either post this to us (we are receiving post once a week) or email everything to us at ers@cotswold.gov.uk.  We are happy to accept photographs of documents but please make sure that these are legible before sending.  Payments can be made by calling the Council on (01285) 623000.

Volunteers needed

We are looking for licensed taxi or private hire drivers to help transport our homeless clients to emergency accommodation.  We are particularly looking for companies who have licensed minibuses or six seater vehicles and are willing to take bookings after hours.  If you are interested email housingadvice@cotswold.gov.uk with your contact details.

The NHS are looking for volunteers to help transport patients and to help move vital equipment. 

Bars, pubs,leisure venues, street trading and animal activity licensing

Insurance

If your renewal is due in the next six months to save money on insurance, you can voluntarily surrender your Consent or licence to us and this will be retained until such time that you reinstate your insurance.  The licence will be returned to you (with the original expiry date) once you can provide necessary insurance.  No refunds will be given for any period of time lost on the licence.  During the time that we retain your licence and you have no insurance, you cannot conduct any business that requires a licence

Renewals

For any renewal that is due in the next six months you can pay over a 12 month period. This will be 12 monthly direct debits and a mandate must be completed before the licence is issued. Failure to pay an instalment will result in the licence being suspended

You can also take the opportunity to defer the application and the renewal application will be honoured at a later date.  Provided that all requirements are met for licensing then the application will be charged as a renewal

These arrangements will not be a permanent arrangement and are for six months. This will be reviewed in the future and may be extended if the COVID-19 situation does not improve.           

Contact Us

All of our reception areas are now closed.  If you have an application to make please either post this to us (we are receiving post once a week) or email everything to us at ers@cotswold.gov.uk.  We are happy to accept photographs of documents but please make sure that these are legible before sending.  Payments can be made by calling us on 01285 623000.

Volunteers needed

The NHS are looking for volunteers to help transport patients and to help move vital equipment.  If you are interested please go to: https://www.goodsamapp.org/nhs   

Support for community and charity organisations

The Charities Aid Foundation has set up a grant scheme for small charitable organisations. They are providing grants of up to £10,000. For more information and to apply visit their website.

Sport England have set up a £195 million funding programme to clubs and community organisations cope with the short and long-term impact of the pandemic.