Updates From Wiltshire Council
All of the sacrifices you have made during this time have resulted in case numbers dropping in Wiltshire, so a massive thank you for your efforts. We must all continue to play our part to stop the spread of coronavirus, as this is vital in making the transition out of this lockdown as smooth as possible.
So please continue to:
Wash your hands regularly
Wear a face covering where required to do so
Stay 2m apart from other people (outside of your household)
Business Support Update
‘Help to Claim’ Universal Credit
Help to claim is a free, independent, confidential and impartial service provided by trained advisers from Citizens Advice.
Our Help to Claim advisers can help anyone with the early stages of their Universal Credit claim from starting the claim through to the first full payment.
Our advisers can help people:
work out if they can get Universal Credit
fill in the Universal Credit application
prepare them for their first Jobcentre appointment
check their first payment is correct
access longer term support from other Citizens Advice services, for example personal budgeting support or debt advice.
How can clients access the service?
People can talk to our advisers on the phone or online over chat. Our face to face drop in services are currently closed due to COVID-19.
Call for free:
0800 144 8 444 (England)
Advisers are available 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.
18001 0800 144 8 444 (England)
Get support online or find your nearest service at citizensadvice.org.uk/helptoclaim
Business grant fund schemes
Central Government published guidance to local authorities on administering the discretionary fund to support small businesses yesterday evening. We expect confirmation as to how much funding has been allocated to us in the coming days. We are aiming to issue details of eligibility and how to apply for this funding next week.
In terms of the two initial grant schemes, we are continuing to process the applications and contact those businesses that have not yet applied for their grant. As of close of play today we have paid out over £78million to support 6,500 local businesses.
Furlough scheme extended until October
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended by a further four months and will now remain open until the end of October 2020.
Furloughed employees will continue to receive 80% of the current salary, up to £2,500 and this will continue until the end of July. From the start of August, furloughed staff will be able to return to work part-time with employers being asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed employees. The employer payments will substitute the contribution the government is currently making, ensuring that staff continue to receive 80% of their salary, up to £2,500 a month.
More specific details around the implementation will be published by the end of May 2020.
Online claims service to support the self-employed now live
The online claims service for those self-employed people who may be eligible for government support through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme went live yesterday morning.
This scheme will enable the self-employed to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their average trading profits up to a maximum of £7,500 (equivalent to three months’ profits), paid in a single instalment.
Guidance to get safely back to work
The government has published practical guidance to make workplaces as safe as possible and to give people confidence to go back to work.
This guidance also covers eight workplace settings that are allowed to be open and helps employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during coronavirus.
- Construction and other outdoor work https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/construction-and-other-outdoor-work
- Factories, plants and warehouses https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/factories-plants-and-warehouses
- Labs and research facilities https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/labs-and-research-facilities
- Offices and contact centres https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/offices-and-contact-centres
- Other people’s homes https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/homes
- Restaurants offering takeaways or delivery https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/restaurants-offering-takeaway-or-delivery
- Shops and branches https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/shops-and-branches
- Vehicles https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/vehicle
Take precautions when car sharing
Many people like to car share but it can be hard to maintain social distancing whilst car sharing, increasing the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
If you have to car share, please follow these guidelines:
• Wear face coverings
• Sit as far away as possible
• Share with the same small group only
• Keep windows open at all times
• Wash hands or use hand sanitisers before and after your journey
• Clean the car after your journey, including handles internal and external
Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre – COVID-19 request
People are being asked to share their stories and experiences of living in lockdown to help Wiltshire Council create a new archive.
The council’s Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre wants to make a collection that reflects people’s individual and collective experiences during lockdown for future generations to study.
The Wiltshire and Swindon Archive at the history centre in Chippenham holds nationally and internationally important documents charting over 800 years of the county’s history, its people, places and events. As well as official records it holds personal documents – letters, diaries, sketchbooks and scrapbooks, photos, artwork and more. With a few exceptions all are freely accessible to the public, when the centre is open, with archivists and community history advisors on hand to help people explore and discover their heritage.
The history centre wants to create a new collection that will show how lives have been transformed by this global crisis. The centre wants people to think about what future generations might want or need to know about 2020, COVID-19 and living in lockdown. The record of experiences might be written – a diary or poetry – but could also be drawn, photographed, painted or crafted. This is an opportunity to make a creative response to challenging times.
People are also asked to keep hold of items such as leaflets, official communications, posters, flyers – which can also be added to the centre’s local studies collections.
For more information about how to get involved with the Living in Lockdown project, people should visit the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre website at www.wshc.eu.
This is part of Wiltshire Council’s Active Communities resources to support people during this difficult time. The resource page covers a variety of topics, including the various library services available online – rhyme times, story times, e-books/magazines, resources on getting creative through mediums like song, dance, art and literature and opportunities to explore Wiltshire’s history.
The Active Communities online resources can be found at http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/leisure-active-communities.