Whilst direct financial help from government and other agencies is at the forefront of most businesses’ survival strategy, there are also a number of indirect support measures being put into place which aim to help and support all businesses.
These include specific responses from local authority departments, various Scottish Trusts and industries who have worked collaboratively to address specific needs. The measures include help with cost centres and challenges including those around HR, recruitment, business growth and innovation, and both digital and utility provision during lockdown.
The following points summarises some of the key support now available. Should you have additional information to add, please email email@example.com.
Additional Business Support
With the current financial stresses being experienced by businesses large and small, the Council’s Commercial Waste Team has made the decision to temporarily postpone the start of year, annual-billing process which was due to be carried out this month.
There are currently no changes to service and collections will carry on as per your agreed schedule. However, if your business need has changed and you would like to reduce or postpone collections please contact the Commercial Waste Team on 01738 476476 or by emailing CommercialWasteTeam@pkc.gov.uk. You can also visit the online portal at my.pkc.gov.uk.
To clarify, uplifts that do take place will still be chargeable but will be backdated. The current intention is to invoice mid-July to early August for collections between 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021. For the most up to date information on the Council’s Commercial Waste Service, visit www.pkc.gov.uk/tradewastenews.
A package of measures worth £60 million has been agreed between the Scottish Government and the water industry to help businesses facing difficulties with water charges.
Scottish Water has agreed to suspend pre-payment charges for licensed providers for two months, beginning with the April payment. This means providers – who supply water services to businesses – can be flexible with their own customers at this difficult time.
The package of measures, introduced with immediate effect, has been developed by Scottish Water, the Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS) and the Central Market Agency (CMA), in conjunction with the Scottish Government.
From 20th March, homes and businesses across Scotland have a new legal right to a request a decent and affordable broadband service under the new Universal Service Obligation (USO) for Broadband. USO was legislated for in 2017 as a service that has at least 10 Mbps download speed and 1 Mbps upload – a welcome business improvement particularly for those working from rural areas of Perth and Kinross.
BT was designated by Ofcom to deliver this new legal right and are currently making every effort to keep people connected at this vital time. They have assured PKC leaders that they have more than enough capacity in their UK broadband network to handle mass-scale home-working although there are, as you’d expect, a number of issues to be considered at this time.
Coronavirus Updates from BT
Resourcing the USO customer service team is an acute problem as staff continue to follow Government advice in response to the outbreak. The level of service we will be able to provide will therefore be substantially lower than it would be in normal circumstances.
The ability of Openreach to survey eligible premises – to assess whether the cost of upgrading their line would be above or below the £3,400 thresholds – is expected to be significantly affected for the foreseeable future as engineers prioritise the maintenance of critical services and vulnerable customers.
Constituents will be able to undertake an initial check of their eligibility at www.bt.com/uso. This will enable them to find out if there are existing BT services already available to them and then place an order. BT expect this will help the majority of people.
BT has made clear that once the situation stabilises they will be writing to all Perth and Kinross constituents who may be eligible to receive the USO to advise them on how to request that service. Those communications will, for now, be delayed.
Skills Development Scotland – you may know them as SDS – offer support for workforce development and business change. Whilst they are striving to work with businesses to ensure redundancies remain at a minimum, SDS understands the increasingly difficult situation companies are facing.
Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) is the Scottish Government’s initiative to help individuals and employers during redundancy situations. PACE supports businesses of any size, no matter how many employees are involved. It’s free of charge, and can help take away some of the strain of dealing with redundancy.
The PACE services SDS offers employers can be found here>>>
If any Perth & Kinross businesses would like to use PACE services for their staff, they can contact 0800 917 8000 or contact Corinne Milligan directly on 01738 637 639.
For individual customers affected by redundancy SDS services are available and we would encourage you to pass these details on to any staff who may be affected. The local Perth branch number is 01738 637639 and more information can be found here.
A free-to-use jobs portal to help workers from the tourism and hospitality sectors who have found themselves displaced as a result of the Coronavirus has been launched by Harri, the hospitality workforce platform, and is being supported by the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) and UK Hospitality.
The recruitment portal has been designed to help tourism and hospitality staff find employment – temporary or permanent – in other sectors that now require high volumes of staff to get through the crisis.
This is a free service which will connect companies such as those in food retail and supply, health care and delivery, with under-employed staff from hospitality. Video-screening will be provided as part of the service to speed up the recruitment process.
The portal will not be visible to the public and can only be accessed a link provided by Harri. If your front-line business or any of your displaced tourism or hospitality staff would like access please email HospitalityUnite@Harri.com.
Employers’ Incentives & Recruitment
Businesses currently utilising Employer Recruitment Incentives: If you are one of the local businesses already accessing funding through our suite of recruitment incentives, we would ask that you make contact with us to discuss flexibilities and how we can best support in these challenging times.
Please contact Jamie May, Employability Officer, Skills & Employment Initiatives on 01738 459611 / 07867351244.
Employers Hiring: If you have a job vacancy to fill immediately, please contact the Skills and Employment Initiatives Team on firstname.lastname@example.org. They have a caseload of job seeking clients ready to take up an opportunity.