Please see below a letter from the Rt. Hon. the Lord Mayor William Russell and the Chair of the City of London Corporation’s Policy & Resources Committee, Catherine McGuinness.
Note that any responses to this email will not be read or responded to. Please direct any queries via the channels described in the message content.
Dear Business Owner,
We hope you are keeping safe and well in these difficult times. We are all in a very different environment both in terms of work and home life. It is extremely important to us that our businesses have the right information at the right time, which is why we are writing to you.
Preparations are underway to assist with the economic recovery of the City. We are working closely with the government, the Mayor of London, London Boroughs, Transport for London and major business organisations, to prepare for a further gradual relaxation of the lockdown measures in the City.
We know how important it is for businesses to be confident that their employees and customers will be able to travel into and around the City safely. We are looking at options to increase space available to assist with social distancing measures, advice for queues management for shops, and how to accommodate and increase in the number of people who choose to cycle.
Central Government has published guidance on how to maintain safety in the workplace, including offices. For those properties where we are the landlord, we are in discussions with managing agents and tenants about the safe use of the buildings. We do not anticipate an immediate return to normal, with large numbers of people returning to the City as the lockdown restrictions are lifted, and encourage businesses to think about how they can continue to operate with fewer people in the workplace and stagger journeys to and from work.
Central Government has provided consolidated information to support business in response to this pandemic. This information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/financial-support-for-businesses-during-coronavirus-covid-19#support-for-businesses-that-pay-business-rates. However, as the situation progresses the City is are becoming increasingly aware of businesses/sectors that are not provided for within pre-existing schemes. We continue to raise these concerns with Central Government and would like to encourage you to contact your local Common Councillors with any matters we may usefully bring forward in these discussions. You can find the details of your local Common Councillors and Ward Aldermen here: http://democracy.cityoflondon.gov.uk/mgMemberIndex.aspx?bcr=1
Based on guidance from Central Government, the City Revenues Team has now awarded the 100% retail relief to those occupied properties that are eligible to receive the Enhanced Retail Relief and Small Business Rates Relief in the 2020/21 financial year. We continue to make business rate grant payments to all eligible businesses and we have now paid around 90% of the money allocated to us by government. Revised bills showing the adjustment have been issued. More information, including information for Serviced Offices and how to contact the team, can be found on our Business Rates webpage: https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/business/business-rates/Pages/default.aspx
We will be providing updates and information on our plans for the City on our dedicated COVID-19 Advice for Businesses website https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/business/support-promotion-and-advice/Pages/covid-19-advice-for-businesses.aspx and via social media @cityoflondon. Our website features a range of information on topics such as latest government advice, business grants schemes and updates on support offered by the City of London Corporation. It also provides links to related areas such as parking for key and non-key workers, and other helpful advice and information from Business and Trade Associations.
The City of London Corporation will continue to keep you updated as the situation develops and as we move through a relaxation of the lockdown.
Alderman William Russell, The Rt Hon The Lord Mayor
Catherine McGuinness, Chair of Policy & Resources