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  • Article: Apr 7, 2020

    Below is an open letter written by the Councils Liberal Democrat Leader Stephen Robinson and its Cheif Executive Nick Eveleigh.

    Coronavirus: Letter to Chelmsford businesses

    Dear Chelmsford business,

    We wanted to let you know that Chelmsford City Council is backing Chelmsford businesses and recognises the great challenges you face.

    We appreciate that this is a very difficult period for you and we want to reassure all businesses that we are working closely with our partners, both local and national, to provide advice, guidance and targeted support to ensure that our businesses get the right help at the right time.

    At Chelmsford City Council we are:

    • suspending business rate direct debits so that no payment is taken from businesses that benefit from the 12-month business rates holiday announced by the government
    • applying the 100% discount for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses for 12-months automatically and will write to you shortly with a revised bill.
    • speaking to the Chelmsford Business Board and engaging with Chelmsford businesses and business networks about the support needed and understanding how we can facilitate that support.
    • issuing parking dispensations to park within Chelmsford, to any food delivery service.
    • sending regular communications to our businesses via e-bulletins and ensuring our webpages are up-to-date so that you receive timely business support information and advice.

    We have received further guidance on the Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund available for some businesses, announced by the Government. We are working as quickly as possible to set up processes to make these grants available.

    The business advice service, delivered in partnership with Colbea, is now also available online. To book a slot visit colbea.co.uk/business-advice-chelmsford/

    In addition, the government has announced a number of measures to support local businesses across the country.

    This is what the Government is doing:

    • HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, enabling businesses to continue paying part of their employees' salary for those employees who would otherwise have been laid off.
    • The Government have deferred VAT and Income Tax payments.
    • Statutory Sick Pay will be available from day one, and if your business employs fewer than 250 people, the Statutory Sick Pay will be refunded in full by the government.
    • A new Business Interruption Loan Scheme delivered by the British Business Bank will support small and medium sized business to access bank lending and overdrafts. The scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value.
    • The Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies under the new COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility.
    • Support for businesses with outstanding tax liabilities can call the HMRC's dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559 and may be eligible to receive support through HMRC's Time To Pay service.

    The situation is constantly changing, with new advice and guidance being issued daily. Please do regularly check this page for the most up-to-date information, guidance and support. Please also share the link with your colleagues, networks and contacts.

    We know that the impact of COVID-19 will be enormous for many of our businesses. We will need to work together to get through this and to ensure our business community is able to recover together. Chelmsford's business community has always stood out for being strong, resilient, and diverse; today these traits are more important than ever.

    We are here to support you as much as we can.

    Please do make contact with our Business Rates Team if we can help in any way (business.rates@chelmsford.gov.uk / 01245 606805).

    With very best wishes,

    Stephen Robinson, Leader of the Council

    Nick Eveleigh, Chief Executive

    Thursday 26 March 2020.

    You can view a copy of the letter.

  • Article: Apr 6, 2020

    We are leading a cross-party call for improved mental health support amidst Covid-19 crisis

    Social distancing means millions are now home alone, facing the prospect of only the most minimal contact with another soul for months. This isolation is likely to have a grave impact on their mental health.

    Millions more, without being completely isolated, will still be struggling with the rapid changes the coronavirus has wrought upon our way of life. People's anxiety will be further fueled by concern for the health of loved ones, or stress resulting from the impact of the pandemic on jobs and livelihoods.

    Given the unprecedented events we are living through, the need for mental health support could not be clearer. That's why the government must signpost the appropriate support services to every household, and adequately fund the charities that provide those services.

  • Article: Apr 6, 2020
    By Liberal Democrats

    Social distancing means millions are now home alone, facing the prospect of only the most minimal contact with another soul for months. This isolation is likely to have a grave impact on their mental health.

    Millions more, without being completely isolated, will still be struggling with the rapid changes the coronavirus has wrought upon our way of life. People's anxiety will be further fueled by concern for the health of loved ones, or stress resulting from the impact of the pandemic on jobs and livelihoods.

    Given the unprecedented events we are living through, the need for mental health support could not be clearer. That's why the government must signpost the appropriate support services to every household, and adequately fund the charities that provide those services.

  • Article: Apr 5, 2020

    Volunteers are swinging into united action to help Chelmsford residents in need during the coronavirus pandemic.

    Chelmsford City Council and the Chelmsford Voluntary Service are working together with local people to provide a complete package of support for anyone who is particularly isolated or in difficulty. The organisations are part of Essex Community Shield, the countywide effort to get supplies, advice and aid to those who need it most.

  • Article: Apr 4, 2020

    I'm sure many of us have said that we're going to use lockdown as an opportunity to catch up on some reading. Well, we've got the perfect thing!

    A good book or two provides a wonderful escape from these uncertain times

    Lib Dem Image, the official supplier of Liberal Democrats merchandise, is still open for business. As well as t-shirts, buttons and banners, we've got a generous array of books from and about various Liberal personalities - so why not take the chance to learn a little more about them and our party?

  • Article: Apr 4, 2020
    By Sir Ed Davey MP

    At this moment of national crisis, the role of all opposition parties must be to support measures to tackle the coronavirus, whilst also standing up for the most vulnerable by properly scrutinising the Government. I look forward to working with Keir Starmer on that task.

    Saving lives from coronavirus remains the absolute priority. Vital issues such as expanding testing capacity, access to adequate protective equipment for frontline health and social care staff, and ensuring the most vulnerable are not left behind as a result of the economic uncertainty are at the top of the agenda.

  • Tim during a recent visit to Westmorland General Hospital
    Article: Apr 4, 2020

    The Government has announced it will write off over £13bn of NHS debt and Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron has called for investment in Covid-19 testing and PPE for NHS staff.

    The announcement came after former Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron, revealed last year through a freedom of information request that £607,404,854 worth of interest on outstanding debt was paid by NHS Trusts to the Department for Health and Social Care in the previous five years.

  • Article: Apr 3, 2020

    NHS debt write off win must come with testing and PPE investment

    Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron claimed a campaign victory yesterday after the Government announced it will write off over £13bn of NHS debt and he has called for investment in Covid-19 testing and PPE for NHS staff.

    The announcement came after former Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron, revealed last year through a freedom of information request that £607,404,854 worth of interest on outstanding debt was paid by NHS Trusts to the Department for Health and Social Care in the previous five years.

  • Mike_Mackrory
    Article: Apr 3, 2020

    Chelmsford City Council is enabling local food delivery businesses by providing extra free parking, helping them to provide services to residents during the coronavirus crisis.

    The new measure means that any companies delivering food, whether as an established or new part of their business, can apply online for two dispensations to park within the city. These permits will apply to the company rather than individual vehicles, giving businesses more flexibility for their deliveries.

  • Article: Apr 1, 2020

    The call follows reports that doctors, nurses and paramedics will automatically have their visas extended, free of charge, for one year.

    The coronavirus crisis is an unprecedented threat and people are rightly worried. In times like this, we cannot thank front-line staff enough for going above and beyond to look after us all.

    Extending the visas in the NHS is welcome, but the Government must also do so much more for the social care system and urgently rollout adequate PPE and testing.