As businesses face worrying times amid the Coronavirus (Covid 19) outbreak, Portsmouth City Council remains committed to providing support to local businesses.
The council has launched a dedicated advice page for businesses and employers with links to key information - including where to find out more about the support announced by the Chancellor on Tuesday.
Businesses are also advised to sign up to the dedicated business bulletin so they can receive regular updates as more information is released.
Councillor Steve Pitt, Portsmouth City Council's Cabinet Member for culture and city development, said: "We are committed to supporting residents and businesses during this difficult time. We hope that by offering businesses clear signposting to the latest information, including news of financial support, it will help our local businesses to survive.
We urge everyone to follow the latest Government advice and check the council website for the latest local information."
In addition to this support the Leader of Portsmouth City Council, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, has written to the Secretary of State to raise some concerns.
He said: "I am sure these measures will be very helpful to many companies but I have been contacted by small businesses in Portsmouth who are saying that if they are social enterprises they are often given free accommodation by supportive organisations and therefore pay no rates, so do not qualify for any assistance connected to rateable value. Also if you are running a small business, taking on extra debt is often very unwelcome by companies.
The second issue is particularly around companies which are dependent upon events and members of the public buying tickets. These are often part of the cultural industries which are such a vital part of the UK economy. The offer of loans to these organisations will just not be sufficient and we are likely to lose large numbers of businesses within the cultural industry such as theatres, music venues, etc.
To lose these cultural organisations will be a real problem once this crisis is over and the virus abates, as they are so vital for community cohesion and also the visitor economy which will be extremely important in rebuilding the economy of the UK.
In both these cases it seems to me that direct grants, not loans, will be vital in the very near future to sustain companies, so that they do not go under. Please could I ask the Government to look at this with great urgency and to look at how we can adequately protect these vital parts of the UK economy.
Additionally, many people, both within the cultural community and the wider economy are self-employed or on zero-hours contracts. It is critical that these workers are offered real support quickly."
For more information on business and employer support in Portsmouth visit: www.portsmouth.gov.uk/ext/coronavirus-covid-19/businesses-and-employers-coronavirus-information
The government has set up a helpline 0300 456 3565 or go to the 'Get help and support for your business' web page on the GOV.UK website. Businesses should check for daily updates at GOV.UK and subscribe to receive email alerts to ensure they are acting on the most up to date information.