Important Message for Businesses of Hounslow
Message for Hounslow's Businesses from Kelly O'Neill (Director of Public Health) regarding urgent need for closure of premises.

You should be aware of the direction given by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday (21 March 2020) that restaurants, cafes, pubs, gyms, leisure centres, nightclubs, theatres, museums and cinemas should now be closed until further notice. This is because of the need for increased social distancing measures to protect the health, wellbeing and lives of our residents as we try to reduce the speed of the spread and impact of coronavirus. This is a national crisis and this closure allows us all to protect ourselves, our families and friends and our customers. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that catching this virus can be fatal, and is particularly dangerous for older people, those with a long-term health condition, and pregnant women.

Whilst many of you have taken notice and been responsible in closing your premises, it is increasingly apparent that the Government’s direction has not been applied across all businesses in the categories listed above, and other businesses are not properly considering the need for social distancing measures. These measures are in place for a reason and the ability for us to socially distance ourselves will have significant impact. However, it needs to happen immediately, as this graphic demonstrates.

As Director of Public Health for the Borough of Hounslow I am responsible for ensuring that the health and wellbeing of our residents is protected and not unnecessarily put at risk by lack of responsible action.

I am writing to ask that you recognise that unless you close as instructed you will be significantly increasing the risk of infection across our community, particularly vulnerable people, pregnant women, older people and those with medical conditions. Those business owners in these categories who continue to open their premises to people are putting lives at risk. If we allow the spread of coronavirus to be rapid the reality is that we overload NHS services and their ability to protect those we care about from this virus, as well as other injuries or conditions. This puts everyone’s risk at life.

Challenging times call for tough words and I make no excuse for the directness of this message. We each have responsibility to act in the best interests of our families and communities and help protect the health and wellbeing of our most vulnerable residents. We should not put them at avoidable risk.
Advice and support for local businesses

Message from Kelly O'Neill, Director of Public Health for Hounslow

Further to my earlier letter regarding the closure of businesses in scope of the announcement from the Prime Minister last week as a contributory social distancing measure can I thank you for responding to this call to action. To ensure that this reduces gatherings of people the council Enforcement Teams will be increasingly visible to disperse groups of people as we push to reduce the risk of infection transmission.

I know that this is a worrying time for many businesses as the impact of coronavirus is starting to be felt. I can assure you that the Council continues to work closely with Central Government to get the best advice and support for our local businesses.

The Chancellor announced a set of financial measures to support our local businesses.
We have now received clarity from Government on how various packages of relief and support should be administered. The increase in retail relief will be applied automatically to the qualifying businesses. You will not be required to do anything. We are now applying the reliefs and you will receive a letter by the end of week commencing 30 March confirming this.

Summary of changes

  • Retail relief being increased from 50% to 100% and the scope extended to include all hospitality and leisure properties irrespective of their rate-able value (including Pubs).
  • £10,000 grant to small businesses that pay little or no business rates and are eligible for small business rate relief or retail relief with a rateable value below £15,000
  • £25,000 grant for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000. The government is also introducing a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.
  • A £25,000 grant will also be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.
  • The Department for Education have also announced that non-local authority child-care providers will also receive a 100% NNDR discount in 2020/21. This relief will apply to businesses occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register. 
  • The Government have further confirmed recently that they have expanded the reliefs to include estate agents, letting agents and hospitality properties that will have been forced to close as result of COVID – 19.

Central Government has announced supporting businesses through this period is top priority.

Summary of help available for businesses directly from central Government:

  • A new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will enable businesses to apply for a loan of up to £5 million, with the government covering up to 80% of any losses with no fees. Businesses can access the first 6 months of that finance interest free, as government will cover the first six months of interest payments.
  • For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of Statutory Sick Pay per employee will be refunded by the government in full. This will provide two million businesses with up to £2 billion to cover the costs of large-scale sick leave.
  • A dedicated helpline has been set up to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities receive support with their tax affairs. Through this, businesses may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.

I know that there will be some businesses for whom there remains an absence of information about how they will be supported. As this information is communicated, I will work with my colleagues in the council to ensure it is shared as quickly as possible.

Best Wishes

Kelly O'Neill, Director of Public Health for Hounslow
Hounslow House closed   

In line with the Government’s direction to help slow the spread of coronavirus, to protect our staff and members of the public, Hounslow House is closed until further notice. You can access most council services online  www.hounslow.gov.uk  or by phone 020 8583 2000. 
 
Online services include:  

Waste and recycling

We’re working hard to keep the streets clean, keep collecting your rubbish and make sure your recycling bins continue to be emptied as often as possible, while protecting the health of all our workers – designated as essential front-line workers – as well as the general public. But as most of us are now staying at home, it seems likely that this will create more household waste and put pressure on our recycling and waste services.

We continue to run all of our refuse and recycling collections, but we have closed SpaceWaye, our civic amenity site to the public, but our  bulky waste service will remain in place.  More information and tips on reducing waste
Beware of s cams     

The National Trading Standards Scams Team is warning of an increase in scamming by individuals taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic. Examples include; people offering miracle cures or vaccines for coronavirus, people impersonating healthcare workers or claiming to offer ‘home testing’ for coronavirus, or people offering to do your shopping and asking for money upfront and disappearing.

Tips to avoid being scammed:  

  • Be cautious and listen to your instincts. Don’t be afraid to hang up, bin it, delete it or shut the door. 
  • Take your time; don’t be rushed. Check with family and friends before accepting offers of help if you are unsure. 
  • If you are online, be aware of fake news and use trusted sources such as .gov.uk or NHS.uk websites. Make sure you type the addresses in and don’t click on links in emails. 
  • Only purchase goods from legitimate retailers and take a moment to think before parting with money or personal information. 
  • Protect your financial information, especially from people you don’t know. Never give your bank card or PIN to a stranger. 

Contact information: 

  • If you think you’ve been scammed, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 and if you need advice, call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133. If you are in immediate danger, contact the police on 999. 
  • Contact your bank if you think you have been scammed. 

To learn more about different types of scams and how to protect yourself and others, visit  www.FriendsAgainstScams.org.uk   
CW9 works suspended    

Transport for London (TfL) has decided to cease construction of Cycleway 9, currently underway on Kew Bridge. A number of works will need to be completed to ensure the site is left in a safe condition, but the site is expected to be cleared by Saturday 28 March. 
Latest information and advice

The Council has a  coronavirus advice webpage which is updated daily with the latest information. 

You can also follow us on social media using the links below. 
The latest information on coronavirus in general is available on the  Government’s website
Hounslow Chamber of Commerce is the primary support, networking, and representation organisation in west London for SMEs.

We support the interests, the commercial aspirations and the investment for some 18,000 firms - from Chiswick to Feltham, Heathrow to Osterley and Brentford to Bedfont - the Chamber is the voice for all businesses located in the borough.