MCC Business Update Bulletin (May 1, 2020)

Business Update Bulletin

Business updates, support and advice from Manchester City Council’s Business, Growth and Regeneration teams


  • Small businesses boosted by bounce back loans
  • Business support resources
  • The National Trading Standards Businesses Against Scams toolkit
  • Message from Business & IP Centre, Central Library
  • Business in the Community Small Business Check List
  • Webinar: Financial support for small businesses during COVID-19
  • Update from Zac Fraser, Chief Inspector of GMP
  • Microsoft offer 6 free months of Microsoft 365 to small businesses
  • New free online learning platform to boost workplace skills
  • Vermillion Restaurant provide free meals to NHS
  • Manchester City Council’s COVID-19 Helpline
  • Useful Links

Small businesses boosted by bounce back loans

A 100% government-backed loan scheme has been made available for small businesses, more details about this new scheme can be found on GOV.UK. Read more

Business support

Online resources
We have a number of resources online, giving information about:

  • Business rates and grants
  • Government finance, support and guidance
  • Coronavirus Support Hub
  • Advice for food businesses
  • Support available locally from the Council and other organisations

To view these resources, visit our website.

Expenses for working from home
If you have staff that are required to work from home due to COVID-19, they can claim expenses of up to £6 a week from HMRC (£4 for previous tax years) to compensate for increased costs, eg. heating and electricity. To make a claim, individuals will need to complete an online form or postal form, both of which can be found via GOV.UK.

The claims are retrospective, so it may be best for individuals to wait until they are back at work so they can make the whole claim at once.

The National Trading Standards Businesses Against Scams toolkit

The National Trading Standards (NTS) Scams Team soft launched Businesses Against Scams (BAS) last Thursday (23 April). It is a simple toolkit that businesses can use to help train their employees on how to spot certain types of scams that are more prevalent within businesses due to the current pandemic sweeping the UK.

It contains a ten minute awareness session (PowerPoint) with examples of these scams, how to spot them, the effects of falling victim and how to report them along with a number of other useful resources that businesses can use to keep the message alive.

Message from Business & IP Centre, Central Library

We’re still operating a service even though the library is closed – we’re running the enquiry service, and putting on webinars and online seminars etc. We also have some resources that businesses will find useful as well as access to some business journals and books with their library card.

We’re adding a daily blog to our site Ask About Business –

And tweeting about our activity and partner activities (we’re part of a national network of BIPCs in partnership with the British Library, which is offering some really good webinars). @bipcmanchester

Setting your Stall Out Online – online workshop
Thursday 7 May, 1.30-3.30pm

This free interactive online workshop will take you through the basics of setting up an online store. The session will include online group work, question and answer sections, and valuable take away tips to implement straight away. The workshop will be delivered by the award-winning DigiEnable. Places are limited and booking is essential.

Visit their eventbrite page for full details and to book a place.

Business in the Community small business checklist

BITC is actively working to help vulnerable small businesses respond and recover from COVID-19.

They have distilled some of the Government’s COVID-19 support packages for small businesses into a handy checklist, with tips on what’s available and how to access them, read more.

Webinar: Financial support for small businesses during coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will host a webinar on Tuesday 5 May, beginning at 11am. To find out how small businesses can access the coronavirus business support measures that have been made available to UK businesses, register to join this free webinar.

Update from Zac Fraser, Chief Inspector of GMP

The following is an extract from a Q&A session with GMP Chief Inspector Zac Fraser, Superintendent Chris Hill and Andy Wilson, Strategic Lead for City Council Neighbourhoods:

GMP had expected a spike in burglaries in the city centre but this has not happened. Burglaries have decreased by almost a half (25 in the last 4 months; 13 arrested, which is a high charge rate), providing opportunity for target hardening and more patrolling. Officer night shifts have been added leading to police ‘coverage’ across the city 24/7. If businesses are finding they have had a break-in, please do report to the police, and let CityCo’s Business Crime Unit know to allow for investigation and CCTV analysis.

Post-policing is in operation to gather evidence which is helping to identify offenders and allow more in-depth crime prevention. Businesses can expect more enhanced response around commercial property at this time due to dip in other demand, but it must be reported, even if there is a time lag.

In respect of boarding your property up – this remains a business decision. GMP recommends securing fire escapes, rear and internal doors as priority as this slows the escape of offenders. The types of stock being targeted are alcohol, cigarettes, clothing, IT equipment.

Reported city centre Anti Social Behaviour incidents are low but there are more issues in the suburbs. Patrols are out every day and Operation Sycamore (GMP response to violent crime) is running. Plain clothes officers are in operation, CCTV and intelligence patrols. 

Read the full transcript here

Microsoft 365 offer for small businesses

Microsoft is offering a free six month Microsoft 365 Business Basic subscription plan to small businesses, allowing them to cope with the increasing need to communicate virtually with their customers. Read more.

New free online learning platform to boost workplace skills

A new online learning platform to help boost the nation’s skills while people are staying at home, has been launched today (28 April) by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson.

Free courses are available through a new online platform hosted on the, called The Skills Toolkit. The new platform gives people access to free, high-quality digital and numeracy courses to help build up their skills, progress in work and boost their job prospects.

The platform also offers employees who have been furloughed an opportunity to keep up their skills development while they are at home. To learn more, visit

Vermillion Restaurant provide free meals to NHS.

During these testing times for everyone, it is great to see some of the positive steps people are taking to help each other, here is one example of how Manchester businesses are supporting their local communities.

Last week the team at Vermilion Restaurant provided meals to frontline NHS staff at their neighbouring hospital, North Manchester General Hospital. This week, they’ve gone further afield with more donations to help those in need during this pandemic crisis.

Learn more about the help they’ve provided across the city. 

Manchester City Council’s COVID-19 Helpline

On 30 March the Council launched its COVID-19 helpline and is receiving hundreds of calls every day from people struggling to buy food, pay bills, collect medication or feeling lonely.  The majority of calls are for urgent food requests because of reduced income or because people are self isolating and unable to access shops. 

We quickly launched the Food-Response Team by collaborating with existing food banks and others to provide a coordinated service across the city. Last week, the food-response team delivered some 11,780 individual food parcels to residents in need. Our helpline is receiving between 300 and 400 calls a day. This is absolutely incredible, and wouldn’t be possible without the support of our amazing staff, volunteers, partners, and food banks.

If you are able to make donations of goods, services or money please contact – Your support is greatly appreciated.

We’ve received a lovely video made by one of our residents, Christopher Morris, via Age UK, who wanted to say ‘thank you’.

Useful Links

Can you help?

Follow the Council on Twitter

Do you know about the Council’s Twitter accounts?

Alongside the Council’s main account (@mancitycouncil), we have a number of area-based accounts (such as @mcccitycentre) and team specific accounts such as @mccworkskills, which is operated by our Work and Skills team. Give them a follow!