As the Government measures to support businesses through the lockdown are eased or phased out Guildford Borough Council continues to plan for economic recovery across the Borough.

Since our May Bulletin we have been working almost entirely on the Government’s Discretionary Grant funding programme. With that now behind us we are turning to the wider issues affecting Guildford’s post-Covid economy and identifying new opportunities for innovation.  As always, we hope that you find the Bulletin useful and welcome your feedback to


We began our last Bulletin with this question. Figures published by the Office for National Statistics on 14th July revealed that the UK’s economy rebounded more slowly than expected in May, growing just 1.8% from April as the lockdown began to be eased.

We have been working hard in collaboration with Experience Guildford and Surrey County Council to re-open the town centre as safely as possible since non-essential shops were allowed to re-open on the 15th June. Measures include temporary barriers and short-term suspension of parking bays to widen footpaths, and signage to support queueing regimes and ‘keep left’ markers at pinch points. We are seeking funding from the Government’s Reopening High Streets Safely Fund to help with these changes.

In support of these measures we have produced two videos – one featuring the Leader of the Council and Lead Member for Economy focussed on how our restaurants and pubs are ensuring residents and visitors to the town are served safely:

Secondly as part of the drive to get footfall back into the town centre, the Council’s creative partners at Experience Guildford joined forces with Nick White of GeeYou to promote the town centre and our local arts and culture scene through this uplifting video written and produced by Nick:


We have so far supported 1,578 local businesses with £21.21m in Government grant funding, reaching over 95% of those that were eligible.

During May the Government announced its new Discretionary Grants Fund which was designed to help a range of small and micro businesses that had been unable to access the earlier Government funding. The discretionary nature of the fund, and local decision-making, meant we could focus on the small and micro businesses that had suffered the greatest hardship through lost income and ongoing property costs in the crucial March-June period.

As a result, the Council was able to help another 92 businesses with the £1.07m available.

In the event of additional Government funding being made available we will again publish details on our website

Meanwhile the Government has made further changes to its Coronavirus Job Retention (‘furlough’) Scheme, which was extended to the end of October, but now with tapered funding and new employer incentives announced on 8 July to get employees back to work and boost the economy.

For full details see:


In a published letter (dated 23rd July) to Local Authority Chief Executives the Business Secretary Alok Sharma announced the closure of the Small Business Grants Fund, Retail, Hospitality & Leisure Grants (RHLG) Fund and Discretionary Grants Fund.

Mr Sharma noted how important these grants have been to businesses.

Given the schemes’ success, over 92% of eligible businesses nationally having received grants, he and the Chancellor  had taken the decision that all three grant schemes, including the Discretionary Fund, should close by 28th August.

This will be disappointing news for the many businesses which “fell through the gaps” in funding support, especially  those we were unable to support because the available Discretionary Grant funding was heavily oversubscribed.

However, the Secretary of State added that a “final few businesses” eligible to receive either the Small Business Grant or the RHLG have yet to come forward – if that includes you or a business you know, there are just three weeks to claim online at


“Skills for Employment” is our new programme taking shape with career development professionals to develop a range of physical and virtual support to update and extend the employment support given by the Council in response to the 2008-9 financial crisis.

The best elements of the Guildford Job Club that ran from 2009 to 2016 will be brought back, with professional business partners playing a key role in helping individuals to learn new business-transferable skills enabling them to return to employment or start a business of their own. “Skills for Employment” will align with the Government’s recently announced “Kickstarter” scheme, designed to help 16-24 year olds.

As we emerge from lockdown, a number of former business employees in a range of industries and sectors are now seeking to re-enter the jobs market. At the same time, thousands of school leavers, college and university graduates will be hoping to step onto the first rung of the career ladder.

If YOU are able and willing to play a part in “Skills for Employment” please email the Economy and Innovation team ( to arrange a meeting. We are still working on the overall package of support and will update you in our next Business Bulletin and related emails.


One of an occasional series highlighting gems of the Guildford business scene. This month: ALCIS. Based on Surrey Research Park, Alcis provide geographic information services, with a mission to improve the lives of the world’s most vulnerable people in fragile and complex environments.

Alcis use a combination of satellite imagery and data with mapping software and teams of researchers on the ground to help address global challenges. Their work is diverse and ranges from analysing the rapid increase of solar powered water pumps to grow opium poppies (as reported recently by the BBC) to working with the University of Surrey on a maize mapping and sustainable water use project in Afghanistan. Alcis provide remote monitoring and, with the Coronavirus lockdowns preventing the movement of people, find themselves busier than ever.


With the twin aims of securing savings in the Council’s budget and benefitting local suppliers, we have published our new strategy for procurement. Find out more here:


Surrey County Council has launched a phased communication campaign entitled ‘Keep Surrey Safe’ to raise awareness that everyone who has symptoms of Coronavirus can now get tested and that if they test positive they need to share contacts with NHS Test and Trace to stop the spread of the virus. By continuing to follow safety guidelines and engaging in Test and Trace, we can all play our part to Keep Surrey safe and avoid local lockdowns.


Surrey County Council is here to support Surrey’s businesses to ensure a safe recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. By working together to support the NHS’s Test & Trace programme we can slow the spread of the virus, to ensure that life will start to get back to normal and that our businesses can thrive again.

We’re appealing to employers to play their part by following the latest Government advice on how to work safely during Coronavirus and to help spread the word about Test and Trace. By ensuring working conditions are safe, businesses can also reduce the risk of many employees having to self-isolate and the disruption that follows, if a member of staff tests positive for COVID-19.

What you need to do:

  • Follow the latest government advice which explains how to work safely in a range of workplaces and situations
  • Consider situations which may lead to infections spreading including:
    • areas where social distancing may be challenging e.g. changing rooms, smoking shelters, canteens and break out rooms
    • car sharing
    • staff working with symptoms to avoid losing their wages
  • Plan for how you would operate if a number of staff were self-isolating
  • Ensure employees self-isolate immediately if they have any Coronavirus symptoms and get tested straight away, as this needs to be done in the first five days of having symptoms
  • Ensure employees self-isolate for ten days if they have Coronavirus symptoms, or if they have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace due to coming in close contact with a case, they must self-isolate for 14 days. This will help stop the spread in your workplace and community
  • Support staff to work from home if they feel able
  • Direct employees to the Government’s advice about what will happen to their pay whilst isolating and to your own sickness procedures
  • If you are made aware of more than one confirmed case of Coronavirus in your workplace (whether by employees, visitors or NHS Test and Trace), employers should contact PHE Surrey and Sussex’s Health Protection Team on 0344 225 3861 (Option 3) for help and advice. They will support you by assessing the risks and identifying the appropriate steps to take
  • Help us to spread the word, not the virus – share our posters, website and content in your newsletters and on intranets to ensure staff are well-informed and know what to do (communications materials can be sourced by contacting us at
  • Continue to play your part in protecting Surrey by preventing the spread and a second lockdown so we can all prosper again.

More information about the Test and Trace programme is available on Surrey County Council’s website. Thank you for helping us to keep Surrey safe and open for business.


Thousands of smaller businesses in England are set to benefit from £20 million of new government funding to help them recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government has announced.

Small and medium sized businesses will have access to grants of between £1,000 – £5,000 to help them access new technology and other equipment as well as professional, legal, financial or other advice to help them get back on track.

The support will be fully funded by the government from the England European Regional Development Fund and distributed through Growth Hubs, including the local one serving the Enterprise M3 LEP area.

Detailed information on the criteria and how to apply for the fund will be available on the EM3 and Growth Hub’s websites ( and as soon as the scheme is open for applications, which is expected to be before the autumn. Until full details are available more information on the Government’s announcement can be found at:


 ACAS – The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service

Association of British Insurers – representing British Insurance sector

Surrey Chamber of Commerce

Business South – independent representative of businesses in Central Southern England

Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development – professional association for HR management

Confederation of British Industry – represents larger businesses

Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership

Enterprise Nation – organisation supporting micro and small businesses

Federation of Small Businesses – Represents British micro and small businesses

Institute of Directors – Membership Organisation for Company Directors

Surrey Hills Enterprises – Membership Organisation for local businesses