Dear Business Leaders
I am writing to say that we will do all we can support you, your employees and your business through this extremely difficult time.
Without a thriving business community, the county simply doesn’t function.
Working with business support and public sector colleagues across Kent, we want to ensure your business comes through these next few weeks, and can help us to renew the Kent economy as we emerge from another lockdown.
Firstly, our priority has to be health. In every Kent district cases of COVID-19 are rising, and in some areas, at a very concerning rate. Kent County Council is working with health colleagues to do everything we can to stop the virus from spreading more widely, and to ensure that the people of Kent are protected. The more quickly and firmly we bear down on this, the better the prospect of bringing us back to normal business conditions.
The Prime Minister has now set out the measures that need to be taken nationally to ensure that health services are not overwhelmed and that the number of cases and deaths of COVID-19 are reduced. It is clear that a national lockdown is the only way to endeavour to achieve this.
I urge you to follow the latest government advice (please click here to view) and local Public Health information (please click here to view) including latest case numbers across Kent (please click here to view). We will be updating the local information regularly.
Next, we want to ensure that you get all the support that you are entitled to. Funded by Kent County Council, Kent District Councils and SELEP, the Kent & Medway Growth Hub has already had over 10,000 telephone and on-line conversations with businesses to provide advice on what financial support is available and to provide wider assistance. We will continue to ensure the Growth Hub has the most up-to-date information freely available to anyone who wishes to make contact. Kent County Council has extended its financial support of the COVID-19 Business Helpline, where businesses can get up to date support from a team of advisors. Full details are at https://www.askphil.biz (please click here to view) or you can call the helpline on 03333 602300.
More widely, through the Growth Hub, Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Institute of Directors, local Chambers and business agencies including Locate in Kent and Visit Kent, we will do all that we can to co-ordinate support and will work together to ensure the county returns to business as soon as possible after restrictions are lifted.
We will also step up our business communications. I intend to provide regular updates through our website and social media. I understand just how important it is for you to be as prepared as you can possibly be for any changes in guidance and restrictions that may affect your business and your staff over the coming weeks.
This is unquestionably a challenging time for everyone in the county – but for business the challenge is even more complex. I want to reassure you that we are doing everything that we can to manage the situation, keep people safe and businesses trading after lockdown.
With best wishes
Leader of Kent County Council