Covid-19 update 06.04.2020
DAILY BUSINESS BRIEFING FROM GOVERNMENT’S COVID-19 PRESS CONFERENCE
The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Dominic Raab has said further detail on economic measures to support businesses will be provided “as soon as is practical” at today’s Downing Street press conference.
Mr Raab said the Government wanted to encourage banks to be lending and providing liquidity and it was important the message and support outlined to businesses and banks was “conveyed as clearly as possible and acted upon.”
He added: “The Treasury ministers are in constant contact with the banks, looking at what they need, but also critically how we get the finance to businesses which are viable but just struggling with the challenge of coronavirus. We want to make sure particularly those vulnerable small businesses and medium-sized businesses can see their way through this crisis.
“I know the Chancellor and the Treasury team are doing everything they can to make sure that can be done.”
Meanwhile, the Department for International Trade has sent guidance directly to 160,000 exporters and investors today (Monday April 6) on how to help secure export finance to keep trading during the coronavirus outbreak. In addition, UK businesses are now eligible to secure export insurance cover to major international markets.
As well as advice on what financial support is available for companies to manage the impacts of coronavirus, DIT stands ready to provide assistance with customs authorities to ensure smooth clearance of businesses’ products, and to offer advice on intellectual property and other issues with business continuity.
The message follows the news that UK businesses will now be eligible to secure export insurance cover to markets including the EU, US, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland with immediate effect, following UK Export Finance expanding the scope of its Export Insurance Policy (EXIP).
International Trade Secretary, Liz Truss, said: “During this turbulent time, we are taking every step we can to ensure UK exporters are protected and that the economy remains strong. As part of this, the UK government has emailed 160,000 exporters and investors across the country to outline the support measures available to them.”
The Department for International Trade’s 170 International Trade Advisers are already reaching out to businesses across the country to provide advice on keeping trade flowing. DIT is also working closely with trade bodies and business organisations to support the government’s business campaign. To find an ITA in your area, visit: https://www.great.gov.uk/contact/office-finder/
Business Secretary, Alok Sharma, has also written thanking workers and businesses for their support during the coronavirus pandemic.
CORONAVIRUS JOB RETENTION SCHEME: NEW UPDATES
HMRC has written to all businesses to confirm that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme detailed employer guidance and guidance for employees have been further updated in line with stakeholder feedback and, among other updates, clarifies the position for company directors, Limited Liability Partnerships and agency workers; provides additional guidance on what constitutes wages, and details scheme eligibility.
BUSINESS SUPPORT PACKAGES: LATEST INFORMATION & UPDATES
- Extra protection for businesses with ban on evictions for commercial tenants who miss rent payments.
- Financial assistance for employers unable to pay statutory redundancy payments.
- The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
- Deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
- Statutory Sick Pay relief package for SMEs.
- 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England
- Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
- Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
- Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. Additional guidance from the British Business Bank here
- A lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans:
- The HMRC Time To Pay Scheme
USE OF FACEMASKS IN THE WORKPLACE
The guidance for employees, employers and businesses has been updated with guidance on use of face masks in the community. The UK does not currently advise use of face masks outside of care settings, in line with PPE guidance. Therefore, PHE does not advise masks in public places and for those working in supermarkets, waste collection, schools and similar settings. PHE recommends that employers should ensure that:
- spaces in the workplace are optimised to allow social distancing to occur, wherever possible
- signs are visible in the workplace reminding employees not to attend work if they have a fever or cough and to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- employees are provided with hand sanitiser for frequent use and regular breaks to allow them to wash their hands for 20 seconds.
ADDITIONAL NEW GUIDANCE RELEASED TODAY
Coronavirus (COVID-19): business support grant funding – guidance for businesses
Guidance for businesses setting out details of the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF) has been updated with information about State Aid.
Personal protective equipment (PPE): export control process
Information for economic operators who will temporarily need a licence to export PPE outside the EU, EFTA member states and certain other territories. Added link to a question and answer document by the EU.
Maintaining further education provision
The operational guidance for Further Education (FE) providers on maintaining education and skills training provision has been updated.
Annual inspection waiver for tank vehicles
The notice allowing tank vehicles, with extended roadworthiness test certificates, to remain in service and on our roads without a valid ADR 1(C) certificate has been updated to say authorisation now includes class VII ADR vehicles.
HELP FIND NEW WAYS TO EASE GLOBAL DISRUPTION: APPLY FOR FUNDING
UK businesses can apply for a share of £20 million in a fast-track competition to develop new ways to tackle global disruption such as that caused by COVID-19. Find out more here.
CAN YOU, YOUR BUSINESS OR EMPLOYEES OFFER CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) SUPPORT?
NHS asks people to share their coronavirus symptoms to help others
A new Coronavirus Status Checker will help the NHS coordinate its response and build up additional data on the COVID-19 outbreak. It is open to anyone in the UK to use on the NHS website and in its initial phase the NHS is particularly keen for anyone who thinks they may be displaying potential coronavirus symptoms, no matter how mild, to complete it. Please share the checker with your employees and networks. You can find more information here.
Can your business offer further support?
The UK Government is looking for businesses who can offer support in the multiple areas and has set up an online tool where businesses can register. To offer support click here. The support needed includes things like:
- medical testing equipment
- medical equipment design
- protective equipment for healthcare workers, such as masks, gowns and sanitiser
- hotel rooms
- transport and logistics, for moving goods or people
- manufacturing equipment
- warehouse or office space, for medical use or storage
- expertise or support on IT, manufacturing, construction, project management, procurement, engineering or communications
- social care or childcare