Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Businesses and Employers Bulletin 19 May 2020

Please see below yesterday's Business and Employers bulletin from Government. This includes:

  • The launch of the Coronavirus Future Fund
  • The opening of the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme. From Tuesday 26 May 2020, small and medium-sized employers, with fewer than 250 employees, will be able to apply to recover the costs of paying coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments they have made to their employees

The Government has also announced  investment of £35 million to protect critical freight routes to ensure there is enough freight capacity to prevent disruption to the flow of critical goods, such as food and medical supplies (see here for details). Sixteen freight routes, are being supported (3 routes between Great Britain and Northern Ireland and 13 routes between Great Britain and mainland Europe, including Spain, France, Belgium and the Netherlands). The supported routes are shown in the table below:

Harwich-Hoek van Holland

Government has signed 17 contracts (in total) with six operators across the 16 routes – Brittany Ferries, DFDS, Eurotunnel, P&O Ferries, Seatruck and Stena. This may have implications for other freight seeking to use these routes.

In spite of the current COVID-19 crisis, negotiations for the UK’s departure from the EU have continued. Please see here for documents on the Government’s approach to UK-EU negotiations; as well as here for the new UK Global Tariff, announced yesterday.


Apply for the coronavirus Future Fund

The Future Fund will provide UK Government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors. The fund will be open for applications from Wednesday 20 May 2020.

These convertible loans may be a suitable option for businesses that typically rely on equity investment and are unable to access other government business support programmes because they are either pre-revenue or pre-profit.

The Future Fund was developed by the UK Government and is being delivered by the British Business Bank.

Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme
From Tuesday 26 May 2020, small and medium-sized employers, with fewer than 250 employees, will be able to apply to recover the costs of paying coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments they have made to their employees.

Employers will be able to make claims to the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme through a new online service. Employers will receive repayments at the relevant rate of SSP that they have paid to current or former employees for eligible periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020.

HMRC has published online guidance which includes information about who can use the scheme and the records employers must keep. Click here to find out more.

Business Support Helpline

The Business Support Helpline number in England has changed to FREEPHONE 0800 998 1098. The helpline provides free, impartial business support and signposting services to businesses in England – which currently includes business advice on Covid-19.

You can also find free support, advice and sources of finance through your local growth hub or speak to an advisor on webchat about support for your business.

The Business Support Scotland helpline is 0300 303 0660, Business Wales helpline is 0330 060 300 and the Invest Northern Ireland helpline is 0800 181 4422.

Department for International Trade Webinars
The Department for International Trade are running a series of webinars to help businesses through coronavirus.

Logistics and movement of goods during COVID-19  - 20 May

Risk management when considering new markets - 21 May

Managing disruption of supply chains during COVID-19 – 22 May

New Updates and Guidance
Larger businesses to benefit from loans of up to £200 million 
Government extends maximum loan size available through the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme from £50 million to £200 million.

  • loans under the expanded scheme will be made available to large businesses affected by coronavirus from next week
  • changes also mean companies receiving help through CLBILS and the Bank of England’s Coronavirus Corporate Financing Fund will be asked to agree to not pay dividends and to exercise restraint on senior pay

You can find more information here.

Everyone in the United Kingdom with Covid-19 symptoms is now eligible for coronavirus tests 
Everyone in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland with coronavirus symptoms can now get a test. Find out more information here.

Stay at home: guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection 
New information about coronavirus symptoms has been announced. Individuals should now self-isolate if they develop a new continuous cough or fever or anosmia. Anosmia is the loss of, or a change in, your normal sense of smell. It can also affect your sense of taste as the two are closely linked.

Legionella risks during the coronavirus outbreak 
Employers, the self-employed and people in control of premises, such as landlords, have a duty to identify and control risks associated with legionella. Find out further information here.

Get a payment deferral or deregister from money laundering supervision due to coronavirus
Check if you can get a payment deferral or deregister if you are a business with an annual fee due between 1 May and 30 September 2020. Find out more information here.

Support for care homes
New guidance sets out the support package to keep care homes safe during the coronavirus pandemic. Care providers can find the details of the support package and additional advice and resources to help stop the spread of infection here.

Government invests £35 million to protect critical freight routes
Ensuring there is enough freight capacity to prevent disruption to the flow of critical goods, such as food and medical supplies. Find out more here.

Guidance for employees, employers and businesses
Added clarification on guidance and legislation.

Advice for the freight transport industry
Added clarification on guidance and legislation.

Actions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus outbreak in England
Guidance has been updated, including a new section clarifying the position on welcoming back all children to early years settings from 1 June 2020, information on when childminders can reopen to more children, and what provision they can currently provide, information on testing for essential workers, and information for parents on temporary changes to the 30 hours free early education entitlements.

Recreational general aviation
Updated UK Government coronavirus advice means that recreational general aviation (GA) flying is now allowed from English airfields or flying sites and if social distancing measures are strictly observed. Recreational general aviation is currently still not allowed in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales, where there are different public health and safety requirements.

Transition - the future relationship between the UK and EU
The UK is in a transition period until the end of 2020 while the UK and EU negotiate additional arrangements.  The current rules on trade, travel, and business for the UK and EU will continue to apply during the transition period up to 31 December 2020.  New rules will take effect on 1 January 2021. To help businesses keep up to date, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy publishes a free, sister Transition Bulletin alongside the Covid-19 Bulletin for Business.

Details of how to subscribe can be found below. The next Transition bulletin will be published on Thursday 21 May 2020Subscribe to the Transition Businesses and Employers Bulletin  by visiting Gov Delivery Subscriptions: i) Add Subscriptions, and ii) check 'Transition Bulletin' to subscribe to receive regular email updates.

Requests for Business Intelligence and Assistance

Offer coronavirus support

Tell us how your business might be able to help with the response to coronavirus by using our online service

Share the impact coronavirus is having on your organisation
Let us know how the outbreak is impacting your business.  Please send your intelligence to intel@beis.gov.uk. Commercially sensitive information will be treated accordingly.  Please note that this inbox is only for receiving intelligence and does not provide business advice

Help us shine a light on the stories of key workers 
Tell us about key workers you know that are helping to keep the UK moving during the Coronavirus pandemic. Please fill in this online form for key workers in the following sectors: manufacturing, construction, consumer goods, scientists/researchers, servicing, postal workers, and  oil/gas/electricity/water/sewage/chemical workers.

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

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