News Update

07th of August 2020

New small business leadership and problem-solving programmes helping businesses to survive and thrive beyond COVID

Two new leadership programmes to help small business leaders grow their companies in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic have been launched:

  • The Small Business Leadership Programme will equip business leaders with the confidence and leadership skills to plan for the future of their business, and ensure that they are in a great position to recover from the impacts of coronavirus. Find out more and apply here.
  • The Peer Networks Programme will focus on helping business owners improve their problem-solving skills, through a series of guided exercises. Members of the programme will be given skills in areas such as leadership and management, sales and marketing that they need to tackle these challenges head-on while growing their business. Find out more and apply here.

Office ‘How To’ guide: a guide on returning to the office safely can be seen at: https://bit.ly/30CVI8x

Reporting outbreaks of coronavirus

New guidance for businesses and organisations on how to recognise, contain and report incidents of coronavirus has been published. COVID-19 early outbreak management information has been created to make sure that people who run businesses or organisations:

  • know how to recognise and report an incident of coronavirus
  • are aware of measures local health protection teams may advise in order to contain it.

Action cards have been developed to cover a range of businesses and organisations to provide specific advice on the issues each type of organisation may face now lockdown restrictions have been eased. The cards are designed to be printed or downloaded to keep on hand in your business or organisation.  Find out more here.

Travel corridors

  • Spain is no longer on the travel corridor list and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office are advising against all but essential travel to Spain. People will need to self isolate for 14 days when arriving from Spain into the UK. Find out more

Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia and St Vincent and the Grenadines have been added to the exempt list.

Eat Out to Help Out scheme

  • Find out how to claim the reimbursement for discounts given to diners with the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme by following new guidance published here.
  • New examples of how to calculate the discount have also been published here.

Register your business here, and find the list of participating eating establishments

Please find today’s key government updates below:

1) Going to work

Workplace guidance has been updated to reflect the Prime Minister’s statement (17 July), which highlighted that the government’s advice on going to work will change from 1 August.

From this date, employers should ensure workplaces are safe whilst also enabling working from home

In order to keep the virus under control, it is important that people work safely. Working from home remains one way to do this. However, the risk of transmission can be substantially reduced if COVID-19 secure guidelines are followed closely. 

Employers should consult with their employees to determine who, from the 1 August 2020, can come into the workplace safely taking account of a person’s use of public transport, childcare responsibilities, protected characteristics, and other individual circumstances. Extra consideration should be given to those people at higher risk. 

When it is decided that workers should come into their place of work then this will need to be reflected in the COVID-19 risk assessment and actions taken to manage the risks of transmission in line with this guidance. It is vital employers engage with workers to ensure they feel safe returning to work, and they should avoid forcing anyone into an unsafe workplace.

Updated guidance for your sector can be found here: https://bit.ly/sectorsocialdist

2) Face covering exemptions

As per yesterday’s Employer Bulletin, from today (24 July), face coverings are mandatory in additional enclosed spaces. 

Exemptions to this include anyone under the age of 11, or those with disabilities, or hidden health conditions such as breathing difficulties, mental health conditions or autism. 

People are not required to prove they are exempt and it is for individuals to choose how they would want to communicate this to others. For those who would feel more comfortable showing something that says they do not have to wear a face covering, exemption cards are available to print or display on mobile phones – https://bit.ly/FCExemptionBadges.

Full guidance on face coverings can be found here: https://bit.ly/FaceCoveringUpdatedGuidance.

The attached guide provides advice on handling face covering exemptions in stores and branches. We ask that you consider taking the steps and use the language suggested in the guide if you see someone entering or inside a store not wearing a face covering. Please note charity organisations working with the government have been made aware of this too.

3) Update on travel corridors

The government has today (24 July 2020) added Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia and St Vincent and the Grenadines to the list of travel corridors, after reviewing the latest risk assessments.

The 5 new countries have been added to the current list of destinations from which passengers do not need to self-isolate when arriving in England. The changes, which will take effect in England from Tuesday 28 July 2020.

Further details on the announcement can be found here: https://bit.ly/UpdateTravelCorridors.

4) Business events & conferences

Business events, conferences and events centres will be given the go ahead to reopen on 1 October adhering to social distancing. 

A number of pilots will take place at event venues across the country to plan for a return to large-scale events and test how best to implement social distancing practises. Details of these pilots will be finalised in partnership with the sector in the coming weeks.

New guidance, published by the Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport and the Association of Event Organisers, will help event organisers, venue operators and participants in the UK understand how they can work and host business events and conferences and keep both their guests and staff safe.

Full guidance can be found here: https://bit.ly/VisitorEconomyGuidance.

NEW COVID-secure webinars for hospitality, salons, and other close contact workplaces

Join a free webinar, hosted by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to recap COVID-secure guidance on how to operate safely and to hear your feedback on implementing the guidance in practice, and where you would seek further clarification.

  • Working safely during Coronavirus: Close Contact Services: 11am Tuesday 28 July –Recap how to make your workplace COVID-secure by joining this webinar providing guidance for close contact services, such as hairdressers, barbers, beauticians, tattooists, sports and massage therapists, dress fitters, tailors and fashion designers. Register here.
  • Working safely during Coronavirus: Restaurants, Pubs and Bars: 3pm, Tuesday 28 July – Recap how to make your workplace COVID-secure by joining this webinar providing guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars, cafes & takeaways. Register here.

A new webinar on the Eat Out to Help Out scheme is also now available here.

Working Safely during Coronavirus 

Lifting restrictions from businesses in England

In England, from 1 August, if prevalence remains around or below current levels, and COVID-19 Secure guidelines are followed, the government will:

  • Give employers more discretion on how they ensure employees can work safely. Working from home is one way to do this, but workplaces can also be made safe by following COVID-19 Secure guidelines.
  • Reopen most remaining leisure settings, namely bowling, skating rinks and casinos, accompanied by COVID-19 Secure guidelines. This will not include particularly high-risk activities and settings such as nightclubs, which will be kept under review.
  • Enable the restart of indoor performances to a live audience, subject to the success of pilots that are taking place as soon as possible. More information is available here.
  • Enable all close contact services to resume, including any treatments on the face such as eyebrow threading or make-up application.
  • Carry out pilots in venues with a range of sizes of crowds including sports stadia and business events. If plans progress in line with expectations, pilots will expand to build up to and prepare for a full, socially distanced return in the autumn.
  • Enable wedding receptions; sit-down meals for no more than 30 people, subject to COVID-19 Secure guidelines. Over time, we will assess whether gatherings of this type for other purposes can be made possible and when larger wedding receptions can take place.
  • In September, schools, nurseries and colleges will open for all children and young people on a full-time basis.
  • All businesses and venues which are listed to reopen on 25 July or 1 August must remain closed until those dates.

    People are advised that they may now use public transport but are encouraged to consider alternative means of transport where possible.

    More information is available here.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

The scheme is now closed for the first grant. The scheme allows you to claim a second and final taxable grant. You can make a claim for the second grant if you are eligible, even if you did not make a claim for the first grant. Find out more here.

A number of updates have been made to the scheme guidance:

  • New guidance has been published if you have been overpaid, made a claim in error and were not eligible for the grant or would like to make a voluntary repayment.
  • Guidance on how HMRC works out trading profits and non-trading income has been updated to include that losses are not included in your non-trading calculation.
  • Guidance on how different circumstances affect the scheme has been updated to include what supporting evidence you may be asked for if having a new child affected the trading profits you reported for the tax year 2018 to 2019.

Working safely during coronavirus

  • New guidance on organising outdoor sport and physical activity events has been added.
  • Guidance for providers of out-of-school and holiday activities for children has been updated.

Providing apprenticeships during the coronavirus outbreak

Guidance has been updated to confirm that from 13 July 2020 providers can welcome back 19+ apprentices into educational settings, that the flexibility to suspend level 2 functional skills for level 2 apprentices has been extended, and to provide more information on support for redundant apprentices.

UK Transition

The UK has left the EU, and the transition period comes to an end on 31 December 2020. Business need to act now to get ready for new rules that will come into force from 1 January 2021. To receive updates on the latest information for businesses, subscribe for free to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s sister Transition Bulletin by updating your bulletin preference here.

The UK Government has launched a major new Transition public information campaign called “The UK’s new start: let’s get going” to give everyone the facts that they will need to be ready for 1 January 2021. A straightforward checker tool at gov.uk/transition will quickly identify the specific steps any business or individual needs to take to be ready.  

The government has also announced:

  • Controls will be placed on the movement of goods between Great Britain and the EU, with new border controls being introduced in three stages up until 1 July 2021. Details can be found in the Border Operating Model.
  • Further details on the new points-based immigration system from 1 January 2021.

1) Face coverings mandatory in shops and supermarkets in England 

The government has announced that face coverings will be mandatory in shops and supermarkets from 24 July 2020.

Under the new rules, people who do not wear a face covering will face a fine of up to £100, in line with the sanction on public transport and just as with public transport, children under 11 and those with certain disabilities will be exempt.

The liability for wearing a face covering lies with the individual.

Should an individual without an exemption refuse to wear a face covering, a shop can refuse them entry and can call the police. The police have formal enforcement powers and can issue a fine. This is in line with how shops would normally manage their customers and enforcement is of course a last resort.

You can read the Health Secretary’s full statement here – https://bit.ly/FaceCoveringsUpdate – and details for how to make a face covering can be found here – https://bit.ly/FaceCoveringCV19.

2) Disposing of business waste (including PPE and face coverings)

New guidance on how to dispose of your personal or business waste, including face coverings and personal protective equipment (PPE), during the coronavirus pandemic has been published here: https://bit.ly/CV19Waste

Key details include:

  • Provide extra bins for your staff and customers to throw away their waste face coverings and PPE used for social distancing, and any other additional waste, such as takeaway packaging and disposable tableware;
  • Make sure that staff and customers do not put face coverings and PPE in a recycling bin as they cannot be recycled through conventional recycling facilities;
  • Make sure bins are emptied often so they do not overflow and create litter;
  • You can put used disposable face coverings and PPE in an ‘offensive waste’ collection (yellow bags with a black stripe), if you have one; and
  • Ask your waste contractor if there is anything else you need to do.

3) Eat Out to Help Out registration

Restaurants and other establishments serving food for on-premises consumption can now register for the Eat Out to Help Out scheme. 

You can register if your establishment:

  • Sells food for immediate consumption on the premises;
  • Provides its own dining area or shares a dining area with another establishment for eat-in meals; and
  • Was registered as a food business with the relevant local authority on or before 7 July.

For further details and to register your business please visit: https://bit.ly/EOHORegistration. Registration will close on 31 August.

Register your establishment for the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme

Restaurants and other establishments serving food for on-premises consumption can now register for the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme. You can register if your establishment:

  • sells food for immediate consumption on the premises
  • provides its own dining area or shares a dining area with another establishment for eat-in meals
  • was registered as a food business with the relevant local authority on or before 7 July.

Posters, images and other promotional materials for use by establishments who are taking part in the Eat Out To Help Out Scheme are available here.

Mandatory face coverings in shops

The Government has announced that face coverings will be mandatory from 24 July when shopping.  This is to protect those who work in shops and to give people more confidence to shop safely. Those who do not wear a face covering in shops will face a fine of up to £100. Shops can refuse entry to someone not wearing a face covering and can call the police if someone fails to comply. You can make face-coverings at home. The key thing is it should cover the mouth and nose. Further guidance for business will be available on GOV.UK soon.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS): A number of updates have been made to guidance on the CJRS:

  • New guidance has been published on claiming for individuals who are paid through PAYE but not necessarily employees in employment law.
  • Guidance on calculating how much you can claim has been updated with information on claim periods ending on or before 31 August 2020.
  • Information has been added to clarify that employers can continue to claim for employees while they are serving a statutory notice period.
  • Information has been added about the process HMRC is developing to recover overclaimed grant amounts through the tax system.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

The scheme is now closed for the first grant. The scheme allows you to claim a second and final taxable grant. You can make a claim for the second grant if you are eligible, even if you did not make a claim for the first grant. Find out more here.

A number of updates have been made to the scheme guidance:

  • New guidance has been published if you have been overpaid, made a claim in error and were not eligible for the grant or would like to make a voluntary repayment.
  • Guidance on how HMRC works out trading profits and non-trading income has been updated to include that losses are not included in your non-trading calculation.
  • Guidance on how different circumstances affect the scheme has been updated to include what supporting evidence you may be asked for if having a new child affected the trading profits you reported for the tax year 2018 to 2019.

Working safely during coronavirus

  • New guidance on organising outdoor sport and physical activity events has been added.
  • Guidance for providers of out-of-school and holiday activities for children has been updated.

Providing apprenticeships during the coronavirus outbreak

Guidance has been updated to confirm that from 13 July 2020 providers can welcome back 19+ apprentices into educational settings, that the flexibility to suspend level 2 functional skills for level 2 apprentices has been extended, and to provide more information on support for redundant apprentices.

Next phase of reopening 

The government has outlined the measures that will allow outdoor pools to reopen from Saturday 11 July and indoor gyms, swimming pools and sports facilities to reopen from Saturday 25 July, ensuring millions of people can get back into more sport and fitness activities.

Further guidance on grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities reopening can be found here: https://bit.ly/GymsLeisureReopening.

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, also outlined that beauticians, tattooists, spas, tanning salons and other close-contact services can also reopen from Monday 13th July.

Existing guidance on close contact services will be updated here: https://bit.ly/CV19CloseContactGuidance.

Finally, the Culture Secretary highlighted that performing arts can now take place outdoors from Saturday 11 July with a socially distanced audience present. The government will also work with the sector to pilot a number of small indoor performances with a social distanced audience to help inform plans about how best to get indoor venues back up and running.

Further guidance on performing arts reopening can be found here: https://bit.ly/CV19PerformingArts.

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Oliver Dowden gave the latest press briefing on the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Points to note in his speech are as follows:

  1. From the 11th of July, theatres, operas, dance and music shows can start putting on outdoor performances to socially distanced audiences.
  2. From the 13th of July, beauticians, tattooists, spas, tanning salons and other close-contact services can now reopen.
  3. From the 11th of July, team sports may resume, outdoor pools and waterparks may reopen.
  4. From the 25th of July, gyms, indoor pools and leisure centres can reopen.

To read the full statement please click here. 

Key points to note from the Chancellor’s Summer Economic Update.

  • Job Retention Bonus:To help firms keep on furloughed workers, UK Employers will receive a one-off bonus of £1,000 for each furloughed employee who is still employed as of 31 January 2021.
  • Kickstart Scheme: A new £2 billion scheme will also be launched to create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people across the country. Those aged 16-24, claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment, will be eligible. Funding available for each six-month job placement will cover 100% of the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week – and employers will be able to top this wage up.
  • Employment and support schemes:A total of £1.6 billion will be invested in scaling up employment support schemes, training and apprenticeships to help people looking for a job. 
  • Creating jobs: The plan will also create tens of thousands of jobs through bringing forward work on £8.8 billion of new infrastructure, decarbonisation and maintenance projects. In addition, £5.8 billion will be spent on shovel-ready construction projects to get Britain building.
  • Eat Out to Help Out:To encourage people to safely return to eating out at restaurants the Government’s new discount scheme will provide a 50% reduction for sit-down meals in cafes, restaurants and pubs across the UK from Monday to Wednesday every week throughout August 2020.
  • VAT: The rate of VAT applied on most tourism and hospitality-related activities will be cut from 20% to 5%. 
  • Stamp Duty: A temporary increase to the Nil Rate Band of Residential SDLT (Stamp Duty) from £125,000 to £500,000 has been introduced until 31 March 2021. 

Full details of the announcement can be found here: https://bit.ly/CXPlanForJobs.

1. Manufacturing Growth Programme extended until 2022

The Manufacturing Growth Programme, which is funded through the European Regional Development Fund, has been extended in England until December 2022. Under the extension, the programme will provide expert advice and grants to 2,800 businesses to help them recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and address barriers to growth. The Manufacturing Growth Programme is a business support initiative available to small and medium-sized manufacturers in England.

Read more about the extension here.

2. Staff can be put back on furlough during local lockdowns

Retailers forced to shut their doors under the local lockdowns will be able to re-furlough their staff if they have used the scheme before, Downing Street has said. To read more click here.

£1.57 billion support package for cultural and heritage organisations

Britain’s globally renowned arts, culture and heritage industries will receive a world-leading £1.57 billion rescue package to help weather the impact of coronavirus, the government announced yesterday.

The money, which represents the biggest ever one-off investment in UK culture, will provide a lifeline to vital cultural and heritage organisations across the country hit hard by the pandemic. It will help them stay afloat while their doors are closed. Funding to restart paused projects will also help support employment, including freelancers working in these sectors.

Further details of the announcement can be found here: https://bit.ly/CultureSupportPackage.

Businesses in certain sectors should collect details and maintain records of staff, customers and visitors on their premises to support NHS Test and Trace. There is a higher risk of transmitting COVID-19 in premises where customers and visitors spend a longer time in one place and potentially come into close contact with other people outside of their household. To manage this risk, establishments in the following sectors, whether indoor or outdoor venues or mobile settings, should collect details and maintain records of staff, customers and visitors:

  • hospitality, including pubs, bars, restaurants and cafés;
  • tourism and leisure, including hotels, museums, cinemas, zoos and theme parks;
  • close contact services, including hairdressers, barbershops and tailors;
  • facilities provided by local authorities, including town halls and civic centres for events, community centres, libraries and children’s centres;
  • places of worship, including use for events and other community activities.

More information and guidance on the information to collect; how records should be maintained; and when information should be shared with NHS Test and Trace, is available here.

1. Coventry City Council has opened up a second round of discretionary grant funding for eligible businesses. Click here to learn more.

2. The University of Warwick Science Park’s Business Ready Programme is hosting a series of workshops related to supporting businesses with their Covid-19 recovery. Please refer to the list below.

Handling Redundancies following Furlough with Q & As Webinar

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/handling-redundancies-following-furlough-with-q-as-webinar-tickets-111951084708

Negotiating for Success Webinar – Part 1

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/negotiating-for-success-webinar-part-1-tickets-111955088684

Handling Change within your Business Webinar – Part 1

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/handling-change-within-your-business-webinar-part-1-tickets-111959251134

Introduction to Coaching Webinar

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/introduction-to-coaching-webinar-tickets-111960097666

Negotiating for Success Webinar – Part 2

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/negotiating-for-success-webinar-part-2-tickets-111962420614

Government unveils £200 million package to help innovative businesses bounce back.

The Sustainable Innovation Fund will help companies recovering from the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) keep their cutting-edge projects and ideas alive.

Funding totalling almost £200 million could go towards developing new technologies focused on making homes and offices more energy efficient to cut bills, creating ground-breaking medical technologies to treat infections and diseases, or reducing the carbon footprint of public transport in our towns and cities.

Click here to learn more.

Follow the link below for a sharable Regulatory Toolkit, with checklists, which are available for any reopening businesses. https://www.heartofswgrowthhub.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/BBFA-Covid-19-Toolkit-v3-080620-Accessible.pdf 

1) Prime Minister’s economy speech in Dudley (30th June)

The Prime Minister announced today that the government will bring forward £5bn of capital investment projects, supporting jobs and the economic recovery, including:

  • £1.5bn this year for hospital maintenance, eradicating mental health dormitories, enabling hospital building, and improving A&E capacity. This will improve patient care, make sure NHS hospitals can deliver world-leading services and reduce the risk of coronavirus infections.
  • £100m this year for 29 projects in our road network to get Britain moving, from bridge repairs in Sandwell to boosting the quality of the A15 in the Humber region. Plus £10m for development work to unblock the Manchester rail bottleneck, which will begin this year.
  • Over £1bn to fund the first 50 projects of a new, ten-year school rebuilding programme, starting from 2020-21. These projects will be confirmed in the Autumn, and construction on the first sites will begin from September 2021.
  • £560m and £200m for repairs and upgrades to schools and FE colleges respectively this year.
  • £142m for digital upgrades and maintenance to around 100 courtsthis year, £83m for maintenance of prisons and youth offender facilities, and £60m for temporary prison places, creating thousands of new jobs.
  • £900m for a range of ‘shovel ready’ local growth projects in England over the course of this year and next, as well as £96m to accelerate investment in town centres and high streets through the Towns Fund this year. This will provide all 101 towns selected for town deals with £500k-£1m to spend on projects such as improvements to parks, high streets, and transport.

Please find the full speech here: https://bit.ly/PMBuildSpeech

2) Coronavirus in Leicester 

On Monday 29 June the government announced that Leicester and its surrounding area will be asked to continue with the current national restrictions for a further two weeks from 4 July. Non-essential shops that reopened on 15 June will be asked to close from 30 June. Bars, restaurants and hairdressers will not open on 4 July. Schools will close from Thursday 2 July except to vulnerable children and children of key workers. They will not reopen until next term.

Further advice from Leicester City Council will be updated here: https://bit.ly/CV19Leicester

3) Working safely guidance tool 

To help employers reopen their businesses safely, we have updated the working safely tool on gov.uk to reflect new easements from 4th July, in England only. 

The guidance highlighted will help you carry out a risk assessment and make sensible adjustments to the site and workforce. Employees can also use this guidance to check what their workplace needs to do to keep people safe.

This guidance is only for businesses that are allowed to reopen in England and can be found here: https://bit.ly/WorkingSafelyTool.

1)Government outlines support for pubs, cafes and restaurants

More pubs, restaurants and cafes will be able to serve customers outdoors in plans announced by the government.

  • The government will simplify and reduce the costs of the licensing process for outdoor seating and stalls, making it easier for people to safely drink and dine outside. 
  • Proposed planning freedoms will mean that outdoor markets, pop-up car-boot sales or summer fairs will not need a planning application.
  • Pubs and restaurants will be able to use car parks and terraces as dining and drinking areas, using their existing seating licenses.
  • Temporary changes to licensing laws will allow many more licensed premises, such as pubs and restaurants, to sell alcohol for consumption off the premises. Customers will be able to buy their drinks from a pub and consume them elsewhere, making social distancing easier.

These measures will give an immediate and much needed boost to many businesses, whilst supporting them to successfully reopen over the summer. Find more here.

2) Pay Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grants back if you have over-claimed

Find out how to pay all or some of your grant back if you’ve overclaimed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. You can:

  • correct it in your next claim
  • make a payment to HMRC (only if you’re not making another claim)
  • You’ll need your 14 or 15 digit payment reference number that begins with X

Find out more here. 

3)New Updates and Guidance

New

Driving lessons, theory tests and driving tests to restart in England

Driving lessons and theory tests will restart on Saturday 4 July 2020 in England, and car driving tests will restart from Wednesday 22 July 2020. Find out more here.

Applying for a moratorium under the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020

How to apply for breathing space to consider a rescue plan for your company, under measures to support companies and other types of business in financial difficulty. The directors must file for or apply to court for a moratorium. It will give the company 20 business days to consider rescue options. Find out more here.

Working safely in heritage locations guidance

This guidance is relevant to those who operate or work in heritage attractions. Find out more here.

Updated

Vehicles guidance update

The vehicles guidance has been updated to include details on amending the 2m social distancing rule and details on support bubbles. Find out more here.

Following on from the Prime Minister’s announcement this week that lockdown measures would be eased from Saturday 4th July; I wanted to share that all workplace guidance has been updated.

Updated working safely guidance can be found here: https://bit.ly/sectorsocialdist.

In addition, I would like to draw your attention to the government’s updated Coronavirus outbreak FAQs, which outline what you can and can’t do until – and after – the 4th of July.

Full details can be found here: https://bit.ly/FAQsCV19.

In this hot weather, key health behaviours need to be followed by individuals to keep the country safe. The Prime Minister has shared a tweet to remind people of this, which I would appreciate you sharing where possible: https://bit.ly/BeachTweet.

1)Easing of lockdown restrictions in England – reopening of further businesses

From Saturday 4 July 2020, all businesses and venues in England can reopen, except for a small number of ‘Close proximity’ venues such as nightclubs, soft-play areas, indoor gyms, swimming pools, water parks, bowling alleys and spas, which will need to remain closed for now. The UK Government is continuing to work with these sectors to establish taskforces to help them to become COVID Secure and reopen as soon as possible.

Pubs, restaurants and hairdressers and accommodation sites will be able to reopen, providing they adhere to COVID Secure guidelines. Some leisure facilities and tourist attractions may also reopen, if they can do so safely – this includes outdoor gyms and playgrounds, cinemas, museums, galleries, theme parks and arcades.

COVID Secure guides cover a range of different types of work:

  • Find the new hotel and guest accommodation guidance here.
  • Find the new close contact services (hairdressing, barber shops, beauty, nail bars, make up, tattooing, spray tanning, spas, sports and massage therapy, dress fitters, tailors, fashion designers) guidance here.
  • Find the new visitor economy (hotels, guest accommodation, indoor and outdoor attractions, business events and consumer shows) guidance here.  

Find the updated restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services guidance here. 

2)Change to the two-metre social distancing rule

From 4 July 2020, newly updated guidance recommends that you keep two metres away from people as a precaution or one metre when you can mitigate the risk by taking other precautions. Find the updated guidance and further details on mitigating risks here.

3)New Updates and Guidance

New:

Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill Webinars

The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill will reform the insolvency and corporate governance framework in light of the COVID emergency. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has planned two webinars to explain different aspects of this new legislation. 

  • To find out how provisions on AGMs and filing extensions will affect companies, please join us for our Corporate Governance session at 10.30am on 30th June. You can register here.
  • To find out how the new rules on moratoriums, restructuring and winding-up petitions will affect companies and their associated parties, register to join our Insolvency session at 10.30am on 7th July. You can register here

New plans to get Britain building in coronavirus recovery

New measures to help the construction industry boost building and return to work safely have been announced.  Planning permission deadlines will be extended, planning appeals will be sped up and builders will be allowed more flexible working hours following agreement with their local council. You can find more information here.

The Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport have contributed to guidance on partner websites

Updated:

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: step by step guide for employers

This guide has been updated with more information about flexible furlough and overpayments

4)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, including information and feedback on the safer workplace guidance, 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. 

From Saturday 4th July, the Prime Minister has announced that:

1) Pubs, restaurants and hairdressers will be able to reopen, providing they adhere to COVID Secure guidelines – updated guidance for all workplace settings can be found here: https://bit.ly/sectorsocialdist

2) Two households will be able to meet up in any setting with social distancing measures – updated guidance on social distancing can be found here: https://bit.ly/SDUpdated

3) People can now enjoy staycations in England with the reopening of accommodation sites – guidance on opening up the visitor economy can also be found here: https://bit.ly/sectorsocialdist

4) In order to begin restoring the arts and cultural sector, some leisure facilities and tourist attractions may also reopen, if they can do so safely – this includes outdoor gyms and playgrounds, cinemas, museums, galleries, theme parks and arcades, as well as libraries, social clubs, places of worship and community centres – guidance on opening up the visitor economy can also be found here: https://bit.ly/sectorsocialdist

Following a review, the Prime Minister has also set out that where it is not possible to stay two metres apart, guidance will allow people to keep a social distance of ‘one metre plus’. This means staying one metre apart, plus mitigations which reduce the risk of transmission. 

You can find the full press release here: https://bit.ly/PMPressNotice

1)UK Government provides further halt to business evictions and more support for high street firms

A new code provides support to shops and local firms planning their future recovery with their landlord.

  • The UK government has extended measures to prevent struggling companies from eviction over the summer.
  • A new code of practice has been developed with leaders from the retail, hospitality and property sectors to provide clarity for businesses when discussing rental payments and to encourage best practice so that all parties are supported.
  • The Coronavirus Act will extend the time period for suspension of the forfeiture of evictions from June 30 to September 30, meaning no business will be forced out of their premises if they a miss a payment in the next three months.
  • Secondary legislation to prevent landlords using Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery unless they are owed 189 days of unpaid rent. The time period for which this measure is in force will be extended from June 30 to September 30.

An amendment to the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill has been tabled which will extend the temporary ban on the use of statutory demands and winding-up petitions where a company cannot pay its bills due to coronavirus until 30 September. Find out more here.

2)Public Procurement Review Service allows suppliers to anonymously raise concerns they have about public sector buying and prompt payment

Public Procurement Review Service (PPRS) allows suppliers to anonymously raise concerns they have about public sector buying and prompt payment and it’s free to use. It is one of a range of measures designed to make Government easier to work with, levelling the playing field for those who want to supply to Government. The work of PPRS can lead to live procurements being adjusted, outstanding payments made for work completed, with recommendations being made to Contracting Authorities leading to improvements in the way government sources goods and services in the future. 

  • There has been over 1,800 referrals since 2011;
  • PPRS helped suppliers reclaim over £7.9 million from over 350 late payment cases reported to the service and had a 100% success rate of releasing payments on undisputed invoices.

Find more information here.

3)New Updates and Guidance

New

Coronavirus (COVID-19): information for farmers, landowners and rural businesses

The dairy response fund is now open to eligible farmers in England to apply for a single payment from the fund.

Download a template if you’re claiming for 100 or more employees through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Complete a template with the details of the employees you’re claiming for and upload this template when you claim (for claims on or after 1 July 2020). Find the template here.

Updates

Coronavirus: MOTs for lorries, buses and trailers

You can book a lorry, bus or trailer annual test (MOT) from 4 July 2020 – the deadline to get the test done depends on when the MOT was originally due. The update includes that lorry, bus or trailer annual tests (MOTs) will restart from 4 July 2020 but vehicles in June, July and August will be issued 3-month exemptions.  This applies in Wales, England and Scotland.  Find out more here.

Find out which employees you can put on furlough and claim for through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Updated to include information about exceptions for military reservists. Find out more here.

4)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, including information and feedback on the safer workplace guidance, 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. 

 

1) UK alert level moves to Level 3

The Joint Biosecurity Centre has recommended that the COVID-19 alert level should move from Level 4 (A COVID-19 epidemic is in general circulation; transmission is high or rising exponentially) to Level 3 (A COVID-19 epidemic is in general circulation).

 

The Chief Medical Officers for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have reviewed the evidence and agree with this recommendation to move to Level 3 across the UK.

 

Please see the full news story here: https://bit.ly/AlertLevel

 

2) Working safely tool

To help employers reopen their businesses safely, we have launched a new tool to identify the most relevant guidance for your business. The guidance highlighted will help you carry out a risk assessment and make sensible adjustments to the site and workforce.


Employees can also use this guidance to check what their workplace needs to do to keep people safe.

This guidance is only for businesses that are allowed to reopen in England and can be found here: https://bit.ly/WorkingSafelyTool.

 

Please do consider sharing the following tweet from BEIS to amplify this message: https://bit.ly/WSTTweet.

 

3) Next phase of Coronavirus NHS app

The government has announced the next phase of development in building an app that supports the end-to-end NHS Test and Trace service. 


Following rigorous field testing and a trial on the Isle of Wight, we have identified challenges with both our app and the Google/Apple framework. This is a problem that many countries around the world, like Singapore, are facing and in many cases only discovering them after whole population roll-out.

As a result of our work, we will now be taking forward a solution that brings together the work on our app and the Google/Apple solution. 

 

Please see the full news story here: https://bit.ly/CV19AppUpdate.

1) Business Secretary Alok Sharma chairs a series of economic recovery round-tables

These roundtables bring together businesses, business representative organisations, regulators and leading academics. Discussions focused on the measures necessary to support economic recovery and ensure we have the right opportunities in place for growth across the country over the next 18 months and beyond. The five themes are:

  • The future of industry: How to accelerate business innovation and leverage private sector investment in research and development.

  • Green recovery: How to capture economic growth opportunities from the shift to net zero carbon emissions.

  • Backing new businesses: How to make the UK the best place in the world to start and scale a business.

  • Increasing opportunity: How to level up economic performance across the UK, including through skills and apprenticeships.

  • The UK open for business: How to win and retain more high value investment for the UK.

Details of the participants and the questions covered is available here.

2)Reminder: Continued support for SMEs: Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

The UK Government’s Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme continues to provide financial support to small and medium-sized employers.  

If you’re an employer with fewer than 250 employees, and if you’ve paid SSP to employees for coronavirus-related sickness absence, you could be eligible for support. You can also speak to your tax agent about making claims on your behalf. 

The repayment will cover up to two weeks of the applicable rate of SSP. For more information on eligibility and how to make a claim please find more information here.

3)New Updates and Guidance

New

Coronavirus (COVID-19): letter to the retail sector

The Minister for Small Business, Consumers & Labour Markets, Paul Scully MP, has written to those working in the retail sector. The letter thanks all those who are working in retail as shops across England reopen their doors this week.

Reservists returning to civilian work eligible for government support schemes

Military reservists will be able to access the government’s self-employment scheme and those returning to work in the coming months will be eligible for the job retention scheme. Find out more here.

Updates

COVID-19: how to work safely in care homes

Guidance for those working in care homes has been updated – providing information on how to work safely during this period of sustained transmission of COVID-19. Find the updated document here.

1) Updated working safely guidance 

Guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic has been updated to reflect industry feedback, guidance on Test & Trace, guidance on safer travel and to provide guidance on managing security risks.

The full guidance can be found here: https://bit.ly/CV19WorkingSafely.

The Cabinet Office has shared the following video to show how retailers are keeping customers and staff safe. We would appreciate you retweeting on your own channels where possible: https://bit.ly/How2GuideTweet.

2) Recovery Roundtables update

Business Secretary Alok Sharma chaired a series of economic recovery roundtables over the last week (10-13 June), bringing together businesses, business representative organisations, regulators and leading academics. Discussions focused on the measures necessary to support economic recovery and ensure we have the right opportunities in place for growth across the country over the next 18 months and beyond.

The organisations that participated in the roundtables, alongside the questions that participants were asked to address can be found here: https://bit.ly/RRTPressRelease.

If you, your business or organisation would like to provide relevant insight or analysis on any of the topics covered by the Recovery Roundtables, a list of questions is available – please email Economic.Recovery@beis.gov.uk by Wednesday 17 June.

3) #OpenForBusiness campaign

As flagged in our last update, The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is encouraging business owners and shop workers to take photos in front of their ‘open’ signs this week and post these on their social media channels as part of the #OpenForBusiness Campaign.

To support the campaign, please do the following:

  • Take a photo of yourself in front of your reopening business, preferably in
  • front of an ‘Open’ sign
  • Post the picture on your social media channels
  • Use #openforbusiness
  • Tag the Department for Business: Instagram: @beisgovuk / Twitter: @beisgovuk / Facebook: @industrialstrategygovuk

BEIS has shared the following tweet to to promote the campaign, which we would appreciate you retweeting on your own channels where possible: https://bit.ly/BEISO4BTweet

BEIS is also looking for short self-shot videos of ‘a day in the life’ of staff in reopening businesses, so they can show the extra measures businesses are taking to keep employees and customers safe. If you think you, or a staff member would be interested in working with BEIS on a video like this, please get in touch with nicky.henderson@beis.gov.uk.

As ever, please do share these trackable links through your network and if you have any questions, please email our dedicated business enquiries mailbox (covid19-partnerships@cabinetoffice.gov.uk).

Click here to read the UK Government’s latest COVID-19 statement

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Update

As the Chancellor announced previously, from 1 July, employers can bring back to work employees that have previously been furloughed for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant for their normal hours not worked. When claiming the grant for furloughed hours employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week.

Further guidance on flexible furloughing and how employers should calculate claims has been published and can be found here: https://bit.ly/2zdheFn

#OpenForBusiness Campaign

On Monday 15 June, many retailers across the country will be reopening, and the Government is keen to help welcome back shoppers and celebrate the hard work businesses and retail workers are putting in to ensure their workplaces are COVID-19 Secure.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is encouraging business owners and shop workers to take photos in front of their ‘open’ sign next week and post these on their social media channels as part of the #OpenForBusiness Campaign.

To support the campaign, please do the following:

  • Take a photo of yourself in front of your reopening business, preferably in
  • front of an ‘Open’ sign
  • Post the picture on your social media channels
  • Use #openforbusiness
  • Tag the Department for Business: Instagram: @beisgovuk / Twitter: @beisgovuk / Facebook: @industrialstrategygovuk

We are also looking for short self-shot videos of ‘a day in the life’ of staff in reopening businesses, so we can show the extra measures businesses are taking to keep employees and customers safe. If you think you, or a staff member would be interested in working with us on a video like this, please get in touch with nicky.henderson@beis.gov.uk.

Travel guidance for employees

To support businesses with employees returning to work from the Monday 15th June, the Department for Transport has developed resources for employers, which you can find here: https://bit.ly/DfTGuidance

The above sets out some steps employers can take to help provide a safe return to work for employees on the transport network, including encouraging active travel, and travel outside peak hours.

New support for high streets. 

The High Streets Task Force has announced new training, expert advice and online resources for high streets in England today. 

The High Streets Task Force will provide access to cutting-edge tools, training, information and advice for high streets across England as part of the government’s efforts to get shops back in business safely from 15 June.

This support is open to local councils and all organisations involved with high streets and will include free access to online training programmes, webinars, data and intelligence on topics including recovery planning and coordination, public space and place marketing.

Please find further details here: https://bit.ly/NewSupportHighStreets

Please also consider sharing this tweet about the announcement: https://bit.ly/HSTTweet 

Support bubble guidance 

As outlined by the Prime Minister in his statement earlier this week, from Saturday 13th June, single adult households will be able to form a “support bubble” with one other household. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has published guidance setting out how the public can see people that they do not live with while protecting themselves and others from coronavirus. 

The guidance provides advice on making a support bubble with another household and outlines key principles the public should follow when outside their home. It also provides advice on a range of issues when meeting outdoors.

You can find the full guidance here: https://bit.ly/SupportBubble.

Reopening places of worship

Finally, from Saturday 13 June 2020 places of worship will be permitted to open for individual prayer. Please follow the latest guidance available at https://bit.ly/SafeWorship, which includes information on Covid-19 risk assessments that should be carried out prior to reopening.

Non-essential retail confirmed to reopen from Monday 15th June

The Business Secretary confirmed Tuesday evening that shops in England selling non-essential goods will be able to reopen from Monday 15 June, thanks to continuing progress in meeting our 5 tests.

High street retailers and department stores, including book shops, electronics retailers, tailors, auction houses, photography studios, indoor markets, and shops selling clothes, shoes and toys, will be allowed to open their doors again provided they follow the COVID-19 secure guidelines set out by the government in May.

Employers should also display a notice visibly in their shop windows or outside their store to show their employees, customers and other visitors that they have followed this guidance. The downloadable sign can be found here: https://bit.ly/CV19Sign

Full details of workplace guidance can be found here: https://bit.ly/CV19WorkingSafely.

Recovery Roundtables

Business Secretary, Alok Sharma, is creating 5 new business-focused groups to unleash Britain’s growth potential and create jobs, as part of the government’s plans to help the economy bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic.

Focused on 5 key themes, each ‘recovery roundtable’ will explore how business can work with government to deliver economic growth and jobs:

  • The future of industry: How to accelerate business innovation and leverage private sector investment in research and development
  • Green recovery: How to capture economic growth opportunities from the shift to net zero carbon emissions
  • Backing new businesses:How to make the UK the best place in the world to start and scale a business
  • Increasing opportunity:How to level up economic performance across the UK, including through skills and apprenticeships
  • The UK open for business:How to win and retain more high value investment for the UK

Please see here for further information: https://bit.ly/RecoveryRoundtables

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Timeline

Please find below a reminder of the key changes and deadlines you need to be aware of for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme:

  • From 1 July, employers can bring back to work employees that have previously been furloughed for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim CJRS grant for their normal hours not worked. When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week.
  • The scheme will close to new entrants from 30 June. From this point onwards, employers will only be able to furlough employees that they have furloughed for a full 3 week period prior to 30 June.
  • This means that the final date by which an employer can furlough an employee for the first time will be 10 June, in order for the current 3 week furlough period to be completed by 30 June. Employers will have until 31 July to make any claims in respect of the period to 30 June.

Find out more information here: https://bit.ly/2zdheFn. Further guidance on flexible furloughing and how employers should calculate claims will be published on 12 June.

Trade Credit Insurance backed by £10 billion guarantee

Trade Credit Insurance, which provides essential cover to hundreds of thousands of business-to-business transactions, will receive up to £10 billion of government guarantees.

  • The Trade Credit Reinsurance scheme, which has been agreed following extensive discussions with the insurance sector, will see the vast majority of Trade Credit Insurance coverage maintained across the UK.
  • The guarantees will support supply chains and help businesses during the coronavirus pandemic to trade with confidence, safe in the knowledge that they will be protected if a customer defaults or delays on payment.
  • The scheme is available on a temporary basis for nine months, backdated to 1 April 2020, and available insurers operating in the UK market.

Please see further information here.