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24/06/2020

Yesterday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Tuesday 23 June) set out further changes to lockdown measures in England to enable people to see more of their friends and family, help businesses get back on their feet and get people back in their jobs.

From Saturday 4 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

The Prime Minister has shared the following tweet to outline which businesses can reopen from 4 July. We would appreciate you retweeting on your own channels where possible: https://bit.ly/4thJulyTweet

From Monday 1st June

1) Nurseries and other early years settings and reception, year one and year six in primary schools will reopen in a safe way;

2) Outdoor retail and car showrooms, where social distancing is generally easier, will reopen; and

3) Up to six people will be able to meet outside (in parks, gardens and other private outdoor space) - provided those from different households continue strictly to observe social distancing rules by staying two metres apart.

Please note that those who have been asked to shield themselves should continue to do so.

Further social distancing guidance will follow in the coming days - please visit the Coronavirus FAQs page for updates: https://bit.ly/CV19FAQs

From Monday 15th June
1) Secondary schools will begin to provide some face-to-face contact time for years 10 and 12; and

2) The government intends to reopen other non-essential retail - but only provided the five tests are still being met and shops have been made Covid secure.

27/05/2020

As per the Health and Social Care Secretary's statement this afternoon, the government has announced that the new NHS Test and Trace service will be launched from tomorrow (Thursday 28th May) across England.

DHSC Tweet here:

From tomorrow, anyone who tests positive for coronavirus will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will need to share information about their recent interactions. This could include household members, people with whom they have been in direct contact, or within 2 metres for more than 15 minutes.

People identified as having been in close contact with someone who has a positive test must stay at home for 14 days, even if they do not have symptoms, to stop unknowingly spreading the virus.

To support this announcement the Department for Health & Social Care has developed the following package of materials, which are attached to this email - gov.uk links will be shared later this week:

  • Press notice with full details of the announcement
  • Infographic outlining the NHS Test & Trace process
  • Guidance for employers and employees; and
  • Q&A (see page 15 for employer specific questions)

Finally, I'd like to draw your attention to the fact that the government’s Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme is now live. If you’re an employer with fewer than 250 employees, you can now claim for Coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). 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 visit: here

Tweet here:

26/05/2020

Yesterday evening the Prime Minister set out a timeline for retail to reopen from 1st June and further guidance has been published for how to operate safely to protect staff and customers.

Full details of the announcement can be found here:

Guidance for reopening can be found here:

Key details to note:

  • Outdoor markets and car showrooms will be able to reopen from 1 June, as soon as they are able to meet the COVID-19 secure guidelines to protect shoppers and workers. As with garden centres, the risk of transmission of the virus is lower in these outdoor and more open spaces. Car showrooms often have significant outdoor space and it is generally easier to apply social distancing.
  • All other non-essential retail including shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books, and electronics, plus tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets, will be expected to be able to reopen from 15 June if the Government’s five tests are met and they follow the COVID-19 secure guidelines, giving them three weeks to prepare.
  • Businesses will only be able to open from these dates once they have completed a risk assessment, in consultation with trade union representatives or workers, and are confident they are managing the risks. They must have taken the necessary steps to become COVID-19 secure in line with the current Health and Safety legislation.

Free webinar, hosted by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy:

Thursday 28 May, 11am: Shops and branches – Guidance for people who run shops, branches, stores or similar environments.

Full details of upcoming webinars can be found here:

Tweet from BEIS sharing guidance for shops and branches reopening: here

22/05/2020

New health measures at the UK border have been announced today (22nd May) to guard against a second wave of coronavirus infections.
They include 14 days self-isolation for anyone entering the UK, bar a short list of exemptions. The arrangements are due to come into effect on 8 June.
Please visit here for further details


21/05/2020

1) BEIS working safely webinars: here
Following on from the government's recent publication of workplace guidance, produced in consultation with industry, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will be hosting a series of free webinars to help businesses make their workplace COVID-secure.
The webinars cover a range of types of workplace settings that are allowed to be open. Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles. You may need to use more than one of the guides/webinars as you think through what you need to do to keep people safe.
Webinars start from Wednesday 27th May and will run until Tuesday 2nd June - for more details and to sign up, please use the link above.

2) Future Fund launch: here
The government’s £500 million Future Fund opens for applications today with innovative and high-growth British businesses able to secure investment to help them through the Coronavirus outbreak.
UK-based companies can now apply for a convertible loan of between £125,000 and £5 million, to support continued growth and innovation in sectors as diverse as technology, life sciences and the creative industries.
To amplify this message, please tweet highlighting this opportunity: here


3) Fast Start Competition: here
In addition to the Future Fund, Ministers have allocated £40 million through the Fast Start Competition to drive forward new technological advances, and to support innovative start-ups, including a virtual-reality surgical training simulator and an online farmers’ market platform.
This will give companies a vital boost, fast-tracking the development of innovations borne out of the coronavirus crisis.

4) Pick for Britain: here
As you may have heard in yesterday's press briefing, the Environment Secretary launched a new ‘Pick for Britain’ website to address the fact that we are likely to only have about a third of our normal labour force for this year's harvest.
As such, we will need to rely on British workers to lend a hand to help bring that harvest home. Opportunities are available across the UK for those seeking a second job, particularly those that are furloughed.
To amplify this message, please tweet highlighting this opportunity: here


19/05/2020

1) Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme: here

The government has extended the 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.

Please share on twitter here

2) Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme: here

The recently announced Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will go live from 26th May, when a new online service will be launched for small and medium-sized employers - with fewer than 250 employees - to recover Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments they have made to their employees.

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.

Full guidance can be found here:

3) Case studies:

To support businesses to restart their operations, we have been sharing videos of how different companies have effectively applied social distancing measures in their workplaces, via @Cabinetofficeuk and @HMGnorth

The link above is an example of Portakabin explaining how they are ensuring safe working in their factory, yards and customer sites. Any support you can provide to circulate these case studies through your own social media channels would be greatly appreciated.

4) Webinars

UK Government departments are hosting a series of webinars to keep businesses updated with the latest advice and guidance:

19/05/2020

A new online service will be launched on 26 May for small and medium-sized employers to recover Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments they have made to their employees, the government announced today (19 May 2020).

The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme was announced at Budget as part of a package of support measures for businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. This scheme will allow small and medium sized employers, with fewer than 250 employees, to apply to HMRC to recover the costs of paying coronavirus-related SSP.

Please see links to Tweet, news release (also attached) and gov.uk guidance:

Check if you can claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid to employees due to coronavirus (COVID-19): here

Twitter: here

News release: here

18/05/2020

1) Additional Covid-19 symptoms: here

The UK Chief Medical Officers have today released a statement saying that individuals will need to self-isolate immediately if they develop a new continuous cough or fever or, as of today, anosmia. Anosmia is the loss of or a change in the normal sense of smell. It can also affect the sense of taste as the two are closely linked.

Twitter here

2) Expansion of testing to everyone across the UK:

From today, everyone in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland who is showing coronavirus symptoms is eligible to book a swab test to find out if they have the virus.

Twitter here

3) Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme: here

The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will repay employers the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid to current or former employees.
The repayment will cover up to 2 weeks starting from the first qualifying day of sickness, if an employee is unable to work because they either:
- Have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms;
- Cannot work because they are self-isolating because someone they live with has symptoms; or
- Are shielding and have a letter from the NHS or a GP telling them to stay at home for at least 12 weeks.

The online service you’ll use to reclaim SSP is not available yet. HMRC will announce when the service is available and the guidance linked above will be updated.

Twitter here

4) Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre: here

The government will invest up to £93 million to accelerate construction of the new Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC) which, when completed, will have capacity to produce enough vaccine doses to serve the entire UK population in as little as six months. The funding will ensure the centre opens in Summer 2021, a full 12 months ahead of schedule.

5) Future Fund update: here

Eligibility details for the Future Fund, which was set up to provide government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors, has been updated.

Please note that applications for the Fund will open on Wednesday 20 May 2020.

14/05/2020

1) Roadmap Taskforces:

Further details of the five new ministerial-led taskforces that have been set up to develop plans for how and when closed sectors can reopen safely, following publication of the UK’s roadmap to rebuild Britain.

2) Trade Credit Insurance:

The government will temporarily guarantee business-to-business transactions currently supported by Trade Credit Insurance, ensuring the majority of insurance coverage will be maintained across the market. This will support supply chains and help businesses to trade with confidence as they can trust that they will be protected if a customer defaults on payment.

3) Holiday entitlement and pay:

An explanation of how holiday entitlement and pay operate during the coronavirus pandemic, where it differs from the standard holiday entitlement and pay guidance. This guidance applies to those that have continued to work as well as those that have been furloughed.

4) Self-Employment Income Support Scheme:

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme went live yesterday so self-employed individuals or members of partnerships whose business has been adversely affected by coronavirus can apply for a grant worth 80% of their average monthly trading profits, up to a maximum of £7,500, paid in a single instalment. You can check eligibility using the link above.

5) Safer Transport Toolkit:

As people are starting to return to work, we have created a Safer Transport toolkit for stakeholders to share to help inform the public on the necessary steps they should be taking to stay safe when they travel using any form of transport.

13/05/2020

From 8am this morning self-employed individuals or members of partnerships whose business has been adversely affected by coronavirus will be able to apply for a Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

We are trying to reach as many self-employed people, in as many communities as possible, with this information

Please see links to social media, gov.uk and YouTube content:

HMRC Tweet:

Facebook:

News story: Applications for Self-Employment Income Support Scheme open early (text also below) here

There is also a step-by-step guide available on YouTube: here

12/05/2020

The Chancellor has announced that the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will remain open until the end of October.

Full details of the announcement can be found here:

Key details to note:

  • Furloughed workers across the UK will continue to receive 80% of their current salary, up to £2,500.
  • From August, furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time with employers being asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff.
  • The employer payments will substitute the contribution HMG is currently making, ensuring that staff continue to receive 80% of their salary, up to £2,500 a month.

Tweet from HM Treasury available here:

Further details on implementation will be made available by the end of the month.

Phased opening of schools, colleges and nurseries:here

- Travelling safely: here

- How to carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment: here

- Cleaning your workplace safely: here

Also, here is a tweet containing a summary of 5 steps to working safely, which you may want to share: here

11/05/2020

In his address to the nation yesterday, the PM outlined a roadmap for reopening society. Full details of the address can be found here

Today, we can share further details of the recovery strategy, which you can find here:
Tweet here:

In addition, please read the following guidance, which we have published today to support the above strategy: here

Please note that further guidance on safe workplaces, reopening schools and travelling safely will all be published later today. Guidance on borders will follow later this week.

All guidance will be uploaded to gov.uk/coronavirus; however we will also circulate links the moment guidance is published.
As ever, please do share these trackable links through your networks, on your websites and through your social media channels.

You may wish to share this tweet, which highlights how to stay alert: here

Please note that the Stay Alert campaign and above guidance relates to England only.


07/05/2020

Civil Society plays a key role across the country, positively impacting the life of many. The sector has been mobilising across the UK providing practical and emotional support to vulnerable groups.

The government has now published guidance on how businesses can offer services, funds, and volunteers to support civil society during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak here:

As always, please amplify the announcement by sharing the above trackable link through your network.

I also wanted to make sure you have seen the below announcement:

There is a £617m discretionary fund for local authorities in England to help businesses impacted by coronavirus. This is to help businesses who have ongoing fixed property-related costs and were previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme. Find out more: here

Tweet you can share about this:here

05/05/2020

Civil Society plays a key role across the country, positively impacting the life of many. The sector has been mobilising across the UK providing practical and emotional support to vulnerable groups.

The government has now published guidance on how businesses can offer services, funds, and volunteers to support civil society during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak here:

There is a £617m discretionary fund for local authorities in England to help businesses impacted by coronavirus. This is to help businesses who have ongoing fixed property-related costs and were previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme. Find out more: here

Tweet and share about this: here

04/05/2020

1. Coronavirus Bounce Back Loans

The Bounce Back Loan scheme is now open for applications. Key details:

  • Businesses can borrow between £2,000 and £50,000.
  • The government will guarantee 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months.
  • Loan terms will be up to 6 years.
  • The government will work with lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan.
  • The scheme will be delivered through a network of accredited lenders

Details on how to apply are here.

Please do share the HMT launch tweet through your network: here

2. Small Business Grants

To support eligible businesses in England to access the small business grants, BEIS have created a toolkit with regional graphics and messaging. A new discretionary fund has also been announced, which will help small businesses with ongoing fixed property related costs.

Please find further details here:
Businesses can check eligibility using the financial support checker tool: here

3. HMRC Tax credits

Tax credits customers will continue to receive payments even if working fewer hours or furloughed due to COVID-19. Please find further details here and circulate amongst your employees: here

4. HMRC Self-employment eligibility tool

This week HMRC will start contacting customers who may be eligible for the new Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. The scheme will allow customers to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their average trading profits up to a maximum of £7,500, equivalent to three months’ profits.

Customers can claim if they’re a self-employed individual, or a member of a business partnership, their business has been adversely impacted by coronavirus.

Customers can check eligibility using the self-employed checker tool:here

Please do share this HMRC tweet through your network: here

Work out 80% of your employees' wages to claim through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Find out how to calculate 80% of your employee’s wages, National Insurance Contributions and pension contributions if you've furloughed staff due to coronavirus (COVID-19) here.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: step by step guide for employers

This guide explains the information that employers need to provide to claim for their employees’ wages.

28/4/2020

Further expansion of access to coronavirus testing to help protect the most vulnerable

Anyone in England with coronavirus symptoms who either has to leave home to go to work or is aged 65 and over will now also be able to get tested.

Please find full guidance here and the testing portal can be accessed here

20/4/2020

INFORMATION NOTE Job Retention Scheme – Launch Day

Monday 20 April is an incredibly important day for all employers who have furloughed their workers. The Job Retention Scheme goes live at 8am on Monday with full digital support.

The Chancellor announced the Job Retention Scheme on 20 March to enable employees to remain on the payroll through being ‘furloughed’. Employers simply need to claim the cash grant from HMRC and, to support this, we’ve put in place an online application service which can handle up to 450,000 applications an hour. Employers should then receive the money to pay their employees within 6 days, enabling them to meet the April payroll.

HMRC emailed two million employers yesterday providing a link to a five-step guide to claiming, as well as warning them to be aware of scams circulating and informing them that they don’t need to call us unless they have a problem. This is to keep the lines free for those who really need us.

Link to gov.uk here

Twitter:here

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