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Coronavirus (COVID-19): Business briefing – 21 May 2020

Government launches new £40 million Clean Growth Fund to supercharge green start-ups
The government is launching a new effort to support green start-up companies, joint-funding a £40 million venture capital fund to supercharge the development of next generation clean, low-carbon technologies.

The Clean Growth Fund (click here) will contribute towards the UK’s plans to reach Net Zero by 2050 and will be accessible to UK-based companies driving green technology across the power, transport, waste, and building energy efficiency sectors. Potential examples of projects the fund could support include:

  • energy storage and smart grid systems to bolster resilience in the power system
  • renewable heating and ventilation technologies across homes and commercial buildings
  • bio-fuels and bio-energy systems

With £20 million of government investment matched pound for pound by CCLA, one of the UK’s largest charity fund managers, the fund could reach £100 million by Autumn 2021 through private sector fundraising.

Business Secretary, Alok Sharma, said: “The need for innovative and ambitious ideas across green industries has never been greater. I am pleased that with the help of this fund, promising clean growth start-ups will be able to step up to accelerate the UK’s recovery, while supporting our path to Net Zero by 2050.

“This pioneering new fund will enable innovative low-carbon solutions to be scaled up at speed, helping to drive a green and resilient economic recovery.”

Government brings forward bill to temporarily change insolvency law
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has introduced the new Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill (click here) which it hopes will help to relieve the burden on businesses during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The bill will:

  • introduce temporary easements on filing requirements and Annual General Meetings (AGMs)
  • introduce new corporate restructuring tools to the insolvency regime to give companies the time they need to maximise their chance of survival
  • temporarily suspend parts of insolvency law to support directors during this difficult time

The bill was introduced on Wednesday May 20th and will now make its way through Parliament. Many of the measures in the Bill will need secondary legislation before they come into force, and this will be introduced in due course.

Find out how to make your workplace COVID-secure; government business webinars
Click here
 to join a free webinar, hosted by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to find out more about how to make your workplace COVID-secure. The webinars cover a range of different types of workplace settings which are allowed to be open in England.  You can also find the full written guidance for a range of different types of work and practical actions for businesses to take based on five main steps here.

Additional updates and guidance

Update on CMA COVID-19 Taskforce
The Competition and Markets Authority has published a second update from its COVID-19 Taskforce, which monitors and responds to competition and consumer problems arising from the pandemic. Click here to view.

Information for Help to Buy: Equity Loan customers during Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Help to Buy: Equity Loan customers guidance has been updated – click here to view.

Information for parents and carers about wider opening of educational facilities
Updated information for parents and carers about the wider opening of nurseries, schools and colleges, transport, attendance, free school meals and remote education is available here.

Government to give VAT from donated PPE to healthcare charities
VAT collected on donated personal protective equipment will be given to charities supporting the NHS and care workers, the government announced today. Click here to view.

Reminder: Transition – the future relationship between the UK and EU
The UK is in a transition period until 31 December 2020 while the UK Government and the EU negotiate additional arrangements.  New information for businesses has recently been published on areas including the UK Global Tariff (click here) from 1 January 2021 and Northern Ireland Protocol (click here).

Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can’t do
Frequently asked questions on what you can and can’t do during the coronavirus outbreak have been updated – click here.

SELEP Coronavirus Business Recovery survey

Take part in our Coronavirus Business Recovery Survey to let us know how you are preparing your business for the next phase in socially distanced and COVID-secure enterprise. Click here to take the survey.