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Coronavirus (COVID-19): Business briefing – 7 May 2020

‘Stay home this weekend’ – Raab dampens expectations of a quick lockdown exit
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab dampened expectation of a quick release from lockdown at today’s Downing Street press conference.

On a day when the Bank of England said the UK economy will shrink 14% this year, its deepest recession on record, he said the Prime Minister would announce on Sunday a ‘roadmap’ with phases of lockdown release;  each phase would only take place when certain milestones were reached.

And he warned the government would tighten restrictions again if there were indications the R level (the rate of infection) began to rise.

“The virus is not yet beaten. It remains deadly and infectious,” he said. “But because the UK has held firm, we are in a position to start thinking about the next phase.

“This is a dangerous moment so we do need to proceed with caution – subject to strict conditions and strict monitoring.”

He said the Prime Minister’s lockdown exit announcement on Sunday would set out how the country could live and work “while maintaining social distancing and other measures necessary to prevent a second peak.”

The Foreign Secretary said there would be detailed guidance for the public and businesses so “the whole country can have a better understanding of what lies ahead and give people confidence that we will both protect life and preserve our way of life.”

He said some measures could be brought in more quickly than others, but confirmed there is no immediate change to the rules and asked the public to stick to the current ‘stay at home’ guidance over the long Bank Holiday weekend.

Latest information and updates

Guidance published for Small-Scale Manufacturers of COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment
The Office for Product Safety and Standards has published guidance designed to help any small businesses, organisations or other individuals who are responding to the call for a national effort to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) aimed at protecting the health of the wearer during the COVID-19 outbreak. Click here to view.

A guide to current financial and welfare support for the fishing industry
Useful contacts for the fishing industry are available here. FAQs from Defra are also available here to provide financial support to the fishing industry.

Changes to exemptions from the Veterinary Medicines Regulations (VMR) for small pet animals
Changes to exemptions from the Veterinary Medicines Regulations (VMR) for small pet animals – click here to view.

Pension Credit claimants now able to apply online
Pensioners are now able to apply for Pension Credit online in a move to assist those who are self-isolating or shielding during the coronavirus pandemic. Click here for more information.

Ask a question at a coronavirus press conference
Find out how you can ask the government a question at the daily coronavirus press conference here.

Testing for all workers

Eligibility for COVID-19 testing has been expanded to all workers who have to leave their home in order to work. People can self-refer, or be referred by their employer. Details can be found here.

HMRC Webinars: online support for businesses

Government departments are hosting a series of webinars to help businesses understand the support available:

  • for topics that cover supporting and retaining staff and the self-employed, register to attend future webinars here or watch recorded sessions here
  • for international trade, register here
  • for small businesses, register here
  • for changes to reporting, regulation and tax, register here

Additional webinars to support your business
Government departments are hosting a series of free webinars to help businesses understand the support available including:

  • Multiple dates – Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – How to make a claim. Click here to register. 
  • Multiple dates – Coronavirus COVID-19 Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme. Click here to register. 

Keep up to date with all the latest available webinars here.

Help shine a light on the stories of key workers

The government is asking businesses to tell them about key workers they know who 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 and researchers, servicing, postal workers, oil, gas, electricity, water, sewage and chemical workers.

Resources to support your business

Government Coronavirus Business Support Hub
You can go here to find out all the latest information about what funding and support is available for your business, managing your business during coronavirus and business closures. There is also a new ‘support finder’ tool (available here) to help businesses easily determine what financial support is available to them during the coronavirus pandemic through a quick and simple online questionnaire. You can find out more about the tool here.

Government Coronavirus Business Support Whatsapp
The government has also launched a Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp which is now updated with business support advice. Text ‘hi’ to 07860064422 via Whatsapp and there are business support measures highlighted under option 5 with the relevant links to gov.uk pages. Click here for more information.

Government Business support helpline
Contact the government’s business support helpline for free advice

Phone: 0300 456 3565
Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm

HMRC Helpline
HMRC have online help set up to help businesses and self-employed people concerned about not being able to pay their tax due to coronavirus.

The best way to get help from HMRC on any topic is to contact them online – click here. Alternatively, you can call them on 0800 0159 559

Webinars
Government departments are hosting a series of webinars to help businesses understand the support available:

  • for topics that cover supporting and retaining staff and the self-employed, register to attend future webinars here or watch recorded sessions here
  • for international trade, register here

Coronavirus Business Support blog
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have created the Coronavirus Business Support Blog to help business get the support they need to help with the impact of coronavirus. Click here to find out more.

Find a Job Service
If your business needs more workers as a result of COVID-19, such as those in food logistics, preparation and retail, post vacancies on Find a Job – click here.

Coronavirus support from Business Representative Organisations and Trade Associations
Business Representative Organisations and Trade Associations are providing coronavirus related  support for specific sectors. Click here to access the full list.