Useful Information & Guides

COVID-19 support package for business announced

In response to the Coronavirus outbreak, the Growth Platform have compiled a suite of resources and support for businesses and employers in Liverpool City Region who may be affected.  https://growthplatform.org/business-covid-19-advice

Advice and guidance from the Government for businesses and for the self-employed.

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Coronavirus (COVID-19): apprenticeship programme response

This document sets out guidance for apprentices, employers, training providers and assessment organisations in response to the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19).

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-apprenticeship-programme-response

Help and support if your business is affected by coronavirus (COVID-19)

Watch a video and register for the free webinar to learn more about the support available to help you deal with the economic impacts of coronavirus.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/help-and-support-if-your-business-is-affected-by-coronavirus-covid-19

Advice and Guidance for small businesses and Federation of Small Businesses and the self-employed

https://www.fsb.org.uk/resources-page/advice-to-small-businesses-and-fsb-members-about-the-novel-coronavirus-covid-19.html

Support for Businesses from Outside of Government

The Government is working closely with Business Representative Organisations and Trade Associations to support the national response to coronavirus, including ensuring messages from Government are heard by all businesses and that business voices are heard by Government. Below is a list of organisations you can speak with to get advice. Many of these websites also include sector specific guidance and Q&A. This list doesn’t cover all trade associations and business representatives – but you may find it a helpful starting point. Many of the trade associations and Business Representative Organisations listed below are happy to hear from non-members and members alike, so do get in touch to find out more.

https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/support-for-businesses-from-outside-of-government

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/help-and-support-if-your-business-is-affected-by-coronavirus-covid-19

Pubs and Restaurants allowed to trade as takeaways

The Ministry of Housing and Communities & Local Government has announced that planning rules will be relaxed to allow pubs and restaurants to operate as hot food takeaways during the coronavirus outbreak.  The relaxed rules will be introduced as soon as possible and will last for up to 12 months.  The relaxation will apply for hot foot and drinks only.  Serving or supplying alcoholic drinks will continue to be subject to existing licensing laws.

Read more about the planning rules at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-to-grant-permission-for-pubs-and-restaurants-to-operate-as-takeaways-as-part-of-coronavirus-response

IR35 Reforms put back until 2021

HM Treasury has announced that the extension of IR35 rules to the private sector will be delayed until 6th April 2021.  As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Treasury has confirmed that the rules have been deferred to help protect hundreds of thousands of contractors’ livelihoods.

Read more about the delay at:

https://www.cityam.com/ir35-reforms-to-be-delayed-for-a-year-due-to-coronavirus

Free childcare to continue during coronavirus closures

The Chancellor has confirmed that the Government will continue to pay local authorities the free childcare entitlements for two, three and four-year-olds.  The Department for Education has also stated that it expects local authorities to pass the entitlement funding onto childcare providers if they are advised to close by Public Health England or if children are unable to attend due to coronavirus.

Childcare providers exempt from business rates

The Chancellor has announced that childcare providers are eligible for the 100% Business Rates discount that has been introduced to help support sectors that have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak.  The discount will apply for a year from 1st April 2020.

Read ore about the guidance at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/schools-colleges-and-early-years-settings-to-close

ACS launches new home delivery guidance

ACS has launched new guidance for retailers in the convenience sector who are starting to provide home delivery for customers who are self-isolating.  The guidance covers how to take an order, payment, managing data and age-restricted products.

Read more about the guidance at:
https://www.acs.org.uk/news/acs-launches-new-guidance-retailers-home-delivery

Enforcement of drivers’ hours rules relaxed

The Department of Transport has announced a temporary relaxation of the EU drivers’ hours rules in England, Scotland and Wales.  The relaxation applies to drivers of vehicles involved in the delivery of food, personal care, household paper and cleaning products and over the counter pharmaceuticals.  The relaxation will apply until 16th April 2020 and does not include drivers making deliveries directly to consumers.

Read more about the relaxation at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/temporary-relaxation-of-the-enforcement-of-eu-drivers-hours-rules

Coronavirus Helpline for the Self-Employed 0800 0159 559

Call for More Help for the Self-Employed: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-51984275

Some additional information:

Some advice from James Brayshaw, CEO of AdaptiveComms Group Ltd, who has co-hosted business continuity workshops with InvestSefton in the past:

“AdaptiveComms has been providing business continuity, telecoms and IT solutions to businesses for over 17 years.  Many businesses are faced with making decisions they never dreamt would be necessary only a fortnight ago, and SME owners have suddenly found themselves desperately trying to get everyone home, logged on, and maintain operations.  Here are six easy things you can do to keep things going.  We can assist you with these services, and we are happy to provide free advice, and do all we can to assist fellow Sefton businesses at this difficult time.  Best wishes, James Brayshaw” (CEO, AdaptiveComms Group Ltd  01704 540547  email: service@adaptivecomms.co.uk)

  1. If you have a social media presence get on to it.  Just say hello – let customers know you’re still there and you’re going to be there in a few weeks.
  2. Install Dropbox, its free and can be used to easily put documents in, which can be shared with colleagues and customers.
  3. Activate call waiting and voicemail on your mobile – make sure everyone who needs to speak to you can
  4. Install Microsoft Teams (free with office 365) this is a fantastic piece of software which will let you video conference with team members and share presentations, enabling virtual working.
  5. If you have basic 365 or don’t have it at all consider upgrading / subscribing, part of the package includes SharePoint, an online document server which can be set up to allow different people access to different documents according to their permission levels.
  6. If you have a phone system in the office consider changing to a hosted phone system (its often completely cost neutral with no upfront charges and can still be done even in lock down). The hosted system means you can plug your phone in at work or to your home network (wired or on WiFi) and its exactly the same, meaning a seamless service for your customers rather than relying on call diversions which are at best clunky.  www.adaptivecomms.co.uk/landline/working-from-home/

Gov.UK Business continuity planning

Guidance to help businesses plan to deal with the impact of a major incident or disaster.  Expecting the Unexpected: Business Continuity in an Uncertain World explains the importance of creating simple but effective plans, helping business to build resilience against any disaster.  This guide is the result of a unique partnership between the business community, police and business continuity experts.  Our aim is to provide you with a checklist and useful ideas on matching key business continuity management processes to your company.  This Joint publication is from the National Counter Terrorism Security Office, London First and the Business Continuity Institute.   

Cashflow Planning

Cashflow planning has an important role to play in managing a business.  Now more than ever, businesses will be assessing the impact of Covid-19 on their finances, and planning for when the situation improves.  The following is a selection of cashflow planning resources from some of the main banks

  •  Barclays

www.barclays.co.uk/business-banking/business-insight/cashflow-forecasting/

  • HSBC

www.business.hsbc.uk/en-gb/gb/article/cashflow-forecast

  • Lloyds

www.lloydsbank.com/business/improving-cash-flow.html

  • Royal Bank of Scotland

https://www.business.rbs.co.uk/business/running-a-business/run/cashflow.html

  • Santander

www.santander.co.uk/business/business-support

www.santander.co.uk/assets/s3fs-public/documents/disaster_recovery_plan.pdf

Business Insurance

Business insurance cover for Covid-19 disruption and related issues varies, depending on the cover taken out, and your insurer’s terms.  Businesses are advised to check with their insurers what their cover includes.  Your insurance may also include access to a legal helpline, for specic issues.  The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) also provides independent advice about business insurance, during the Coronavirus pandemic. www.fca.org.uk/news/press-releases/fca-sets-out-expectations-general-insurance-firms-during-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic

ACAS 

Acas provides free, impartial advice on workplace rights, and help to resolve disputes.  Their site has free template letters for employers and employees, including Covid-19, working from home, employment contracts, redundancy, and health and wellbeing. www.acas.org.uk/advice

Technology to help your business work from home:

  • Zoom  has created some video communications resources to help you work from home
  • Google is providing free access to the enterprise version of Hangouts Meet to all G-Suite and G-Suite for Education users.
  • Cisco is offering the free version of its Webex service with no time restrictions. In addition, it will allow up to 100 meeting participants and has added toll-free dial-in features with a 90-day license for businesses that are not already customers.
  • Facebook’s Business Hub is now available for all businesses to access. Previously a resource for Facebook employees and health experts, it will now be opened up to the wider world.

Guidance on closing certain businesses ands venues

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close-guidance