COVID-19 information to support the Industry

Here is some information which aims to support MI businesses through the Coronavirus outbreak.

Last updated on Friday 29th May 

Here are some of the key articles written by the MIA and our trusted partners. You can see all articles in the news section of our website.

For all businesses: 
For retailers:

The Department for International Trade (DIT) has launched a COVID-19 Webinar series to help UK SMEs.

Experts will provide guidance and practical advice to help support your business and respond to the challenges and potential disruption caused by COVID-19. There will also be an opportunity for Q&As where you can put your questions directly to our experts.

You can find all of DIT’s upcoming webinars here.

Our partners at the ISM have published coronavirus advice for music professionals, which includes financial advice, advice for performers and advice for teachers. They have also published some coronavirus advice for business owners: www.ism.org/advice/business-owners-financial-advice-covid-19

Here is some guidance issued by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

This bulletin provides information for employers and businesses on Coronavirus (COVID-19). All guidance, information and announcements can be found at GOV.UK. Organisations should pay particular attention to the guidance for employees, employers and businesses which is being updated regularly with the latest advice.

The Government is supporting businesses and their employees through a package of measures during this period of unprecedented disruption. The Business Support website helps you find the right support, advice and information to help with the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on your business. This website will continue to be updated as information becomes available.

A full range of business support measures have been made available to UK businesses and employees. Find out how to access the support that has been made available, who is eligible, when the schemes open and how to apply here.

Contents

  • Coronavirus business support hub
  • Working safely during COVID-19
  • Additional guidance on social distancing in the workplace
  • Government amends insolvency law to help companies keep trading while they explore options for rescue
  • Local advice and support for Business
  • COVID-19 Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme
  • HMRC COVID-19 webinars
  • Chancellor expands loan scheme for large businesses
  • New 100% government backed loan scheme for small business

Coronavirus business support hub

A new Coronavirus Business Support Hub is now available at gov.uk/business-support

The hub brings together key information for businesses including on funding and support, business closures, your responsibilities as an employer and managing your business during coronavirus.

The hub also includes information for self-employed people and sole traders.

Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)

The UK government, in consultation with industry, has produced ‘COVID-19 secure’ guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible. The new guidance covers 8 workplace settings which are allowed to be open, from outdoor environments and construction sites to factories and takeaways. This sets out practical steps for businesses focused on 5 key points, which should be implemented as soon as it is practical:

  • Work from home, if you can
  • Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, in consultation with workers or trade unions
  • Maintain 2 metres social distancing, wherever possible
  • Where people cannot be 2 metres apart, manage transmission risk
  • Reinforcing cleaning processes

The 8 guides cover a range of different types of work. 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 these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep employees safe.

Here are the ones most relevant to our industry:

Factories, plants and warehouses – Guidance for people who work in or run factories, plants and warehouses

Offices and contact centres – Guidance for people who work in or run offices, contact centres and similar indoor environments

Shops and branches – Guidance for people who work in or run shops, branches, stores or similar environments.

Vehicles – Guidance for people who work in or from vehicles, including couriers, mobile workers, lorry drivers, on-site transit and work vehicles, field forces and similar.

Additional guidance on social distancing in the workplace

To support businesses that remain open during this period in England, the government has published additional guidance to assist employers, businesses and their staff in staying open safely during coronavirus (COVID-19). For specific settings please refer to sector specific guidance. Guidance has been published for:

For advice for business in other nations of the UK please see guidance set by the Northern Ireland Executive, the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government.

These guidelines are not intended to be comprehensive or to represent every business’s situation, but are illustrative examples. Businesses should also look at the advice being published by trade associations and similar groups on how to apply government guidance in their sector. Read the general guidance for employers and businesses on coronavirus.

Government amends insolvency law to help companies keep trading while they explore options for rescue

Under the plans, the UK’s Insolvency Framework will add new restructuring tools that mirror the USA’s Chapter 11 procedure, a well-established model adopted by countries around the world.  This includes:

  • A moratorium for companies giving them breathing space for from creditors enforcing their debts for a period of time whilst they seek a rescue or restructure;
  • Protection of their supplies to enable them to continue trading during the moratorium; and;
  • A new restructuring plan, binding creditors to that plan

The proposals will also include key safeguards for creditors and suppliers to ensure they are paid, while existing laws against fraudulent trading and the threat of director disqualification will continue to act as an effective deterrent against reckless misuse of these new measures.

Wrongful trading provisions

The Government will also temporarily suspend the wrongful trading provisions to give company directors greater confidence to use their best endeavours to continue to trade during this pandemic emergency, without the threat of personal liability, should the company ultimately fall into insolvency.

The proposals will also include key safeguards for creditors and suppliers to ensure they are paid, while existing laws against fraudulent trading and the threat of director disqualification will continue to act as an effective deterrent against reckless misuse of these new measures.

In addition, while laws against fraudulent trading and director misconduct will continue to provide a deterrent against poor practices, wrongful trading provisions in the Insolvency Act will be temporarily suspended specifically to give confidence to directors to continue trading without the threat of personal liability, should the company ultimately fall into insolvency. Find out more here

Local advice and support for Business

Growth hubs are local public/private sector partnerships backed by the Government, led and governed by Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).

The network of 38 Growth Hubs across England provide a free to use, impartial and local single point of contact to all businesses, so that they can access the right advice and support when they need it. The hubs can advise businesses on local and national business support – including schemes put in place to help businesses through the current COVID-19 situation – and help businesses build their resilience. Businesses can find their local Growth Hub here.

COVID-19 Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

At Budget 2020 the Chancellor announced details about a new coronavirus (COVID-19) Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme. This scheme will allow small and medium sized employers, with fewer than 250 employees, to apply to HMRC to recover the costs of paying Statutory Sick Pay to their employees. HMRC has published new online guidance which includes information about who can use the scheme and the records employers must keep.

HMRC is working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers. Details about when the new Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme can be accessed and when employers can make a claim, will be announced as soon as possible. HMRC will continue to update employers and the new GOV.UK guidance when these details are available.

HMRC COVID-19 webinars

HMRC are delivering a programme of webinars on the measures to support employers, people and self-employed individuals through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.

You can watch a video of the recorded webinar on the HMRC YouTube channel Coronavirus (COVID-19): helping employers to support employees. You can also register to attend a free webinar to learn more about the support available to help you deal with the economic impacts of coronavirus by registering here.

Chancellor expands loan scheme for large businesses

The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme has been expanded to cover all viable firms. All firms with a turnover of more than £45 million will now be able to apply for up to £25 million of finance, and up to £50 million for firms with a turnover of more than £250 million.

The scheme, which will launch on Monday, will be available through a series of accredited lenders, which will be listed on the British Business Bank website.

This complements existing support including the Covid Corporate Financing Facility and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme for small and medium sized businesses.

New 100% government backed loan scheme for small business

The new Bounce Back Loans scheme, announced by the Chancellor will allow businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days. Loans will be interest free for the first 12 months, and from Monday 4 May, businesses can apply online through a short and simple form.

The Government, which has been consulting extensively with business representatives about the design of the new scheme, will provide lenders with a 100% guarantee for the loan and pay any fees and interest for the first 12 months. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months.

The loans will be easy to apply for through a short, standardised online application. Loans should reach businesses within days – providing immediate support to those that need it as easily as possible.

The scheme will launch for applications on Monday 4 May. Firms will be able to access these loans through a network of accredited lenders. The government will work with lenders to ensure loans delivered through this scheme are advanced as quickly as possible and agree a low standardised level of interest for the remaining period of the loan.

The new scheme will run alongside the existing Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS).

The Government is also taking additional steps on the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) to ensure that lenders have the confidence they need to process finance applications quickly, including removing the per lender portfolio cap for the government guarantee, and changing the viability tests that so that all banks will need to assess is whether a business was viable pre COVID-19