This regularly updated COVID-19 resource page aims to provide official support, guidance and links to ensure our strong business community has the latest information and support they need.
The page will act as a central point for businesses to minimise the impact on their own communities and support the UK Government’s strategy. Please find below useful links to a range of resources and organisations offering guidance with managing the impacts of COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
To speak to anyone here at the Chamber please contact us on 01753 870 500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Workplace testing extended – free asymptomatic testing has been extended for a month, until the end of July. The new final date to order workplace tests is 19th July.
Eviction protection extended for businesses most in need – Businesses that have had to remain closed during the pandemic and are unable to pay rent on their commercial property will continue to be protected from eviction. Legislation will be introduced to ringfence any arrears and enable tenants and landlords to work together to agree a solution for payment. The existing measures to protect commercial tenants from eviction will be extended until March 2022.
Additional Restrictions Grant available – Businesses who have already accessed a Restart Grant but remain severely impacted by the extension of restrictions may be eligible for a further Additional Restrictions Grant payment. The grants are to support businesses to relieve cash flow pressures. Use this business support finder tool to see what support is available for you and your business.
Support for businesses and self-employed people
Job Support Scheme
The Government have produced a Job Support Scheme factsheet which explains what is covered by the grant, which employers and employees are eligible, and how to claim.
Local Alert Levels
The Prime Minister has set out how the Govt will further simplify and standardise local rules by introducing a three tired system of local COVID Alert Levels in England. Full details can be found here and there is also a postcode checker which shows which alert level applies in each area.
Test & Track App launch
The NHS Covid-19 app has been launched, to help control C19 transmission alongside national and local contact tracing. Businesses are now required by law to display the official NHS QR code posters, so people can check-inn at difference premises within the App.
The Government have introduced a new Kickstart Scheme, which is a £2 billion fund to create hundreds of thousands of high quality 6 month work placements, aimed at those aged 16 to 24 who are on Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long term unemployment. Funding available for each jon will coer 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus the associated employer NI contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contrinutions. To help smaller businesses, employers offering fewer than 30 placements will be asked to make a bid through an intermediary, who will then bid for 30 or more placements as a combined bid from several businesses. This will make the process easier and less labour intensive to apply for these smaller companies, who only want to hire one or two Kickstarters. Find out more here
BRITISH CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE
CHAMBER LEGAL ADVICE LINE
THAMES VALLEY TRADE DOCUMENTATION
BCC’s resource page which is regularly updated with useful content for businesses including FAQs on recent UK Government support measures
|As part of Membership, Chamber Members have access to a 24/7 Legal Advice Line||As part our strategy to provide continuity and speed in relation to trade documents during this ever-changing environment, we would ask wherever possible applications are submitted via the Express option|
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PUBLIC HEALTH ENGLAND
INTERNATIONAL TRADE ADVICE
|Keep updated with all the latest information from the UK government in relation to the COVID-19 outbreak||The Department of International Trade and UK Export Finance have added a page to provide support for businesses or exporters effected by COVID-19||Weekly TVCC ‘Keep Business Moving’ bulletins
Encouraging members to share news on-line through the Members Zone Weekly Members News bulletinSharing member news on Twitter & LinkedIn
Thursday 15th April - Working safely through COVID-19
Working Safely Guidance has been updated to include changes to national restrictions.
Tuesday 12th April - Recovery Loan Scheme open until 31 Dec 2021
The Recovery Loan Scheme is to help businesses of any size access loans and other kinds of finance so they can recover after the pandemic and transition period.
Friday 9th April - Twice weekly rapid testing now available
Everyone in England now has access to free, regular, rapid COVID-19 testing.
Tuesday 6th April - Testing for HGV or van drivers
New COVID-19 testing rules for hauliers in England have come into force.
Monday 29th March - SME Brexit Support Fund announced
Claim up to £2000 towards training & advisory services. Find out more
Wednesday 24th March - New raft of measures to prepare our high streets and seaside resorts for summer
See the measures announced today to support a safe and successful reopening of our high streets and seaside resorts ahead the Summer here
Friday 19th March - Workplace testing
The 50 employee limit for workplace testing has been lifted - all businesses need to register by 31st March
Monday 15th March - £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund opens for applications
The fund will help smaller businesses with changes to trade rules with the EU.
Wednesday 10th March - Budget 2021 Chamber wins
Working together with the BCC, the Chamber Network secured a number of important achievements for business communities across the UK, following the launch of the 2021 Budget.
Wednesday 3rd March - Budget 2021
BCC and TVCC respond to The Budget
Wednesday 3rd March - Budget 2021
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP, presents his Budget to Parliament last week, announcing a series of measures to help the UK economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here is a summary of some of the main measures outlined by the Chancellor:
Support for hospitality, leisure, retail and personal care businesses
Support for the self-employed
Apprenticeships and traineeships
Following the Budget announcement, Business Secretary, Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP, outlined in his statement that the Department for Business will have a key role to play in delivering the Budget's commitments.
Tuesday 23rd February - Chamber Network respond to Government Spring roadmap
The British Chambers of Commerce Network have produced a two page document following yesterday's COVID-19 unlocking announcement, setting out in more depth the four steps, tests and some top level thoughts.
Tuesday 23rd February - HMRC announces VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme
Over half a million businesses who deferred VAT payments last year can now join the new online VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme to pay it in smaller monthly instalments.
Monday 22nd February - COVID-19 response, Spring 2021
The Government has published the ‘COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021’, setting out the roadmap out of the current lockdown for England. Find out more here
Wednesday 10th February - Covid-19 Community Testing
The Department for Health and Social Care have announced that over 230 authorities in England are now offering rapid Covid-19 testing. There is also a postcode checker to help people who need to leave home for work find out if testing is carried out near their place of work. Find out more here
Tuesday 2nd February - Film and TV Production Restart Scheme announced
Almost 20,000 jobs in film and television have already been protected by a government-backed scheme to get screen productions back up and running again. Find out more here
Friday 29th January - Changes to the Kickstart Scheme
To make it even simpler for employers of all sizes, the Government has changed the scheme so you no longer need a minimum of 30 job placements to apply directly for a grant. Find out more here
Friday 14th January - BCC call on Chancellor to provide urgent help to businesses on their knees
The BCC is calling on the Govt to provide more financial support to businesses across the UK facing a bleak future from the debilitating squeeze of Coronavirus restrictions. Read the full article here
Thursday 14th January - Support for businesses impacted by COVID-19
Coronavirus support is available to employers and the self-employed, including sole traders and limited company directors. You may be eligible for loans, tax relief and cash grants, whether your business is open or closed. Find out more here
Tuesday 5th January - £4.6 billion in new lockdown grants
The Chancellor has announced one-off top up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses, worth up to £9,000 per property to help businesses through to the Spring. Find out more here
Monday 4th January - National Lockdown announced
Coronavirus cases are rising rapidly across the country. See what's changed here
Wednesday 30th December - Further restrictions announced.
Further Tier 4 restrictions have been announced for areas including Swindon. See what's changed here
Saturday 19th December - Tier 4 restrictions announced for South East areas.
New Tier 4 restrictions have been announced for Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. See what's changed here
Thursday 17th December - Financial Support packages
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme have both been extended to 30th April 2021. Check what financial support is available for your business by using the Governments Support Finder Tool.
Monday 13th December - Tier 3 restrictions.
Guidance on Tier 3 restrictions has been updated. See what's changed here
Wednesday 9th December - Business Evictions Ban
Business owners affected by the pandemic will be protected from eviction until the end of March 2021. Find out more here
Thursday 26th November – New tier system from 2nd Dec
Local restriction tiers will be in place from Wed 2nd Dec following the end of national restrictions. A full list of local restriction tiers by area are available here
Monday 23rd November – Winter Plan
The Prime Minister has outlined the Government’s Winter COVID-19 plan, which can be found here
Thursday 12th November – Support grants for eligible businesses
Businesses that were open as usual, but then required to close between 5th Nov and 2nd Dec 2020 due to the national restrictions imposed by Govt may be eligible for LRSG (Closed) Addendum. Click here to check your eligibility or for more information.
Thursday 12th November – Additional Restrictions Grant
The Additional Restrictions Grant supports businesses that are not covered by other grant schemes or where additional funding is needed.
Thursday 5th November – Further extension to furlough Scheme announced
The Chancellor has announced today that the furlough scheme will be extended until the end of March. Employees will receive 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked, up to £2,500 a month.
Tuesday 3rd November – Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Extension
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended, for a month, with employees receiving 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked. Read more here
Details of financial support for jobs and businesses can be found here
Monday 2nd November – National Restrictions from Nov 5th
The Government have announced new national restrictions in England and from Nov 5th, everyone must stay home and only leave for a limited set of reasons. Non-essential shops, leisure and entertainment venues will be closed.
Start Up Loans
The British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans (SUL) programme has announced it has issued its 75,000th loan, marking more than £623 million invested in small businesses since its launch in 2012. Start Up Loans saw a significant rise in loans issued since the start of the pandemic in the UK, with July 2020 a record month for drawdowns since 2014. The SUL programme has lent money and provided mentoring support to aspiring business owners in every region of the United Kingdom. More information available here
Customer Logging Toolkit
If you are a business or organisation which has been advised to collect customer, staff and visitor details, a customer logging toolkit is now available
DfT have provided information that aims to help passengers plan for their journey, including messages around active travel and car sharing. Information can be found here
Friday 31st July - The PM's statement on plans to reopen higher risk settings from 1st August can be found here
Thursday 30th July - NHS Track and Trace launch a new campaign to encourage everyone to get a free test as soon as they get symptoms.
Wednesday 29th July - COVID-19 early outbreak management information has been created
Friday 24th July - Full details on the updated face covering guidance can be found here
Tuesday 21st July - Govt launches consultation on the UK Internal Market
Wednesday 15th July - New guidance on how to dispose of business waste, including PPE and face coverings
Monday 13th July - The Government has published a guide to how the border with the EU will work after the transition period. There is also further information for traders on importing and exporting goods between Great Britain and the EU after 1st Jan 2021.
Monday 13th July - Find out how to register your establishment for the Eat Out to Help Out scheme
Wednesday 8th July - The Chancellor delivers his Summer Economic Update in Parliament.
Wednesday 8th July - Govt announces Kickstart Scheme, to create more jobs for young people.
Tuesday 7th July - Travel Corridor Exemption list - 14 day isolation lifted for lower risk countries
Tuesday 7th July - Support NHS Track and Trace scheme by keeping records - see more here
Monday 6th July - £1.57 billion support announced for cultural and heritage organisations
Monday 6th July - BCC re-launch COVID-19 Business Tracker survey - have your say here
Thursday 2nd July - The Dept for Transport produce new guidance for aviation operators which can be seen here
Tuesday 30th June – Prime Ministers economy speech available here
Friday 26th June – Guidance has been released to help businesses in England reopen safely here
Wednesday 24th June – From Saturday 4th July, the Prime Minister has announce that –
Pubs, restaurants and hairdressers will be able to reopen, providing they adhere to COVID Secure guidelines – guidance can be found here
Two households will be able to meet up in any setting with social distancing measures – updated guidance on social distancing can be found here
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
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
Tuesday 23rd June – Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – Claiming for 100 or more employees – For claims on or after 1 July 2020, employers will need to download and complete a template when claiming for 100 or more employees through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Monday 15th June – Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Update. As the Chancellor announced previously, from 1st July, employers can bring back to work employees that have previously been furloughed for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant for their normal hours not worked. Find out more here
Thursday 11th June – As the UK moves to the next phase in the fight against Coronavirus, find out more about Restart Guidance here
Tuesday 9th June – There are new rules in place for entering the UK during the Coronavirus outbreak. Find out more here
Monday 8th June – The Business Secretary announces the creation of 5 new business-focused groups to unleash Britain’s growth potential and create jobs. Full details can be seen here
Friday 5th June – Key changes and deadlines you need to be aware of for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme can be seen here
Friday 5th June – Government to provide guarantees of up to £10 billion to Trade Credit Insurance schemes for business-to-business transactions. Full details can be seen here
Thursday 4th June – As per the Transport Secretary’s announcement, wearing face coverings on public transport will be mandatory in England from Monday 15th June. You can see the full statement here
Wednesday 3rd June – The Government release details on how to self-isolate when you travel to the UK. Full details can be seen here
Tuesday 26th May – The Prime Minister sets out a timeline for retail to open from 1st June and further guidance has been published for how to operate safely to protect staff and customers. Full details can be seen here
Monday 25th May – BCC comments on Prime Ministers announcement on reopening of the retail sector – see the full release here
Thursday 21st May – The BCC respond to 14-day quarantine for air passengers – see the full release here
Wednesday 20th May – The results from the eighth week of the BCC COVID-19 Business Tracker are now live
Monday 18th May – The Future Fund is launching on Wednesday 20th May. This can be viewed here
Wednesday 13th May – Launch of Government guarantee to support provision of Trade Credit Insurance. This can be viewed here
Tuesday 12th May – The British Chambers of Commerce have produced a summary document following a review of the Governments strategy. This can be viewed here
Monday 11th May – The Government’s roadmap for how and when the UK will adjust its response to the COVID-19 crisis can be seen here
Monday 11th May – The Government, in consultation with industry, has produced guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible. This can be seen here
Wednesday 6th May – The results from the sixth tranche of the BCC COVID-19 Business Tracker are now live
Monday 4th May – Bounce Back Loans are now open. Find out more
Sunday 3rd May – British Chambers of Commerce President, Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith, has written an open letter to the Prime Minister setting out principles for a phased restart of the UK economy. Read the full letter and policy document here.
Friday 1st May – Coronavirus mandate fraud. In response to the increased threat from mandate fraud during the Coronavirus outbreak, the UK Government Counter Fraud Function has issued a mandate fraud guidance document. The guidance covers recent case studies, useful contacts and simple checks organisations can take to significantly reduce the likelihood of falling victim to it.
Wednesday 29th April – Coronavirus testing is available for millions more people in England from today after the government loosened rules on who can apply. Find out more
Wednesday 29th April – The results from the fifth tranche of the BCC COVID-19 Business Tracker are now live
Monday 27th April –The Chancellor announced a new loan scheme. A simple, quick, easy solution for those in need of smaller loans. Businesses can apply for new Bounce Back Loans up to a maximum of £50,000, or 25% of turnover, with the Government paying the interest for the first 12 months. Find out more here
Wednesday 21st April – The British Business Bank (BBB) has produced revised and updated Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) FAQs for SMEs with more complex questions that SMEs have been asking Lenders including a Q&A on exporting.
Wednesday 21st April – The results from the fourth tranche of the BCC COVID-19 Business Tracker are now live
Tuesday 21st April – Government have released a Corona Business Support Finder, to help businesses ascertain what support is available to them. Find out more here
Friday 17th April – Good news as the Chancellor has listened and responded to the real-world concerns of businesses facing challenges as a result of Coronavirus. Changes to the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme should fill an important gap in Government support for medium-sized and larger firms. Updated guidance available here
Thursday 16th April – Following lobbying from the British Chambers of Commerce and the Chamber Network, the UK Government has extended the eligibility for the Coronavirus Job Retention (CJR) Scheme to new starters on the PAYE system up to 19 March. Updated guidance available here
Wednesday 8th April – Job Retention Scheme date announced at Treasury Select Committee. During an evidence session with the Treasury Select Committee, HMRC’s Chief Executive, Jim Harra, announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be open for claim submissions in the week commencing 20 April, with payments starting to arrive by 30 April. More information is expected next week for employers on how to prepare applications. The BCC have updated a FAQ document to reflect this.
Tuesday 7th April – The results from the second tranche of the BCC COVID-19 Business Tracker are now live
Monday 6th April – Latest update from our International Trade Department
Friday 3rd April – Welcome news this morning that the Government has taken further action to support firms affected by COVID-19 by bolstering business interruption loans for small businesses and announcing a new scheme for larger companies. Find out more here
Thursday 2nd April – The chancellor is preparing to unveil an overhaul of his emergency aid scheme for small businesses (SMEs) amid warnings about a deluge of insolvencies as companies struggle to access funds from a banking system creaking under the COVID-19 crisis. Find out more here
Wednesday 1st April – The BCC have launched the second tranche of the COVID-19 Business Impacts Tracker and we continue to seek views from our members on the challenges they are currently facing, so now more than ever, we need your views. Have your say here
Saturday 28th March – New measures announced today will give vital support to frontline NHS staff battling COVID-19 and support businesses under pressure as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Find out more here
Friday 27th March – Great news for SMEs this afternoon. A result of a national push by Chambers of Commerce to get HMG pledges of money to the front line for businesss, the Big Four banks have agreed that personal guarantees will not be taken as security for lending below £250k. Find out more here
Thursday 26th March – Government gives support to millions of self-employed individuals as Chancellor Rishi Sunak announces world-leading scheme to support the UK’s self-employed affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Find out more here
Thursday 26th March – New HMRC Tax helpline launched to support businesses concerned about paying their tax due to coronavirus (COVID-19). Find out more here
Wednesday 25th March – COVID-19 Business Impacts Tracker. As the Coronavirus continues to impact the day-to-day operations of businesses across the UK, local Chambers of Commerce stand ready to support you. Given the rapid pace of developments, we now need to understand the immediate short term impacts on your business. We are in constant contact with the UK Government and Bank of England as business support packages have been developed. In this 2-3 minute poll, please tell us the immediate business conditions you are facing and whether your business is aware of or has used the recently announced support packages from Government. Your input is essential to our work on behalf of your business. We intend to seek your views over the next few weeks to track progress. As a business leader, your views have never been more important. The survey can be accessed here
Tuesday 24th March – Following the latest announcement from Government in regards to the strict new measures now in place to tackle the spread of coronavirus, including a ban on public gatherings of more than two people, here is the latest from the British Chambers of Commerce
Monday 23rd March – The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is now available through participating lenders. CBILS is a new scheme, announced by The Chancellor at Budget 2020, that can provide facilities of up to £5m for smaller businesses across the UK who are experiencing lost or deferred revenues, leading to disruptions to their cashflow. CBILS supports a wide range of business finance products, including term loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance. The scheme provides the lender with a government-backed guarantee potentially enabling a ‘no’ credit decision from a lender to become a ‘yes’. The borrower always remains 100% liable for the debt. See here for all the information.
Friday 20th March, 7pm – Tonight the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced a range of measures to further protect the economy, protect people’s jobs and support businesses through the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). The Prime Minister has made a firm commitment to “stand by businesses” through the coming weeks and that by the nations collective will, the country has the ability to tackle the coronavirus now. Mr Johnson announced that starting from tonight all cafes, pubs, restaurants, theatres, cinemas, nightclubs, gyms and leisure centres are to close as soon as possible and remain closed indefinitely. Some premises may be able to continue operating for take-away services. For further information on the new business support measures that have been announced, click here