Industry Topics

COVID-19: Automotive Business Support

SMMT updates the website regularly, but the most up to date information can be found on the government hub:

GOVERNMENT CORONAVIRUS HUB

Get in touch with SMMT if you have any inquiries about COVID-19:

EMAIL SMMT – COVID19

 

  • UK Government Update – 24 September

    Government updates guidance on face covers for staff

    Further to the Government’s announcement that, from Thursday 24 September, staff in retail and hospitality will be required to wear face covers, the Government has updated its guidance on the wearing of face covers. The key element of the updated guidance is that: “it will be compulsory for retail, leisure and hospitality staff to wear a face covering in areas that are open to the public and where they come or are likely to come within close contact of a member of the public”. The full text is detailed below along with the link to the Government’s guidance.

    In line with these new requirements, SMMT has updated the industry developed guidance for safe working in the automotive retail and aftermarket sectors. These updated guidance documents are available here:

    Automotive Retail: https://www.smmt.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/NFDA-SMMT-Industry-Guidance-COVID-19-Protective-Measures-for-Auto-Retail-280920.pdf

    Automotive Aftermarket: https://www.smmt.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/SMMT_GEA_IAAF_IMI_SMTA_Industry-Guidance-COVID-19-Automotive-Aftermarket-Restart-280920.pdf

    Government Guidance on use of face covers:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own#face-coverings-at-work

    Face coverings at work

    The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has provided detailed guidance for specific workplace settings. Employers must make sure that the risk assessment for their business addresses the risks of COVID-19 using BEIS guidance to inform decisions and control measures including close proximity working.

    It is important to note that coronavirus (COVID-19) needs to be managed through a hierarchy or system of control including social distancing, high standards of hand hygiene, increased surface cleaning, fixed teams or partnering, and other measures such as using screens or barriers to separate people from each other.

    These measures remain the best ways of managing risk in the workplace, but there are some circumstances when wearing a face covering may be marginally beneficial and a precautionary measure; this will largely be to protect others and not the wearer. Normal policies relating to occupational workwear and PPE will continue to apply.

    Staff in indoor settings

    Employees should continue to follow guidance from their employer based on a workplace health and safety assessment.

    From 24 September, it will be compulsory for retail, leisure and hospitality staff to wear a face covering in areas that are open to the public and where they come or are likely to come within close contact of a member of the public. This includes shops, supermarkets, bars, pubs, restaurants, cafes, banks, estate agents, post offices and the public areas of hotels and hostels.

    Please check sector specific guidance to see if this applies to you. Businesses are also subject to legal obligations to protect their staff under existing legislation. This includes taking appropriate steps to provide a safe working environment, which may include providing face coverings where appropriate, alongside other mitigation such as Perspex screens to separate workers from the public.

    For other indoor settings, employers should assess the use of face coverings on a case by case basis depending on the workplace environment, other appropriate mitigations they have put in place and whether reasonable exemptions apply.

    For recommendations and requirements in specific settings please check the government’s workplace settings guidance.

    Key points from Chancellor’s ‘Winter Economy Plan’ – 24 September

    Today, the Chancellor of the Exchequer provided an economic update, in which he set out the next stage of the Government’s strategy to protect jobs and businesses impacted by Covid-19. Below are the highlights from the Statement, along with links to his speech, the accompanying news article and the policy paper, which provides a bit more of the detail.

    The Chancellor’s speech in full is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/chancellor-of-the-exchequer-rishi-sunak-on-the-winter-economy-plan

    The news release: ‘Winter Economy Plan’.

    The policy paper supporting the Statement is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/winter-economy-plan/winter-economy-plan

    New Job Support Scheme

    • Following on from the CJRS, which will end in October.
    • From 1 November, for the next six months, the Job Support Scheme (JSS) will protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to COVID-19.
    • Employees will have to work at least a third of normal hours and they will be paid as normal for those hours.
    • The Government and employers will cover pay lost, therefore employees working 33% of their hours will receive at least 77% of their pay.
    • The scheme is open to all employers with a UK bank account and a UK PAYE scheme.
    • All Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) will be eligible.
    • Large businesses will be required to demonstrate that their business has been adversely affected by COVID-19.
    • All employers will be allowed to apply, even if they did not use the furlough scheme and firms can use it alongside the Job Retention Bonus.

    Business loan schemes

    • The application deadline for all coronavirus loan schemes – including the future fund – has been extended to 30 November ensuring even more businesses can benefit from Government-backed support.

    Bounce Back Loan Scheme

    • The Chancellor will introduce ‘Pay as you Grow’ to help with repayment of this loan.
    • This means loans can be extended from six to ten years, almost halving the average monthly repayment.
    • Businesses which are struggling can choose to make interest-only payments.
    • Any business in difficulty can apply to suspend repayments altogether for up to six months.

    Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

    • Lenders have been enabled to offer borrowers more time to make their repayments where needed, meaning loans can be extended from six to ten years.

    Self-employment

    • The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will be extended on similar terms to the JSS.
    • The grant will be limited to self-employed individuals who are currently eligible for the SEISS and are actively continuing to trade but are facing reduced demand due to COVID-19.
    • The scheme will last for 6 months, from November 2020 to April 2021.
    • The extension will be in the form of two taxable grants.
    • The first grant will cover a three-month period from the start of November until the end of January. This initial grant will cover 20%of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £1,875 in total.
    • The second grant will cover a three-month period from the start of February until the end of April. The government will review the level of the second grant and set this in due course.

    Deferred VAT payments

    • Businesses who deferred their VAT payments will no longer have to pay a lump sum at the end of March 2021.
    • They will have the option of splitting it into smaller, interest free payments over the course of 11 months – which will benefit up to half a million businesses.
    • Any of the self-assessed income taxpayers who need extra help, can also now extend their outstanding tax bill over 12 months from January 2021.

    VAT cut

    • The Government has extended the 15% VAT cut (from 20% to 5%) for the tourism and hospitality sectors to the end of March 2021.

    Test and trace

    • £12bn has now been spent on test and trace.

    UK Government Update – 22 September

    Prime Minister issues new measures to tackle second wave

    Yesterday, in a statement to the House of Commons, and in a further address to the public, the Prime Minister set out the following new measures, which are to be introduced to help tackle the increasing rate of Covid-19 transmissions across the UK and England. In addition, the UK’s Covid-19 threat level has been returned to Level 4 – which means transmission is high or rising exponentially.

    The new measures announced by the PM include:

    • Office workers are once again encouraged to work from home – those who cannot undertake their jobs from home will still be able to travel to work. Schools, colleges and universities will remain open.
    • The requirement to wear a face covering has been extended to staff working in hospitality and retail sectors – SMMT is seeking further guidance, but our current assessment is that this will include car showrooms and dealerships, as well as workshops and factors. A face cover must also be worn when travelling in a taxi or private hire car.
    • In retail, leisure, tourism and other sectors, the Government’s Covid-secure guidelines will become legal obligations. Businesses will be fined and could be closed if they breach these rules. There will be increased fines for those not using face coverings as required and for breaking the rule of 6.
    • Plans for trials to have the public return to sporting events and conference centres from 1 October have been paused.

    In addition, on 20 September, the Prime Minister’s Office announced a new package to support and enforce self-isolation (fines between £1,000 – £10,000), plus financial support for those on lower incomes who cannot work from home and have lost income as a result. Further information is available at: https://bit.ly/3ckZ3wR

    Government’s Covid-19 App to launch on 24 September

    The NHS and PHE Covid-19 App will launch on Thursday 24 September. Support information and resources that can be shared by email, hosted on websites or displayed at venues are available at: https://bit.ly/3iRHUxg and https://bit.ly/342pfJh

    The new App delivers the following six key functions:

    1. Trace – Get alerted if you’ve been near other app users who have tested positive for coronavirus.
    2. Alert – Lets you know the level of coronavirus risk in your postcode district.
    3. Check-in – Get alerted if you have recently visited a venue where you may have come into contact with coronavirus.
    4. Symptoms – Check if you have coronavirus symptoms and see if you need to order a free test.
    5. Test – Helps you book a test and get your result.
    6. Isolate – Keep track of your self-isolation countdown and access relevant advice.

     

     

    Weekly COVID-19 Updates

    Updates: July

    UK Government Update – 30 July

    Extension of self-isolation period from 7 to 10 days

    The self-isolation period has been extended to 10 days (from 7) for those in the community who have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or a positive test result. This is currently for England, but the Devolved Administrations could well follow suit and updates from their respective Chief Medical Officers are expected shortly.

    Read the update from the UK Chief Medical Officer: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/statement-from-the-uk-chief-medical-officers-on-extension-of-self-isolation-period-30-july-2020

    New law to ensure furloughed employees receive full redundancy payments

    Furloughed employees who are then made redundant will receive redundancy pay based on their normal wage, under new laws being brought in today (Thursday 30 July).

    Read the press release: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-law-to-ensure-furloughed-employees-receive-full-redundancy-payments

    Employees with more than 2 years’ continuous service who are made redundant are usually entitled to a statutory redundancy payment that is based on length of service, age and pay, up to a statutory maximum.

    This new legislation, which will come into force from tomorrow (Friday 31 July), will ensure that employees who are furloughed receive statutory redundancy pay based on their normal wages, rather than a reduced furlough rate.

    These changes will also apply to Statutory Notice Pay, which is where employees must be given a notice period before their employment ends, varying from at least one week’s notice up to 12 weeks’ notice, depending on how long they have worked for their employer. During this notice period, employees must be paid.

    This legislation will also ensure that notice pay is based on normal wages rather than their wages under the CJRS. Other changes coming into force will ensure basic awards for unfair dismissal cases are based on full pay rather than wages under the CJRS.

    CBILS opened to more small businesses

    HM Treasury has announced that changes to EU state aid rules, mean that businesses classed as undertakings in difficulty which have fewer than 50 employees and a turnover than less than £9m can apply to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

    Read the press release: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/more-businesses-set-to-benefit-from-government-loan-scheme

    £20 million in new grants to support SME recovery

    Small and medium sized businesses will be able to access a new £20 million grant pot, for grants of between £1,000 - £5,000 to help them acquire new technology and other equipment as well as professional, legal, financial or other advice to help them with their recovery from the coronavirus lockdown.

    Read the press release: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/20-million-in-new-grants-to-boost-recovery-of-small-businesses

    UK Government Update – 24 July

    New face cover rules in England come into force

    From today (Friday 24 July), face coverings must be worn in additional enclosed public spaces in England. As well as shops (which includes car showrooms and dealerships) and supermarkets, face coverings must be worn in banks, building societies and post offices.

    Read the Government press release: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/face-coverings-mandatory-in-shops-supermarkets-shopping-centres-and-enclosed-transport-hubs-from-friday

    Read the Government updated guidance on the wearing of face covers: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own#when-to-wear-a-face-covering

    Under the new regulations, members of the public will need to wear face coverings – for example, a fabric covering, scarf or bandana – that covers the nose and mouth in additional enclosed public spaces, as well as frequent hand washing and careful social distancing.

    It will be compulsory to wear a face covering when buying food and drink to take away from cafes and shops. If you are in a premises where you are able to sit down and consume food or drink that you have bought, then you can remove your face covering in order to eat and drink on-site.

    Face coverings will not be mandatory for:

    • anyone under the age of 11
    • those with disabilities or certain health conditions, such as respiratory or cognitive impairments that make it difficult for them to wear a face covering

    Anyone who doesn’t abide by the regulations – and is not exempt under one of the categories set out in the regulations – could face a fine by the police of up to £100, as is currently the case on public transport.

    SMMT has updated its own safe working guidance for automotive retail and automotive aftermarket services. Businesses in these sectors are strongly advised to review their Covid Safe Risk Assessments, to maintain alignment with the new requirements.

    NHS Test & Trace service in the workplace

    The guidance on the NHS Test & Trace service for employers, businesses and workers has been updated this week. The update includes:

    • redrafting for clarity
    • a new section on collecting customer and visitor data for NHS Test & Trace
    • additional information on if a worker develops symptoms and orders a test

    The updated guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-workplace-guidance

    Assets for Test & Trace can be found here: https://coronavirusresources.phe.gov.uk/Test-and-Trace/resources/

     

    UK Government Update – 17 July

    Face covers mandated for customers in car showrooms and dealerships from 24 July

    The Cabinet Office has confirmed today that customers entering car showrooms, dealerships and auction houses will need to wear a face cover from 24 July, when the new regulation for shops and supermarkets comes into force. Employees are not required to wear face covers.

    The list of premises covered under shops and branches is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/shops-and-branches

    SMMT has updated its guidance for automotive retail and aftermarket businesses, in light of this clarification.

    Prime Minister announces relaxation of public transport and offices guidance (17 July)

    At a press conference this morning, the PM confirmed that a new framework would be published next week to enable local authorities and national government to implement more targeted lockdowns, in response to further coronavirus outbreaks in local areas.

    This framework will allow for local authorities to undertake targeted closure of:

    • specific premises and types of business
    • outdoor spaces and events

    A framework for national government will allow for further targeted measures:

    • requiring specific premises and types of business to close
    • issue local stay-at-home orders
    • issue travel restrictions in specific areas and limit public transport
      prevent outdoor events

    Furthermore, from today (17 July) the Government’s guidance on using public transport will change to “use it”, but you may still consider using an alternative means of transport. From 1 August, updated guidance will be issued for businesses to enable them to bring staff back to offices, in a COVID secure manner. Businesses should consult closely with employees on any measures.

    In September, all schools will reopen to all age groups and work is being undertaken to enable universities to re-open as far as possible.

    In October, Government is planning to allow business conferences and other indoor events to start again.

    In November, it is hoped to allow more close contact for family and friends, in time for Christmas.

    The PM also announced a further £3bn for the NHS, helping it to prepare for winter. This includes enabling the Nightingale units to stay in situ until March 2021. Antigen testing capacity will also be increased, with a target of 500,000 tests by October.

     

    UK Government Update – 14 July

    England makes wearing a face cover in shops and supermarkets mandatory from 24 July

    From 24 July, it will become mandatory for customers to wear a face cover when in a shop or supermarket in England. The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, made the announcement in Parliament this afternoon. We are awaiting publication of the formal guidance, to understand if car showrooms, dealerships and other automotive settings will be required to implement this new rule (as is the case in Scotland from 10 July).

    Employees will not be required to wear a face cover and exemptions will be made for young children and those with a variety of medical conditions (as per the requirements around wearing face covers on public transport). The liability will lie with the individuals and shops will be allowed to refuse entry or call the police if necessary. There will be a £100 fine for those refusing to follow the legislation.

    Once guidance is published, SMMT will make any necessary changes to its own safe working guidance for automotive retail etc.

     

    UK Government Update – 08 July

    Chancellor of the Exchequer sets out further support to protect jobs

    In a statement on the UK economy, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, announced a three-point job plan to protect, support and create jobs. A press release and supporting document have been published, with more detailed notes and guidance to follow.

    Read the SMMT’s response to the Chancellor’s statement.

    Included in the supporting document and specific to automotive was:

    Automotive Transformation Fund:

    • Building on the announcement last year of up to £1 billion of additional funding to develop and embed the next generation of cutting-edge automotive technologies, the government is making £10 million of funding available immediately for the first wave of innovative R&D projects to scale up manufacturing of the latest technology in batteries, motors, electronics and fuel cells.
    • The government is also calling upon industry to put forward investment proposals for the UK’s first ‘gigafactory’ and supporting supply chains to mass manufacture cutting-edge batteries for the next generation of electric vehicles, as well as for other strategic electric vehicle technologies.

    Announcements in the Chancellor’s statement:

    Jobs Retention Scheme:

    • The Chancellor defended his decision for the furlough scheme to end in October, saying it is in no one’s interest for the scheme to continue.
    • However, the Government is introducing a Jobs Retention Bonus for employers that bring back employees from furlough and retain their employment until January.
    • This will be £1,000 per employee for employees earning £520 per month until January 2021.

    Kickstart scheme:

    • Government will pay young people’s (aged 16-24) wages for 6 months plus an amount to cover overheads, worth around £6,500 per young person.
    • Employers can apply to be part of the scheme from next month.
    • There will be an initial £2bn for the scheme, and there will be no cap on the number of places available.

    Traineeships:

    • Government will pay employers £1,000 to take on new trainees.

    Careers advice:

    • There will be more funding for careers advisers, and the number of work coaches in job centres will be doubled.
    • There will be an extra £1bn for DWP to support people back to work.

    Apprenticeships:

    • For the next 6 months Government will pay employers to create new apprenticeships, at £2,000 per apprenticeship.
    • Government will introduce a new bonus or £1,500 for businesses to hire apprenticeships aged 25 and over.

    Additional measures to support the UK economy and specific sectors included a new £2bn Green Homes Grant; Stamp duty is being cut for transactions below £500,000, until 31 March 2021; VAT will be cut for food, accommodation and attractions from 20% to 5%, until January 2021; and for August, everyone in the UK will be given an ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ discount - meals eaten at participating restaurants, Monday-Wednesday, will be given the discount worth up to £10 per head (including children).

     

    UK Government Update – 03 July

    UK quarantine measures lifted for lower risk countries

    Passengers returning or visiting from certain destinations, which pose a reduced risk to the public health of UK citizens, including France, Spain, Germany and Italy, will no longer need to self-isolate when arriving in England.

    List of travel corridor countries.

    The full news story can be found here.

    DfT’s guidance, including the current list of exempted countries, is available here.

    FCO guidance, including the current list of exempted countries and respective travel advice, is available here.

    From 10 July 2020 you will not have to self-isolate when you arrive in England, if you:

    • are travelling or returning from one of the travel corridor countries
    • have not been to or stopped in a country that’s not on the travel corridor list in the previous 14 day

    This applies to all travel to England, by train, ferry, coach, air or any other route.

    If you have been to or stopped in a country that’s not on the travel corridor list you will have to self-isolate until 14 days have passed since you left that country. You will have to comply with coronavirus requirements in the country you travel to. This may include self-isolating or providing your details to local authorities.

    Information for travel into Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be published in due course by the Devolved Administrations.

     

    Scottish Government Update – 03 July

    Scotland introduces mandatory wearing of face cover in car showrooms from 10 July

    As updated yesterday, Scotland will introduce this requirement for all retail settings from 10 July. Scottish Government officials have confirmed that employees and customers in car showrooms and dealerships will be required to wear a face cover, with exemptions for children under 5 and people with certain medical conditions.

    Scottish Government will publish further guidance in due course.

     

    Local Government Update – 03 July

    Leicester coronavirus lockdown – clarification for car showrooms

    Following confusion during the week, regarding the re-imposed lockdown in Leicester, SMMT sought and has received clarification by the UK Cabinet Office of the following:

    Car showrooms are allowed to stay open. Please see Schedule 3 Part 3 section 58 refers to showrooms.  They are specifically excluded from Regulation 4(1). http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/685/contents/made

    Schedule 3 Part 3 lists the businesses that are allowed to remain open. Amongst the supermarkets, vets, banks and garden centres(!) etc, it lists:

    1. Showrooms and other premises, including outdoor areas, used for the sale or hire of caravans, boats, or any vehicles which can be propelled by mechanical means.

    Car repair and MOT services are also allowed to remain open.

    Cabinet Office is engaging with Leicester City Council on this matter to ensure consistency of message to public and business alike.

    Updates: June

    UK Government Update – 29 June

    Mandatory MOT testing reintroduced from August

    Roads Minister Baroness Vere announced that mandatory MOT testing is to be reintroduced from 1 August 2020 as COVID-19 restrictions begin to be eased. Drivers with an MOT due date before 1 August will still receive a 6-month exemption from testing. However, all vehicles must continue to be properly maintained and kept in a roadworthy condition.

    SMMT statement in response to the announcement:

    SMMT has been in regular discussion with government about lifting the six-month MOT extension, so it is welcome news that the provision will end on 1 August. While it is reassuring that many vehicles were tested on their original due date during lockdown, road traffic levels are rising and millions of vehicles, many of which have been sitting idle for weeks, now have deferred test dates. It is critical, therefore, to ensure that the upcoming bow-wave in demand for testing, service and repair can be managed effectively to keep vehicles safe and ensure consumers and keyworkers, in particular, are not inconvenienced. Motorists can be reassured that garages have appropriate social distancing and hygiene measures in place and can offer vehicle collections and deliveries to help the most vulnerable in society.

    The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act

    The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill received royal assent on 25 June and is now an Act. The measures in this Act will relieve the burden on businesses during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and allow them to focus all their efforts on continuing to operate.

    Read the press release: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/corporate-insolvency-and-governance-bill-receives-royal-assent

    Read the Act: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2020/12/contents/enacted/data.htm

    Some of the measures in the Act came into effect immediately on Friday 26 June. Other measures came into effect on Saturday 27 June when the secondary legislation came into force.

    The Act:

    • introduces temporary easements for Annual General Meetings (AGMs) and filing requirements for public limited companies (PLCs)
    • introduces new corporate restructuring tools to the insolvency regime to give companies the time they need to maximise their chance of survival
    • emporarily suspends parts of insolvency law to support directors during this difficult time

    The government has published detailed guidance on the changes that came into effect on Friday 26 June. This includes changes for PLCs with an accounts filing deadline between 26 March 2020 and 29 September 2020.

    Government will publish more guidance for private companies and other company types in due course.

     

    UK Government Update – 23 June

    PM announces easing of lockdown restrictions and 2-metre social distancing rule

    Today, in a statement to the House of Commons, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the Government does not “currently” believe that there is a risk of a second peak of infections that would overwhelm the NHS, and the Government’s five tests for easing lockdown continue to be met.

    The Press Release is available here and the PM’s Statement to the House is available here. The PM set out a new range of relaxations (in England only), set to come into place on 4 July, including the opening of hospitality venues and hairdressers. He also provided an update on the two metre social distancing rule:

    • Two-metre rule: The two-metre social distancing rule will be reduced to ‘one-metre plus’ from 4 July. This applies to all situations both indoors and outdoors, regardless of sector. Johnson said that remaining 1 metre apart - while taking mitigations to reduce risks of transmission such as avoiding face-to-face seating, improving ventilation systems, closing non-essential social spaces, and changing shift patterns - would make the 1-metre rule “broadly equivalent” to the current 2 metre rule. A summary of the review will be published later this week with guidance on mitigations also set to be published.

     

    Welsh Government Update – 19 June

    Wales allows car showrooms to open from Monday 22 June

    Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced that non-essential retail, which includes car showrooms and dealerships, can open from Monday (22 June).

    Other easements include:

    • Family visits beyond five miles will be legal from Monday, if individuals have concerns about well-being
    • The tourism industry - self-contained accommodation such as caravans and cottages – will be able to take bookings from 13 July
    • Outdoor courts for non-contact sports, such as tennis, can reopen
    • Schools will reopen on 29 June.

    Read the full update here: https://gov.wales/first-minister-announces-further-steps-to-unlock-wales

    In addition, Wales' coronavirus travel restrictions will be lifted from 6 July so people can "travel as far as they like for all purposes". People will be able to travel into and around Wales from that date, as long as coronavirus is still under control.

    At the next review on 9 July, the Welsh Government will consider a range of specific options for opening:

    • Self-contained holiday accommodation
    • Personal care services, such as hairdressing and beauty, by appointment.

    Discussions will also be held with the hospitality sector about the potential phased reopening of pubs, cafes and restaurants while maintaining strict social distancing.

    Scottish Government Update – 18 June

    Scotland starts moving to Phase 2 – non-essential retail to open

    Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed today that Scotland will start a staged approach to measures in Phase 2 of its roadmap to easing lockdown measures. Importantly, this means that from Monday 29 June the following businesses may re-open, subject to implementing the necessary safe workplace guidance:

    Indoor (non-office) workplaces - includes factories, warehouses, labs and research facilities.

    • Street-access retail – this includes car showrooms and dealerships (interiors of shopping centres / malls remain closed for non-essential shops until Phase 3).
    • Outdoor markets.

    From Monday 22 June, face coverings will become mandatory on public transport (as in England).

    An update on remaining Phase 2 changes will be made on Thursday 2 July. The next official review date in Scotland is 9 July.

    Further easements of Scotland’s lockdown measures were announced.

    UK Government Update – 16 June

    Business Secretary chairs series of economic recovery roundtables

    Business Secretary Alok Sharma chaired a series of economic recovery roundtables last week, which brought together some businesses, their representative organisations, regulators and leading academic figures.

    The members of each recovery working group are listed in the link above, along with the series of questions on what measures are necessary to support the economic recovery, which will be fed directly into the Government’s work on stimulating growth. The Department has also invited written submissions from other interested parties.

    SMMT sits on the Green Recovery (Net Zero WG) and will be providing sector specific input to this piece of work. The other 4 x Roundtables / WGs are:

    • BEIS Recovery Roundtable – accelerating innovation
    • BEIS Recovery Roundtable – attracting investment
    • BEIS Recovery Roundtable – levelling up
    • BEIS Recovery Roundtable – start and scale

    UK Government Update – 15 June

    PM commissions review of 2 metre rule

    Yesterday, the Prime Minister announced that he has launched a review of the 2-metre social distancing rule's economic impact, stating a change would be safer as infections fall. On the Andrew Marr show yesterday, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak said that “everyone would like to see it reduce from an economic perspective” and that it was time for a “fresh look” at the social-distancing guidance.

    A No.10 spokesperson advised that this review will be completed in the “coming weeks”, but was unable to confirm if it will be done by 4 July, the target date for allowing hospitality businesses (e.g. bars and restaurants) to open.

    HMT publishes updated guidance on Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

    HM Treasury has published updated detailed guidance on the CJRS to confirm:

    • How employers can bring previously furloughed employees back to work part-time from 1 July (known as flexible furloughing) and how many employees they can claim for in any one claim.
    • How to claim, and the information employers will need to do so.
    • Details of calculating claim amounts.
    • More information on amending claims.

    Last week, the Chancellor announced that parents returning from maternity, paternity, shared parental, adoption and parental bereavement leave after the 10 June are exempt from the cut-off date for new entrants. This applies to employers who have previously submitted a claim for any other employee (between 1 March and 30 June). Employees need to have started the leave before 10 June and are returning after 10 June and they must be on their employers’ PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020. This is also covered in the updated guidance.

    UK Government Updates – 4 June

    No.10 Press Briefing – use of face coverings on public transport to be mandatory

    At the daily No.10 Coronavirus Press Briefing (Thursday 4 June), Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced that, from Monday 15 June, it will become mandatory to use a face mask when using any form of public transport. This is to coincide with the expected increased use of public transport when further easing of lockdown measures occur, with more non-essential retail opening and a return to school for some secondary school pupils.

    This measure is a condition of travel and is being introduced in England. The Government is working with the Devolved Administrations to enact this measures across the whole of the UK.

    Guidance for travellers exempt from UK quarantine rules

    The Home Office has published guidance which explains who will be exempt from new English border rules introduced due to coronavirus. The rules will apply to travellers to the UK from 8 June 2020.

    The full list of exemptions and guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-travellers-exempt-from-uk-border-rules/coronavirus-covid-19-travellers-exempt-from-uk-border-rules

    Some travellers will be exempt from new English border rules as set out in the Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel) Regulations 2020. This means they may not need to provide their journey or contact details or self-isolate for 14 days after they arrive in England. Similar rules may apply across Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

    Government announces £10bn guarantee for trade credit insurance

    The Government has announced that trade credit insurance will receive up to £10bn of Government guarantees.

    The Trade Credit Reinsurance Scheme will see the vast majority of trade credit insurance coverage maintained across the UK. The scheme is available on a temporary basis for nine months, backdated to 1 April 2020, and running until 31 December 2020, with the potential for extension if required.

    The scheme will be followed by a review of the trade credit reinsurance market.

    Updates: 18-29 May

    UK Government Update – 29 May

    Chancellor announces new details on CJRS and SEISS

    The Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has announced the following changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

    Full release is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/chancellor-extends-self-employment-support-scheme-and-confirms-furlough-next-steps

    CJRS:

    • In June and July, the scheme will continue as normal – Government providing 80% of an employee’s salary up to maximum of £2,500 per month
    • In August the Government will continue to cover 80%, but employers will be required to cover National Insurance and pension contributions
    • In September, the Government contribution will decrease to 70%, with employers required to pay 10%
    • In October, the Government contribution will decrease to 60%, with employers required to pay 20%
    • CJRS will become fully flexible from 1 July (a month earlier than previously announced), e.g. an employee can be brought back to work for 2 days, with the employer paying for those, then furloughed for 3 days, with CJRS covering those
    • When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours; employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week, for grants to be calculated accurately across working patterns
    • The scheme will close in October

    In order for the new “flexible” CJRS to come online, claims from July onwards will be restricted to employers currently using the scheme and previously furloughed employees. The scheme will close to new entrants on 30 June, with the last three-week furloughs before that point commencing on 10 June.

    SEISS

    This will open again for applications in August and will operate as before, providing a one-off payment of 3 months’ average income, but at 70% not 80%, up to a maximum payment of £6,570.

     

    UK Government Update – 25 May

    Car Showrooms to open from 1 June

    The Prime Minister has announced that Car Showrooms (in England only) will be able to be open from Monday 1 June, with other 'non-essential' retail to open from 15 June:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/prime-minister-sets-out-timeline-for-retail-to-reopen-in-june

    Businesses will only be able to open from these dates once they have completed a risk assessment, in consultation with trade union representatives or workers, and are confident they are managing the risks. They must have taken the necessary steps to become COVID-19 secure in line with the current Health and Safety legislation.

    The Government has updated its guidance on working safely in shops and branches: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/shops-and-branches

    SMMT’s safe working guidance for automotive retail is available to view and download here: https://www.smmt.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/NFDA-SMMT-Industry-Guidance-COVID-19-Protective-Measures-for-Auto-Retail.pdf

     

    UK Government Update – 22 May

    UK COVID-19 quarantine measures come into effect from 8 June

    From the 8 June the Government will introduce a requirement for all visitors to the UK to undertake a 14-day self-isolation period. The new regime will be in place across the United Kingdom, although enforcement measures will be set individually by the Devolved Administrations.

    There will be limited exemptions and a full list will be published on gov.uk in due course. They include:

    • road haulage and freight workers, to ensure the supply of goods is not impacted
    • medical professionals who are travelling to help with the fight against coronavirus
    • anyone moving from within the Common Travel Area, covering Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man
    • Seasonal Agricultural Workers who will self-isolate on the property where they are working

    The full list of exemptions is published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-travellers-exempt-from-uk-border-rules

    These measures will be subject to review every three weeks, to ensure they are in line with the latest scientific evidence and remain effective and necessary.

    The government will continue to look at further options as it moves forward and these will include air bridges - agreements between countries who both have low transmission rates to recognise each other’s departure screening measures for passengers and removing the need for quarantine measures for incoming passengers.

    Read the full announcement here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/home-secretary-announces-new-public-health-measures-for-all-uk-arrivals

     

    UK Government Update – Business Support – 19 May

    Larger businesses can now apply for loans of up to £200 million

    From today, businesses will be able to apply for larger loans under the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS). The maximum loan size available under the scheme will be increased from £50 million to £200 million to help ensure large firms who do not qualify for the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) have enough finance to meet cashflow needs during the outbreak. The expanded loans, which have been introduced following discussions with lenders and business groups, will be available from 26 May.

    Further information on CLBILS can be found: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-schemes/clbils/

    Economic Secretary to the Treasury, John Glen, said:

    We’re determined to support businesses of all sizes throughout this crisis and our loans and guarantees have already provided over £32 billion to thousands of firms.

    Today we’re increasing the maximum loan to £200 million to make sure companies get the help they need.

    Companies borrowing more than £50 million through CLBILS will be subject to restrictions on dividend payments, senior pay and share buy-backs during the period of the loan, including a ban on dividend payments and cash bonuses, except where they were previously agreed.

    These restrictions will also apply to CCFF participants who wish to borrow money beyond 12 months from today. This will ensure that the money is used to keep the company going through the crisis. The Bank will also publish a list of companies who have benefitted under CCFF from the scheme on 4 June.

    Further Information

    • borrowers under CLBILS will be able to borrow up to the lower of 25% of turnover or £200 million
    • lenders who wish to offer larger loans will need to undergo further accreditation checks

    The restrictions in place will include:

    • Dividends: Borrowers cannot make any dividend payments
    • Share buyback: Borrowers agree any share buybacks
    • Executive pay: Borrowers cannot pay any cash bonuses or award any pay rises to senior management (including the board) except where they were a) declared before the CLBILS loan was taken out, b) is in keeping with similar payments made in the preceding 12 months, and c) does not have a material negative impact on the borrower’s ability to repay the loan.

    Coronavirus Future Fund updated

    The eligibility details for the Government’s Future Fund have been updated. This loan fund was set up to provide government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors.

    These convertible loans may be a suitable option for businesses that typically rely on equity investment and are unable to access other government business support programmes because they are either pre-revenue or pre-profit. Applications for the Fund will open on Wednesday 20 May 2020.

    Find out more and how to apply here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/future-fund#history

    Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme to open for claims on 26 May

    Employers will be able to make claims through the Government’s Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Rebate Scheme from Tuesday 26 May. The new scheme, announced in the Spring Budget, will be available online for small and medium-sized employers to recover SSP payments they have made to current or former employees. HM Revenue and Customs will recover the costs of COVID-19 related SSP claims dating back to 13 March.

    For more information and how to apply: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-statutory-sick-pay-rebate-scheme-set-to-launch

    Updates: 4-15 May

    SMMT publish automotive aftermarket and manufacturing guidance - 13 May

    SMMT has produced two further guidance documents on safe working best practice for automotive manufacturing and aftermarket.

    The guidance - COVID-19: Automotive Aftermarket Industry Guidance – is available to download here: https://www.smmt.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/SMMT_GEA_IAAF_IMI_SMTA_Industry-Guidance-COVID-19-Automotive-Aftermarket-Restart-second-edition.pdf

    The guidance - COVID-19: Automotive Manufacturing Industry Guidance – is available to download here: https://www.smmt.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/SMMT_Industry-Guidance-COVID-19-Manufacturing.pdf

    Both documents have been developed alongside members and in the case of the aftermarket guide with the help and support of the Garage Equipment Association, Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation, Institute of the Motor Industry and Scottish Motor Trade Association.

    The sector specific guides build on government advice released earlier this week and together cover the wide-ranging activities and operations of SMMT members across vehicle and component production, warehousing, workshops and distribution.

    SMMT and NFDA publish automotive retail guidance as ‘click and collect’ approved - 13 May

    The UK automotive retail sector today signaled its readiness to get back to work, with the publication of Today, SMMT and NFDA published a new guidance document on safe working best practice for automotive retailers which has been developed in collaboration between the two organisations and members from each organisation.

    The guidance - COVID-19 Protective Measures: Automotive Retail Sector Industry Guidance and Best Practice – is available to download here: https://www.smmt.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/NFDA-SMMT-Industry-Guidance-COVID-19-Protective-Measures-for-Auto-Retail-second-edition.pdf

    This builds on government guidance released earlier this week, with sector-specific advice covering showroom interactions, part exchanges, test drives and aftersales, etc. The document also contains guidance covering ‘click and collect’ following clarification we have just received from government.

    Click and collect is permitted from automotive retail sites, however, this must be conducted outside – showrooms must remain closed – and following government social distancing rules.

    SMMT and NFDA have issued a press release, highlighting automotive retail’s readiness to re-open and calling for car showrooms to be allowed to open as soon as possible. Read the release here: https://www.smmt.co.uk/2020/05/auto-retail-sector-ready-to-get-britain-moving-again-as-nfda-and-smmt-publish-safe-restart-guidance/

    UK Government Update – 13 May

    Government provides Trade Credit Insurance guarantee

    This morning, the Government announced it will support businesses through Trade Credit Insurance guarantee. The government will temporarily guarantee business-to-business transactions currently supported by Trade Credit Insurance, ensuring the majority of insurance coverage will be maintained across the market. This will support supply chains and help businesses to trade with confidence as they can trust that they will be protected if a customer defaults on payment.

    The guarantee will be delivered through a temporary reinsurance agreement with insurers currently operating in the market. The government will work with businesses and the industry on the full details of the scheme to ensure firms are supported and risk is appropriately shared between the government and insurers.

    The guarantees will cover trading by domestic firms and exporting firms and the intent is for agreements to be in place with insurers by end of this month. The guarantee will be temporary and targeted to cover CV-19 economic challenges, and will provisionally last until the end of the year. It will be followed by a review of the TCI market to ensure it can continue to support businesses in future. Further details will be announced in due course.

    Read the full release here.

    The Economic Secretary to the Treasury, John Glen said:

    This country’s businesses are crucial in helping us to kick start the economy as we get back to work, and I will do everything I can to help support them through this difficult time. By guaranteeing business-to-business transactions currently supported by Trade Credit Insurance, we will help to maintain a vital cog in our economy.

    This is on top of an unprecedented package of support we have put in place to help protect individuals, businesses and the economy.

    Business Minister, Paul Scully, said:

    Giving businesses the confidence to continue trading is vital to seeing us through this crisis. This guarantee will be essential as we seek to reopen new sectors of the economy and get the UK back to work in a way that is safe for everyone.

     

    UK Government Update – 12 May

    Chancellor extends furlough scheme until October

    • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will continue until end of October
    • furloughed workers across UK will continue to receive 80% of their current salary, up to £2,500
    • new flexibility will be introduced from August to get employees back to work and boost economy

    Read the full release here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/chancellor-extends-furlough-scheme-until-october

    In a boost to millions of jobs and businesses, Rishi Sunak said the furlough scheme would be extended by a further four months with workers continuing to receive 80% of their current salary. From the start of August, furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time with employers being asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff. The employer payments will substitute the contribution the government is currently making, ensuring that staff continue to receive 80% of their salary, up to £2,500 a month.

    Chancellor Rishi Sunak said:

    Our Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has protected millions of jobs and businesses across the UK during the outbreak – and I’ve been clear that I want to avoid a cliff edge and get people back to work in a measured way.

    This extension and the changes we are making to the scheme will give flexibility to businesses while protecting the livelihoods of the British people and our future economic prospects.

    New statistics published today revealed the job retention scheme has protected 7.5 million workers and almost 1 million businesses.

    The scheme will continue in its current form until the end of July and the changes to allow more flexibility will come in from the start of August. More specific details and information around its implementation will be made available by the end of this month.

    The government will explore ways through which furloughed workers who wish to do additional training or learn new skills are supported during this period. It will also continue to work closely with the Devolved Administrations to ensure the scheme supports people across the Union.

    New guidance on safer travel and safer transport

    The Government has issued new guidance for safer travel and safer transport operations during the next phase of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

    Read the full release here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-guidance-published-to-ensure-transport-network-is-safe-for-those-who-need-to-use-it

    Read the new guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers

    The new guidance provides advice on how passengers should make journeys safely, following the publication of the government’s roadmap and strategy for the next phase of the pandemic. The advice sets out that if people who cannot work from home and have to travel for work, they should first consider alternatives to public transport. Those driving their own cars have been asked to avoid busy areas.

    For those who have to use public transport, the new guidance recommends:

    • keeping 2 metres apart from others wherever possible
    • wearing a face covering if you can
    • using contactless payment where possible
    • avoiding rush hour travel where feasible
    • washing or sanitising your hands as soon as possible before and after travel
    • following advice from staff and being considerate to others

    All transport operators have been issued guidance on ensuring stations and services are regularly cleaned, making clear to passengers how to stay 2 metres apart where possible in stations, airports and ports, and to ensure routes for passengers are clearly communicated to avoid crowding. The government’s guidance also sets out steps operators should take to provide safe workplaces and services for their staff and passengers across all modes of private and public transport.

    To help reduce pressure on the transport network so there is space for social distancing where possible, the Transport Secretary has spoken to train and bus operators and local authorities to ensure they increase the number of available services over the coming weeks.

    Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Transport operators and staff have been working hard to ensure that people who need to get to work are able to do so, including crucial NHS workers and all those on the frontline of the fight against the virus.

    “Alongside the cycling and walking revolution we are launching, and clear guidance to passengers and operators published today, we can all play our part by following the advice and reducing pressure on public transport.

    “If we take these steps, all those who need to use public transport should feel confident that they can do so safely, with the space to maintain social distancing as far as possible.”

    UK Government Update – 11 May (evening)

    Government publishes safer workplace guidance

    The Government has published new guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic. The new guidance covers 8 workplace settings which are allowed to be open from Wednesday (13 May), from outdoor environments and construction sites to factories and takeaways:

    The 8 sector guidance documents are available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19

    These set out practical steps for businesses, focused on 5 key points, which should be implemented as soon as it is practical:

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

    UK Government Updates – 11 May

    COVID-19 Exit Strategy and new Social Distancing Guidance

    The Government has published its exit strategy on exiting the COVID-19 lockdown, as well as its new guidance on social distancing. See the links below.

    Exit strategy publication - OUR PLAN TO REBUILD: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy

    New social distancing guidance - Staying alert and safe (social distancing)

    Further guidance on safe workplaces, reopening schools and travelling safely will all be published later today. Guidance on borders will follow later this week.

    Public advised to cover faces in enclosed spaces

    Following guidance from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), the Government has issued a release advising the public to consider wearing face coverings in enclosed public spaces where you may be more likely to come into contact with people you do not normally meet. This applies when using public transport, such as trains, buses and metro systems, or when visiting shops.

    They do not need to be worn outdoors, while exercising, in schools, in workplaces such as offices, and retail, or by those who may find them difficult to wear, such as children under two or primary aged children who cannot use them without assistance, or those who may have problems breathing whilst wearing a face covering.

    The public is being strongly urged not to purchase surgical masks or respirators, which are prioritised for healthcare workers working in more high-risk environments where the risk is greatest.

    Instead the public is encouraged to make face coverings at home, using scarves or other textile items, which many will already own. Read the guidance on how to wear and make a cloth face covering.

    Health Minister Jo Churchill said:

    At all times our strategy for keeping the public and the NHS safe during this crisis has been guided by the science. Today, thanks to the evidence provided by our expert scientists, we are advising people to consider wearing a face covering if they can in enclosed public spaces where social distancing is impossible, for example on public transport or in shops. This may help prevent you spreading the virus to others.

    You do not need a clinical mask which are prioritised for our healthcare workers. Instead a face covering is sufficient and we encourage people to make these at home with items they will already own.

    Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer said:

    Wearing a face covering is an added precaution, that may have some benefit in reducing the likelihood that a person with the infection passes it on.

    The most effective means of preventing the spread of this virus remains following social distancing rules and washing your hands regularly. It does not remove the need to self-isolate if you have symptoms.

    The full release is available on GOV.UK.

    Updates: 13 April - 1 May

    UK Government Update – 28 April

    UK COVID-19 testing capacity extended beyond front-line workers

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed that UK COVID-19 testing will be extended to all workers who have to leave their home to do their job, for example those working in manufacturing.

    Speaking at the No.10 Daily Coronavirus Press Conference, the Health Secretary stated UK testing capacity has increased, now enabling him to open up testing to anyone who goes into work because they cannot work from home (for example, manufacturing workers) and has symptoms. In addition, testing is being made available to all over 65s in a household showing symptoms.

    The online application portal has been updated to reflect this new guidance.

    Latest UK Government Update – 27 April

    New 100% government backed loan scheme for small business

    Today, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a new micro loan scheme to support small businesses. This will enable them to apply for the new Bounce Back Loans for 25% of their turnover, up to a maximum of £50,000, with the government guaranteeing, to the lender, 100% of the loan and paying the interest for the first twelve months.

    These loans will be available from 9am next Monday (4 May). There will be no forward-looking tests of business viability; no complex eligibility criteria; just a simple, quick, standard form for businesses to fill in. For most firms, loans should arrive within 24 hours of approval. 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 Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said:

    Our smallest businesses are the backbone of our economy and play a vital role in their communities. This new rapid loan scheme will help ensure they get the finance they need quickly to help survive this crisis.

    This is in addition to business grants, tax deferrals, and the job retention scheme, which are already helping to support hundreds of thousands of small businesses.

     

    Latest News - 24 April

    Welsh First Minister sets out framework for easing coronavirus restrictions

    Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has today published a framework and seven key questions to help lead Wales out of the coronavirus pandemic and set a path towards lifting restrictions.

    The framework will help to determine when stay-at-home restrictions can begin to be relaxed and outlines a programme of surveillance, case identification and contact tracing. The seven questions guiding the possible lifting of restrictions include:

    • whether this would have a negative effect on containing the virus,
    • whether a particular measure poses a low risk of further infection,
    • whether it can be monitored and enforced or reversed in the face of unintended consequences, and
    • whether there is a positive economic benefit, and a positive impact on people’s wellbeing and on equality.

    West Midlands leaders draw up recovery action plan

    Political and business leaders in the West Midlands are drawing up a recovery plan tailored to help the region’s economy bounce back once COVID-19 restrictions start to be lifted.

    Leaders announced today that they were working together to form a bespoke strategy capable of securing an effective and long-lasting economic recovery. This follows from a report from the West Midlands Regional Economic Development Institute (WM REDI) highlighting that the West Midlands could be the hardest hit region in the UK.

    Mayor Andy Street and the WMCA are also pushing ahead with their Gigafactory plans and encouraging Government to make sure it continues to invest in the electric/autonomous vehicle opportunities offered by the region.

    DfT sets out coronavirus support package for vital routes for supplies and people

    Today, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps set out details on a support package for a number of vital routes for supplies and people, to keep the flow of goods and services running smoothly in and out of the UK, and around the country, throughout the pandemic.

    The support package for essential freight services includes:

    • up to £17 million for critical routes between Northern Ireland and Great Britain
    • up to £10.5 million for lifeline ferry and freight services to the Isle of Wight and the Scilly Isles
    • further support for critical routes between Britain and the European mainland

    The funding aims to ensure the ongoing supply of critical goods into the country during the COVID-19 pandemic, with up to 31 routes eligible for support, subject to discussions with operators. The UK is working closely alongside French and Irish partners and today pledged in a joint statement to “strengthen partnership and share best practices”, to ensure the continued movement of freight across the continent.

    The freight and passenger support package covers:

    • 7 routes between Great Britain and Northern Ireland
    • routes to the Isle of Wight
    • the Penzance-Scilly ferry
    • 26 routes between Britain, France, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Norway and Sweden, including Eurotunnel

    The full article is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/vital-routes-for-supplies-and-people-kept-open-through-coronavirus-support-package

    A statement from the Transport Secretary a joint statement by the United Kingdom, France and Ireland: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/freight-transport-in-the-context-of-covid-19-joint-statement-by-the-united-kingdom-france-and-ireland

    Treasury Select Committee launches next stage of inquiry into economic impact of COVID-19

    The Treasury Select Committee has launched the next stage of its inquiry into the economic impact of COVID-19.

    In this stage, the Committee will examine the operational effectiveness, cost and sustainability of the Government’s and Bank of England’s support packages. The Committee will also examine the impact on the economy and different sectors, the implications for public finances, and how the Government can work towards a sustained recovery.

    Committee Chair Mel Stride said: “The Treasury Committee hit the ground running with its scrutiny of the economic impact of coronavirus. Through virtual evidence sessions, calls for evidence and correspondence, we’ve shone a light on the hard edges and delivery challenges of the Government’s and Bank of England’s schemes.

    “As well as continuing to do this, we’ll begin to examine the effectiveness, cost and sustainability of support measures as they are beginning to go live.

    “The Committee will continue to work constructively with, and hold to account, the Government and financial services sector to ensure as swift an economic bounce back as possible.”

    Business Support

    SMMT FAQ on vehicle sales and movements – update

    Further to Monday’s email from Mike Hawes on vehicle deliveries and SMMT’s response, an FAQ on vehicle movements has been added to the ‘FAQs for business’ tab on the SMMT website. This also provides a link to the guidance developed alongside the FLA and BVRLA.

    These FAQs aim to provide some clarity on the existing government guidance that allows retailers to sell online and deliver products to customers, if the necessary social distancing and hygiene measures are in place. However, it still remains a decision for each company based on their own unique circumstances and ability to comply with the requirements, especially in terms of vehicle delivery.

    Furthermore, we have had further feedback from Government officials and no additional or sector specific guidance on deliveries is going to be provided. It is their position that the existing guidance on retail and deliveries is sufficient. They will be directing any further queries to the existing guidance and the advice provided by SMMT and other bodies.

    Furloughed workers to receive full parental leave entitlement

    Today, Government has confirmed that furloughed workers planning to take paid parental or adoption leave will be entitled to pay based on their usual earnings rather than a furloughed pay rate.

    Entitlement to Statutory Maternity Pay, as well as the other forms of Parental or Adoption Pay, are currently calculated through someone’s average earnings over an 8-week assessment period. For Maternity Allowance, entitlement and the rate payable is also determined by looking at average earnings over a 13-week period.

    The statutory instrument laid in Parliament today will ensure workers whose period of family-related pay begins on or after 25 April will be assessed on their usual, full pay.

    Business Minister Paul Scully said: “Maternity and other forms of parental leave are pivotal times in people’s lives, and they should absolutely be protected from the impacts of COVID-19.

    “We are supporting workers and businesses in a way never seen before, in response to the unprecedented effects of COVID-19. These measures will ensure those on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme continue to receive the parental leave and pay they are entitled to.”

    Read the full article here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/furloughed-workers-to-receive-full-parental-leave-entitlement

    Apprenticeship programme response to COVID-19

    The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has published Version 3 of its guidance on the Apprenticeship programme. It can be read here:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-apprenticeship-programme-response/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-apprentices-employers-training-providers-end-point-assessment-organisations-and-external-quality-assurance-pro

    This version focuses on:

    • Further information on calculating wages for furloughed apprentices
    • Clarification that a furloughed employee can start an apprenticeship
    • Information on collecting signatures
    • Additional content on flexibilities of end-point assessment
    • Flexibilities for English and Maths functional skills for Intermediate (level 2) apprentices
    • Flexibilities on qualification certification

    ESFA will be setting up webinars shortly where the policy authors will go through the changes and take part in a question and answer session. SMMT will publish further updates when we receive them.

    ESFA Post-16 Provider Relief Scheme

    The Education and Skills Funding Agency’s Post-16 Provider Relief Scheme opened for applications today and is available to training providers with contracts for services that were procured as a service under the Public Contract Regulations 2015. The scheme is not only for Independent Training Providers. Any provider with AEB and non-levy apprenticeship contracts for services are eligible - subject to conditions.

    All the details can be read here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/esfa-post-16-provider-relief-scheme

    The closing date for applications is 30 April 2020 at midnight and providers will be notified if they are to receive support on or around 15 May 2020.

    The purpose of the Relief Scheme is to ensure training providers can continue to deliver high quality education and training to make sure we have the skills needed to rebuild our economy post COVID-19. This also includes supporting new learners where possible to get the skills they need to progress.

    Training providers will need to demonstrate that they have a need for the funding requested in order to maintain capacity within their organisations to support learners and respond to the economic recovery.

    If successful, providers will later need to provide a summary of how the funds have been used, and retain evidence, for audit purposes, that they have delivered activities prescribed by the scheme and that the funds have been used for eligible costs.

     

    UK Government and Scottish Government Updates – 21 April

    Apply for the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme

    The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme is now open for applications. As a reminder, this scheme is open to all viable businesses with turnover of more than £45 million per year, and they can apply for up to £25 million of finance. Firms with a turnover of more than £250 million can apply for up to £50 million of finance.

    The full rules of the scheme and guidance on how to apply is available on the British Business Bank website.

    Scottish Government strengthens social distancing regulations

    The Scottish Government has announced that social distancing regulations have been confirmed and extended to protect workers.

    Temporary regulations restricting public gatherings and non-essential business activity have been in force since 26 March. A number of amendments have now been made to protect workers and provide further guidance for people in Scotland. The adjustments to the regulations include formalising the two-metre distancing rules to all businesses that remain open. Businesses that do not take all reasonable measures to enforce those rules could be fined or ultimately prosecuted.

    The regulations must be reviewed every 3 weeks and are kept under continual review by the Scottish Government.

     

    UK Government Update – 20 April

    Government announces new 'Future Fund' for "innovative" companies

    The government has announced a new package of support for "innovative companies" (or ‘start-ups’) that are not eligible for existing COVID-19 funding schemes.

    Government will match up to £250 million of private investment and add £550 million to an existing loan and grant scheme for smaller firms that focus on research and development. The scheme will be delivered in partnership with the British Business Bank.

    To be eligible a business must be an unlisted UK-registered company that has raised at least £250,000 in equity investment in the last five years. The Chancellor has stated that £750 million will be available through grants and loans from Innovate UK, the national innovation agency, with the majority available to its 2,500 existing customers. The first payments will be made by mid-May.

    Government launches new online 'finder' tool for financial support packages

    Government has launched a new tool to help businesses find coronavirus financial support. Businesses which may be eligible for loans, tax relief and cash grants can use the support finder to help find what support is available and appropriate for individual businesses. The tool is available here: https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder

    Transport Secretary announces easier renewal of expiring driving licences

    On Friday (17 April), Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced that it will be easier for bus and lorry drivers to review their expiring driving licences. In joint action with the DVLA it has been announced that drivers will be able to receive a temporary 1-year licence, providing they do not have any medical conditions that affect their driving and their current licence expires in 2020.

     

    Latest Government Announcements and Updates – 17 April

    Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) extended by one month

    Today, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) would now be open until the end of June. This follows on from yesterday’s announcement to keep the social distancing measures in place for a further three weeks.

    The scheme, which allows firms to furlough employees with the government paying cash grants of 80% of their wages up to a maximum of £2,500, was originally open for three months and backdated from the 1 March to the end of May. However, the Chancellor said he would keep the scheme under review and extend it if necessary.

    You can find more information on the scheme and eligibility to claim here.

    Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme opens for claims on Monday 20 April

    The online claim service for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be launched on GOV.UK on Monday 20 April 2020. Any entity with a UK payroll can apply, including businesses, charities, recruitment agencies and public authorities.

    SMMT advises members to make their claims as early as possible, as HMRC has suggested that it could take between 4-6 days for payments to be made following a claim. To prepare to make your claim you will need:

    • A Government Gateway (GG) ID and password – if you don’t already have a GG account, you can apply for one online, or by going to GOV.UK and searching for 'HMRC services: sign in or register'
    • Be enrolled for PAYE online – if you aren’t registered yet, you can do so now, or by going to GOV.UK and searching for 'PAYE Online for employers'
    • The following information for each furloughed employee you will be claiming for:
      • Name
      • National Insurance number
      • Claim period and claim amount
      • PAYE/employee number (optional)

    If you have fewer than 100 furloughed staff – you will need to input information directly into the system for each employee. If you have 100 or more furloughed staff – you will need to upload a file with information for each employee; HMRC will accept the following file types: .xls .xlsx .csv .ods.

    You should retain all records and calculations in respect of your claims. You can find more information on the scheme and eligibility to claim here.

    Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme expanded

    All viable businesses with turnover of more than £45m will be able to apply for government-backed support. Ahead of its launch on Monday 20 April, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced late yesterday that 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.

    Business with turnovers of more than £500 million were originally not eligible for the Large Business scheme, which is being set up to help firms who do not qualify for the existing Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme – for small and medium sized businesses - and the Bank of England Covid Corporate Financing Facility – for investment grade companies.

    Details on the scheme, including eligibility criteria and the accredited lenders, is available on the British Business Bank website here.

    Important UK Government Update – 15 April

    Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (JRS) cut-off date extended to 19 March

    The 28 February eligibility cut-off has now been extended to 19 March 2020. HMT states that this change will mean thousands more workers will be eligible for the scheme.

    The Government’s JRS is expected to be fully operational from Monday 20 April. Under the scheme, announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak last month, employers can claim a grant covering 80% of the wages for a furloughed employee, subject to a cap of £2,500 a month. To qualify and to protect against fraudulent claims, individuals originally had to be employed on 28 February 2020.

    If any employer now thinks they are eligible for support, they can find out more on the Government’s JRS guidance pages on GOV.UK.

    Also today, HM Treasury published the legal framework for the JRS, a Direction under Sections 71 and 76 of the Coronavirus Act 2020, which sets out that HMRC are responsible for the payment and management of amounts to be paid under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

    Scottish Government Update – 15 April

    Scottish Government issues further £220m of business support grants

    The Scottish Government has announced a further £220m in grants for businesses to deal with the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 crisis. The new package of measures includes:

    • £120m to extend the Small Business Grant scheme
      • to ensure that, in addition to a 100% grant on the first property, small business rate payers will be eligible to a 75% grant on all subsequent properties.
    • a further £100m for protecting self-employed people and viable micro and SME businesses.

    This fund will be channeled through local authorities and enterprise agencies to target newly self-employed people and businesses who are ineligible for other Scottish Government or UK Government schemes.

    Applications for the £100 million fund will be open by the end of the month, and the new arrangements for the Small Business Grant will be in place to receive applications on 5 May.

    Updates: 30 March - 10 April

    Latest Government Announcements and Updates – 8 April

    Updated guidance - Vehicle tax and MOT running out in the current month

    Following the automatic extension to MOT expiry dates, in light of the coronavirus situation, Government has issued updated guidance where vehicle tax and MOT run out in April.

    You cannot renew your vehicle tax until your MOT expiry date has been extended. It will be extended a few days before it was originally due to expire. This means you might need to wait until later in April to tax your vehicle. Check that the MOT expiry date has been extended before you tax your vehicle.

    Coronavirus (COVID-19): transport and travel guidance hub

    Government has published a new hub on gov.uk, which brings together information for people using transport or working in the transport sector during the Coronavirus outbreak. This includes information on:

    Update on COVID-19 Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

    HMRC has published new online guidance on the COVID-19 Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme which includes information about who can use the scheme and the records employers must keep. 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 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 is 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 at:

    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.

     

    Coronavirus (COVID-19): letter to the manufacturing sector - 7 April

    Letter from the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Alok Sharma, to those working in manufacturing.

    Important PHE Guidance Published

    Social distancing in the workplace during coronavirus (COVID-19): sector guidance

    Last night, PHE published updated guidance on social distancing in the workplace. This is a list of tailored advice for different scenarios as an example of how social distancing and other measures might be implemented by employers in England to help protect their workforce and customers from coronavirus while still continuing to trade.

    Full guidance available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/social-distancing-in-the-workplace-during-coronavirus-covid-19-sector-guidance

    Among others, this includes guidance for:

    Manufacturing and processing businesses
    Retail
    Logistics businesses
    Transport businesses
    Waste management businesses

    Latest Announcements and Updates – 7 April

    Bank of England announces new Term Funding Scheme with incentives for SMEs to open on 15 April

    The Bank of England has announced that its new Term Funding Scheme with additional incentives for SMEs (TFSME) will open for drawings next Wednesday 15 April. The launch date is sooner than anticipated.

    The TFSME will complement the other COVID-19 response schemes announced by HM Treasury and allows banks to access four-year funding at rates very close to the Bank Rate. The Bank said that launching the scheme as soon as possible will further support SMEs’ ability to access the funding from the banking system that they need to continue to pay wages and bills.

    The aims of the TFSME are to:

    • Help reinforce the transmission of the reduction in Bank Rate to the real economy to ensure that businesses and households benefit from the MPC’s actions
    • Provide participants with a cost-effective source of funding to support additional lending to the real economy, providing insurance against adverse conditions in bank funding markets
    • Incentivise banks to provide credit to businesses and households to bridge through a period of economic disruption.
    • Provide additional incentives for banks to support lending to SMEs that typically bear the brunt of contractions in the supply of credit during periods of heightened risk aversion and economic downturns.

    Eligible participants can borrow at least 10% of their stock of real economy lending. Additional borrowing allowances are generated £1: £1 for lending to households and large corporates; and £5: £1 for lending to SMEs (i.e. SME lending attracts 5x the borrowing allowance).

    SMMT will update its Business Support Tab with more information when the scheme goes live.

    Welsh Government 2m ruling – formal guidance

    Following yesterday’s update on the Welsh Government’s new legislation on social distancing in the workplace, new formal guidance has been published:

    https://gov.wales/taking-all-reasonable-measures-maintain-physical-distancing-workplace

    The purpose of this Guidance is to help businesses and other organisations understand what kind of reasonable measures they can take to ensure that persons on their premises stay 2 metres apart. The Welsh Government has chosen to impose a legal requirement on workplaces to ensure that everything reasonable is done to minimise transmission of coronavirus. The guidance is intended to assist people in understanding what “taking all reasonable measures” means and what to do if it is not possible to maintain a distance of 2 metres in certain circumstances.

    Temporary relaxation of the enforcement of the drivers’ hours rules: all sectors carriage of goods by road

    Government has further relaxed the rules around drivers’ hours. Anyone driving under the EU drivers’ hours rules or the GB drivers’ hours rules and undertaking carriage of goods by road can use the relevant relaxation where necessary. The relaxations are not limited to specific sectors or journeys.

    These two temporary relaxations apply from 00:01 on Monday 23 March 2020 and will run until 23:59 on Tuesday 21 April 2020.

    Further guidance is available here.

    Apprenticeship Programme – updated COVID-19 guidance

    The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is implementing new measures, for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic, to make it easier for apprenticeships to continue and complete in a different way if they need to, or to break and resume an apprenticeship later when that becomes possible.

    Version 2 of their guidance has just been published. This version focuses on furloughed workers, but also contains information on pausing new funding audits, and a selection of updated FAQs.

     

    Tachograph announcement - 6 April

    On Friday 3 April the DVSA announced a relaxation on the requirement to calibrate or inspect tachographs periodically.

    Until further notice, all tachograph calibration and inspection expiry dates are extended by 3 months.

    Any faults with tachographs must still be repaired as normal, the tachograph system must function as required by the legislation, and the system is still required to be sealed in line with the requirements. Initial calibrations are to continue, and any changes to the various parameters (such are tyre size, vehicle registration, etc) will also require action as normal.

    Further guidance will be issued when available.

     

    URGENT: PPE Manufacture – support required - 5 April

    You may have seen coverage last week from a UNITE the Union and Royal College of Nursing “call to arms”  for any available manufacturing capability to be turned to the manufacture of PPE to support our front line health and social care workers. We were aware of the request and given the automotive industry’s tacit support.

    Cabinet Office has today picked up that call and asked UNITE to help coordinate by identifying those large scale manufacturers (they are seeking 10-20+) who are both willing to assist in the provision of raw materials as well as the manufacture and assembly of priority PPE and who have the capacity to reopen furloughed facilities or utilise excess capacity, even repurpose existing workload, to meet the nations needs in what are clearly unprecedented circumstances. UNITE has therefore contacted ourselves and representatives of other manufacturing sectors to help.

    Priority needs are in in the following areas:

    • Aprons,
    • Gowns
      • Sterile
      • Non-Sterile
      • Thumb-Looped
    • Coveralls/Body Suits
    • Face Masks
      • Surgical Face Masks - Type IIR
      • Respirator Face Masks - FFP3 & FFP2
    • Examination Gloves
    • Hand Sanitizer

    Government has provided the technical specifications for product below:

    The technical specifications for the PPE categories can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/technical-specifications-for-personal-protective-equipment-ppe

    The very latest OPSS guidance on health and safety requirements can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/878115/opss-covid-19-guidance-to-businesses-high-volume-manufacture-of-ppe-version-1.pdf

    At present, we do not have the design specifications currently being used by manufacturers but Government will see to obtain this.

    For the present however, if you believe your business might be in a positon to assist, I would be enormously grateful. Please send your company’s details and contact information to Jonathan Moore jmoore@smmt.co.uk

    I know that many of you are already releasing excess capacity on initiatives like the Ventilator Challenge as well as providing other facilities and equipment such as 3D printing, cad design and engineering, injection molding and laser cutting equipment as well as bringing together workers (including those furloughed) to start manufacturing PPE and other kit but Government wants to try and step up the capability urgently.

    I understand the tremendous challenges you are all facing right now, but if you can support it could make a substantial difference.

    Thank you for your urgent help and assistance in this matter.

    Kind regards

    Mike Hawes
    Chief Executive

    Government Announcements and Updates – 4 April

    www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-could-be-covered-by-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme
    www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

    Government has today issued some clarifications on the Job Retention Scheme, including:

    • More detail on eligible employers, including on companies in administration;
    • Confirming the eligibility for different types of employment relationships, including company directors, salaried members of limited liability partnerships and agency workers.
    • Confirming the position of individuals with caring responsibilities.
    • What is included in an employee’s ‘regular wages’, including clarification around benefits in kind and commission.

    Government Announcements and Updates – 3 April

    Chancellor announces changes to business support measures

    Today the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced significant changes to the business support currently on offer for business impacted by the coronavirus.

    To improve the support available, the Chancellor is extending the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS):

    • All viable small businesses affected by COVID-19, and not just those unable to secure regular commercial financing, will now be eligible should they need finance to keep operating during this difficult time;
    • The government is also stopping lenders from requesting personal guarantees for loans under £250,000; and
    • Making operational changes to speed up lending approvals;
    • The government will continue to cover the first twelve months of interest and fees.

    Government guidance on CBILS has been updated:
    https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme/

    To support the ‘stranded middle’, the new Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) will ensure that more firms are able to benefit from government-backed support. It will provide:

    • A government guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans of up to £25 million to firms with an annual turnover of between £45 million and £500 million;
    • This will give banks the confidence to lend to more businesses which are impacted by coronavirus but which they would not lend to without CLBILS;
    • Loans backed by a guarantee under CLBILS will be offered at commercial rates of interest and further details of the scheme will be announced later this month.

    Further guidance on the new CLBILS is available here:
    https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-large-business-interruption-loan-scheme/

    Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak MP, said: “We are making great progress on getting much-needed support out to businesses to help manage their cashflows during this difficult time – with millions of pounds of loans and finance being provided to hundreds of firms across the country.

    “And now I am taking further action by extending our generous loan scheme so even more businesses can benefit. We have also listened to the concerns of some larger businesses affected by COVID-19 and are announcing new support so they can benefit too.

    “This is a national effort and we’ll continue to work with the financial services sector to ensure that the £330 billion of government support, through loans and guarantees, reaches as many businesses in need as possible.

    The Chancellor will be speaking to bank Chief Executives next week to discuss how the schemes are working.

    New bus route support from the Transport Secretary

    Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced support for England’s bus routes, totalling £397 million to ensure they continue to serve those who rely on them:

    • funding will protect bus services for people who need to travel, for example to get to work or buy food;
    • new funding, totalling £167 million over 3 months, comes on top of pledge to guarantee existing £200 million investment;
    • up to another £30 million also reallocated to safeguard services.

    The package, agreed jointly with the bus industry, will keep key routes running to provide a lifeline for those who cannot work from home, including those travelling to jobs on the frontline of the UK’s fight against COVID-19, such as NHS staff.

    New funding of up to £167 million will be paid over 12 weeks under the new COVID-19 Bus Services Support Grant. As a condition of the funding, bus operators will be required to maintain necessary services at a level which is sufficient to meet much reduced demand, but also to allow adequate space between passengers on board. This is expected to be up to 50% of normal service levels.

    Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We have been very clear during the outbreak that the best way to stop the spread of the virus and protect the NHS, is to stay at home if possible.

    “Our buses are a lifeline for people who need to travel for work or to buy food – including our emergency services and NHS staff – and it’s absolutely vital we do all we can to keep the sector running.

    “This multi-million-pound investment will protect crucial local transport links across England, bolstering the sector and minimising disruption for passengers in the long term.”

    Operators will also be required to keep passengers properly informed about revised timetables to ensure that people know which services are running and when.

    The government has also promised that £200 million of existing funding under the Bus Services Operators Grant will continue to be paid as normal even though not all services may run during this time. This funding is usually paid according to fuel consumption, and so the government’s commitment to pay this on pre-COVID-19 levels will help ensure that bus companies are able to benefit despite fewer fare-paying passengers travelling.

    This is in addition to up to £30 million of extra government bus funding, originally earmarked for starting new services, which will instead be paid to local authorities to maintain existing services.

    The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said: “It’s vital people protect our NHS by staying at home during the outbreak – but we also need to ensure that doctors, nurses and other key workers, can travel to and from their jobs.

    “This funding will provide a lifeline for those on the frontline as well as those who cannot work from home.”

    Councils have also been encouraged to maintain their existing subsidies for concessionary fares to ensure that older and disabled people can still travel when they need to, for example to reach the shops, hospitals and doctors’ surgeries.

     

    Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on business support grant funding - Updated 31 March

    Guidance has been updated for local authorities, setting out details of the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF).

    The updated Guidance (Version 3) has been published with the latest information on State Aid, monitoring and reporting requirements, new annexes on state aid, Spotlight, and post payment checks, clarification of eligibility of charities.

     

    Welsh Government launches £500m Economic Resilience Fund

    The Welsh Government has launched a £500m Economic Resilience Fund aimed at plugging the gaps in the support schemes already announced by the UK Government.

    The fund will support firms of all sizes, including social enterprises, with a focus on those which have not already benefited from the coronavirus grants announced by the Welsh Government so far. It will particularly support businesses forced to temporarily cease trading, or which need cash-flow support to adapt to a remote way of working.

     

    Regulation Updates

    Temporary changes to Right to Work (RTW)

    From 30 March 2020, the Government has temporarily adjusted Right to Work checks to make it easier for employers to carry them out during the coronavirus outbreak. Until further notice, employers do not need to see original documents and can complete Right to Work checks over video calls.

    Prospective workers are now able to submit scanned documents, rather than originals, to show they have the right to work. Checks continue to be necessary and it is an offence to knowingly employ or let property to anyone who does not have legal immigration status in the UK.

    If prospective or existing employees cannot provide any of the accepted documents, employers should use the Employer Checking Service. Once the temporary changes end, employers will be asked to carry out prescribed checks on existing employees who started work during the pandemic.

    Further guidance on what this means for employers is available on GOV.UK.

     

    Coronavirus (COVID-19): temporary changes to driver CPC requirements

    The Department for Transport has published temporary changes to allow bus and lorry drivers who cannot complete compulsory CPC training to continue to drive. This means that drivers whose driver qualification card (DQC) expires in the period from 1 March 2020 to 30 September 2020 can continue driving.

    In addition, military drivers (who have different training) will be allowed to drive in civilian situations during that period.

     

    Technical Specifications for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

    Government has published technical specification documents to enable prospective new suppliers and manufacturers to understand the essential requirements. Where new suppliers have product(s) that meet these requirements, offers of support can be submitted through a smart survey.

    Prospective suppliers and manufacturers are asked to take not that the specifications reference a number of standards and legislation. The list of standards/legislation/directives is not intended to be exhaustive and any relevant standard/legislation/directive (even if not stated) must be complied with.

    Products must comply with the stated standards/legislation/directives (as amended, extended or re-enacted from time to time) and/or the relevant section within the standard/legislation/directive and/or the relevant standard within the stated suite of standards.

     

    How to offer coronavirus support from your business

    Government is seeking support on a range of products and services that it needs to aid its response to the coronavirus. Companies (manufacturers and suppliers) and individuals can submit offers of support here to tell Government how their business might be able to assist.

    The support needed includes:

    • medical testing equipment
    • medical equipment design
    • protective equipment for healthcare workers, such as masks, gowns and sanitiser
    • hotel rooms
    • transport and logistics, for moving goods or people
    • manufacturing equipment
    • warehouse or office space, for medical use or storage
    • expertise or support on IT, manufacturing, construction, project
    • management, procurement, engineering or communications
      social care or childcare

    SMMT is also working with members to feed offers of support into Government. Please contact us if you have any thoughts or an offer we can assist with.

     

    UK Insolvency Law amended - 30 March

    On Saturday, Business Secretary Ashok Sharma, announced amendments to the 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 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.

    Specialist vehicle approval tests

    On 23 March Government announced that approval tests for newly-built, rebuilt, radically-altered and imported vehicles are suspended due to coronavirus - but critical vehicles can still be tested.

    On Friday 27 March, Government updated its guidance and made the eligibility criteria for critical vehicles clearer. It also added an example of the proof you need to include with your application that the vehicle is critical to the COVID-19 response. There was a change to the email address that applications should be sent to - you do not need to resend any previous emergency applications.

    Full details here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-vehicle-approval-tests#history

    Regulations eased on hand sanitiser and PPE

    Ashok Sharma also announced that Government is easing administrative requirements and barriers to imports. By easing regulations, new suppliers and businesses that produce ingredients for hand sanitiser will be able to bring their products to market in a matter of days.

    Efforts to boost availability of essential supplies include:

    • Asking the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Local Authorities to fast-track PPE through the product safety assessment process and prioritise this activity over other market surveillance activity
    • Allowing products which lack the CE mark onto the market provided products meet essential safety requirements
    • Providing new guidance for local authorities and ports and borders enforcement officers on the import and safety testing of hand sanitiser.
    Updates: 23-27 March

    Government Announcements and Updates – 26 March

    The Chancellor of the Exchequer made an announcement and published guidance on support being made available for self-employed persons, as well as comments on the finance support package for large businesses, the COVID-19 Corporate Finance Facility. In addition to this, the Government published new guidance on how the COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme will operate. The Government also published further updated information in the form of an FAQ on business closures and those that may remain open. Self-employment Income Support Scheme The scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month. Applicants must:

    • Be self-employed or a member of partnership
    • Have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19.
    • File a tax return for 2018-19 as self-employed or a member of a trading partnership. Those who have not yet filed for 2018-19 will have an additional 4 weeks from this announcement to do so.
    • Have traded in 2019-20; be currently trading at the point of application (or would be except for COVID-19) and intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 to 2021
    • Have trading profits of less than £50,000 and more than half of your total income come from self-employment. This can be with reference to at least one of the following conditions:
      • Your trading profits and total income in 2018/19
      • Your average trading profits and total income across up to the three years between 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19.

    The Chancellor said that this measure will support 95% of people who earn most of their income as self-employed. He added that, given this support, the Government will need to look at equalising the level of national insurance contributions paid by the self-employed in future to match the contributions paid by those in employment. Guidance is available here: https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/self-employment-income-support-scheme/ Job Retention Scheme – new guidance New Guidance on how the scheme will operate: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme The guidance provides information on:

    • Who can claim
    • Employees you can claim for
    • What you can claim
    • What you’ll need to make a claim
    • How to make a claim

    COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility During his press conference Q&A, the Chancellor confirmed that Government is working with the Bank of England (BoE) to address credit ratings issues that have been raised over the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility. Essentially, they will include analysis of other evidence to allow the BoE to make its own assessment of credit viability. According to the Chancellor, guidance will be published later tonight. The existing guidance is published on the BoE website: https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/news/2020/march/the-covid-corporate-financing-facility Business Closures and Stay at Home FAQs The Government has today published an FAQ to provide further guidance on business closures and stay at home requirements. The FAQ is available here: https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/business-closures-and-stay-at-home-faqs/ Government guidance includes: To reduce social contact and help stop the spread of coronavirus, the Government has ordered certain businesses and venues to close. A list of these businesses can be found here. With the exception of these organisations, the Government has not required any other businesses to close – indeed it is important for business to carry on. Where businesses continue to open, employers should take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home. Certain jobs require people to travel to their place of work – for instance if they operate machinery, work in construction or manufacturing, or are delivering front line services. If your employees cannot work from home then they can still travel to work, provided they are well and no one in their household is self-isolating. This is consistent with advice from the Chief Medical Officer (CMO). Employers who have people in their offices or onsite should ensure that employees are able to follow Public Health England guidelines including, where possible, maintaining a 2 metre distance from others, and washing their hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds (or using hand sanitiser gel if soap and water is not available).

    Coronavirus – clarification on businesses which can remain open - 25 March

    There has been conflicting advice and communication from Government over recent days in relations to businesses which must close and those which can remain open as part of the Government measures to address the spread of Covid-19. Last night, following the SMMT webinar, we sought clarification from Government, furthermore this morning there has been more detail added to guidance list of businesses which are exceptions to the closure order.

    As set out in the section on staying at home, people can travel to and from work, but only where the work they do absolutely cannot be done from home. With the exception of the organisations covered above in the section on closing non-essential shops and public spaces, the Government has not required any other businesses to close – indeed it is important for business to carry on. Employers and employees should discuss their working arrangements, and employers should take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home, including providing suitable IT and equipment to enable remote working. Sometimes this will not be possible, as not everyone can work from home. Certain jobs require people to travel to their place of work – for instance if they operate machinery, work in construction or manufacturing, or are delivering front line services. If you cannot work from home then you can still travel to work, provided you are well and neither you nor any of your household are self-isolating. This is consistent with advice from the Chief Medical Officer. Employers who have people in their offices or onsite should ensure that employees are able to follow Public Health England guidelines including, where possible, maintaining a 2 metre distance from others, and washing their hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds (or using hand sanitiser gel if soap and water is not available). Work carried out in people’s homes, for example by tradespeople carrying out repairs and maintenance, can continue, provided that the tradesperson is well and has no symptoms. Again, it will be important to ensure that Public Health England guidelines, including maintaining a 2 metre distance from any household occupants, are followed to ensure everyone’s safety. No work should be carried out in any household which is isolating or where an individual is being shielded, unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household, such as emergency plumbing or repairs, and where the tradesperson is willing to do so. In such cases, Public Health England can provide advice to tradespeople and households. No work should be carried out by a tradesperson who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild.As set out in the section on closing non-essential shops and public spaces, the Government has ordered certain businesses and venues to close. The Government has set out guidance on which organisations this requirement covers. Advice for employees of these organisations on employment and financial support is available at gov.uk/coronavirus. At all times, workers should follow the guidance on self-isolation if they or anyone in their household shows symptoms.

    Coronavirus - updated social distancing guidance/retail definition - 24 March

    Updated social distancing guidance The government has introduced three new measures:

    1. Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes
    2. Closing non-essential shops and community spaces
    3. Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public

    Full details: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others Critical workers Travel-to-and-from work is permitted for critical workers. These are outlined here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision These include those in ‘Transport: This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.’ Retail closures The announcement includes the forced closure of all non-essential retail outlets.

    • Showrooms will be expected to close.
    • Garages can remain open.

    Given the importance of garages, however, to the continued operation of emergency and essential services, we last night sought confirmation/approval from Government that garages could indeed remain open. This is now confirmed in the attached and amended guidance. Businesses will have to make their own commercial decisions as to how to respond but there is an undoubted need – a public interest – to ensure the ongoing service, repair and MOT of emergency and essential service vehicles and the vehicles of key workers. Full details: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close We have been asked about employees in garages travelling to their workplace, this is permitted, see above section on critical workers.

    DVSA Update – Heavy Vehicle Testing - 23 March

    Following SMMT input, DVSA has announced the suspension of heavy vehicle testing for 3 months, with immediate effect, invoking Clause 13, Force Majeure, of the contract between DVSA and the Authorised Testing Facilities where these tests are carried out.
    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-mots-for-lorries-buses-and-trailers From 21 March all HGVs, trailers and PSVs with an annual test to expire in a particular month will be issued with a 3-month certificate of exemption (CTE) until further notice. DVSA wants to ensure that all heavy vehicles and trailers remain legal whilst the country deals with the COVID-19 outbreak. So DVSA will be implementing the provisions within the Plating and Testing Regulations and Motor Vehicle Test Regulations which provide for HGVs, trailers and PSVs to be exempted from the annual roadworthiness test. Paper certificates will not be re-issued for HGVs, trailers and PSVs but DVSA will amend the digital record so that vehicles can continue to operate. DVSA will be issuing further guidance in due course regarding the exemption process. The DVSA has highlighted that it recognises that the annual test is an important part of your business but, these are exceptional circumstances. DVSA will refund all reservation fees for events scheduled from 21 March 2020. Until notified you don’t need to ask us for additional testing capacity while exemptions are being issued. DVSA will issue further information as it becomes available to update on how it will deal with the quarterly booking process.

    Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

    The British Business Bank has confirmed that the CBILS is now available through participating lenders. The Scheme 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. Full details are available at: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/

    Publishing Preliminary Financial Statements

    On Saturday (21 March) the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) reported it has written to companies it was aware were intending to publish preliminary financial statements in the next few days to delay their planned publications. The FCA requested all listed companies observe a moratorium on the publication of preliminary financial statements for at least two weeks.
    The FCA confirmed it was in talks with the Financial Reporting Council and the Prudential Regulation Authority about a package of measures aimed at ensuring companies take the necessary time to prepare appropriate disclosures and address current practical challenges. The three bodies intend to announce details shortly.
    Updates: 16-20 March

    DVSA Guidance on Drivers’ Hours Relaxations - 20 March

    Emergency relaxations
    Both the GB and EU drivers’ hours rules automatically cease to apply in emergency situations where immediate preventative action is needed to avoid, amongst other things, danger to the life or health of people. The definition of an emergency is contained in domestic legislation (The Drivers’ Hours (Goods Vehicles) (Exemptions) Regulations 1986 and the Drivers’ Hours (Passenger Vehicles) (Exemptions) Regulations 1970).
    The department’s advice about emergency situations is if your journey is necessary to enable someone to:
    1. provide goods or services to protect public health, and/or
    2. meet their or others’ basic needs for day to day living, and/or
    3. provide medical treatment
    and there is a risk of danger to the life or health of people if your journey is not carried out; then you should make use of the emergency exemption.
    Operators do not need to ask the department for a temporary ‘urgent’ exemption for these type of journeys. The emergency exemptions cease to apply once the situation is under control and there is no longer a need for immediate preventative action.
    Existing drivers’ hours relaxations
    Four temporary relaxations of enforcement of drivers’ hours are currently in place:
    If the above goods form part of a mixed load, the relaxations may be applied, provided the purpose of the relaxation is at least a substantial part of the transport.

    Department for International Trade (DIT) COVID-19 Guidance

    DIT has published guidance to advise UK businesses on:
    • DIT support for UK business trading internationally
    • financial support for business trading internationally
    This guidance covers:
    • DIT support for UK businesses trading internationally
      • Supply chains affected by coronavirus (COVID-19)
      • International support for businesses involved in overseas projects
    • Financial support for British businesses trading internationally

     

    Chancellor’s announcement – 20 March

    In a further announcement, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has introduced a number of significant measures, as well as strengthening others already announced, to support UK workers. [this will be updated with relevant links when possible]. Job Retention The Government will be setting up new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Details include:

    • Any employer will be eligible to apply for the Scheme.
    • The Scheme will cover 80% of a worker’s salary, up to £2,500 a month.
      • Employers can top up salaries of workers if they want to.
    • The Scheme will be backdated to 1 March 2020.
    • The Scheme will be open for three months and last longer if needed.
    • There will be no limit to amount of money available for the Scheme.
    • The Government expects first grants to be paid in weeks and for the Scheme to be up and running by the end of April.
    • Employers can contact HMRC to cover most of the wages of people who are not working.
    • A major advertising campaign covering all the measures available to businesses will be running soon and businesses are asked to consider all the measures available before considering making any redundancies.

    Business Interruption Loan Scheme The Government announced that the Scheme will now be interest free for 12 months and that loans will be available from Monday. Tax and Benefit Support For the self-employed:

    • The Government will be suspending the minimum income floor, meaning that the self-employed can access Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to statutory sick pay for employees.

    For others:

    • The next quarter of VAT payments will be deferred until June.
    • The Government will be increasing the Universal Credit standard allowance by £1000.
    • The Government will increase the working tax credit basic element by £1000.

    For renters:

    • The Government announced an additional £1 billion support for renters, to ensure that the local housing allowance will cover at least 30% of the cost of rents in a tenants’ area.

    Guidance on critical workers list – 20 March This morning, Government published guidance on critical workers eligible to continue to send their children to school - Guidance for schools, colleges and local authorities on maintaining educational provision. Further information is available on GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision The list is quite broad, but limited in its definitions. Importantly, if workers think they fall within the critical categories (see below) they should confirm with their employer that, based on their business continuity arrangements, their specific role is necessary for the continuation of this essential public service. A summary of the categories, and those most we believe are most relevant to automotive businesses (underlined), are provided below (N.B. this list is not exhaustive): Health and social care This includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributers of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment. Education and childcare This includes nursery and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach. Key public services This includes those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting. Local and national government This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response or delivering essential public services such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms-length bodies. Food and other necessary goods This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines). Public safety and national security This includes police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic), fire and rescue service employees (including support staff), National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas. Transport This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass. Utilities, communication and financial services This includes staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure), the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage), information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response, as well as key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors. If your school is closed then please contact your local authority, who will seek to redirect you to a local school in your area that your child, or children, can attend.

    Business Rates Relief – 19 March

    Following the announcement made by the Chancellor on 17 March on a business rates holiday, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has released guidance to support local authorities in administering the business rates expanded retail discount. The guidance applies to England only. This relief will apply to occupied retail, leisure and hospitality properties in the year 2020/21. There will be no rateable value limit on the relief. As for the automotive industry, the following property types will also have no rateable value limit on the relief:

    • Car/caravan show rooms
    • Second hand car lots
    • Petrol stations
    • Car hire

    The list set out above is not intended to be exhaustive. The local authorities will use their discretionary relief powers, under section 47 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 to grant relief. It will be for individual local billing authorities to adopt a local scheme and determine in each individual case when, having regard to this guidance. The guidance is available here.

    Chancellor’s announcement – 17 March

    Less than a week after delivering his first Budget Statement, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak MP, made a further economic update in light of the rapid escalation of the Government's and UK's efforts to tackle the coronavirus, COVID-19. Please find below a summary of his update. The Chancellor made a further statement in the House of Commons later that evening.

    • £330bn extra in government backed guarantees – equivalent to 15% of GDP
    • New lending to be made available for large businesses from Bank of England
    • Business interruption loan scheme for SMEs now increased to up to £5m per loan, with no interest payable in first 6 months
    • A package of measures for airlines and airports will be introduced in coming days
    • The hospitality, retail and leisure sector received additional support:
      • Cash grants per business, up to £25k (for those with rateable value of <£51k) and whose insurance does not cover them for closure under a pandemic
      • Business rates holiday (12 months) for any business in these sectors, regardless of rateable value
    • For individuals:
      • Agreed with all lenders a 3-month mortgage holiday for homeowners impacted by the coronavirus
    • Will develop a new package of support measures in collaboration with businesses and unions, including looking at potential short-working time measures and where regulatory relaxation can be used to help businesses

    N.B. SMMT has sought clarification from HMT and BEIS on whether a dealership is covered under the Government’s working definition of retail or not. Further advice will be provided in due course.


  • In response to the COVID-19 situation, UK Government has set out a range of measures to support public services, people and businesses through the disruption caused by the coronavirus.

    All of these measures can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support

    Government has also launched a Coronavirus Business Support Finder: https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder

    There is also a Government FAQ available at: https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/faqs/

    Please find below details and links to the variety of measures published, which will be of most help to UK automotive businesses and associated supply chains. This support covers:

    • Employment Support
    • Business Finance
    • Tax Relief
    • Support for Exporters
    • Business support for companies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (information relevant to devolved business matters)

    UK Government’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) action plan
    For more information on the Government’s whole of UK approach – and what it plans to do – to tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, it has published its Action Plan here:
    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-action-plan

    Employment Support

    Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

    Scheme extended to October, with more flexibility being introduced, but greater employer contribution required (announced 29 May): https://www.gov.uk/government/news/chancellor-extends-self-employment-support-scheme-and-confirms-furlough-next-steps

    Terms of extension:

    • In June and July, the scheme will continue as normal – Government providing 80% of an employee’s salary up to maximum of £2,500 per month
    • In August the Government will continue to cover 80%, but employers will be required to cover National Insurance and pension contributions
    • In September, the Government contribution will decrease to 70%, with employers required to pay 10%
    • In October, the Government contribution will decrease to 60%, with employers required to pay 20%
    • From 1 July (a month earlier than previously announced), the CJRS will become more flexible. Individual firms will decide the hours and shift patterns their employees will work on their return, so that they can decide on the best approach for them - and will be responsible for paying their wages while in work. e.g. an employee can be brought back to work for 2 days, with the employer paying for those, then furloughed for 3 days, with CJRS covering those
    • When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours; employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week, for grants to be calculated accurately across working patterns

    N.B. In order for the new “flexible” CJRS to come online, claims from July onwards will be restricted to employers currently using the scheme and previously furloughed employees. The scheme will close to new entrants on 30 June, with the last three-week furloughs before that point commencing on 10 June.

    Eligibility:

    All UK employers will be able to access this support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.

    How to access the scheme

    Your business will need to:

    • designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change - changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation
    • submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC will set out further details on the information required)

     

    Self-employment Income Support Scheme

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme

    The scheme has been extended, with a further application period to open in August.

    The Government will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 70% (down from the original 80% at the scheme’s launch) of their profits. It will cover 3 months’ payment up to a cap of £6,570. Applicants must:

    • Be self-employed or a member of partnership.
    • Have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19.
    • File a tax return for 2018-19 as self-employed or a member of a trading partnership. Those who have not yet filed for 2018-19 will have an additional 4 weeks from this announcement to do so.
    • Have traded in 2019-20; be currently trading at the point of application (or would be except for COVID-19) and intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 to 2021
    • Have trading profits of less than £50,000 and more than half of your total income come from self-employment. This can be with reference to at least one of the following conditions:
      • Your trading profits and total income in 2018/19
      • Your average trading profits and total income across up to the three years between 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19.

    How to access the scheme
    As per the original scheme, applicants will be able to apply for the SEISS in August. You do not have to have applied for the original grant to be eligible for the new period.

    HMRC will use existing information to check potential eligibility and invite applications once the scheme is operational. HMRC will then pay the grant directly to eligible claimants’ bank account.

    For eligible individuals who have not submitted their returns for 2018-19, they will have 4 weeks’ notice from the date of the announcement to file their returns and therefore become eligible for this scheme.

    Statutory Sick Pay relief package for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs)

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-back-statutory-sick-pay-paid-to-employees-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19

    Support for SMEs to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19.

    The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:
    • your business is UK based
    • this refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19
    • employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible - the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020
    • employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19
    • employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note. If evidence is required by an employer, those with symptoms of coronavirus can get an isolation note from NHS 111 online and those who live with someone that has symptoms can get a note from the NHS website
    • eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of SSP to those staying at home comes into force
    • the government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible

    How to access the scheme
    A rebate scheme is being developed. Further details will be provided in due course once the legalisation has passed.

     

    Additional Health & Safety Guidance

    ACAS (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) has published information for employees and employers, including simple steps to help protect the health and safety of staff.

    Business Finance

    *new* Bounce Back Loan Scheme (launches on 4 May)

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-a-coronavirus-bounce-back-loan

    Introduced 27 April

    The Bounce Back Loan scheme will help small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. The government will guarantee 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months.

    Loan terms will be up to 6 years. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months. The government will work with lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan. The scheme will be delivered through a network of accredited lenders.

    Eligibility
    You can apply for a loan if your business:

    • is based in the UK
    • has been negatively affected by coronavirus
    • was not an ‘undertaking in difficulty’ on 31 December 2019

    The following businesses are not eligible to apply:

    • banks, insurers and reinsurers (but not insurance brokers)
    • public-sector bodies
    • further-education establishments, if they are grant-funded
    • state-funded primary and secondary schools

    You cannot apply if you’re already claiming under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

    If you’ve already received a loan of up to £50,000 under CBILS and would like to transfer it into the Bounce Back Loan scheme, you can arrange this with your lender until 4 November 2020.

    How to apply
    The Bounce Back Loan scheme will launch on 4 May 2020.
    More information about the scheme will be published shortly.

    Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (ACTIVE)

    Guidance update 3 April

    This Scheme, operated through the British Business Bank, supports SMEs with access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million and for up to 6 years.There are 40 accredited lenders able to offer the scheme, including all the major banks.

    Eligibility

    • Be UK-based in its business activity
    • Have an annual turnover of no more than £45 million
    • Have a borrowing proposal which the lender:
      • would consider viable, were it not for the COVID-19 pandemic
      • believes will enable you to trade out of any short-term to medium-term difficulty

    How to access the scheme

    • The scheme is now open for applications.
    • To apply, you should talk to your bank or one of the 40 accredited finance providers (not the British Business Bank) to discuss your business plan.
    • Personal guarantees are not required to secure lending below £250,000.
    • For any borrowing above £250,000 personal guarantees will be capped at 20% of the outstanding value of the loan, as the
    • Government is providing the guarantee for the remaining 80% of the finance.
    • This will apply to all customers that have secured a loan under the scheme since its launch on 23rd March.

    Full rules of the scheme and the list of accredited lenders are available on the British Business Bank website.

    • To Note:
      • The new scheme will support a wide range of businesses to access finance products including short term loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and assets finances.
      • Facilities backed by a guarantee under CLBILS will be offered at commercial rates of interest.
      • Businesses remain responsible for repaying any facility they may takeout.
      • Given there is likely to be a big demand for facilities, businesses should consider applying via the lender’s website in the first instance.
      • Telephone lines are likely to be busy and branches may have limited capacity to handle enquiries due to social distancing.

     

    Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme

    New Scheme, published 18 April

    The new Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) will provide a government guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans of up to £25m to all viable businesses with turnover of more than £45 million per year. Firms with a turnover of more than £250 million will be able to apply for up to £50 million of finance.

    The scheme will be delivered through commercial lenders, backed by the British Business Bank. The Government will provide lenders with an 80% guarantee on individual loans for businesses that would be otherwise unable to access the finance they need.

    Eligibility

    Your business must:

    • Be UK-based in its business activity
    • Have an annual turnover of over £45 million
    • Be unable to secure regular commercial financing
    • Have a borrowing proposal which the lender:
      • would consider viable, were it not for the COVID-19 pandemic
      • believes will enable you to trade out of any short-term to medium-term difficulty

    How to access the scheme
    The new scheme will launch later this month and will be available through a range of accredited lenders, which will be listed on the British Business Bank website.

    Once the scheme has launched, there is likely to be a big demand for facilities, businesses should consider applying via the lender’s website in the first instance. Telephone lines are likely to be busy and branches may have limited capacity to handle enquiries due to social distancing.

    COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility (ACTIVE)

    https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/covid-19-corporate-financing-facility/

    For larger firms - a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans.

    All non-financial companies that meet the criteria set out on the Bank of England’s website are eligible.

    How to access the scheme
    More information is available from the Bank of England.

     

    Coronavirus Future Fund (launches in May 2020)

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/future-fund

    The Future Fund will provide government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors. These convertible loans may be a suitable option for businesses that rely on equity investment and are unable to access the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

    The scheme will be delivered in partnership with the British Business Bank.

    The headline terms set out the main features expected to apply to the loans.

    Eligibility
    You’re eligible if your business:

    • is based in the UK
    • can attract the equivalent match funding from third-party private investors and institutions
    • has previously raised at least £250,000 in equity investment from third-party investors in the last 5 years

    Full eligibility criteria will be published shortly.

    How to apply
    The Future Fund will launch in May 2020. Further details about this scheme will be published shortly.

    Small business grant funding
    [see also Business Rates under Tax Relief]

     

    The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme provides businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.

    Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of £15,000 and under will receive a grant of £10,000.

    Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.

    Eligibility
    You are eligible for the grant if:

    • your business is based in England
    • your business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector

    Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied hereditaments that are wholly or mainly being used:

    • as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
    • for assembly and leisure
    • as hotels, guest and boarding premises and self-catering accommodation

    How to access the scheme
    You do not need to do anything. Your local authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant.

    Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs and grants should be directed to the relevant local authority. Find your local authority.

    Tax Relief

    Deferring VAT and Income Tax payments

    VAT
    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/deferral-of-vat-payments-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19

    The deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.

    Eligibility
    All UK businesses are eligible.

    How to access the scheme
    This is an automatic offer with no applications required. Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period. Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020 to 2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.

    Customers who normally pay by direct debit should cancel their direct debit with their bank if they are unable to pay. Please do so in sufficient time so that HMRC do not attempt to automatically collect on receipt of your VAT return.

    Income Tax

    https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/deferral-of-self-assessment-payment/

    For the self-employed, Income Tax payments due on 31 July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system may be deferred until January 2021.

    Eligibility
    If you are self-employed you are eligible.

    How to access the scheme
    This is an automatic offer with no applications required. No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged if you defer payment until January 2021

    Business Rates - 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure businesses in England

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-your-retail-hospitality-or-leisure-business-is-eligible-for-business-rates-relief-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19

    Government will introduce a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

    Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019 to 2020 tax year will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible.

    Eligibility
    You are eligible for the business rates holiday if:

    • your business is based in England
    • your business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector

    As far as the automotive industry is concerned, properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied hereditaments that are wholly or mainly being used as/for:

    • Car/caravan show rooms
    • Second hand car lots
    • Petrol stations
    • Car hire

    How to access the scheme
    There is no action for you. This will apply to your next council tax bill in April 2020. However, local authorities may have to reissue your bill automatically to exclude the business rate charge. They will do this as soon as possible.

    You can estimate the business rate charge you will no longer have to pay this year using the business rates calculator.

    HMRC ‘Time To Pay’ Scheme

    https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/time-to-pay/

    All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through this service.

    These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.

    Eligibility
    You are eligible if your business:

    • pays tax to the UK government
    • has outstanding tax liabilities
    How to access the scheme
    If you have missed a tax payment or you might miss your next payment due to COVID-19, please call HMRC’s dedicated helpline: 0800 0159 559. If you’re worried about a future payment, please call HMRC nearer the time.
    Support for Exporters

    Department for International Trade (DIT) COVID-19 Guidance

     

    • DIT has published guidance to advise UK businesses on:
    • DIT support for UK business trading internationally
      financial support for business trading internationally

    Full details are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-uk-businesses/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-uk-businesses-trading-internationally

    This guidance covers:

    • DIT support for UK businesses trading internationally
      • Supply chains affected by coronavirus (COVID-19)
      • International support for businesses involved in overseas projects
    • Financial support for British businesses trading internationally
      • Financial support for exporters
      • International business travel
      • DIT coronavirus (COVID-19) business support contacts
      • COVID19@trade.gov.uk
      • Contact your local embassy

    UK Export Finance (UKEF)

    Export Working Capital Scheme
    Helps UK exporters access working capital finance for specific export-related contracts. UK Export Finance can provide partial guarantees covering up to 80% of the risk to lenders to cover the credit risks associated with export working capital facilities both pre- and post-shipment.

    There is no minimum or maximum value for the working capital facility.

    Further guidance: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/export-working-capital-scheme-overview-and-how-to-apply

    UK Export Finance - export insurance policy
    Can help exporters manage risks in challenging markets, ensuring that they get paid even where the private market is not able to offer insurance.

    The Export Insurance Policy offers cover against the risk of:

    • not being paid under an export contract
    • not being able to recover the costs of performing that contract because of certain events which prevent its performance or lead to its termination

    Further guidance: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/export-insurance-policy

    Support for overseas buyers to continue buying from UK suppliers

    Under the Direct Lending Facility, UK Export Finance (UKEF) provides loans within an overall limit of £3 billion to overseas buyers, allowing them to finance the purchase of capital goods and/or services from UK exporters.

    The loans it provides for each transaction can be made in up to 8 currencies, with a value limit of £200 million (although more flexibility may be offered in limited circumstances).

    The funding provided is at a fixed rate of interest, based on the applicable Commercial Interest Reference Rate (CIRR) set by the OECD, or the cost of UK Government funds (National Loans Fund rates) if higher.

    Further guidance: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/direct-lending-scheme

    Support for businesses in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

    Because some elements of business support are devolved, the measures available may differ if your business is in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

    Businesses in Scotland
    View the latest guidance on coronavirus for businesses in Scotland.

    Businesses in Wales
    View the latest guidance on coronavirus for businesses in Wales.

    Businesses in Northern Ireland
    View the latest guidance on coronavirus for businesses in Northern Ireland.


  • For more information on how SMMT is supporting the industry click here. If you have any questions or queries please email covid19@smmt.co.uk

    Previous webinars

    Thursday 24th September, 10:00 – 10:45

    New measures to slow the rate of COVID infection are due to be announced by the Prime Minister this afternoon and this evening. Join us at a special SMMT COVID-19 webinar on Thursday 24 September, from 10:00 to 10:45, to go through what is announced and what it means for the automotive sector and your business.

    Speakers:
    Yung Tran, Director of member services and business development, SMMT
    Andrew Harries, Government Affairs Manager, SMMT

    LISTEN HERE

    Thursday 30th July, 15:00 – 16:00 GMT

    Join us for our next webinar on the effects of the COVID-19 crisis and beyond on the automotive sector. Mike Hawes will be joined by Ian Henry of AutoAnalysis and SMMT’s Senior Economist, Matt Croucher. Ian will be delivering his mid-year production outlook report and Matt will be providing an economic and market update.

    Speakers:
    Mike Hawes, Chief Executive, SMMT
    Andrew Harries, Government Affairs Manager, SMMT
    Matt Croucher, Senior Economist, SMMT
    Ian Henry, Managing Director, AutoAnalysis

    LISTEN HERE

    Tuesday 14th July, 15:00 – 16:00 GMT

    Join us for our next webinar on the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on the automotive sector. Mike Hawes will be joined by PwC who will be explaining the results of their European supply chain survey.

    Speakers:
    Mike Hawes, Chief Executive, SMMT
    Andrew Harries, Government Affairs Manager, SMMT
    Raimund Wolf, PWC

    LISTEN HERE

    Tuesday 30th June, 15:00 – 16:00 GMT

    Join us for our next webinar on the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on the automotive sector. Mike Hawes will be joined by Mick Flanagan and Ray Tate of Adient who will be telling us about the challenges they’ve faced during the pandemic.

    Speakers:
    Mike Hawes, Chief Executive, SMMT
    Andrew Harries, Government Affairs Manager, SMMT
    Mick Flanagan, Vice President, Adient
    Ray Tate, Plant Manager, Sunderland JIT Operations, Adient

    LISTEN HERE

    Tuesday 16th June, 15:00 – 16:00 GMT

    Join us for our next webinar on the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on the automotive sector. Mike Hawes will be joined by Brennan Gourdie of Leyland Trucks and John Keefe of Getlink who will be telling us about the challenges they’ve faced during the pandemic.

    Speakers:
    Mike Hawes, Chief Executive, SMMT
    Andrew Harries, Government Affairs Manager, SMMT
    Brennan Gourdie, Managing Director, Leyland Trucks
    John Keefe, Director of Public Affairs, Eurotunnel

    LISTEN HERE

    Tuesday 9th June, 15:00 – 16:00 GMT

    Join us for our next webinar on the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on the automotive sector. Mike Hawes will be joined by Paul Dowell of RSM. RSM are one of the largest audit, tax and consulting firms across the world with representation in 120 countries and a team of around 43,000 people. Paul Dowell is a Director within RSM’s Consultancy team and has specialised in improving the productivity of manufacturing businesses for more than 20 years.

    Paul will outline some strategies to cope with:
    • a sudden uplift in demand
    • growing capacity without committing to long term investment
    • maximising throughput with reduced staffing and
    • achieving a restart at pace.

    Speakers:
    Mike Hawes, Chief Executive, SMMT
    Andrew Harries, Government Affairs Manager, SMMT
    Paul Dowell, Director, RSM

    LISTEN HERE

    Tuesday 2nd June, 15:00 – 16:00 GMT

    Join us for our next webinar on the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on the automotive sector. We will be joined by Andy Hamilton, CEO of Euro Car Parts. Find out from Andy how the largest car parts distributor has kept complicated warehouse and logistics operations going through COVID to ensure vehicles can keep moving safely on our roads

    Speakers:
    Mike Hawes, Chief Executive, SMMT
    Andrew Harries, Government Affairs Manager, SMMT
    Andy Hamilton, CEO, Euro Car Parts

    LISTEN HERE

    Tuesday 26th May, 15:00 – 16:00 GMT

    Join us for our next webinar on the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on the automotive sector. We will be joined by David Soden from Deloitte and Stephen Pegge from UK Finance.

    Topics will include:
    • Corporate insolvency bill
    • Access to finance

    Speakers:
    Mike Hawes, Chief Executive, SMMT
    Andrew Harries, Government Affairs Manager, SMMT
    David Soden, Partner, Deloitte
    Stephen Pegge, Managing Director, Commercial Finance, UK Finance

    LISTEN HERE

    Tuesday 19th May, 15:00 – 16:00 GMT

    Join us for our next webinar on the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on the automotive sector. We will be joined by guests from Industry Forum and will be talking about post-COVID vertical startup.

    Topics will include:
    • Total productive Management (TPM)
    • Early management
    • Reverse Fishbone technique

    Speakers:

    • Mike Hawes, Chief Executive, SMMT
    • Jennifer Pheasey, Head of Policy, SMMT
    • Simon Carr, General Manager, Industry Forum

    LISTEN HERE

    Tuesday 12th May, 15:00 – 16:00 GMT

    Join us for our next webinar on the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on the automotive sector. We will be joined by guests from Grant Thornton and will be talking about alternate liquidity options for your business plan.

    Topics will include:
    • Business planning
    • Business Viability
    • Practical Steps

    Speakers:

    • Mike Hawes, Chief Executive, SMMT
    • Jennifer Pheasey, Head of Policy, SMMT
    • Eddie Williams, Grant Thornton LLP
    • Oliver Bridge, Grant Thornton LLP
    • Owen Edwards, Grant Thornton LLP

    LISTEN HERE

    Tuesday 5th May, 15:00 – 16:00 GMT

    Join SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes and guests from Squire Patton Boggs to explore COVID-19 and offer practical advice to the automotive sector.

    Topics will include:
    • How to restart and ramp up
    • What to do on the shop floor
    • Update from SMMT

    Speakers:

    • Mike Hawes, Chief Executive, SMMT
    • Jennifer Pheasey, Head of Policy, SMMT
    • Guests from Squire Patton Boggs

    LISTEN HERE

    Tuesday 28th April, 15:00 – 16:00 GMT

    Join SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes and PWC, to explore restart following COVID-19.

    Topics will include:
    • Restart across the industry
    • Finance and Furlough
    • Update from SMMT

    Speakers:

    • Mike Hawes, Chief Executive, SMMT
    • Jennifer Pheasey, Head of Policy, SMMT
    • Cara Haffey, Automotive and Manufacturing Leader, PwC United Kingdom
    • Mark Couttie, Strategy& Automotive Partner, PwC United Kingdom

    LISTEN HERE

    Tuesday 22nd April , 15:00 – 16:00 GMT

    Join SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes, to explore restart following COVID-19.

    Topics will include:
    • Restart across the industry
    • Finance and Furlough
    • Update from SMMT

    Speakers:

    • Mike Hawes, Chief Executive, SMMT
    • Jennifer Pheasey, Head of Policy, SMMT
    • James Nicholson, UK Automotive Strategy Leader, Ernst & Young LLP

    LISTEN HERE

    Wednesday 15th April , 15:00 – 16:00 GMT

    Join SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes, to explore COVID-19 and the impact on the automotive sector.

    Topics will include:
    • Access to finance
    • SMEs, the stranded middle, and large businesses
    • CBIL and CCFF
    • Update from SMMT

    Speakers:

    • Mike Hawes, Chief Executive, SMMT
    • Jennifer Pheasey, Head of Policy, SMMT
    • Richard Hill, NatWest
    • Martin Chitty, Gowling WLG

    LISTEN HERE

    Tuesday 7 April, 15:00 – 16:00 GMT

    Join SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes, to explore COVID-19 and the impact on the automotive sector.

    Topics will include:
    • Access to finance
    • SMEs, the stranded middle, and large businesses
    • CBIL and CCFF

    Speakers:

    • Mike Hawes, Chief Executive, SMMT
    • Jennifer Pheasey, Head of Policy, SMMT
    • Jennifer Tankard, Principal, Commercial Finance and Invoice Finance and Asset Based Lending, UK Finance

    LISTEN HERE

    Tuesday 31 March 2020

    SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes and guests from Squire Patton Boggs and the Treasury to explore COVID-19 and the impact on the automotive sector.

    Topics included:

    • People and business protection
    • SMMT asks and input to government and stakeholders
    • Current legislation for critical vehicles
    • Questions and concerns from members

    Speakers:

    • Mike Hawes, Chief Executive, SMMT
    • Jennifer Pheasey, Head of Policy, SMMT
    • Matthew Kirk, International Affairs Advisor, Squire Patton Boggs
    • Charlie Frost, Employment Partner, Squire Patton Boggs
    • Ben Kerry, Labour Market Policy, HMT

    LISTEN HERE

    Tuesday 24 March 2020, 15:00 – 16:00 GMT

    SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes and UK Finance to explore COVID-19 and the impact on the automotive sector.

    Topics included:

    • People and business protection
    • SMMT asks and input to government and stakeholders
    • The Business Interruption Loan Scheme
    • Cash grants for small business
    • Business rate relief
    • Questions and concerns from members

    Speakers:

    • Mike Hawes, Chief Executive, SMMT
    • Jennifer Tankard, Principal, Commercial Finance and Invoice Finance and Asset Based Lending, UK Finance
    • Hannah Boardman, Deputy Director, Automotive Unit, Department Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
    • Jennifer Pheasey, Head of Policy, SMMT

    LISTEN HERE

    This recording has been edited to reflect the latest government guidance

  • Ventilator manufacturing request

    The Government is seeking manufacturing industries to support the foreseen demand for extra ventilators through utilising spare capacity or other facilities and skills.

    The Government has launched a portal for the registration of offers of help, which can be found here: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/L5B32S/

    PPE Manufacturing Request

    The UK’s NHS and social care sectors have an unprecedented requirement for PPE equipment. There has already been an incredible response from the business community to offer help, but more support is needed. Due to the high levels of demand and the significant offers from business to date, the government is focusing on those firms able to provide large quantities of PPE equipment.

    The PPE equipment in greatest demand is:

    • materials (gowns, body bags)
    • masks
    • eye protection
    • gloves

    If you think your business can help in the large volume production of any of these items, please follow these steps :

    1. Understand the technical and regulatory standards
    The manufacture of PPE is governed by product safety legislation. These regulations have been changed to assist the accelerated delivery of PPE, but they must be met.
    Read the official technical specifications

    2. Understand the health and safety requirements
    The Office for Product Safety and Standards has produced new guidance for businesses changing their processes to make high volumes of PPE to protect users from COVID-19.
    Read the guidance for business

    3. Tell the cabinet office how you can help
    The government have created an online form to make it simple for businesses to highlight where they can help.
    Offer your help

  • The following guidance for automotive businesses is reviewed and updated regularly, but for the most up-to-date information, visit the government website at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

    Vehicle movements

    Vehicle sales and vehicle movement during coronavirus – FAQ

    The present restrictions as a result of Coronavirus / COVID-19 have led to some uncertainty about the types of activity that remain permissible to automotive businesses. This FAQ, which is drawn from guidance developed by the FLA, BVRLA and SMMT, reflects Government advice as at 15 April 2020, and is intended to clarify the requirements that apply on vehicle and parts collections, delivery and distribution.

    Can I deliver/collect vehicles and parts?

    Yes, subject to observing strict Coronavirus / COVID-19 precautions, the collection, delivery and distribution of vehicles and parts, including from dealerships and auction houses, remains permitted, especially so for key workers.

    In addition, vehicles and parts may still be collected, delivered and distributed to and from customers and businesses, including in regard to the sale of vehicles and parts, especially so for key workers.

    Can I operate a ‘click and collect’ service for vehicle sales?

    No. Offering ‘click and collect’ from a showroom i.e. the customer doing the collecting, would breach the Government’s measures on retail closures as the retail side of the dealership must remain closed. In addition, offering for the customer to collect from somewhere else may fall outside the Government’s guidelines for what is an essential journey.

    What businesses are allowed to stay open?

    The specified businesses and venues required to remain closed under the Government’s coronavirus measures are set out here and include all retail venues (subject to certain exceptions, e.g. groceries).

    For automotive, the exceptions include car garages and MOT services, vehicle rental services and – importantly – storage and distribution facilities.

    In its social distancing guidance, the Government says that employers and employees should discuss their working arrangements. It recognises that certain jobs require people to travel to, from and for their work – which clearly applies to the collection, delivery and distribution of vehicles and parts.

    It is important to note, that the Government guidance says that, if you cannot work from home, you can still travel for work purposes, provided you are not showing coronavirus symptoms and neither you nor any of your household are self-isolating. This is consistent with advice from the Chief Medical Officer.

    Can I sell vehicles and parts?

    Remote sales (e.g. via website or phone orders) are permitted. However, the business of vehicle and parts sales from showrooms, and the carrying on of auctions (except for on-line activities) are prohibited.

    Can I deliver/collect vehicles and parts?

    Yes, subject to observing strict Coronavirus / COVID-19 precautions, the collection, delivery and distribution of vehicles and parts, including from dealerships and auction houses, remains permitted, especially so for key workers.

    In addition, vehicles and parts may still be collected, delivered and distributed to and from customers and businesses, including in regard to the sale of vehicles and parts, especially so for key workers.

    What measures do I need to take to enable me to deliver/collect vehicles and parts?

    Consistent with Government guidelines, on vehicle and parts delivery and collection, it is recommended that businesses and their agents:

    • take a risk-based approach based on the level of human contact associated with the type of collection or delivery; and
    • seek the use of alternative vehicle storage arrangements where possible.

    The following recommends specific guidance businesses and agents should consider in vehicle and parts collection, distribution and delivery.

    1. Set a clear policy on social distancing and staff protection measures

    Businesses should implement and communicate a clear policy which sets out rules designed to protect their staff when collecting or delivering vehicles and parts. This should include:

    • Doorstep social distancing – keeping at least two metres away from members of the public. Staff should be advised how this can be adhered to if the customer is required to sign to confirm the vehicle or parts have been collected or delivered.
    • Protective clothing - any required use, such as gloves.
    • Advance communications - ensuring that there has been communication with the customer prior to the vehicle or parts being collected or delivered, advising of how the agent will conduct themselves in a way that presents no risk, and understanding whether or not the customer has self-isolated because they have coronavirus symptoms. For example:
      • The agent will call the customer to advise they have arrived rather than approach the door.
      • Both the customer and the agent will be required to hand wash / sanitise.
      • The agent will expect the customer to place the keys and all paperwork in the vehicle (preferably in an envelope) only when the agent has arrived.
      • The customer should not be asked to sign anything, but it might be possible for an agent to record (on body worn cameras or a telephone) the consent of the customer to take the vehicle or to acknowledge any damage.

    2. Check insurance cover

    Agents are often required to transport and drive vehicles that are owned by other businesses. This requires the agent to hold a special type of insurance to cover this type of activity. As COVID-19 presents a significant health risk to agents, the cover they have might not be satisfactory in the current circumstances. Businesses and agents should check that if activity continues throughout the crisis that the insurance policy remains sufficient. The Association of British Insurers provides guidance here.

    3. Prior communication between business and agent

    Businesses should provide as much detailed information about each case as they can to ensure agents are aware of the risk. This should outline any reasons why there would be an increased risk of customer contact. Agents should not undertake any collections or deliveries without first risk assessing each case.

    4. Risk assessment

    There are numerous reasons why an agent would be appointed to collect or deliver a vehicle or parts. Each type of collection or delivery comes with varying levels of customer and public engagement depending on the type of collection or delivery and the geographical location and setting where the vehicle or parts are being collected from or delivered to. The following factors should be considered:

    i. Collection and delivery types

    Businesses and agents should consider risk assessing each case for collections and deliveries. For example, where the customer may have come to the end of a lease or finance agreement and is handing back the vehicle, a vehicle or parts are being delivered, or for any other reason where the collection or delivery is consensual.

    ii. Geographical location and setting

    The area the vehicle or parts are being collected from or delivered to should be risk assessed in advance. Where locations have high population density, and reduced access to the vehicle, parts or customer, the risk of the agent coming into close proximity with other members of the public increases.

    iii. Vehicle storage

    Although auction houses are closed for auctioneering retail activities, many are able to securely store vehicles that have been collected. Vehicle collection agents also typically have storage solutions in place where they are needed. Specific venues intended for storage should be risk assessed against the Government’s social distancing guidelines.

    Business Support

    Does my business have to close?

    As part of efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the government has published a list of businesses and venues that should close. The list is subject to updates but, as of 30 March, the following ‘retail’ sites are permitted to remain open:

    • Garages and MOT services (previously ‘repair shops’)

    Storage and distribution facilities, including delivery drop off points Manufacturing businesses Car showrooms. Although previously (on 23 March), car showrooms were listed as needing to be closed, these businesses have since been removed. SMMT is seeking clarity on this change, and also other on other automotive operations such as mobile repair services.

     

    Can I keep automotive manufacturing or distribution site(s) open?

    Yes, manufacturing businesses and distribution sites can remain open.

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

     

    Does my business have to close?

    Employees who are unable to work from home are permitted to travel to and from their place(s) of work. They may be asked by authorities about their traveland, while no permit to travel has been issued, we are aware of some companies providing letters to their staff verifying their job, the companies’ permission to remain open and contact details should further information be needed. This is not a legal requirement but can be reassuring to staff and support them if stopped.

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

     

    Are my employees critical or key workers?

    The key workers list,created when schools were closed to identify those qualifying for childcare, can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision

    Transport is included, and covers:“those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.” (as at 27 March)

     

    How do I keep my employees safe?

    If employees can work from home, the government asks them to do so. If this is not possible, businesses should ensure that employees are able to follow Public Health England guidelines, including, where possible:

    • maintaining a 2-metre distance from others; and
    • washing their hands with soap and water often, for at least 20 seconds (or using hand sanitiser gel if soap and water is not available).

     

    My business provides servicing, maintenance, repair or parts for NHS, emergency service vehicle or critical workers. Do I have to keep my business open and can I prioritise these customers?

    Government is seeking the support of business to address the challenge of Covid-19 and is askingall those who can support the front-line services who will be dealing with this crisis to do so.

    Due to a range of factors, for example, decreased demand, many businesses are choosing to reduce their opening hours, prioritise services to key workers or make other changes.

    Businesses are asked to support their staff and customers by encouraging working-from-home and implementing Public Health England guidance on social-distancing wherever possible. Guidance on how to keep your employees safe: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/guidance-for-employers-and-businesses-on-coronavirus-covid-19

    Tax & tax relief

    What tax reliefs are available to my business?

    Government has announced a series of tax relief measures applicable to automotive business, including:

     

    What Business Rate relief might be available to me?

    There are three main Business Rate reliefs in place:

    • Retail-wide holiday for the year 2020/21
    • Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme (for rateable values between £15,000 and £51,000)
    • Small Business Grant Scheme

    The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has now released guidance to support local authorities in administering the business rates expanded retail discount. The guidance applies to England only.

    This relief will apply to occupied retail, leisure and hospitality properties in the year 2020/21. There will be no rateable value limit on the relief.

    For the automotive industry, the following property types will also have no rateable value limit on the relief:

    • Car/caravan show rooms
    • Second hand car lots
    • Petrol stations
    • Car hire

    Note, this list is not intended to be exhaustive. Local authorities will use their discretionary relief powers under section 47 of the Local Government

    Finance Act 1988 to grant relief. For more information, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses#support-for-retail-hospitality-and-leisure-businesses-that-pay-business-rates

     

    What is the Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme?

    The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme provides businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.

    Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of up to £15,000 may be eligible for a grant of £10,000.

    Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of between £15,000 and less than £51,000 may be eligible for a grant of £25,000.

    For more information, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses#support-for-retail-hospitality-and-leisure-businesses-that-pay-business-rates

     

    What is the Small Business Grant Scheme?

    The government will provide additional Small Business Grant Scheme funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBRR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief. This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs.

    All of these will be applied automatically, via re-billing or direct contact from Local Authorities. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses#support-for-retail-hospitality-and-leisure-businesses-that-pay-business-rates

     

    Will Business Rate reliefs be broadened to other automotive sectors?

    There have been no announcements on this yet. However, SMMT is calling on government to extend reliefs to other parts of automotive, including manufacturing sites.

    Access to finance

    My business is an SME, is there any money available to help me deal with coronavirus disruption?

    Yes. There are a number of financial support packages which have been set up by Government and are available to SMEs. These are:

    Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

    Supports SMEs with access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million and for up to six years. This scheme is available through one of the 40 accredited finance providers offering the scheme. To be eligible your business must be UK based, with turnover of no more than £45 million per year and your business will need to meet the other British Business Bank eligibility criteria.

    You can also read the British Business Bank FAQs for further information.

    Small Business Grant Funding

    This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs. The funding enables Local Authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because they are in receipt of small business rate relief (SBRR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief.

    There is also support available for businesses to help with employment costs, including salaries and statutory sick pay. See Employment Support for more information.

     

    Do I have to use my current banking provider to access the CBILS scheme?

    No. You can approach any of the 40 accredited lenders to discuss options.

     

    My business is a large business, is there any money available to help me deal with coronavirus disruption?

    Yes. There is a financial support package which has been set up by Government and is available to large businesses:

    COVID-19 Corporate Finance Facility

    The Bank of England will buy short-term debt from larger companies to support those which are fundamentally strong, but have been affected by a short-term funding squeeze. It will operate for at least 12 months, and for as long as steps are needed to relieve cash flow pressures on firms that make a material contribution to the UK economy. Applications should be made via your bank.

    Companies - and their finance subsidiaries - that make a material contribution to the UK economy are firms that would normally be: UK incorporated companies, including those with foreign-incorporated parents and with a genuine business in the UK; companies with significant employment in the UK; firms with their headquarters in the UK. The BoE will also consider whether the company generates significant revenues in the UK, serves a large number of customers in the UK or has a number of operating sites in the UK.

    Further guidance is available from the Bank of England: https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/news/2020/march/the-covid-corporate-financing-facility

    There is also support available for businesses to help with employment costs, including salaries and statutory sick pay. See Employment Support for more information.

     

    How do I access the Government’s coronavirus finance support schemes?

    You should contact your bank in the first instance. For the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme for SMEs, there are 40 accredited lenders, including all the high street banks. You do not have to use your existing bank and are able to shop around for the best offer.

    For the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility, for larger businesses, you should approach your existing bank and determine if they deal with ‘Commercial Paper’. If they do not, then details of providers are available at: https://www.ukfinance.org.uk/covid-19-corporate-financing-facilities

     

    What do I do if my business does not qualify for any of the Government’s coronavirus business support schemes?

    You should always speak to your bank in the first instance. The Government is aware that certain sizes of company do not currently qualify for the schemes already announced. It is working with the UK banking sector and trade associations, including SMMT, to understand the problem and make proposals to rectify this. Further information will be announced in due course.

    If you are a business based in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, you may be eligible for alternative business support provided by the devolved administrations:

    Businesses in Scotland View the latest guidance on coronavirus for businesses in Scotland.

    Businesses in Wales View the latest guidance on coronavirus for businesses in Wales.

    Businesses in Northern Ireland View the latest guidance on coronavirus for businesses in Northern Ireland.

     

    I am self-employed, is there any money available for me to help with coronavirus disruption?

    Yes. Government has set up the Self-employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS), which is expected to come into action in June. The scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, whose income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

     

    I am self-employed, do I qualify for the new coronavirus Self-employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS)?

    To qualify for this support you must:

    • Be self-employed or a member of partnership;
    • Have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19;
    • File a tax return for 2018-19 as self-employed or a member of a trading partnership. Those who have not yet filed for 2018-19 will have an additional 4 weeks from this announcement to do so;
    • Have traded in 2019-20; be currently trading at the point of application (or would be except for COVID 19) and intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 to 2021
    • Have trading profits of less than £50,000 and more than half of your total income come from self-employment. This can be with reference to at least one of the following conditions:
      • Your trading profits and total income in 2018/19
      • Your average trading profits and total income across up to the three years between 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19.

    The government is also providing the following additional help for the self-employed:

    If you’re a director of your own company and paid through PAYE you may be able to get support using the Job Retention Scheme.

    Employment

    SMMT CORONAVIRUS JOB RETENTION SCHEME Q&A

    4 JUNE 2020

    SMMT has received a huge number of questions from industry on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and is working with government and other stakeholders to answer as many of them as possible. Below we have consolidated these questions into a Q&A document.

    SMMT will update this document as and when additional information is made available. Please do keep sending your questions into us.

    The CJRS is a temporary scheme open to all UK employers for at least three months starting from 1 March 2020. It is designed to support employers whose operations have been severely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).

    For all the latest information companies should check the government guidance here.

    Questions and Answers

    Latest announcement on cars

    What changes are being made to CJRS and when?

    In June and July the governments contribution to an employee’s salary will remain the same – 80% of an employee’s salary up to maximum of £2,500 per month.

    In August government will continue to cover 80%, but employers will be required to cover National Insurance and pension contributions.

    In September, the government contribution will decrease to 70%, with employers required to pay 10%.

    In October, the government contribution will decrease to 60%, with employers required to pay 20%.

    CJRS will become fully flexible from 1 July, e.g. an employee can be brought back to work for 2 days, with the employer paying for those, then furloughed for 3 days, with CJRS covering those.
    The scheme will close in October.

    Government guidance on the changes is expected on 12 June.

    The make up of the 80% up to £2,500 of employees salary

    Is it gross pay or net pay that is used to calculate the 80% up to £2,500 of monthly salary?

    For full time and part time salaried employees, the employee’s actual salary before tax should be used to calculate the 80%. The employer must pay the employee the grant they receive for the employees gross pay.

    Is the 80% up to £2,500 of monthly salary taxable?

    While on furlough, the employee’s wage will be subject to usual income tax and other deductions.

    Does the “regular wage” include commission, fees, shift premium, stand up payments, first aid payments, field allowances and relocation allowance?

    Employers can claim for any regular payment that they are obliged to pay their employees. This includes wages, past overtime, fees and compulsory commission payments.

    Can non-monetary benefits be claimed for?

    The reference salary should not include the cost of non-monetary benefits such as Benefits in Kind. In addition benefits provided through salary sacrifice schemes (including pension contributions) should not be included either.

     

    Sick leave and holiday leave

    Can an employee be furloughed whilst on sick leave?

    An employee should get Statutory Sick Pay whilst on sick leave or self-isolating. The employee can be furloughed at any time, if this happens whilst they are on sick leave then the employee will no longer receive sick pay as should be treated as any other furloughed employee.

    Can the wage subsidy be given to employees who takes leave whilst on furlough?

    Employers cannot claim the grant for employees on holiday leave, the employee must be on furlough.

     

    Charity work and training

    Can an employee who is on furlough undertake charity work?

    A furloughed employee can take part in volunteer work or training, as long as it does not provide services to, or generate, revenue for, or on behalf of your organisation.

    Can someone who is on furlough undertake training?

    A furloughed employee can take part in volunteer work or training, as long as it does not provide services to, or generate, revenue for, or on behalf of your organisation.

    If employees are required to, for example complete online training courses whilst on furlough then they must be paid at least the National Living/Minimum Wage for the time spent training.

     

    Length of furlough

    Is there a minimum amount of time an employee can be furloughed?

    Until the end of June individuals must be furloughed for a minimum of three weeks. From 1 July the scheme will have additional flexibility where, for example, an employee can be brought back to work for 2 days, with the employer paying the employee’s salary for those days, then furloughed for 3 days, with CJRS covering those days.

    Is there a maximum amount of time an employee can be furloughed?

    The scheme will be open until the end of October.

    Can an employee be furloughed more than once?

    Yes, however if you wish to furlough an employee between July and October they must have been furloughed at least once by 10 June. From 1 July, if an employee has never been furloughed then they cannot be put on furlough using CJRS.

    If an employer puts an employee on a shorter working week can they claim furlough for the days the employee is not working?

    From 1 July this will be possible.

    If an employee is furloughed and then the employer needs them to work e.g. on emergency issue can the employee be brought out of furlough and after that placed back in furlough?

    From 1 July this will be possible.

     

    Contractors

    Can contractors (self employed) receive wage subsidies?

    Not through the CJRS. The contractors can apply for the self-employment income support scheme.

     

    Conditions

    Are there any conditions at the end of the furlough period?

    When the government ends the scheme the employer must make the decision as to whether the employees can return to their duties.

     

    Accessing the scheme and payment

    How does a company access the job retention scheme?

    All UK-wide employers with a PAYE scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020 will be eligible.

    Government are setting up a new online portal which is expected to be up and running by the end of April. Employers will need to submit information through this portal.

    When will we receive the money from government?

    No date has yet been set however government are acutely aware than companies need to receive the money before April payroll.

     

    SMMT SELF-EMPLOYMENT INCOME SUPPORT SCHEME Q&A

    The self-employment income support scheme is a temporary scheme open to a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership who has lost income due to coronavirus.

    SMMT has produced this Q&A to answer the most common questions. We will update this document as and when additional information is made available. Please do keep sending your questions into us.

    For all the latest information companies should check the government guidance here.

    Who can claim?

    You can claim if you:

    • Have submitted your Self-Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018 to 2019
    • Traded in the tax year 2019 to 2020
    • Are trading when you apply, or would be except for coronavirus
    • Intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 to 2021
    • Have lost trading profits due to coronavirus

    Your trading profits must also be no more than £50,000 and more than half of your total income for either:

    • The tax year 2018 to 2019
    • The average of the tax years 2016 to 2017, 2017 to 2018, and 2018 to 2019

    How much can I claim through the scheme?

    The scheme will allow you to claim 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 a month. The taxable grant will be based on your average trading profit over the last three tax years. If you do not have three years’ worth of records HMRC will calculate the claim amount using average trading profit based on the available continuous period of self-employment.

     

    Accessing the scheme and payment

    How do I access scheme?

    HMRC plan to contact individuals by mid May 2020 if you are eligible for the scheme and invite you to claim using gov.uk.

    When will we receive the money from government?

    Once HMRC has received your claim and your grant has been approved they will contact you to tell you how much you will get.

     

    Additional Information

    Is there anything else I should be aware of?

    Additional help for the self-employed is available here.

     

    SMMT SELF-EMPLOYMENT INCOME SUPPORT SCHEME Q&A

    04 June 2020

    Introduction

    The self-employment income support scheme (SEISS) is a temporary scheme open to a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership who has lost income due to coronavirus.

    SMMT has produced this Q&A to answer the most common questions. We will update this document as and when additional information is made available. Please do keep sending your questions into us.

    For all the latest information companies should check the government guidance here.

    Questions and Answers

    Latest announcements on SEISS

    What changes are being made to SEISS and when?

    The scheme will open again for applications in August and will operate as before, providing a one-off payment of 3 months’ average income, but at 70% not 80%, up to a maximum payment of £6,570.

    Who can claim and how much

    Who can claim?

    You can claim if you:

    • Have submitted your Self-Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018 to 2019
    • Traded in the tax year 2019 to 2020
    • Are trading when you apply, or would be except for coronavirus
    • Intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 to 2021
    • Have lost trading profits due to coronavirus

    Your trading profits must also be no more than £50,000 and more than half of your total income for either:

    • The tax year 2018 to 2019
    • The average of the tax years 2016 to 2017, 2017 to 2018, and 2018 to 2019

    Update: How much can I claim through the scheme?

    The scheme will allow you to claim 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 a month. From August this will be reduced to 70% up to a maximum payment covering 3 months of £6,570. The taxable grant will be based on your average trading profit over the last three tax years. If you do not have three years’ worth of records HMRC will calculate the claim amount using average trading profit based on the available continuous period of self-employment.

    Accessing the scheme and payment

    How do I access scheme?

    HMRC plan to contact individuals by mid May 2020 if you are eligible for the scheme and invite you to claim using gov.uk.

    When will we receive the money from government?

    Once HMRC has received your claim and your grant has been approved they will contact you to tell you how much you will get.

    Additional Information

    Is there anything else I should be aware of?

    Additional help for the self-employed is available here.

    Disclaimer – SMMT FAQs – Covid-19 Automotive Business Support Hub

    Whilst SMMT endeavours to ensure that the content of information in its FAQs is accurate and up-to-date at the date of publication, no representation or warranty, express or implied, is made as to its accuracy or completeness and therefore the information in the FAQs should not be relied upon. It is each company’s responsibility to comply with the current COVID-19 legislation and related government guidance. Therefore, SMMT information and guidance are not legally binding. Readers should always seek appropriate advice from a suitably qualified expert before taking, or refraining from taking, any action. SMMT disclaims liability for any loss, howsoever caused, arising directly or indirectly from reliance on the information in its FAQs and industry guidance relating to COVID-19 as published on its website.

  • COVID-19 – Links to Government and Other Guidance

    This page provides links to Government issued guidance to support safe working practices across the UK economy. In addition, the page includes industry developed guidance and best practice, which has been developed to help automotive businesses understand and implement these important safety measures.

    This tab will be updated constantly, especially as preparations around Government easement of lockdown measures and ‘re-start’.

    Information on other support measures (e.g. financial and employment) continues to be available from the Business Support tab on the SMMT website.

    Manufacturing

    Published guidance for manufacturing businesses and their employees.

    Government Issued Guidance

    Guidance - Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) - Factories, plants and warehouses:
    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/factories-plants-and-warehouses
    Issued: 11 May 2020

    Guidance - Operating safely in the workplace during coronavirus (COVID-19): https://www.gov.uk/guidance/social-distancing-in-the-workplace-during-coronavirus-covid-19-sector-guidance#manufacturing-and-processing-businesses

    Issued: 7 April 2020

    Letter - Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s open letter of thanks to the manufacturing sector: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-letter-to-the-manufacturing-sector

    Issued: 8 April 2020

    Industry Developed Guidance

    Guidance - COVID-19 Protective Measures: Manufacturing Sector Industry Guidance and Best Practice
    https://www.smmt.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/SMMT_Industry-Guidance-COVID-19-Manufacturing.pdf
    Issued: 13 May 2020

    Retail

    Government Issued Guidance

    Published guidance for retail businesses and their employees.

    Guidance - Operating safely in the workplace during coronavirus (COVID-19): https://www.gov.uk/guidance/social-distancing-in-the-workplace-during-coronavirus-covid-19-sector-guidance#retail

    Issued: 7 April 2020

    Health and safety is a devolved matter. See the guidance on social distancing and business in other nations of the UK:

    Letter - Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s open letter of thanks to the retail sector: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-letter-to-the-retail-sector#history

    Issued: 8 April 2020

    Industry Developed Guidance

    Guidance - COVID-19 Protective Measures: Automotive Retail Industry Guidance and Best Practice
    https://www.smmt.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/NFDA-SMMT-Industry-Guidance-COVID-19-Protective-Measures-for-Auto-Retail-280920.pdf
    Issued: 28 September 2020

    Guidance – Vehicle sales and vehicle movement during coronavirus (COVID-19): See FAQs for Business tab – ‘Vehicle Movements’

    Issued: 15 April 2020 [The SMMT FAQ, which is drawn from guidance developed by the BVRLA and FLA (with SMMT input), reflects Government advice and is intended to clarify the requirements that apply on vehicle and parts collections, delivery and distribution (correct as of 15 April 2020).]

    Aftermarket

    Government Issued Guidance

    Guidance - Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) – Shops and Branches:
    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/shops-and-branches
    Issued: 11 May 2020

    Guidance - Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) – Vehicles:
    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/vehicles
    Issued: 11 May 2020

    Industry Developed Guidance

    Guidance - COVID-19 Protective Measures: Aftermarket Sector Industry Guidance and Best Practice
    https://www.smmt.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/SMMT_GEA_IAAF_IMI_SMTA_Industry-Guidance-COVID-19-Automotive-Aftermarket-Restart-280920.pdf
    Issued: 28 September 2020

     

    Logistics

    Published guidance for logistics businesses and their employees.

    Government Issued Guidance

    Guidance - Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) – Shops and Branches:
    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/shops-and-branches
    Issued: 11 May 2020

    Guidance - Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) – Vehicles:
    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/vehicles
    Issued: 11 May 2020

    Guidance – Operating safely in the workplace during coronavirus (COVID-19): https://www.gov.uk/guidance/social-distancing-in-the-workplace-during-coronavirus-covid-19-sector-guidance#logistics-businesses
    Issued: 7 April 2020

    Transport

    Published guidance for transport businesses and their employees.

    Government Issued Guidance

    Guidance - Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer transport guidance for operators:
    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-transport-guidance-for-operators
    Issued: 12 May 2020

    Guidance - Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) – Vehicles:
    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/vehicles
    Issued: 11 May 2020

    Guidance – Operating safely in the workplace during coronavirus (COVID-19): https://www.gov.uk/guidance/social-distancing-in-the-workplace-during-coronavirus-covid-19-sector-guidance#transport-businesses

    Issued: 7 April 2020

    Guidance - Freight, bus and road transport businesses: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-transport-and-travel-guidance#freight,-bus-and-road-transport-businesses

    Issued: 7 April 2020

    Disclaimer – SMMT FAQs and Industry Guidance – COVID-19 Automotive Business Support Hub
    Whilst SMMT endeavours to ensure that the content of information in its FAQs and industry guidance is accurate and up-to-date at the date of publication, no representation or warranty, express or implied, is made as to its accuracy or completeness and therefore the information in the FAQs and Industry Guidance should not be relied upon. It is each company’s responsibility to comply with the current COVID-19 legislation and related government guidance. Therefore, SMMT information and guidance are not legally binding. Readers should always seek appropriate advice from a suitably qualified expert before taking, or refraining from taking, any action. SMMT disclaims liability for any loss, howsoever caused, arising directly or indirectly from reliance on the information in its FAQs and industry guidance relating to COVID-19 as published on its website.

  • The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) is providing regular updates for the UK automotive industry on the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the sector. This newsletter is a new tool in SMMT’s efforts to keep the industry updated on the information most useful to automotive businesses and their employees.

    Complete the form to receive the next edition