COVID-19: Guidance for employees, employers and businesses | Cumbria LEP
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COVID-19: Guidance for employees, employers and businesses

Coronavirus Protect yourself & others

Following announcements on 23 June, many shops, accommodation providers, visitor economy attractions and restaurants and pubs will be allowed to open from 4 July. More information on this can be found here. Guidance on working safely in these areas can be found here. With the exception of other previously indicated businesses that remain closed, the Government has not required any other businesses to close and it is important for business to carry on. The Government has released guidelines for employers on working safely which cover 8 workplace settings. Employers may need to use more than one set of guidance to cover different areas of their business. You can find this guidance here and answers to frequently asked questions here.

In response to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, Cumbria LEP has collated Government, National and Local resources and guidance, below, to help Cumbria's employees, employers and businesses feel supported to mitigate the impacts of the outbreak. There is also a list of initiatives businesses can support to help in the fight against COVID-19. 

Sector-specific Support

From speaking to our business community we are aware that different sectors are being affected in different ways and tailored support is needed for each, therefore, we have collated sector-specific information on a separate webpage here

Business Advice Clinics

We are also offering Cumbrian businesses the opportunity to take part in free weekly Business Advice Clinics  to help guide them through the Coronavirus crisis. These clinics offer businesses one hour of free interactive advice and guidance from professional service leaders on mechanisms introduced by Government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and offer insights from businesses which have been through the process. The confirmed upcoming dates are as follows: 

DATE

SUBJECT

CHAIR

SPEAKERS

REGISTRATION

Wednesday 8 July, 3-4pm

How to Bounce Back with Innovation

Tom Scaife, Partner at Baines Wilson LLP

Rick Holland, Innovate UK Regional manager for North West England, Matt Mellor, CEO of award winning company, Createc, and Becky Bowness, Corporate Tax Director at Armstrong Watson

REGISTER HERE

More Business Advice Clinics will be published here shortly - please check back.

Cumbria Jobs Fuse

A new service, Cumbria Jobs Fuse, is helping those made jobless as a result of Coronavirus in Cumbria get back into employment – while supporting key regional employers with gaps in their staffing due to the pandemic. If you’re facing an employment challenge, find out more here. This service is a joint partnership created by the National Careers Service, the Department of Work and Pensions and Cumbria LEP. 
 

Mental Health and Wellbeing Resources Pack

As a result of stressful and uncertain times that Coronavirus has presented, the need to consider the mental wellbeing of you and your employees has never been more important. Drawing upon resources from the NHSMind and other recognised bodies and organisations, our guide will help you to navigate the support that is available and preventative techniques that individuals can use to manage their mental health. Download it here.

 

If you cannot find the information or support you require, either here on our our sector-specific support webpage, Cumbria's Business and Economic Response and Recovery Group (BERRG), Chaired by Jo Lappin, Chief Executive of Cumbria LEP, is in direct contact with Government and will continue to make your voice heard, seeking the help you need. BERRG is keen to hear from businesses that want to provide intelligence or need support - please email us at info@thecumbrialep.co.uk. 

This page is kept under continuous review and will be frequently updated. Please follow us on Twitter @cumbrialep for the latest information.

 

Official Government Guidance and Resources

With the rapidly changing nature of the COVID-19 outbreak, information and advice from Government can change quickly.

  • All Government business support information can be found at gov.uk/business-support. This includes details of all of the announced support schemes for business. You may be eligible for loans, tax relief and cash grants; this support finder will help you to see what support is available for you and your business.  
  • Guidance to help with running your charity during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak can be found here, including available financial support here.
  • Some non-essential shops and public venues have been asked 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 and it is important for business to carry on. The Government has released guidelines for employers on working safely which cover 8 workplace settings. Employers may need to use more than one set of guidance to cover different areas of their business. You can find this guidance here and answers to frequently asked questions here. The Government has also announced that retail will begin to reopen from 1 June and further guidance has been published on how to operate safely to protect staff and customers here. The Government has developed a tool to help businesses in England to reopen safely during Coronavirus here. This tool will help Cumbria's businesses to easily find out what they should do. Employees can also use this tool to check what their workplace needs to do to keep people safe.
  • Following announcements on 23 June, many shops, accommodation providers, visitor economy attractions and restaurants and pubs will be allowed to open from 4 July. More information on this can be found here. Guidance on working safely in these areas can be found here.
  • With the exception of other previously indicated businesses that remain closed, the Government has not required any other businesses to close and it is important for business to carry on. The Government has released guidelines for employers on working safely which cover 8 workplace settings. Employers may need to use more than one set of guidance to cover different areas of their business. You can find this guidance here and answers to frequently asked questions here.
  • Five new ministerial-led taskforces have been set up to develop plans for how and when closed sectors can reopen safely, following publication of the UK’s roadmap to rebuild Britain. Each taskforce will lead on developing new COVID-19 secure guidelines for the reopening of public places and businesses, where and when it is safe to do so.
  • Guidance for businesses trading internationally can be found here.
  • Guidance on the NHS test and trace service for employers, businesses and workers is here
  • This guidance outlines how holiday entitlement and pay operate during the Coronavirus pandemic. It is designed to help employers understand their legal obligations, in terms of workers who: continue to work; have been placed on furlough as part of the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. 
  • New guidance has been released for the owners and operators of urban centres and green spaces to help social distancing.
  • Safe transport guidance for operators is here and guidance for passengers on how to travel safely is here. The Government has launched an active transport strategy, which you can read about here.
  • Businesses with supply chains which rely on Trade Credit Insurance and who are experiencing difficulties maintaining cover due to Coronavirus will get support from the government, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, John Glen has announced. More here
  • This guidance, for apprentices, employers, training providers and assessment organisations, outlines the changes that the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is making to the apprenticeship programme during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Information on key workers and maintaining educational provision can be found here
  • Guidance and advice about Coronavirus in educational settings for staff, parents and carers, pupils and students is here
  • Guidance to help with running your charity during the COVID-19 outbreak can be found here
  • The Department of Work and Pensions has launched jobhelp and employerhelp. jobhelp content offers essential advice about which sectors are recruiting now, transferable skills and how to secure a role. Meanwhile, employerhelp focuses on recruiting, and encourages use of the Government's Matching Service 'Find A Job', a free service with more than 1.8M registered users.
  • The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has launched Digital Boost which offers free digital advice for small businesses and charities impacted by Coronavirus, provided by expert volunteers.
  • HM Revenue & Customs has launched a Tax Helpline to help businesses concerned about paying their tax due to Coronavirus. The number is 08000 241222. 
  • Companies House has produced guidance if Coronavirus has affected your company and you need more time to file your accounts. Find all the information here.
  • This Universal Credit webpage provides information about claiming for benefits as a result of COVID-19.
  • The Office of the Small Business Commissioner (SBC) can provide advice and help on late payment issues for small businesses with under 50 staff. Contact them here
  • ACAS has published information for employees and employers with advice on workplace rights, rules and best practice and specific advice in relation to COVID-19 such as sick reporting and pay, self-isolation, and work absence including due to caring for someone. 

Additional guidance from Government: 

  • Businesses of all sizes can contact the Government's Business Support Helpline for free advice: 0800 998 1098The helpline provides free, impartial business support and signposting services to businesses in England – which currently includes business advice on COVID-19.  
  • The Government has also launched a Coronavirus Information service on WhatsApp. To use the free service, simply add 07860 064422 in your phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started. Further information can be found here.
  • HM Revenue & Customs is running a series of webinars to help employers and their staff in addressing Coronavirus. These webinars will provide an overview of the support available for businesses. To sign up for the webinars and for further information, click here.
  • The Department of International Trade are also running a series of webinars to help businesses through the Coronavirus. More here.

We also reccomend that you sign up for Government email alerts on Coronavirus here and the Department for Business, Environment and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Daily Coronavirus Business and Employers Bulletin here.

 

National Guidance and Resources

  • The British Business Bank is delivering the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) to support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts. This loan scheme is now available to businesses that have not been able to access support from their own banks and has recently been extended so that all viable small businesses will now be eligible should they need finance to keep operating during this difficult time. The British Business Bank are also delivering the Future Fund which will provide UK Government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors. The fund will be open for applications from Wednesday 20 May 2020. 
  • As mentioned above, a number of private lenders are also making funds available to small businesses impacted by COVID-19, including £2 billion from Lloyds Banking Group and £5 billion from NatWest.
  • The Bank of England have also announced a comprehensive package of measures to help UK businesses and households bridge across the economic disruption that is likely to be associated with COVID-19. This includes a new lending facility for larger firms called the Covid Corporate Financing Facility.
  • Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) has an emergency fund for small charities and organisations hit hardest by Coronavirus. 
  • The Princes Trust and NatWest Enterprise Relief Fund will offer grants to 18 to 30-year olds across the UK who are self-employed and/or running their own business. In conjunction with cash grants, the initiative will offer one-to-one support and guidance to anyone who needs it and who may be worried about their future. Find out more here.
  • The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has daily webinars detailing the latest on Coronavirus, its impact on business and guidance here
  • Institute of Directors (IoD) has guidance on remote wellbeing, professional development, staying inspired and more here
  • KPMG provide a checklist which will enable you to understand the impact of COVID-19 on your organisation, crisis manage and plan business continuity. You can find this resource here
  • Be The Business shares themes such as supporting your staff and communicating with customers, how leaders are reacting right now and more of the best of what the web has to offer. Visit their website here
  • The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has the latest advice and guidance for small businesses and the self-employed
  • The British Chambers of Commerce’s advice on preparing for and responding to Coronavirus is here.
  • The Business Growth Hub has a suite of resources including 10 steps to take now, a series of webinars, and guidance on keeping your business operating and managing cash-flow here.
  • The National Cyber Security Centre has released guidance on moving your business online here.

 

Local Guidance and Resources

  • Information is available from each Local Authority Area on the Government's Small Business Grant Fund and Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grant, as well as the Discretionary Fund: 
  • The Cumbria Chamber of Commerce has a Coronavirus Business Toolkit and other resources including Chamber Connect which matches people available for work with businesses looking to recruit staff to plug gaps in their workforce. 
  • Cumbria Business Growth Hub can offer remote one-to-one adviser support to help you to plan through and beyond the crisis. Make contact here.
  • The Family Business Network has family business-related guidance and help for businesses across our region. Going forwards, they will also be hosting free business support opportunities, and sharing a regular feature that showcases some of the constructive and creative initiatives that family businesses are adopting to manage the crisis, as well as the good news stories and messages of hope. Visit their website here
  • The Edge continues to support SMEs wishing to access high quality skills support for their workforce, including those accessing the Government COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme or who have recently been made redundant. A wide range of skills support delivered by 9 Cumbrian providers of education and learning. Additional flexibilities have been arranged to support businesses affected by COVID-19, in addition to a move to online and remote learning. Please register your interest for support on The Edge website here
  • The Key programme links employers and unemployed residents, providing high quality skills and employment support. If employers are recruiting and would be interested in flexible support please register interest with Inspira here.
  • Digital Cumbria is offering free support for businesses, valued at £5,000 each. The support is to help you understand how technology can benefit your business, making you more productive, more profitable, and freeing you up to do the things that really matter to you. Visit their website here
  • Community Learning and Skills deliver excellent employability courses. Find out more here
  • Baines Wilson LLP has a number of useful blog articles on the likes of Statutory Sick Pay, short-time working and lay-offs here
  • Burnetts Solicitors has various legal updates for businesses affected by COVID-19 here
  • Cumbria Community Foundation has set up a fund to help charitable groups support vulnerable people affected by COVID-19. For those that are able and would like to donate to the Fund, or if you want to inquire about receiving funding, click here

 

How your business can help

National Initiatives

  • The Government is looking for businesses from a wide spectrum of industries to assist in a number of key areas, including:

    • 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.

    Offers of support can be made here

  • The Department of Health and Social Care wants help from businesses to increase testing capacity in the UK. Find out more here.
  • HMRC have said that manufacturers of hand sanitisers and gels and businesses that want to begin manufacture of these products will have their applications for denatured alcohol fast-tracked during the COVID-19 outbreak. Guidance can be found here
  • Guidance has been updated to clarify the exemption for hotels, hostels, and B&Bs to open so they can offer accommodation to key workers and support rough sleepers to keep them off the streets and in suitable accommodation. Guidance can be found here.
  • Innovate UK is offering an opportunity to apply for a share of up to £25 million to deliver ambitious or disruptive R&D innovations that can make a significant impact on the UK economy; find out more here. They're also offering businesses tghe opportunity to apply for a share of up to £4 million for collaborative R&D projects addressing major cyber security challenges in the Internet of Things - more here
  • The Surgical MIC has launched a MedTech PPE challenge. Submit your challenge or solution here
  • The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) is calling on the public to help farms feed the nation and save this year’s harvest. Find out more here.
  • The Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has launched a ‘Pick for Britain’ website to address the fact that we are likely to only have about a third of our normal labour force for this year's harvest. As such, we will need to rely on British workers to lend a hand to help bring that harvest home. Opportunities are available across the UK for those seeking a second job, particularly those that are furloughed. 

     

    As such, we will need to rely on British workers to lend a hand to help bring that harvest home. Opportunities are available across the UK for those seeking a second job, particularly those that are furloughed. 

Local Initiatives

  • Cumbrian businesses are being invited to join the Cumbria PPE Manufacturing Challenge to increase the supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to keep front line health and social care staff safe during the COVID-19 outbreak. The challenge has been launched by the Business and Economic Response and Recovery Group (BERRG) who are coordinating a county-wide effort to manufacture (and donate, see below) PPE. For more information on the Cumbria PPE Manufacturing Challenge, read the full press release here. The technical specifications for PPE are listed here and if you are able to manufacture to these specifications please register
  • Cumbria's Business and Economic Response and Recovery Group (BERRG) is inviting all of Cumbria’s businesses with spare Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to make this available to health and care workers to keep them safe during the current COVID-19 Pandemic. If you are able to donate PPE, which meets the technical specifications listed above, and would like us to pass on your details to coordinate collection, please fill out this form. You can find out more about this initiative here.
  • You can also help the Business and Economic Response and Recovery Group (BERRG) to understand the impact of COVID-19 on Cumbria's economy by completing the Economic Impact Survey: bit.ly/CumbriaEIS. BERRG need to hear from all businesses, charities and organisations in Cumbria about the type and scale of impacts that they're experiencing as a result of COVID-19. This will inform future business recovery activity. Read more here
  • Support Cumbria are looking for volunteers of all levels to support local charities and organisations in local communities. Find out more and register as a volunteer here

 

Additional information and guidance on the COVID-19 outbreak can be found below: 

 

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