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

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. 

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

If you cannot find the information or support you require, Cumbria's Business and Economic Response and Recovery Group (BERRG), chaired by 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.

  • For the latest information, please monitor the Government advice for employees, employers and businesses. You can directly access advice for businesses by clicking here
  • A dedicated business support website has been established which details all of the announced support schemes for business. 
  • 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 – it is important for business to carry on. A list of frequently asked questions alongside the appropriate guidance can be found here.
  • You can read guidance for businesses trading internationally here.
  • Information on key workers and maintaining educational provision can be found 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.
  • Guidance to help with running your charity during the COVID-19 outbreak can be found here.
  • Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of COVID-19 will be protected from eviction. Find out more here.
  • 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.

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

Businesses of all sizes can contact the Government's Business Support Helpline for free advice. In England the number to call is 0300 456 3565.

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.

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.

 

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 Surgical MIC has launched a MedTech PPE challenge. Submit your challenge or solution here
  • The Government's Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy is looking for organisations that can support in the supply of ventilators and ventilator components. If your business can help, please register your details here.
  • Do you have an innovative or novel approach to get ambulances cleaner quicker to help combat Coronavirus? The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is looking for rapid sanitising technology to speed up the time it takes to clean ambulances to help in the national effort against Coronavirus and save lives. 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. Further guidance can be found here.

Local Initiatives

  • Cumbria's Business and Economic Response and Recovery Group (BERRG) is inviting all of Cumbria’s business 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. BERRG is coordinating a county-wide effort and collating a list of available stock to provide information to key organisations, such as the NHS and Local Authorities. If you are able to donate PPE and would like us to pass on your details to coordinate collection, please fill out this form. The technical specifications for PPE can be found here and you can find out more about this initiative here.

  • Oxley Group and BAE Systems are developing prototypes for face mask production. If you can help in manufacturing please contact Jayne Moorby direct: J.Moorby@oxleygroup.com.

 

National Guidance and Resources

  • The British Business Bank is delivering a new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), 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. 
  • 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 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
  • 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.

 

Local Guidance and Resources

  • Information is now available from each Local Authority Area on the Government's Business Support Grant: 
  • In response to the closure of schools to most pupils across Cumbria, a total of 50 hubs across the county are offering childcare support to key workers. Most parents and carers should have already been contacted by their child's school or early years setting to notify them which hub their child can attend. Key workers who still require childcare must make a request for this support on Cumbria County Council's website by completing the following form online: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/LRVDHXS.
  • 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 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.
  • 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

 

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

 

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