We hope you had a good weekend. I am sure it was quiet but hope you managed to get some time out to get some well-earned rest. I have started cooking far more elaborate meals than usual!
Webinar to Launch Hounslow Chamber Task Force – 31 st March at 10.00 am.  We are here to try to answer your queries .

Please do join us by clicking on the link below and there will be a chance for you to put your questions to the panel:

Thank you to everyone who has followed the Mayor’s and Government advice to stay at home and not travel. You are saving lives. 

We have seen the number of people using Tube and rail services plummet by well over 90 percent. This is essential to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Our services are for essential journeys by vital workers in the NHS and other critical services.

No one else should be travelling.  Stay Home. Don’t Travel. Save Lives.
Deferral of VAT Payments as a result of COVID-19

The Chancellor announced a VAT payments deferral on 20 March to support businesses with cash flow during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This means that all businesses with a UK VAT registration have the option to defer VAT payments due between 20 March and 3‌0‌‌ June.

You therefore have until 3‌1‌‌ March 2021 to pay any VAT deferred as a result of this announcement.

You do not need to inform HMRC if you wish to defer payment. You can opt in to the deferral simply by not making VAT payments due in this period. If you pay by Direct Debit you should cancel this with your bank. You should do so in sufficient time so that HMRC does not attempt to automatically collect on receipt of their VAT return.

Should you wish, you can continue to make payments as normal during the deferral period. HMRC will also continue to pay repayment claims as normal. You must continue to submit VAT returns as normal.

For more information please go to GOV.UK .
Crime prevention advice for empty premises – click here
You may remember that Debbie Leon and her team from Fashionizer has been working to make a range of washable face masks. In the words of Debbie: ‘Whilst are aware that fabric face masks do not offer the full benefits of surgical masks, it is our understanding that they are better than wearing nothing. Our masks are more sustainable, attractive and comfortable to wear than the itchy paper masks on sale, which are also increasingly hard to source. These masks, however, are NOT medical devices and not meant to be used in a health care setting. Cloth masks are however, according to testing by the Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health Inc. are better than no protection at all. After a single use, they should be washed with soap at 60°C/140°F, they are safe to reuse.

The masks are being made in London by the Fashionizer workroom team working in isolation at home, plus a network of experienced freelance machinists, who have separate clean workrooms, and who otherwise would have no income during this period.
The masks should be put on and taken off carefully, to avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes. In addition, it is crucial to thoroughly wash your hands for 20 seconds before taking the masks on and off, and again after taking it off. Wearing a fabric face mask does not negate any other hygiene advice from the government: people still must wash their hands frequently for 20 seconds.

The masks are available from our two websites: Hotel Uniform Shop and fashionizerspa.com For larger orders over 50 masks, please email me.
We hope to sell lots of masks so that we can keep our experienced team occupied and intact for the future.

Wishing you safely through this crisis.’
Emergency 3 month HR support package

On 20 March I offered local businesses 4 weeks free HR advice to help deal with the Coronavirus crisis. I am delighted to have been able to help those who called me and will carry on with this service until 17 April. 

Given the massive changes to employment matters that we are seeing, I have also been asked to provide a short term retained service to help businesses navigate through the current crisis. So with the help of our national franchise team, we have developed a new 3 month emergency support package. If you or anyone in your network is interested, give me a call to chat through the requirements.

Included:
  • Unlimited HR advice by telephone and/or email to assist the Client in relation to issues defined above between the working hours of 8am to 6pm from Monday to Friday;
  1. key updates to national guidance;
  2. updates to affected Client policies;
Furloughing workers: template letter to start furlough leave process
Following their briefing note on  how to furlough workers , The Legal Partners have been preparing a 'furloughing workers' template letter for clients and wanted to share this with you.

This letter starts the furlough leave process by telling your staff what you will be doing for them,  click here to download .

This download includes some some guidance notes (Q&A) for employers only, before the letter.

Clients have been getting excellent feedback from their staff for reaching out to them and providing them with as much certainty as is possible in such uncertain times. So far all clients have reported over 90% positive engagement from staff as a result of the letter.

The Legal Partners has set aside a dedicated time for clients to discuss their needs each day between 11am and 12 noon and 2pm and 3pm each day. Please contact us to book a slot in those times.


Additional articles on COVID-19 Planning for Employers:


A personal message from Paul Smith:

I hope that you are keeping safe and staying indoors during these worrying times. Hopefully the world will return to normal sooner rather than later.

I just wanted to offer my assistance to you, your friends and contacts free of charge to assist with any concerns they may be dealing with regarding government policy on mandatory business closures, furlough of staff and changing statutory sick pay rules, so I can help if you need me. It is also a difficult time for those businesses who do not have the benefit of a “Peninsula’s expertise and support”. So, if any of your business associates need some help, direct them over to me and I will be able to provide some advice for them.

Stay safe, Paul

Paul Smith
Business Development Manager
t: 07970 531 495
Hounslow Council: Calling all volunteers
Are you looking for local ways to help others? Look no further - there are many ways you can help us right now to make a real difference to those who are in need.

There’s a list of things you can do  on our website  and we’ve created a simple form to fill out, after which the Council and its voluntary and community partners will advise on how best you can support the Hounslow effort.
Good News:
Companies are pausing before enforcing some contractual rights in favour of a collaborative, pragmatic approach to issues caused by coronavirus, officially Covid-19, an expert has told the Brain Food For General Counsel podcast.  


In Teddington, a stables has been bringing its ponies to the windows of local people in isolation in order to ‘spread some smiles’ – courtesty of The Week
Hounslow Chamber of Commerce is the primary support, networking, and representation organisation in west London for SMEs.

We support the interests, the commercial aspirations and the investment for some 18,000 firms - from Chiswick to Feltham, Heathrow to Osterley and Brentford to Bedfont - the Chamber is the voice for all businesses located in the borough.