This mornings webinar (jointly with Chiswick Buzz)  launching Hounslow Chamber’s Task Force went well with much advice/information being shared. Around 50 people logged in and information about it and the next one, planned for 8 th April at 10:00 am, will be with you shortly. Thank you to all of you who took part and of course to our talented pool of panellists. 

‘Thank you for inviting me to this webinar today . It was informative and I could see the collective expertise of the panellists’: Sami Aero from Aero Associated
DAILY BUSINESS BRIEFING FROM GOVERNMENT'S COVID-19 PRESS CONFERENCE - courtesy of White Label

The government has announced it will be bringing forward new measures to prevent businesses unable to meet debts due to the impact of coronavirus from being forced to file for bankruptcy.

Speaking at the daily Downing Street press conference on Saturday, Alok Sharma, the UK business secretary, said the move would allow companies to “emerge intact the other side of the Covid-19 pandemic”.

He said the wrongful trading law would be suspended to protect directors during the pandemic. The move will allow directors of companies to pay staff and suppliers even if there are fears the company could become insolvent.

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 for 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.

The government will also temporarily suspend the wrongful trading provisions to give company directors greater confidence to use their best endeavours to continue to trade during this pandemic emergency, without the threat of personal liability, should the company ultimately fall into insolvency.

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.

In addition, while laws against fraudulent trading and director misconduct will continue to provide a deterrent against poor practices, wrongful trading provisions in the Insolvency Act will be temporarily suspended specifically to give confidence to directors to continue trading without the threat of personal liability, should the company ultimately fall into insolvency.
ADDITIONAL NEW GUIDANCE RELEASED

Closing certain businesses and venues – compliance
This document provides guidance on the closure of certain businesses and venues as part of further social distancing measures. As of 26 March 2020, new Regulations extending the restrictions are now enforceable by law due to the threat to public health. New information on compliance has been added to the guidance.

Rules on carrying over annual leave to be relaxed
Workers who have not taken all of their statutory annual leave entitlement due to COVID-19 will now be able to carry it over into the next 2 leave years. These measures will ensure workers won’t lose their leave entitlements and gives more flexibility to business at a time when it is needed most. Find more information here.

Exemptions from Devices regulations during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
Guidance on the fast-track approval of medical devices during COVID-19 outbreak. In this exceptional situation, MHRA may authorise you to supply a non-CE marked device in the interest of the protection of health.

Intellectual Property Office services
Following the coronavirus outbreak, the Intellectual Property Office have made a number of alterations to their services. This includes alterations to trademarks and designs, patents and interrupted days.

Annual inspection waiver for tank vehicles
Authorisation notice allowing tank vehicles, whose roadworthiness test certificate has been extended, to remain in service on the roads of Great Britain without a valid ADR 1(C) certificate.

Renting: guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities
This new guidance provides advice to landlords and tenants on the provisions in the Coronavirus Act 2020, and further advice for landlords, tenants and local authorit
CALL FOR BUSINESS HELP

Technology challenge to support people who are isolating
£500,000 of funding is available for technology companies who come up with digital support solutions for people who need to stay at home because of coronavirus. Funding of up to £25,000 per company is available. For more information on the programme and how to apply, visit techforce19.uk
News from Heathrow Airport Ltd: Alan Rides, International Trade Director/MD of Hounslow Chamber

As the nation pulls together to face the greatest peacetime crisis in living memory, we are pleased to let people know that Heathrow have announced that it is stepping up its vital role as the main artery of our global trade network.

With borders closing around the world, ground transport becomes increasingly difficult and the role of aviation in keeping cargo moving is more crucial than ever – particularly for emergency medical supplies and fresh food.

We now all know that a third of the country’s cargo passing though, Heathrow is the UK’s largest port. Normally 95% of this is carried in the holds of passenger flights but now, for the first time in a decade, the airport has spare capacity. Key equipment including COVID-19 testing kits are already arriving via Heathrow and cargo flights are being ramped up to keep vital supply lines open.

Last year, 41% of the country’s pharmaceutical products including medicines, vaccines and respirators were imported via Heathrow – more than 12,000 tonnes in total. From next week, cargo movements at the airport will jump 53% with Heathrow prioritising flights carrying medical supplies for the struggle against COVID-19.

This rapid transport service is increasingly vital to the NHS. As reported in the Guardian, cancer specialists are preparing to use cargo plane pilots instead of couriers to carry life-saving stem cells, bone marrow and organ donations.

As CEO John Holland-Kaye says, Heathrow stands ready to support the country: “We will temporarily increase the number of dedicated cargo flights (to) bring in vital supplies of food and medical equipment to help Britain weather this storm”.
Working Remotely – helpful tips: Chamber member, Bal Sidhu of Warackle is hosting a virtual event (2 nd April at 12.00 noon) to provide some tips and advice on working remotely. Bal is surprised by the number of people that have little or no experience, and wants to be able to provide some support. The session
Start up Richmond:  Survive the lockdown and come out fighting

You are invited to join us for a FREE online summit designed to provide you with practical advice to help you navigate your business through the current uncertain times and out the other side.

Let's beat the coronavirus challenge together!
When: Thursday, 2nd April, 2.00 to 5.00pm 
Good News:
Not everyone is dispirited by life in lockdown. Emma Smith, from Essex, said her dog, a seven year old dachshund called Rolo, is overjoyed with the sudden constant companionship. ‘My dog has been so happy that everyone is home for quarantine that his tail has stopped working’, Smith tweeted, ‘we went to the vet and the vet said he had sprained his tail from excessivly wagging it’. Rolo was given pain relief and is expected to make a full recovery.  Courtesy 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.