IMPORTANT NOTICE

At Hounslow Chamber, we value the safety of our members, contacts and employees. Given the evolving status with COVID-19, we are closely monitoring the situation. If you have the following symptoms , or have been in close contact with anyone who has had them, we hope you stay safe:

  • Temperature
  • New persistent cough
  • Shortness of breath
Hounslow Council Guidance for employers and businesses : https://www.hounslow.gov.uk/info/20005/business_licensing_and_regeneration

The Chancellor announced a set of financial measures to support the business. The Council has been working hard to get the necessary clarity from Government on how its various packages (below) should be administered, so they can ensure the funding support reaches businesses as quickly as possible once they can access it. The Council will contact business as soon as they have this.

  • Retail relief increased from 50% to 100% and scope extended to include all hospitality and leisure properties irrespective of rateable value (including Pubs)
  • £10,000 grant to small businesses that pay little or no business rates and are eligible for small business rate relief or retail relief with a rateable value below £15,000
  • £25,000 grant for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000

The increase in retail relief will be applied automatically to the qualifying businesses. The Council will write to the businesses once the changes have been implemented. To find out what employers and businesses can do to advise their staff about the coronavirus is available from the Government -  COVID-19: guidance for employers and businesses
If you need further clarity on any of the above. please contact the business rates team by email or telephone:

Metropolitan Police advice regarding protecting your people and premises: Please click here
Menzies Accountants has a dedicated Coronavirus page on their website, which contains much useful information:   https://www.menzies.co.uk/coronavirus-business-advice/
Coronavirus – the banks are here to help

Mortgage Payment Break Due To COVID-19 – How To Apply & What’s The Procedure?
(update courtesy of The Financial Planning Group)

The government announced its emergency mortgage assistance measures earlier this week, with mortgage lenders agreeing to offer home owners a three month ‘holiday’ from their monthly payments if they are adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is a bullet point outline as to what has been proposed and the procedure for applying yourself.

  • Mortgage lenders will offer an automatic 3-month payment holiday for customers impacted, directly or indirectly, by COVID-19
  • The payment holiday will apply to customers who are up to date on their payments, not in arrears, and wanting to self-certify that they are impacted by COVID-19
  • This means that lenders will not complete an income and expenditure assessment, or an assessment of alternate payment options as ordinarily required under MCOB
  • This proposal will allow lenders to be more responsive to customer needs and offer forbearance in a simple way to customers in an environment where the operation of collections teams made be also impacted by COVID-19
  • Customers will be made aware that interest will accrue in the holiday period and they will need to make up deferred payments in the future
  • Customers who wish to undertake a full assessment of their ability to pay or financial difficulty may still do so.

What does this mean for you and your family?
For a customer, up to date with payments, not in arrears and impacted by COVID-19:

  • the customer would contact the lender and inform them that they are impacted by COVID-19
  • the lender would accept these details from the customer and offer an automatic 3-month payment holiday
  • no evidence will be sought from the customer
  • the lender makes the customer aware that interest will accrue and will be contact at the end of the three months to complete an assessment of the customer’s circumstances
  • at the end of three months, an arrangement to pay will be agreed with the customer according to their circumstances to recover any shortfall, while ensuring that the mortgage remains affordable and sustainable
  • the lender notifies the customer that if they wished to complete a full assessment now, there may be other forbearance options more suitable to the customer.

Please contact 0800 731 7614 or info@fpgonline.co.uk
Garner & Hancock Solicitors appreciate that like so many people you must be worried about the effects of Covid-19 not just on your family and friends but also your business. The firm is fully contactable to discuss any issues. They have already had a number of queries regarding various employment matters: Settlement Agreements (formally known as Compromise Agreements) in redundancy situations, reduction of hours etc.    Click here to read the full article now:>>
 
There have also been many requests from people wishing to sort out their financial situation by arranging Wills etc and a major concern of clients has been that they cannot attend the office in person to discuss matters face to face. To accommodate this we have set up a video call service for emergency Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney.

As many of us know, Vinay Tanna, Managing Partner, is an optimist and this will pass and when it does, you need to be in a situation where you can hit the ground running, safeguarded against events over which you have no control. Please contact Vinay on vtanna@garner-hancock.co.uk or 07780 7070 60
Help from Hounslow Chamber member, Kall Kwik:

Kall Kwik is here to help support you and to ensure that your communication needs are not delayed or interrupted. They are able to directly support your business if your staffing levels are reduced and can put a system in place to support any staff who may need to work remotely:

  • Kall Kwik Chiswick will deliver and collect from your offices.
  • You can email your work to them and they can arrange for it to be delivered back to you – so reducing the risk to you and your staff.

Kall Kwik Chiswick are here to help your business continue with:
Mail outs Business Critical Documentation Presentations Legal Copying / Scanning Large Format Notices / Posters or Information Signage
 
Whatever you need, Kall Kwik Chiswick are here to support you where and when they can.

Call Kall Kwik on 020 8753 7710 or email sales@kallkwik-chiswick.co.uk
TfL help for retail tenants:

TfL have today written to all retail tenants across their estate, including those within arches and Tube stations, to outline the measures they will be introducing to support them during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The measures, which will start from 25 March 2020, will support the cafes, shops, and businesses on the TfL property estate, 86% of which are small and medium enterprises, so that they can continue to trade in the future. All SMEs on TfL property across London will get 100 % relief from their rent for the next three months. All tenants in London Underground stations that have had to be closed to ensure a safe and reliable service for London’s critical workers will also be given 100% rent relief and our property managers will be contacting them to discuss individual circumstances on a case by case basis as required.

TfL property managers will also be in contact with all other larger businesses on their estate to review their needs to see what additional support they may require. This will be kept under constant review to ensure that if additional support is required it can be provided quickly. TfL is also suspending any ongoing negotiations on rent reviews and lease renewals and will give existing tenants longer to pay any rent outstanding. This will not only help businesses manage their finances, but also relieve additional stress and uncertainty during this difficult time.

TfL travel advice:

TfL would like to thank you for following the government's advice not to travel unless your journey is absolutely necessary. 
Ridership on our services has fallen dramatically over the last few weeks. This is helping fight the spread of the virus, protecting the NHS and maintaining safe and reliable transport for health, logistics and other critical workers. 
Only travel if your journey is absolutely essential. If you do travel, follow the expert advice on hand washing and other health measures. We are running reduced services and closing a number of stations, and also still need to undertake essential engineering work at weekends.

However if you need to travel, this information will help you get around London this weekend, 21 and 22 March, and the following week.

Always check  Journey Planner  and our travel tools  to plan your journey.
Please continue to help us and our hardworking staff maintain this action in the weeks and months ahead.

Stay safe and only travel if it is absolutely essential.
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.