Informative websites
Information from the Cabinet Office: following the Chancellor's announcement regarding support for those that are self-employed, Please see below:

In addition, they have pulled together FAQs relating to the scheme, which can be found here:

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme guidance with specific reference to National Insurance and pension contributions for furloughed workers. Please see below:

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough Leave)

HMRC are still working on setting up the mechanism for employers to operate this scheme and claim this reimbursement.

Below are the details available to date on this scheme for employers.

  • This will be provided as a grant to all UK employers who operate a PAYE scheme as support to continue paying part of the salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.
  • It will apply to employees as at 1 March 2020 who are asked to stop working but will be kept on the payroll. It will not apply to those that will continue to work for the employer.
  • HMRC will set up a new online portal through which employers will provide details to make a claim to include:

- A list of affected employees, to be classified as ‘furloughed workers,
- Details and earnings of those employees
- HMRC will set out further details on the information required.

  • HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. The notes published by the Government so far, use the phrase ‘wage for all employment costs up to a cap of £2,500 per month’. We understand that this includes employers' NIC and pension contributions. Wages will be determined by reference to a defined period (yet to be announced).
  • This grant will initially run for 3 months to be back dated to 1 March 2020, but may be extended.
  • The first reimbursement payments are hoped to be made before the end of April.
  • The employer will pay the employee through the payroll using the RTI system as usual.
  • The employer can choose whether to make up the balance of the salary but does not have to. This is a matter of employment law and subject to any agreed amendment to employment contracts.
  • Furlough leave will be a change of status for employees and employers will need to notify the employees of this change and discuss it with them.
  • The furlough leave will be subject to existing employment law and the employment contract, the terms of which may affect the implementation of furlough leave.
  • We recommend that employers seek legal advice in respect of this change.
  • The position regarding minimum wage legislation is also unclear.
Coronavirus and Termination of Contracts
(Courtesy of John Warchus of Moore Blatch)

We hope that your business is managing to cope with the Coronavirus crisis. As the business upheaval of Coronavirus increases day by day, we have been approached for advice by a growing number of clients and contacts as to whether they (or another party) have legal grounds to end or suspend a contract in a bid to reduce expenditure. Accordingly, we hope that the following pointers will be helpful:

  • Check the termination terms carefully – is there an express right to terminate early or for convenience?
  • Retention of title clause – if you have supplied goods and not been paid check to see whether you can terminate and take back possession of the goods
  • Follow the termination procedure to the letter – otherwise you may be the party in breach, owing damages
  • If terminating, clearly set out the grounds for doing so in writing
  • Force Majeure – is there a clause and, if so, does Coronavirus come within its definition?
  • Impossibility of performance – if the virus (or any other matter) makes performance of the contract impossible or radically different from what was envisaged, the contract may have terminated automatically releasing each party from future obligations
  • Don’t delay in taking action when you are entitled to do so – if not, there is a danger that any later actions may be seen as waiving termination rights
  • Making concessions to the other party – if you want to do so by giving more time to perform or pay that is fine, but ensure that any variations to the contract are recorded in writing and that it is clear when the extension ends and performance is due.

In addition to the above guidance please see links below:

If you need any additional advice or support on the above please contact:

John Warchus by email: or Tel: 020 8332 8631 
Dorothy Agnew by email: or Tel: 023 8071 8078
Deferred VAT Payments
(courtesy of Bright Graeme Murray)

As you may be aware, it was announced on Friday that one of the measures to ease financial burdens on businesses during this Covid-19 pandemic is the deferment of VAT return payments where these are due between 20 March and 30 June 2020.

This is taken to mean VAT return payments that are due one month and 7 days after the end of a VAT period that fall into this window of deferment. This will therefore mean VAT payments for the VAT periods ending 29 February, 31 March and 30 April 2020.

If you are due a repayment of VAT, do not worry, these will still be made by HMRC in the normal way.

VAT registered businesses will have until the end of the tax year to pay these liabilities. HMRC have yet to clarify whether this is in line with the end of the tax year for VAT (March, April, or May – dependent when your VAT returns fall), or 5 April, which is in line with the income tax year end. We will let you know when HMRC clarify this position.

If you are VAT registered, you should:

  • File VAT returns as normal (although payments have been deferred, VAT return filing requirements have not and you could therefore be liable to a late filing penalty)
  • If you pay by Direct Debit, please cancel this in the short term to prevent automated payments being made
  • If you are having trouble paying a previous VAT bill, please contact HMRC’s new helpline on 0800 0159 559 to discuss time to pay. This number can also be used if you are having trouble with other taxes.

Please contact Gavin Barker, VAT Director on 07936 334020 or
Covid-19 fraud and cyber protect information from East Midlands Police, which is applicable to us all. A great deal of people are now at home with time on their hands to practice their hacking skills, so please take extra care.
Creatives Network news

There are some interesting stories of people shifting to virtual channels or re-purposing their activity. Neil Lemaire (a bronze caster at the Water and Steam Museum) and The Maker Station, for example, are both switching to manufacturing parts for ventilators for the NHS . (If you might be able to help Neil on his assembly line, contact him on .) 
Parks and Green Spaces

Hounslow’s parks and green spaces are much loved, and we want to keep them open so people can enjoy them for a walk or exercise during these challenging times. However, to ensure they can stay open for everyone to use, people must follow the Government’s rules to stop the spread of coronavirus. If people are inconsiderate and ignore these rules and put others at risk, Hounslow, like some other London boroughs, will be forced to close them. 

This means one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of their household. And even when doing this, people should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring they are two metres apart from anyone outside of their household. See the full list of  government rules

For more information visit   
Good News:
Following the Clap for our Carers at 8:00 pm last night, I forwarded a short video of Clifden Road in Brentford showing their support to the NHS, to my nephew who is a junior doctor at Charing Cross Hospital. He replied:

It was so loud. I was at work and we all heard in A&E. Lots of the nurses got emotional, it was nice so thank you!
Hounslow Chamber says "Cheers” to Fullers for standing by your business at the heart of the community - Fullers has suspended all commercial rent for their tenants for the time being and will be reviewing the situation as it progresses. Commenting on the support offered for tenants impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, a spokesperson for Fuller, Smith & Turner, said:
“We want to make sure that, when this is all over, our tenants are in a good position to get their pubs back to full strength.”

If you’re stuck at home, it’s a great time to do some tidying up. That and bingeing box sets, obviously.
Don’t mope and mutter - just de-clutter!
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.