DAILY BUSINESS BRIEFING FROM GOVERNMENT'S COVID-19 PRESS CONFERENCE
(Courtesy of White Label)

The government has today extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) eligibility date to 19 March 2020, ensuring thousands more employees can receive financial support.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the scheme last month, which allows employers to claim a grant covering 80% of wages for furloughed employees at a cap of £2,500 a month. Individuals originally had to have been employed on 28 February 2020 to qualify - to protect against fraudulent claims.

But following a review of the delivery system and to ensure the scheme helps as many people as possible, new guidance published today has confirmed the eligibility date has been extended to the day before the scheme was announced.

Employers can claim for furloughed employees that were employed and on their PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020. This means that the employee must have been notified to HMRC through an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee on or before 19 March 2020.

This change is expected to benefit more than 200,000 employees.

A government spokesman said HMRC had been "working at pace" to deliver the scheme, which is due to be fully operational next week.

If any employer now thinks they are eligible for support, they can find out more here .

Businesses urged to support care workers

Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced at today’s Downing Street press conference that the UK will be introducing a "single brand" for social care, to replicate the "famous" blue and white logo for the NHS.

Businesses, including supermarkets, will be asked to give care staff the same priority as NHS workers, and the UK will undertake a recruitment drive, with the government paying for "induction training".

"I know that many will answer our call," he said.

ADDITIONAL NEW GUIDANCE RELEASED TODAY

Jim Harra, First Permanent Secretary and CEO at HMRC explains what employees need to know about getting government support if they have been furloughed. Please see below for the information from Jim Harra:
We wrote to you last week to help you prepare to make a claim through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. We are now writing to tell you how and when to access the system with some more information about what you will need to have ready before the system goes live.

We are also updating you on an important change to the scheme relating to employee eligibility:

  • you can claim for employees that were employed as of 19 March 2020 and were on your PAYE payroll on or before that date; this means that you will have made an RTI submission notifying us of payment of that employee on or before 19 March 2020
  • employees that were employed as of 28 February 2020 and on payroll (i.e. notified to us on an RTI submission on or before 28 February) and were made redundant or stopped working for you after that, and prior to 19 March 2020, can also qualify for the scheme if you re-employ them and put them on furlough.
More information on this can be found on GOV.UK .

How to claim

As you prepare to make a claim, please note:

  • the online claim service will be launched on GOV.UK on 20‌‌ April 2020 – please do not try to access it before this date as it won’t be available
  • the only way to make a claim is online – the service should be simple to use and any support you need available on GOV.UK; this will include help with calculating the amount you can claim
  • you can make the claim yourself even if you usually use an agent
  • claims will be paid within 6 working days; you should not contact us unless it is absolutely necessary – any queries should be directed to your agent, representative or our webchat service
  • we cannot answer any queries from employees – they will need to raise these with you, as their employer, directly.

Information you will need before you make a claim

In addition to the information in our previous email, you will need to have the following before 20‌‌ April 2020:

  • a Government Gateway (GG) ID and password – if you don’t already have a GG account, you can apply for one online, or by going to GOV.UK and searching for 'HMRC services: sign in or register'
  • be enrolled for PAYE online – if you aren’t registered yet, you can do so now, or by going to GOV.UK and searching for 'PAYE Online for employers'
  • the following information for each furloughed employee you will be claiming for:
  1. Name.
  2. National Insurance number.
  3. Claim period and claim amount.
  4. PAYE/employee number (optional).
  • if you have fewer than 100 furloughed staff – you will need to input information directly into the system for each employee
  • if you have 100 or more furloughed staff – you will need to upload a file with information for each employee; we will accept the following file types: .xls .xlsx .csv .ods.

If you want an agent to act for you

Please note:

  • agents authorised to act for you on PAYE matters can make the claim on your behalf using their ID and password
  • you will need to tell your agent which UK bank account you want the grant to be paid into, in order to ensure funds are paid as quickly as possible to you.

You should retain all records and calculations in respect of your claims.

Guidance on GOV.UK is being regularly updated so please review it frequently.

We continue to wish you all the best at this challenging time.

Yours sincerely

Jim Harra
First Permanent Secretary and Chief Executive – HMRC
Homeoffice update on Alcohol LicensingPlease click here.
Chamber member, Anchor Counselling would like to remind you they offer NHS (free) counselling to residents, including local businesses and your staff base in the Borough of Hounslow. They have a fast self-referral form on their website - link below. At present they are prioritising NHS and other key workers. All of their counsellors are experienced and qualified therapists, regulated and monitored by the key psychotherapy and counselling organisations (UKCP and BACP). Please visit:  http://www.anchorcounselling.org

Anchor Counselling offers individual, couples, psychosexual counselling - counselling for depression, anxiety, bereavement, relationship issues, stress, work related matters. They work in partnership with Hounslow IAPT and West London Mental Health Trust. Due to lockdown, all counselling is via Zoom or phone as their premises are currently closed. 
BUSINESS FUNDING AND CASH MANAGEMENT

Join the COVID-19 Q&A Panel Webinar
21st April 9:30-11am

Business funding and cash management – This webinar will look at the practical implications of funding (case studies) and the critical steps for good cash management. It also covers a range of current challenges being experienced by businesses during this crisis.
Chair: Rob Lewis (Mission Performance) & Dave Gosling (Menzies)

The panel includes:

  • John Foundling – Corporate Finance Partner – Menzies
  • Mark Perrin – Head of Advisory – Menzies
  • Matt Burgess – Director of Communications – Mission Performance
  • David Joel – Director – Lanson Consultants
  • Peter Taylor – Managing Partner – Paris Smith LLP
  • Stef Nienaltowski – Chief Executive – Shaping Portsmouth CIC
Good News:
Community partnership in Cranford and Heston

Heston West Big Local and Hounslow Chamber member, Cranford Community College have teamed up to support the most vulnerable households in the Cranford and Heston area. 

The initial idea was to set up a pop-up foodbank to deliver to those in need using Cranford Community College’s wholesale catering company, Chartwell, as the main supplier. The initiative has since been supported by Morrisons, Honeycomb pub, Seema Malhotra MP and local councillors. 

Over the past two weeks a team of over 20 volunteers, of all ages, have delivered 124 food parcels, each of a value of between £40 - £50 to households in the community. This has helped to put much needed food on the table for over 200 residents. 
Global manufacturing value-added output will bounce back in 2021
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.