Banks were put under pressure by Business Secretary Asok Sharma at today’s Downing Street press conference to play their part in supporting businesses during the COVID-19 shutdown.

On a day when research showed up to one fifth of small and medium sized businesses – nearly a million – were likely to run out of cash in the next four weeks, Mr Sharma said the government will do everything it can to support business and the chancellor will say more in the coming days.

“Our businesses are doing everything they can to support people and the government in turn will do all it can to support businesses, so when this crisis passes, and it will, we are ready to bounce back.” he said.

He added he had been working with local authorities and High Street banks to ensure the monies needed by businesses would reach them as quickly as possible. He told the conference that today, 1 April, high streets would begin to receive a £22billion coronavirus boost, with grants of up to £25,000 already being paid into bank accounts of high street businesses, many of whom will also be exempt from business rates.

But he had a warning for banks that it would be "completely unacceptable" for them to refuse financial support to firms which need it, referencing the support they got from the taxpayer following the 2008 financial crisis.

He said: “Just as the taxpayer stepped into help banks in 2008, we will do everything we can to ensure banks repay that favour and support the people of the UK in their time of need.”

Coronavirus (COVID-19): temporary changes to driver certificate of professional competence (CPC) requirements
The Department for Transport has set out temporary changes to allow bus and lorry drivers who cannot complete compulsory CPC training to continue to drive.

Chancellor waives duties and VAT on vital medical imports
Chancellor waives import taxes on vital medical equipment including ventilators, coronavirus testing kits and protective clothing. Find out more here.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on business support grant funding
Guidance for local authorities setting out details of the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF). Updated information on state aid, monitoring and reporting requirements, post payment checks, eligibility of charities.

The UK Government is looking for businesses who can offer support in the multiple areas and has set up an online tool where businesses can register. To offer support click here. The support needed includes things like:

  • medical testing equipment
  • medical equipment design
  • protective equipment for healthcare workers, such as masks, gowns and sanitiser
  • hotel rooms
  • transport and logistics, for moving goods or people
  • manufacturing equipment
  • warehouse or office space, for medical use or storage
  • expertise or support on IT, manufacturing, construction, project management, procurement, engineering or communications
  • social care or childcare
Request from the Cabinet Office:

Now that the government's Covid-19 business support packages are live, we are gathering feedback on how they are being utilised and how best to help businesses to access the support.

As such, HMRC are delivering a programme of webinars to support employers, employees and the self-employed through this period of disruption. You can watch the first recorded webinar and register for future webinars using this link:  bit.ly/HMRCWebinar

I would also welcome hearing of any companies accessing the support, which we could potentially highlight to encourage further uptake in your area – please do feed information back to Sally Smith.
Chamber member, Khalil Arouni of ActionCoach is running a free workshop on Friday, 3rd April, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

  1. Energy booster during Lockdown
  2. Planning session to pan out through the next 90 days, with clear business and personal goals
  3. Develop strategies that will help you master your time, be clear about your priorities and equip you with the mindset and tools you need to overcome the Economic downturn
  4. Leadership, Mindset, and marketing and financial measures your business needs to manage during the lockdown
  5. An Excel file and tools to guide you every step of the way, and help you prepare your plan step by step
  6. Vision, focus and enthusiasm for the next 90 days
  7. Learn from the 350+ strategies implemented in other businesses
  8. Broaden your sphere of contacts by virtual networking with other business owners
  9. 30-60 Sec Pitch to introduce your business
E-Wire -Working from home solution

Many businesses are having to adapt their way of working due to the Coronavirus outbreak but the desire to work quickly and efficiently from home hasn't changed. At E-Wire we own and operate the highest capacity licensed microwave broadband network in West London, allowing for symmetric download and upload speeds from 100Mbps up to 10Gbps with ultra-low latency.

We typically install within 5 days. Get in touch today to check availability.

Emmanuel Akinyosoye on 07525 859 835 / www.e-wire.co.uk
Good News:
We're using our skills to help the NHS  
Over the last few days, the CRL team has joined a UK wide effort to help 3D print protective face shields for the NHS. We're so proud of the work CRL startups are doing to help the cause. At least 3 are busy working on supporting the effort to makes face masks and three others are working on utilising their innovative products in helping the fight against Coronavirus.
If you can and want to join this effort, you can find out more about this and other maker efforts here:  http://iot.london . We would love to hear about the efforts you are working on!
London Irish Rugby Club delivering free meals to NHS staff
To support the vital work the NHS is doing during the COVID-19 pandemic, the London Irish Rugby Club have teamed up with Powerday Plc to take on the Corona Care Challenge #CCC and deliver thousands of meals and vital equipment to hospitals across the capital. 
To make sure those working on the frontline are cared for, the #PoweringTheNHS campaign, will initially see Powerday and London Irish make and deliver more than 100,000 meals for NHS staff who are working under immense pressure in London and local hospitals. 
Nourishing, healthy meals are being prepared by London Irish’s Hazelwood training ground kitchen team and being transported to various hospitals across the capital, including of course our own West Middlesex Hospital. A brilliant team effort. Well done! #LondonTogether 
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.