Hounslow Business Task Force, brought to you by Hounslow Chamber
and Chiswickbuzz
Wednesday, 8 th April at 10.00 am – 11.00 am.

Please click here to book your place. 
Please do try to let us have your query beforehand, so we can group the questions together.
 
Keep talking to us, so we can try to help!
BUSINESS BRIEFING FROM GOVERNMENT'S COVID-19 PRESS CONFERENCE, Friday 3 rd April (courtesy of White Label)

COVID-19 Business Loans scheme revamped

The Chancellor of the Exchequer , Rishi Sunak’s emergency loan scheme for businesses struggling to survive the coronavirus pandemic has been revamped.

Today the Treasury announced a wider package of measures to enable more businesses to access financial support during the COVID-19 lockdown. This included:

  • The introduction of a new Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) providing a Government guarantee of 80% to enable loans of up to £25m for firms with an annual turnover of between £45m and £500m. Loans backed by a guarantee under CLBILS will be offered at commercial rates of interest and further details of the scheme will be announced later this month. Please find initial details here.
  • The UK Government is also stopping lenders from requesting personal guarantees for loans under £250,000 and making operational changes to speed up lending approvals. The government will continue to cover the first twelve months of interest and fees. Please find further details here.
  • In addition the UK Government has extended the CBILS so that all viable small businesses affected by COVID-19, and not just those unable to secure regular commercial financing, will now be eligible.

The Chancellor has said he will meet with chief executives of UK banks to discuss the implementation of the schemes next week.

Mr Sunak said: "We are making great progress on getting much-needed support out to businesses to help manage their cash flows during this difficult time - with millions of pounds of loans and finance being provided to hundreds of firms across the country.

"And now I am taking further action by extending our generous loan scheme so even more businesses can benefit.

"We have also listened to the concerns of some larger businesses affected by Covid-19 and are announcing new support so they can benefit too.

"This is a national effort and we'll continue to work with the financial services sector to ensure that the £330bn of government support, through loans and guarantees, reaches as many businesses in need as possible."

£20m for ambitious technologies to build UK resilience following coronavirus outbreak
UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £20m to respond to new and urgent needs in UK and global communities during and following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Grants of up to £50,000 will be available to technology and research-focussed businesses to develop new ways of working and help build resilience in industries such as delivery services, food manufacturing, retail and transport, as well as support people at home in circumstances like those during the coronavirus outbreak.

The proposals will be reviewed as part of a competition launched by Innovate UK, seeking the best new ideas from businesses. The fast response competition closes at 12noon on 17 April. All the projects will begin by June 2020 and will last up to six months, with products and services expected to be available to the public towards the end of this year. Find out more and apply .

ADDITIONAL NEW GUIDANCE RELEASED TODAY

Rules and regulations relaxed to support businesses
The Government has relaxed some rules and regulations to help businesses handle any disruption they are experiencing due to coronavirus. Click here for a list of some of the ways businesses are being supported.

Cash support for food redistribution during coronavirus outbreak
The government has announced a £3 million fund for organisations redistributing safe surplus food to those who need it during the coronavirus outbreak. Find out more here.

Pay it forward campaign - Supporting businesses through the coronavirus crisis
The Business Support campaign is working with Crowdfunder to build awareness about the support provided to small businesses through the Pay it Forward campaign . Small businesses can set-up a Pay it Forward campaign to pre-sell their services and diversify trading now to ensure continuous cash flow. Crowdfunder is covering all platform and transaction fees making it free to small businesses. Enterprise Nation is providing access to free training and support for business, to help with online sales, marketing, cashflow, and diversifying, if necessary. This campaign is nationwide and you can someone who is self-employed, a micro or small businesses can set-up a Pay it Forward campaign here.

UPCOMING WEBINARS

UK Government’s Business Support Website has a list of upcoming webinar events from Government and non-government partners. You can find more information here.

HMRC are delivering a programme of webinars on measures to support employers, employees and the self-employed through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19. You can watch a video of the recorded webinar on the HMRC YouTube channel Coronavirus – (COVID-19): helping employers to support employees
Heathrow is one of the main supply lines bringing vital medical equipment, medicines and food into the UK, as well as repatriation flights for Britons stranded abroad – it is our duty to assist the UK as we fight the virus by keeping Heathrow open and operating in a safe way. To that end, from Monday we will move to single runway operations. Under this new operation, we will alternate which runway we use on a weekly basis and publish a new alternation schedule that will continue to provide local communities with respite periods. I n the coming weeks we will temporarily shift passenger operations out of Terminals 3 and 4 and into Terminals 2 and 5. Our teams are working closely with our airline and other partners to ensure this move is as smooth and efficient and possible and we will provide clear guidance to passengers via our website, app and their airline. The significant reduction in passenger traffic will ensure that passengers are able to continue to adhere to the Government’s social distancing guidance even as the operation is consolidated. Consolidating our operations will also help us to protect long-term jobs at the airport by reducing our cost base.

This will affect ways of working for colleagues in these terminals. Either colleagues will be redeployed, or we will aim to take advantage of the Government's Job Retention scheme to protect jobs. We are working through this in partnership with our Trade Unions as our plans are still evolving. Further information about what this will means for colleagues will be shared following the finalisation of these measures.
Advice for businesses in regards to people working from home

Many organisations are either moving to working remotely for the first time or significantly increasing it, and this presents a number of cyber security challenges. Advice on how to respond to those challenges is set out in the   NCSC’s working from home guidance .

There are a number of practical steps organisations can take to reduce the risk including:

  • Supporting people to use stronger passwords and setting up two factor authentication.
  • Ensuring staff know how to report problems, especially those related to security.
  • Creating ‘How do I’ guides for new software and tools staff may be using. 
  • Using VPNs to allow users to securely access the organisation’s IT services.
  • Ensuring devices encrypt data whilst at rest.

Some organisations may be allowing staff to use their own devices to work remotely. In this case, please refer to the NCSC's   Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) guidance .

In addition to following the guidance set out above, it is worth being aware of phishing emails which trick users into clicking on a bad link. Once clicked, the user is sent to a website which could download malware onto your computer, or steal passwords. We know that cyber criminals are opportunistic and will look to take advantage of people’s fears, and there is evidence that the coronavirus outbreak is being exploited in this way.

Those who do fall victim shouldn’t feel bad – these scams can be extremely convincing – but what they should do as quickly as possible is report it to their IT department when the incident is work-related or Action Fraud when it is personal. They can also open their antivirus (AV) software if installed, and run a full scan, following any instructions given. If they’ve been tricked into providing password, they should change their passwords on all their other accounts.  The NCSC’s   guidance on suspicious emails   provides more tips on this.
Costco is firmly committed to helping protect the health and safety of our members and employees, and to serving our communities.


Hours of Operation

Monday to Friday opening hours are as follows:

  • 9:00am - 10:00am : NHS & Emergency Services*
  • 10:00am - 11:00am : Trade & All Executive members*
  • 11:am - Close : All members welcome*
  • Weekend hours remain unaffected

*Opening hours for Croydon, Edinburgh, Gateshead, Southampton and Watford differ, please click here for details .
Good News:
We're going on a Bear Hunt (courtesy of Chiswick calendar)

A lovely idea has just popped up on social media. Sally Little of Kew has suggested putting a teddy bear in the window so children can have something to look out for when taking their daily exercise. 
The owners of this house on Strand on the Green, who used to be in publishing, have been entertaining children who walk past for years - decades even. 

Thank you!

If you don't have a teddy bear to hand - improvise!
“We should all be doing our bit to help out” says leading developer following hospital donations

Leading developer Barratt London is encouraging London communities to all pitch in at a time of need following donations to the West Middlesex University Hospital and the Royal London Hospital.

Director of Sales and Marketing for Barratt West London, Ed McCoy, provided 180 protective masks to NHS staff as they continue to run low on essential supplies. 

Based in Brentford, the housebuilder is known for its work within the communities it builds, but these donations aim to lead by example and encourage many more organisations in the area to do their bit.

Ed said: “In this time of need, it’s important that we continue to work together as a collective and support our NHS staff whilst they continue to be the heroes in this battle we’re facing.

“We want to encourage other businesses and individuals to use the resources they have and donate them where they can, to support our community in fighting Covid-19. At a time like this, we should all be doing our bit to help out.

“We’ve always been huge ambassadors for working together to support each other, but team spirit is needed now more than ever before.”
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.