(courtesy of White Label)

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab chaired meetings with senior ministers and cabinet today to discuss action being taken across all strategic areas including the economy and support for both businesses and workers as he continued to deputise for Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Mr Johnson was admitted to intensive care last night as he continues to suffer from coronavirus. Mr Raab said at today’s press conference that the Prime Minister was in a stable condition and receiving the “very best care” from the medical team at St Thomas’ Hospital.

Meanwhile, the government announced today the basic element of Working Tax Credit has been increased by £1,045 to £3,040 until 5 April 2021.

The amount a claimant or household will benefit from will depend on their circumstances, including their level of household income, but it could mean up to an extra £20 each week.

The government has also uprated Child Benefit, other tax credit rates and thresholds and Guardian’s Allowance by 1.7%, with effect from 6 April 2020. The full list of rates and allowances can be read here .

There is also new guidance for employees who may have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The latest government guidance on dismissal states that if an employee has lost their job because of coronavirus (COVID-19), the employer may might be able to re-employ and pay 80% of wages under the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme.


Off-payroll working rules (IR35) reforms postponed until 2021
Reforms to off-payroll working rules have been delayed by 12 months as part of the government’s Covid-19 economic response package.
The rules, which ensure two people sitting side by side doing the same work for the same employer are taxed in the same way, will now come into effect on 6 April 2021 instead of 6 April this year.

HMRC webinar advice
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
CBIL update
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme . Additional guidance from the British Business Bank here
NHS asks people to share their coronavirus symptoms to help others
A new Coronavirus Status Checker will help the NHS coordinate its response and build up additional data on the COVID-19 outbreak. It is open to anyone in the UK to use on the NHS website and in its initial phase the NHS is particularly keen for anyone who thinks they may be displaying potential coronavirus symptoms, no matter how mild, to complete it. Please share the checker with your employees and networks. You can find more information here.
Universal Credit

For those of you who are self employed, applying for Universal Credit is an option.  
Please click here for more details.
Today marks the start of a new financial year, when all your tax-free allowances are refreshed - and some become much better. In this email, alongside all the latest tax news, we'll help you to brush up on everything you need to know for the year ahead and complete your 2019-20 tax return.

In 2020-21, it's possible to earn £43,550 tax free. From navigating the capital gains changes through to making the most of your Isa allowance, we round-up all the steps you can take to get more of your income in your pocket. 

FoodBox appeals for more donations
(information courtesy of Brentford Voice)

People are continuing to donate food and money, and the fact that people are still considering how to support the Community FoodBox during this time is of great credit to our community. However, our local FoodBox is asking for more food donations in particular, as the need for these supplies is greater now than ever.

If you are in a position to donate food items then do please refer to the items listed below. 
There are collection points in Morrisons and one in the Coop by the University on Boston Manor Rd, plus you can take your donations to the FoodBox premises and leave them outside when it’s open Tuesday - Friday 10am to 1pm, Saturday 10am to 12pm.  The Hounslow Community FoodBox premises are located at Brickfield Community Centre, Brickfield Close, Brentford TW8 8JN.

All food items would be most welcome as stocks are now extremely low as a result of a dramatic increase in referrals, most of whom are being referred for the first time and are now self-isolating. The Community FoodBox now delivers all food parcels and has been recruiting many new volunteer drivers to provide this service. If you have any spare face masks they would be most welcome too for use by volunteers.

Hounslow Community FoodBox are grateful for all non-perishable, frozen and fresh food donations, but the regular food items required include:

Hounslow Community FoodBox are grateful for financial donations to help run and expand the service. You can make personal donations go even further through Gift Aid, just follow this link

If you have any questions on how to help please contact Philip Jones at treasurer@hounslowfoodbox.org or 07743 547262

Free counselling service to local people who the NHS have said are extremely vulnerable and must stay home

Nicholas Rose is offering a free online counselling service they have launched for the NHS designated "extremely vulnerable" in the local area.  Maybe you have family or friends that might want to access the service?

Nicholas has also written a paper offering some psychological perspectives and how to manage and approach business during the pandemic.  Please click here

Nicholas Rose, Psychotherapist, Counsellor, Couples Counsellor, Coach and Supervisor
MBACP (accred), UKCP registrant, UKRCP
PGDip, MA, Adv Dip Ex Psych (always good when the letters after your name outnumber the letters in your name!)
CLS , a patron of Hounslow Chamber, is now offering IT services for businesses.  Please click here for more details .
Good News:
Design of new breathing aid developed by Mercedes and UCL to be made freely available
(Members from the UCL team were due to speak at our Tech Conference to be held in April. Sadly, the seminar had to be postponed but it will be resurrected
as soon as we are able!)
The designs of a new breathing aid developed by engineers at the Mercedes F1 team, University College London (UCL), and clinicians at UCL Hospital have been made freely available to support the global response to Covid-19. It's the latest development in  Formula 1’s Project Pitlane effort  to help fight coronavirus.

The Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices, which help coronavirus patients with lung infections to breathe more easily, were  developed by engineers at the Mercedes team   and University College London (UCL), and clinicians at UCL Hospital after a round-the-clock effort to reverse engineer a device that could be manufactured rapidly by the thousands.

It took fewer than 100 hours from the initial meeting to production of the first device.

And after patient evaluations at UCLH and across sister hospitals in the London area, the device received regulatory approval last week. An order for up to 10,000 has now been placed by the British National Health Service, and the Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains technology centre in Brixworth – the facility where the F1 team’s highly successful power units are developed and built – is now building 1,000 devices per day .

Technicians at Mercedes AMG HPP engineered the new device
Currently, 40 machines that would normally produce F1 pistons and turbochargers are being used for production of the CPAP devices, and the entire Brixworth facility has been repurposed to meet this demand.

The team behind the aids are also today making the designs required to make the device available for manufacturers to download, to help other healthcare systems support patients with Covid-19.

It is hoped that making this information widely available may help the global response to the crisis by enabling healthcare systems around the world to provide respiratory support for patients with the virus.
The entire Brixworth facility has been repurposed to meet demand for the CPAP device
Andy Cowell, Managing Director of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains, said: “Since the project was announced, we have received an incredible number of enquiries about the CPAP device from around the world.

“Making the design and manufacturing specifications available on an ‘open source’ basis will allow companies around the world to produce these devices at speed and at scale to support the global response to Covid-19.”

Professor David Lomas, UCL Vice Provost Health, added: “These life-saving devices will provide vital support to the NHS in coming weeks, helping to keep patients off ventilators and reducing demand on intensive care beds and staff.

“It is a phenomenal achievement that they are arriving at hospitals only two weeks after the first prototype was built. It shows what can be done when universities, hospitals and industry work together for the national good.”
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.