Hounslow Business Task Force at Ten - Free Webinars:
The next Task Force at Ten webinar is on Thursday 14 th  May at 10:00am
We are so pleased that Andrew Hatch from TfL will be part of the panel.
If you have missed our webinars, you can watch them now:  https://hounslowchamber.org.uk/10015
The major take away from the Health & Wellbeing webinar this morning, is to listen to ourselves, breathe deeply and slowly and take time out to reward ourselves. We are all coping with a huge amount of change in a very short time – take time to acknowledge this.

Thank you to our panel of experts, Chiswickbuzz and Hounslow Council for their sponsorship. The video of the webinar will be on our website and that of Chiswickbuzz shortly. Well worth 60 minutes of your time.
The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy

After last night’s announcement left many questions unanswered, the government has now released a 60-page document outlining their recovery strategy to rebuild the UK. You can read the  full document here .

The document highlights the government aim to return life to as close to normal as possible, for as many people as possible, as fast and fairly as possible. In a way that avoids a new epidemic, minimises lives lost and maximises health, economic and social outcomes.

Detailed guidance and projected dates for phases two (smarter controls) and three (reliable treatment) of the government’s three phased recovery strategy can be found within this latest release.

COVID-19 Secure guidelines which will detail how physical spaces can be adapted will be released this week. The clinically extremely vulnerable are advised to continue shielding for some time yet, with more support and assistance expected.

Who can go to work?

Where work is concerned, workers should continue to work from home for the foreseeable future. From Wednesday 13th May, those who cannot work from home are permitted to travel to work if their workplace is open, avoiding public transport where possible.

Sectors of the economy that are permitted to be open from Wednesday are listed as:

  • Food production
  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Logistics
  • Distribution
  • Scientific research in laboratories.

Exceptions to this are those workplaces such as hospitality and nonessential retail which must remain closed during this first recovery stage.

The opening of non-essential retail is subject to the new COVID-19 Secure guidelines and expected to happen in phases from 1st June, if safe to do so. Further guidance will be released.

Hairdressers, beauty salons, hospitality including pubs and accommodation, cinemas and leisure facilities are expected to remain closed at least until 4th July, subject to government findings through phase 2 and successfully meeting the COVID-19 Secure guidelines.

It is advised not to travel to different parts of the UK and respect the rules in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Should we be wearing face masks?

The government advice is that people should be wearing a “face-covering” in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not always possible, when in contact with those who you would not usually meet. E.g on public transport or in shops.

Homemade face-coverings are said to be effective and are not the same as facemasks, which should be reserved for those who need them the most. Face-coverings are not advised for children under 2 or those who may find them difficult to manage correctly. 

What's next?

We strongly advise that you familiarise yourself with the full  recovery strategy document. Further guidance is to be released regarding how to make sure your business is COVID-19 Secure before bringing employees back to work.

If you have questions about how to manage your staff at this time or regarding the reopening of your business, please call us.

HR Dept Staines-upon-Thames
Tel: 02087 028 061 Email: john.rose@hrdept.co.uk
Following the Government’s announcement yesterday on how restrictions on movement will gradually start to ease, TfL have published updated plans and advice to help Londoners to travel safely and sustainably:

  • If you can work from home, please continue to do so. Social distancing on transport will not be possible unless people who can work from home continue to do so
  • Do not expect to return to the transport network you were used to before. The number of people we can safely transport on buses and trains is severely constrained to enable social distancing
  • If you must travel, please reimagine how to do so. Walk and cycle if you can. New walking and cycling space is being created to support this
  • Shop locally and use local leisure facilities to help keep demand on buses and tubes down
  • If using public transport, or taxi and private hire services that we regulate, please:
  • travel outside of peak times
  • use a facial covering
  • carry a hand sanitizer
  • wash your hands before and after you travel
  • The latest Government advice is that, although face coverings are unlikely to prevent you from getting the virus, they could help prevent you from giving it to others. Face coverings are particularly important where 2m social distancing is hard to maintain
  • Further measures to prevent crowding through new queuing systems will be in operation, and advice on maintaining social distancing will be supplied across the transport network
  • Please respect each other’s space and try to maintain social distancing wherever possible
  • Our hardworking staff are there to help: please act on their instructions and respect them at all times
  • If you absolutely must drive, avoid peak times and obey speed limits and traffic laws

Government £2 billion package for walking and cycling
The Transport Secretary has announced a  £2 billion package to improve infrastructure for walking and cycling . More people are walking and cycling than ever before during the coronavirus pandemic. The funding will create more space for people to cycle and walk while safely following social distancing guidelines and could relieve the pressure on public transport.
The New Self-Employed Income Scheme
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a new scheme to support those who are self-employed or a member of a partnership and have been financially impacted by the coronavirus crisis. The temporary scheme pays 80 per cent of average profits which is capped at £7,500. The grant will be subject to Income Tax and self-employed National Insurance. You can check if you’re eligible  here
Information from HMRC re. Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Save and return option now added

In response to feedback from customers using the service, we’ve added a 'save and return' option. This means that you can now return to a partially completed claim, rather than having to do it all in one go.

Avoiding common mistakes

When you make a claim through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, you will receive the funds within six working days after you apply, provided your claim matches records that we hold for your PAYE scheme. Making sure that you submit your claim correctly will reduce the chance of any delayed or wrong payments.

These steps should help keep the process as simple as possible:

  • read the guidance before you apply, to find this go to GOV‌.UK and search for 'Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme', there’s a step-by-step guide to applying and a calculator
  • check your employees are eligible, by looking at the guidance on GOV‌.UK
  • check your calculations each time you submit a claim, in case any details have changed
  • only submit one claim per pay period – you can’t submit another claim for overlapping periods; this means that in each claim you should include all furloughed employees paid during that period
  • if you have missing National Insurance numbers for employees, do try and find them so it doesn’t delay your claim; if an employee doesn’t have a National Insurance number yet, you should contact HMRC in order to complete your claim; go to GOV‌.UK and search for 'get help with the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme' to find out how to contact us
  • double check all of the information in the claim before you submit it, including your bank details.

We understand that sometimes you might make an error in your claim, and we’re working on a process to enable you to amend a claim. In the meantime, please don’t amend your next claim to reflect any errors that you may have made in a previous one, as this could delay payment. If we spot an error then, where possible, we’ll contact you or your agent to correct the claim.

After you make a claim – reporting employees' wages to HMRC

If you’ve claimed a grant through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, you should check if you need to report payments on the PAYE Real Time Information system. This will depend on whether you are using the grant to pay wages or to reimburse wages that you’ve already paid. To find guidance on this, go to GOV‌.UK and search for 'report wages Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme'.

Find out more in our recorded webinars

Want more information? There are two HMRC webinars about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme on our YouTube channel 'HMRCgovuk' – an overview of the scheme and a detailed session about how to make a claim.

A note about scams

Stay vigilant about scams, which may mimic government messages as a way of appearing authentic and unthreatening. Search 'scams' on GOV‌.UK for information on how to recognise genuine HMRC contact. You can also forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk and texts to 60599.

I hope this helps support your business, and wish you all the best at this challenging time.
Jim Harra
Chief Executive and Permanent Secretary – HMRC
New Airport Screening Measures (Courtesy of HAL, External Affairs)

Heathrow announced last week that we will trial new technologies and processes which could form the basis of a Common International Standard for health screening at airports. The measures being trialled aim to collectively eradicate the risk of contracting or transmitting COVID-19 while travelling by air.

A number of measures are being considered including:

• Temperature screening technology;
• UV sanitation, which could be used to quickly and efficiently sanitise security trays; and
• Contact-free security screening equipment to reduce person-to-person contact.

Before any new measures are rolled out across the airport, they will be assessed against our three tests to ensure that they are: medically effective; passenger friendly; and compatible with an airport environment.

The first of these trials will be a new temperature screening technology which uses camera detection systems capable of monitoring the temperatures of several individuals at a time. These passenger-facing trials will first be conducted in the airport’s immigration halls. If successful, the equipment will then be rolled out across departures and connections. The testing will begin from this week in Terminal 2.

The key learnings from these trials will be shared with the Government and other UK airports with the aim of informing the creation of a Common International Standard which can be implemented at airports across the globe.

Heathrow’s CEO John Holland-Kaye appeared before the Transport Select Committee last week and called on the Government to introduce a Common International standard by the end of May. This is crucial to ensure the restart of the aviation industry and to ensure continued passenger safety and restore confidence in travel.

Aviation will be a key enabler of the UK’s economic recovery post COVID-19 and Heathrow, as the UK’s major hub, will underpin the country’s export, FDI and tourism recoveries. Getting the aviation industry flying again will be crucial to ensuring that businesses get back on their feet as quickly as possible.

Yesterday, the Prime-Minister announced plans to introduce quarantine for passengers people arriving in the country in order to prevent a new wave of coronavirus infections. At Heathrow, we will continue to support the Government in tackling the health crisis with appropriate risk-based measures. However, in order for the aviation industry to plan its recovery to support the wider economy, it is vital that further detail on the exemptions to the Government’s quarantine plans are shared, as well as an exit strategy for easing quarantine to ensure borders can reopen once COVID-19 has been beaten.
Hounslow Giving are working with Hounslow Council to co-ordinate the needs and asks within the Borough of Hounslow during the COVID-19 crisis. We are matching volunteers, donations or money and equipment with those individuals and groups most at need. 
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.