Hounslow Chamber webinars. 
All are free, run for 60 minutes and start at 10:00 am:

26 th May: Cyber Security
2 nd June: Health & Wellbeing
4 th June: Business Task Force
9 th June: Structuring for re-emergence
11 th June: Business Task Force
16 th June: Trading with the UAE
18 th June: Business Task Force

(More links to register will be added soon)

If you have missed our webinars, you can watch them now:  https://hounslowchamber.org.uk/10015
CJRS update (courtesy of the HMRC)

It’s nearly a month since the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) opened and many businesses will be preparing to make another claim in order to receive money by the end of May.

To ensure you receive a payment by the end of May, you need to apply by Wednesday 20‌‌ May.

When you make a claim through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, you’ll receive the money within six working days.

After making a claim, please keep all records and calculations, in case we need to contact you to discuss these.

Update on the scheme

On 12 May, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that the CJRS scheme will be extended until the end of October. The scheme will continue in its current form until the end of July.

From 1‌‌ August to the end of October, we will introduce more flexibility so employers will be able to bring their furloughed employees back to work part-time and contribute to paying employees' wages while still receiving support from the scheme.

These measures will apply across all regions and sectors in the UK economy, and we expect to publish more details of how this will work by the end of May.

Guidance and support

In the meantime, more information is available online to help you apply – go to GOV‌.UK and search 'Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme'.

Online guidance has recently been updated with:

  • more information for furloughed employees
  • the work furloughed company directors can undertake
  • what time periods you can claim for
  • more detail on non-discretionary payments, holiday pay and record keeping.

Our webinars are also available to help you, and there are two 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. You can book a place on a live webinar by going to GOV‌.UK and searching 'help and support if your business is affected by coronavirus'.

Please remember that grants are only intended for the payment of employees' salaries and related National Insurance, and pension contributions.

Payments may be withheld or need to be repaid in full if based on dishonest or inaccurate information or found to be fraudulent, and we may call you to check the details of your claim.

Protect yourself from scams

Stay vigilant about scams, which may mimic government messages as a way of appearing authentic and unthreatening. Don't give out private information or reply to text messages, and don't download attachments in emails you weren't expecting. 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 information helps and supports your business, and we’ll continue to keep you updated on scheme developments at this challenging time.
Jim Harra
Chief Executive and Permanent Secretary – HMRC
Business impact survey
We understand that the ongoing pandemic has put unprecedented pressure on local businesses of all sizes, and from all sectors, and will continue to bring challenges over the coming months. While you are no doubt working hard to respond to the evolving situation, we would appreciate your time in completing the  Business Impact Survey .  

The survey is for all business owners operating within the London Borough of Hounslow, as well as social enterprises and individuals who are self-employed or who do freelance work. We want to hear from you about what you need in the short, medium and long term so please complete this form to let us know how this challenge is affecting you, your staff and the wider community. The results from the survey will be invaluable in evidencing the impact of Covid-19 on local businesses, and shaping the council’s support and assistance for you as we move forward.  

Your contact name and email will not be shared externally. By submitting your contact details, you are consenting to us (the Council) contacting you with general business guidance and information only.  

We are very aware of the stress being put upon businesses during the pandemic and want to assist you to navigate through these challenging times. If you have any questions please email  enquiries@investhounslow.com  

Government invests £35m to protect critical freight routes
Vital freight routes into, out of and around the UK will continue to run, thanks to a multi-million-pound government scheme to help ensure critical goods, such as food and medical supplies, can move freely.

The government has signed agreements with six operators to provide up to £35million to help ensure there is enough freight capacity to prevent disruption to the flow of goods.

The decision has been made to protect 16 of the most important routes covering the Channel, the Short Strait, the North Sea and routes between Great Britain and Northern Ireland which were previously at risk of closure due to a drop in demand as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19). They will now be designated as Public Service Obligation routes for a period of up to nine weeks.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “From the very beginning of the outbreak, we have committed to do whatever it takes to minimise the disruption caused by COVID-19. By taking this action, we have helped protect the movement of goods and services in and out of the UK, safeguarding the flow of supplies across the Union.

“The Department for Transport is working closely with the transport sector and devolved administrations to monitor the situation on all freight routes (not just those in the scheme) in order to ensure critical goods, such as food and medical supplies, can move freely.”

Revolutionising the way we fly: apply for up to £30m business funding
Organisations can apply for a share of up to £30m to develop ways to support the safe operation of novel modes of air transportation – minimising the environmental footprint and improving connectivity.

Flying taxis, drones delivering medical supplies, small electric aircraft, vertical take-off and landing vehicles and autonomous aircraft are some of the innovations that could transform aviation and broader transportation in the future.

The government has set aside £125m as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund Future Flight Challenge to make the UK a world leader in aviation systems, products and markets. The funding supports development of capabilities to enable safe operations of these new modes of air transportation.

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, has up to £30m from the fund to support projects that develop and demonstrate integrated aviation systems for new electric and autonomous aircraft.

Find out more about the Future Flight Challenge here .

£300m Coronavirus Business Innovation support package
A range of continuity grants, loans and additional business advisory support services have been made available for organisations which are existing Innovate UK award holders.

Up to £90m is available in continuity grants, paid upfront, to SMEs and third sector organisations who are existing Innovate UK award holders and who are at risk of abandoning their project due to a sudden shortage or even unavailability of funds directly related to COVID-19.

Up to £210m is available in continuity loans to SMEs and third sector organisations that have a challenge in continuing a live project for which they are have an award from Innovate UK.

More information and details on how to apply are here .
EU Settlement Scheme (courtesy of the Cabinet Office)

As of 14 May 2020, the Home Office had received more than 3.5 million applications to the EU Settlement Scheme, according to the latest internal figures. This milestone has been reached with over a year still to go until the 30 June 2021 deadline.
Mental Health Awareness Week - be kind to yourself 
This week it is Mental Health Awareness Week and the theme is 'kindness'. Little acts of kindness can really boost your mental health. However, kindness is also being kind to yourselves. Taking some time out is more important than ever and it is completely normal to be feeling anxious, fearful, sad or worried during these uncertain times. Make sure you do the things you enjoy, connect with people you love and be kind. Kindness does really matter! 

Take part in the Every Mind Matters campaign to learn simple tips and tricks to help you find your centre.  

Every Mind Matters provides expert advice and practical tips on the following topics: 

  • 10 tips to help if you’re worried about coronavirus 
  • Looking after children and young people 
  • 7 simple ideas to tackle working from home 
  • Mental wellbeing while staying at home  

You can also sign up to create a customised mind plan by answering 5 quick questions to get a free plan with tips to help you deal with stress and anxiety, improve your sleep, boost your mood and feel more in control.  

Find out more  here .
Additional Covid-19 symptoms:  https://bit.ly/GuidanceCV19Symptoms

The UK Chief Medical Officers have today released a statement saying that individuals will need to self-isolate immediately if they develop a new continuous cough or fever or, as of today, anosmia.

Anosmia is the loss of or a change in the normal sense of smell. It can also affect the sense of taste as the two are closely linked.
Good News:
Photography exhibition to be launched online this week.

It showcases the work of ten students of BA (Hons) Photography at University of West London and its partner institution Deutsche-Pop.

The work deals with the challenge of creating new work during a period of lockdown. The exhibition is a collaboration between UWL and Creative People and Places Hounslow's Visual Arts Programme, and will be shown online, and later tour London Borough of Hounslow Libraries once social distancing is eased.

Please click here for more information.
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.