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

2 nd  June - Health & Wellbeing -
Many of us have now been working from home for the past few months. The cracks are beginning to show!

4 th June - Business Task Force -
We are pleased that Cllr. Guy Lambert, Cabinet Member for Highways, Recycling and Companies is able to be with us.

If you have missed our webinars, you can watch them now:  https://hounslowchamber.org.uk/10015
The programme of advice and support is really helping business owners with up to date information, enabling you to make good decisions about how to get through the current strange times.

All the webinars are free – please use this service and  click here to book your place.
The eligibility criteria for the Discretionary Business Support Grant has been published.  Please click here .

Each awarding body will have its own criteria so this one is unique to Hounslow.

There are a number of pieces of evidence that are required as part of the policy so any business thinking to apply may want to use next week getting evidence together. The go live for applications is Monday 8 June 2020.

Please ignore the watermark on the document, the policy is correct (someone forgot to remove the watermark!)

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has unveiled detailed plans for employers to start paying towards their furloughed staff and extend reduced support to self-employed workers.

Changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will enable businesses to bring back staff part time from July and introduce a taper requiring firms to contribute to their salaries from September onwards – a month later than expected.

In the face of growing calls, the Chancellor also announced at today’s Downing Street press conference that financial help would also be extended for sole traders for a further three months, although the grant available would be reduced by 10% to 70% of their profits and capped at £6,570.

The key changes to the furlough scheme are:
  • In August, the taxpayer will continue to pay up to 80% of salaries (to a maximum of £2,500). However, employers will be required to pay National Insurance and pension contributions.
  • From September, the taxpayer will continue to pay up to 70% of salaries (to a maximum of £2,190) with employers expected to contribute 10%
  • In October, the taxpayer contribution will reduce to 60% with the employer contribution set at 20%
  • From July, employers will also be able to bring back staff on a part-time basis

Finally, the Chancellor confirmed that at the end of October, the scheme will close for good. It will also be closed to new entrants from 30 June.
Relaxation of Veterinary Medicines Regulations

In light of the enhanced precautions on social distancing, the Veterinary Medicines Directorate has relaxed the enforcement of specific provisions of the Veterinary Medicines Regulations (VMR) to allow a suitably qualified person (SQP) to supply veterinary medicines from temporary premises.
Wholesale dealers will be allowed to supply veterinary medicines to SQPs at such temporary premises. More information is available on the statement from the VMD .
Coronavirus support from Business Representative Organisations and Trade Associations

Business Representative Organisations and Trade Associations are providing coronavirus related support for specific sectors. Updated with support from Made in Britain and the Federation of Master Builders.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) - HMRC

On Friday, 29‌‌ May, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced more details about the extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), with the key details outlined below:

Flexible furloughing

From 1‌‌ July 2020, you’ll have the flexibility to bring previously furloughed employees back to work part-time – with the government continuing to pay 80% of wages for any of their normal hours they do not work up until the end of August. This flexibility comes a month earlier than previously announced to help people get back to work.

You can decide the hours and shift patterns that your employees will work on their return and you will be responsible for paying their wages in full while working. This means that employees can work as much or as little as your business needs, with no minimum time that you can furlough staff for.

Any working hours arrangement that you agree with your employee must cover at least one week and be confirmed to the employee in writing. When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours, you will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week. You can choose to make claims for longer periods such as on monthly or two weekly cycles if you prefer. You will be required to submit data on the usual hours an employee would be expected to work in a claim period and actual hours worked.

If your employees are unable to return to work, or you do not have work for them to do, they can remain on furlough and you can continue to claim the grant for their full hours under the existing rules.

Employer contributions

From August, the government grant provided through the job retention scheme will be slowly tapered.

  • in June and July, the government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 as well as employer National Insurance (ER NICs) and pension contributions for the hours the employee doesn’t work – employers will have to pay employees for the hours they work
  • in August, the government will continue to pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 but employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions – for the average claim, this represents 5% of the gross employment costs that they would have incurred if the employee had not been furloughed
  • in September, the government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50 for the hours the employee does not work – employers will pay ER NICs, pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% of the total up to a cap of £2,500
  • in October, the government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875 for the hours the employee does not work – employers will pay ER NICs, pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% of the total up to a cap of £2,500
  • the cap on the furlough grant will be proportional to the hours not worked.

If you are a smaller employer, some or all of your employer NIC bills will be covered by the Employment Allowance, so you should not be significantly impacted by that part of the tapering of the government contribution.

Around a quarter of CJRS monthly claims relate to wages that are below the threshold where employer NICs and auto enrolment contributions are due, and so no employer contribution will be required for these furloughed employees in August.

Important dates

It’s important to note that the scheme will close to new entrants from 30‌‌ June . From this point onwards, you will only be able to furlough employees that you have furloughed for a full three-week period prior to 30‌‌ June.

This means that the final date that you can furlough an employee for the first time will be  10‌‌ June  for the current three-week furlough period to be completed by 30‌‌ June. Employers will have until 31‌‌ July to make any claims in respect of the period to 30‌‌ June.

Guidance and support

Further support for employers and agents on how to calculate claims with this extra flexibility will be available by 12‌‌ June, including webinars and detailed online guidance. For information about how to claim, go to GOV‌.‌‌UK and search 'Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme'. Please do not call us for more information, everything you need to know about this scheme will be published online on GOV‌.‌‌UK.
Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme - HMRC

As part of the government’s commitment to support businesses and individuals, the coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme is now live on GOV‌.UK.

Find out if you can use the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme, or how to make a claim on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, by joining one of the following updated webinars.

Coronavirus COVID-19 Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme : Providing an overview of the scheme, this webinar looks at who can claim, when to start paying SSP, employees you can claim for, making a claim, keeping records, and more.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – How to make a claim : This guides you through making a claim, including the essential information you need, what to do before you make your claim, calculating and processing your claim.

There are a limited number of spaces, so save your place now.

We’ll bring you the most up-to-date information to keep you fully informed of changes as they develop.

Get help. Protect your business. Save jobs.

Yours sincerely
Jim Harra

Chief Executive and Permanent Secretary – HMRC
Sadly, Gunnerbsury Park café was destroyed by fire in the early hours of Friday morning. No one was injured and firefighters were able to protect the nearby historic carriages. The park is expected to remain closed until at least Sunday while the site is made safe and an investigation carried out.

The café has a historic display area, containing display items like horse-drawn carriages, and firefighters safely removed these from the building.

Cllr Samia Chaudhary, Cabinet Member for Leisure Services at Hounslow Council said: “We were shocked and saddened to hear of the fire that took place at the Gunnersbury Park Café. Thankfully no one was hurt but the building, which only opened in 2018, has been destroyed."

During lockdown along with many others I have re-discovered Gunnersbury Park – it has kept me sane over the past few months, so to hear the café has been destroyed is sad. We will have to take our flasks for a while longer!
Scam alerts! Please click here for simple steps you can take.
Starting a new business from scratch, or perhaps itching to get going again after shutting down during lockdown?

Chamber member Simon Inc has got some good news for you. 
Good News:
Sadia Barlow is a Chamber member – well done that woman!

Kew Gardens reopens (courtesy of the Chiswick Calendar)
Kew Gardens is to reopen to the public on Monday 1 June.

'You'll notice we've made some changes' they say. 'Everyone will need to book a time slot in advance, and some of our attractions are closed'.

Entry times will be staggered to control the flow of people, to reduce queues and limit the numbers of visitors to the botannical gardens.

Access to be limited to buses and essential traffic
Ealing Broadway widens pavements to help shoppers with social distancing 
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.