"Joining the Chamber has been one of the best moves our company has made this year, it really offers quality networking at highest level, and of course it goes without saying Sally is so supportive and helpful." - Robert White, MD SPSC (UK) LTD
Business Taskforce - 5th November - 10:00 am for 60 minutes

Panellists include:
  • Cllr Shantanu Rajawat - Cabinet member for finance and corporate services at Hounslow Council
  • Tony Ryan - Branduin Business Support
  • Dawn Edwards - The Real Business Club
  • Nicholas Woolf - Nicholas Woolf Solicitors
  • Helen Roberts - CPGEXP
  • Alan Rides - Hounslow Chamber and West London Local Chambers
  • Shankar Devarashetty - Oasis Accountants
  • Marcus Gruenwald - Finpint

Bearing in mind that we are approaching a second national lockdown, this webinar could not be better timed. We are here to try to answer your questions.

If you have missed our webinars, you can watch them now: https://hounslowchamber.org.uk/10015
HMRC update

In light of the increased restrictions needed to curb the coronavirus pandemic, the UK government is introducing additional economic measures to support you and your employees.

Latest changes that may impact you

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), which was due to end on 31‌ October, will now be extended, with the UK government paying 80% of wages for the hours furloughed employees do not work, up to a cap of £2,500 for periods from 1 November.

You will need to pay all employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and pension contributions. You can choose to top up your furloughed employees’ wages beyond the 80% paid by the UK government for hours not worked, but you are not required to do so.

There will be no gap in support between the previously announced end date of CJRS and this extension.

For more information, go to GOV‌.UK and search 'furlough scheme extended'.

How will it work?

You will have flexibility to ask your employees to work on a part-time basis and furlough them for the rest of their usual working hours or furlough them full-time. You will have to cover their wages for any hours they work as well as all employer National Insurance and employer pension contributions.

You will be able to claim either shortly before, during or after running your payroll. There will be a short period initially when the online claims service will be closed while we update the system, and you will be able to claim in arrears for that period.

Further details will be provided in the next few days. Please do not call us for more information in the meantime – we will let you know via email as soon as this is available.

How to check if your employees are eligible

You can claim for employees who were on your PAYE payroll on 30‌ October 2020. You must have made a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC between 20‌ March 2020 and 30‌ October 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee.

If employees were on your payroll on 23‌ September‌ 2020 (i.e. notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 23 September) and were made redundant or stopped working for you afterwards, they can also qualify for the scheme if you re-employ them.

Neither you nor your employee needs to have previously used the CJRS. Further details on eligibility will be provided in the next few days.

What you need to do now

  • Check if your employees are eligible for the scheme, based on the information above.
  • Agree working hours with your employees, so they know if they are furloughed fully or part-time during November.
  • Keep the records that support the amount of CJRS grant you claim, in case HMRC need to check it. You can view, print or download copies of your previously submitted claims by logging onto your CJRS service on GOV‌.UK.‌ 

Job Support Scheme

The new Job Support Scheme, which was due to start on Sunday 1 November, has now been postponed.

Further support

Guidance and live webinars offering you more support on changes to CJRS, and how they impact you, are available to book online – go to GOV‌.UK and search 'help and support if your business is affected by coronavirus'. 

Our phone lines and webchat remain very busy, so the quickest way to find the support you need is on GOV‌.UK. This will leave our phone lines and webchat service open for those who need them most.  
Financial Support (courtesy of White Label)

Businesses forced to close in England (non-essential retail, hospitality, gyms and accommodation and tourism sectors), will receive grants up to £3,000 a month under the Local Restrictions Support Grant. Government has also announced £1.1billion is being given to local authorities, distributed on the basis of £20 per head, for one-off payments to enable councils to offer further support to businesses. The business grants will be as follows:
  • For properties with a rateable value of £15k or under, grants to be £1,334 per month, or £667 per two weeks;
  • For properties with a rateable value of between £15k-£51k grants to be £2,000 per month, or £1,000 per two weeks;
  • For properties with a rateable value of £51k or over grants to be £3,000 per month, or £1,500 per two weeks.
There is also additional support for the self-employed. To reflect the recent changes to the furlough scheme, the UK-wide Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will be made more generous – with self-employed individuals receiving 80% of their average trading profits for November.
And to ensure those who need support get it as soon as possible, payments will also be made more quickly with the claims window being brought forward from 14 December to 30 November.
Mortgage holidays are also continuing. Borrowers who have not yet had a six month holiday will be entitled to one, and those who have already started a mortgage holiday will be able to top up to six months without this being recorded on their credit file.
Government bailout to keep London transport running
The government has agreed a second extraordinary funding and financing package for Transport for London (TfL) worth up to £1.7billion.
The package, which will provide financial support until March 2021, is focused on protecting services and ensuring the capital’s transport network stands ready to support the recovery from coronavirus. Government funding will ensure those who need to, such as NHS staff, can continue to be able to travel as the nation enters tougher national restrictions.
As with the national rail operators, buses and tram systems, the government will make up all the fare revenue which TfL has lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic through this support package.
National taxpayers will also continue to fund free travel concessions to standard English levels and free travel to school for children who qualify under national legislation. Nearly all the package will be grants and £95m will be loans.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has also chosen to make £160m in savings over the next six months in TfL and raise fares by RPI+1%.
Furlough scheme extended as England prepares for second national lockdown

Boris Johnson has announced a second national lockdown for England from 00:01 GMT on Thursday 5th November until Wednesday 2nd December.

The new lockdown measures must pass a vote in parliament this Wednesday to be implemented. If approved, the following will apply.

  • People must stay home and can only leave home for specific purposes such as:
To shop for essential items such as food and medicine, to attend work if work cannot be done from home, to exercise outdoors or attend an outdoor public place (with the people they live with, alone, with a support bubble, or with 1 person from another household), to attend school, college or university, to access medical treatment, escape risk of harm (e.g domestic abuse), to provide care for a vulnerable person or access a support bubble. Children can move between households where parents live separately.
  • Parents will still be able to access some registered childcare and other childcare activities (including wraparound care) where reasonably necessary to enable parents to work, or for the purposes of respite care.
  • Pubs, bars and restaurants will be legally required to close but can continue to provide takeaway.
  • Leisure and entertainment facilities including gyms, cinemas, galleries and museums will close.
  • Non-essential retail will also close but can provide delivery and click-and-collect services.
  • Personal care facilities such as hairdressers, tattoo parlours and spas will close.
  • Hotels and hostels can remain open for limited reasons such as to provide accommodation for those who have to travel for work.
  • Workmen and women can continue to enter premises. E.g plumbers, cleaners
  • Clinically vulnerable people have been advised not to attend the workplace.
A full list of business closures will be published by the government and set out in law. Until Thursday, local tiered restrictions remain in place.

Financial support – An extension to the furlough scheme

The Job Support Scheme due to start on 01 Nov, will now be replaced by an extension of the furlough scheme until December. The exact date for the furlough scheme extension has not yet been confirmed.

The furlough scheme will revert to the government contributions we saw in August. Employees will receive 80% of their current salary from the government for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.

Employers will be responsible for paying National Insurance and pension contributions.

If employers want to bring staff back to work on a part-time basis, flexible furlough will also be an option and a furlough grant will be available for unworked hours.

To be eligible for the furlough scheme employees need to have been on employers PAYE payroll before midnight on 30th October.

If you had planned to place employees on the Job Support Scheme from 01 November, you will now need to communicate the change to them regarding the extension of the furlough scheme.
Do you know how your business will be managing your import and export customs declarations from 1st January 2021?

With the EU/UK transition period ending on 31st December 2020, businesses need to be preparing for changes to trading with the EU now
Surrey Chambers of Commerce is delighted to be launching a new service called ChamberCustoms and will be looking to launch this service to our members and non-members from November.

As demand is expected to high for this service, Gary Hayes will be hosting a ‘ChamberCustoms – An introduction to the service’ webinar on Wednesday 4th November at 2pm for interested parties to ChamberCustoms.
This event is free to both members and non-members.

Gary will also be going over the latest information about the future customs requirements between the UK and EU, giving useful information on how your business should be preparing and how our new service can work for your business. There will also be a Q&A session at the end of the presentation.

To book your place, please click here
(Please note – this event is restricted to two people per business due to expected level of demand).
We have made the sad but inevitable decision to hold the Awards on-line, rather than a live event. They will now take place online on Wednesday, 9th December at 6.00 pm. We are proud to announce Mark Ramprakash, the cricketer and "Strictly" winner, will be our guest speaker.

The costs are £59 plus VAT and booking fee per person for an Executive Ticket, this ticket includes the Ceremony and a Gift Bag with wine, a £25 food gift card and other goodies. Or £29 plus VAT and booking fee per person for a Standard Ticket, this ticket is just for the Ceremony.

I do hope you decide to enter into the spirit of the evening, to mark the end of 2020, with an enjoyable evening, albeit remotely, to boost the morale of our companies in this challenging current climate.
West London Local Chambers & Hounslow Chamber of Commerce are the primary support, networking, and representation organisation in west London for SMEs.

We support the interests, the commercial aspirations and the investment from businesses in Ealing, Hounslow and Hammersmith & Fulham - the Chamber is the voice for all businesses located in the borough