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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: Business Continuity and Support

COVID-19 Defra Update: HMT Announcement: Plan for Jobs, 8 July 2020

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, today (8 July) set out a ‘Plan for Jobs’ that will spur the UK’s recovery from the Coronavirus outbreak.

The Chancellor has announced a package of measures to support jobs in every part of the country, give businesses the confidence to retain and hire and provide people with the tools they need to get better jobs.

As the UK enters the second phase in its recovery, the Chancellor’s plan is designed to support jobs by focussing on skills and young people, create jobs with investment in shovel-ready projects and greening our infrastructure and protect jobs through a VAT cut for the hospitality sector and a landmark Eat Out to Help Out discount scheme for diners.

You can find the link to the ‘Plan for Jobs’ update in full here.

 

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COVID-19 Defra Update: the latest news from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, 24 June 2020

Yesterday, 23 June, the Prime Minister set out further changes to lockdown measures in England to enable people to see more of their friends and family, help businesses get back on their feet and get people back in their jobs.

Key changes which will come in to effect from Saturday, 4 July are:

1. Where it is not possible to stay two metres apart, guidance will allow people to keep a social distance of ‘one metre plus’. This means staying one metre apart, plus mitigations which reduce the risk of transmission. See updated guidance on staying safe outside your home and staying alert and safe (social distancing) after 4 July.

2. Your household (or your household support bubble if you have one) will be able to meet with one other household at a time – this includes staying overnight. The two households can meet in any setting – indoors or outdoors – and there is no limit on the size of either household. However, it remains the case - even inside someone’s home - that you should socially distance from anyone not in your household or bubble. See updated guidance on meeting people from outside your household from 4 July.

3. Pubs and restaurants can reopen, indoors and outdoors, with safety measures such as table-only service. Hotels, B&Bs, campsites, caravan parks, playgrounds, museums, galleries are among other businesses that can also reopen. Overnight stays on hire boats can also resume. See guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic, including updates on;

  -  guidance for people who work in or run restaurants, pubs, bars, cafes or takeaways,

-  guidance for people who work in hotels and guest accommodation, indoor and outdoor attractions, and business events and consumer shows,

-  further guidance for people who work in or run hotels and other guest accommodation,

-  guidance for people who work or volunteer in heritage locations.

Some businesses such as spas and indoor gyms will not be able to reopen on 4 July. Please find an updated list of businesses which remain closed. Also, please find a link here to the Coronavirus outbreak FAQs page.

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COVID-19 Defra Update: the latest news from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, 1 June 2020

Latest guidance from Public Health England can be found here.

COP26 President at opening of June Momentum for Climate Change
COP26 President Alok Sharma spoke at the opening ceremony of the UNFCCC's June Momentum for Climate Change.

Further assistance to help the marine development sector from MMO
The MMO has launched further assistance for industry stakeholders and customers who are impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Accessing green spaces safely
Advice on using green spaces and protecting yourself and others from coronavirus.

Groups of up to six from different households can exercise outside under new rules
People will be able to exercise outside with up to five others from different households from today (1 June) provided that strict social distancing guidelines are followed.

Phased return of sport and recreation
Guidance for the public, providers of outdoor sport facilities, elite athletes, personal trainers and coaches on the phased return of sport and recreation.

Guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable
Information for shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable from COVID-19. The Prime Minister also made a statement as restrictions were eased.

Chancellor extends Self Employment Support Scheme and confirms furlough next steps
The Chancellor announced (29 May) the extension of the Self-Employment Support Scheme and outlined further details on the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. This includes improved flexibility to bring furloughed employees back part time in July and a new taper requiring employers to contribute from August. More information can be found here.

Booking process for Covid-19 Tests
DHSC has now digitised the process for booking Covid-19 tests. The portal enables individuals to book a test themselves, accessible via https://self-referral.test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk/
Alternatively, employers can refer staff using an employer portal. Accounts for this portal can be requested by emailing portalservicedesk@dhsc.gov.uk.

How business can help respond to coronavirus
Business which can provide products and services, such as medical equipment, hotel rooms, transport and logistics, and expertise, can offer their assistance to government through gov.uk.

Number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and risk in the UK
Find out the latest statistics, risk level, what to do if you have symptoms, and what the government is doing about the virus here.

 

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COVID-19 Defra Update: the latest news from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, 13 May 2020

Latest guidance from Public Health England can be found here.

Guidance on Outdoor spaces
Defra guidance on outdoor spaces has been published, setting out the key principles of enjoying the benefits of being outside, while protecting yourself and others from coronavirus. In tandem, MHCLG has published new safer public spaces guidance, which is aimed at town centre managers, park managers and transport hub managers. The Environment Agency has published a press release to inform anglers that recreational fishing is now allowed. The guidance sets out how fish safely, and encouraging people to purchase a rod licence. You can find supporting social media here. Guidance on which businesses should remain closed to the public has also been updated.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
HMRC are contacting all eligible customers to let them know the scheme is now open.
The scheme will allow eligible self-employed people to claim a taxable grant of 80% of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months, and capped at £7,500. Customers will have the money paid into their bank account within six working days of making a claim.
Please see updated guidance on GOV‌.UK for more information on eligibility, how to make a claim and how we calculate the grants.
There are also some helpful videos and webinars on YouTube channel.

Government to support businesses through Trade Credit Insurance guarantee
Businesses with supply chains which rely on Trade Credit Insurance and who are experiencing difficulties maintaining cover due to Coronavirus will get support from the government.

Garden centres reopen in England
Garden centres will be able to reopen to the public from today. All garden centres reopening should put in place social distancing and safety measures.

#FoodHeroes social media assets
We have added template long/short copy and tailed social media messaging for #FoodHeroes to our Dropbox Showcase (open in Chrome), which also contains a range of social media assets. Please share with your digital teams and if you have any footage or photography of your workers that captures the #FoodHeroes spirit, please do feel free to send them on.

Migration Advisory Committee Call for Evidence
On 13th May the Migration Advisory Committee launched a 6 week call for evidence focussed on a review of the shortage occupation lists. Sectors are recommended to share their recruitment experiences with the Committee and these will inform its report to the Home Secretary due September 2020. The Committee acknowledges the extra pressures businesses are under as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak and this will be reflected in the final report. More information and link to provide evidence at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/migration-advisory-committee-seeks-views-on-skills-shortages

Free Trade Agreement negotiations
The UK's approach to negotiating a free trade agreement with Japan is now available.

Booking process for Covid-19 Tests
DHSC have now digitised the process for booking Covid-19 tests. The portal enables individuals to book a test themselves, accessible via https://self-referral.test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk/
Alternatively, employers can refer staff using an employer portal. Accounts for this portal can be requested by emailing portalservicedesk@dhsc.gov.uk.

Seasonal Workers update
Pick for Britain website has launched. The website is a joint public sector and industry initiative to bring together those who are looking for work on UK farms over the harvest period with recruiters who have roles to fill. The website will act as a central hub to signpost people to the jobs available and to provide information about this type of work.
Defra is asking if you can make your members and supply chains aware of the Pick for Britain and Find A Job sites, and encourage suppliers and growers to list seasonal labour opportunities here
Please direct any enquiries about the hub to: accesstolabourfoodchain@defra.gov.uk

How business can help respond to coronavirus
Business which can provide products and services, such as medical equipment, hotel rooms, transport and logistics, and expertise, can offer their assistance to government through gov.uk.

Number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and risk in the UK
Find out the latest statistics, risk level, what to do if you have symptoms, and what the government is doing about the virus here.
 

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COVID-19 Defra Update: the latest news from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, 12 May 2020

Latest guidance from Public Health England can be found here.

Chancellor extends furlough scheme
The Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will remain open until the end of October. Please continue to check the business support pages on GOV.UK for further updates.

Travel and transport guidance
Safer travel guidance for passengers and safer transport guidance for operators has been published today.

Next steps for the phased wider opening of educational and childcare settings
Updated information for parents and carers about the wider opening to nurseries, schools and colleges from 1 June is now available. All the latest guidance and advice about coronavirus in educational settings for staff, parents and carers, pupils and students is available here.

Road to Recovery
The government has published Our plan to rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy, which sets out how the UK plans to restart following the coronavirus outbreak. An updated FAQ document is also available.

Working safely during coronavirus
The government, in consultation with industry, has produced guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible. A toolkit of digital resources can be found at https://industrialstrategy.frontify.com/d/55EzeVU6rhza/covid-19-business...

Guidance available
Guidance has been published on staying alert and safe (social distancing) and staying safe outside your home (England).

Booking process for Covid-19 Tests
DHSC have now digitised the process for booking Covid-19 tests. The portal enables individuals to book a test themselves, accessible via https://self-referral.test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk/
Alternatively, employers can refer staff using an employer portal. Accounts for this portal can be requested by emailing portalservicedesk@dhsc.gov.uk.

Seasonal Workers update
Pick for Britain website has launched. The website is a joint public sector and industry initiative to bring together those who are looking for work on UK farms over the harvest period with recruiters who have roles to fill. The website will act as a central hub to signpost people to the jobs available and to provide information about this type of work. Defra is asking if you can make your members and supply chains aware of the Pick for Britain and Find A Job sites, and encourage suppliers and growers to list seasonal labour opportunities here.

How business can help respond to coronavirus
Business which can provide products and services, such as medical equipment, hotel rooms, transport and logistics, and expertise, can offer their assistance to government through gov.uk.

Number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and risk in the UK
Find out the latest statistics, risk level, what to do if you have symptoms, and what the government is doing about the virus here.

 

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Taste of the West issues interim Covid-19 report to regional MPs and DEFRA, 7 May 2020

Today Taste of the West sent an interim #COVID19 report to South West MPs and we're now lobbying the UK Government to provide detailed and further support for the South West's local food & drink industry. Read the full story, including our report, here.

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COVID-19 Defra Update: the latest news from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, 7 May 2020

Latest guidance from Public Health England can be found here.

Dairy farms
Defra has announced that dairy farmers in England will be able to access up to £10,000 each to help them overcome the impact of coronavirus.

Business rates
MHCLG has announced that the revaluation of business rates will no longer take place in 2021 to help reduce uncertainty for firms.

Expenses and benefits
HMRC has published guidance on taxable expenses and benefits that are paid to employees because of coronavirus.

Support for aquaculture
Defra and the MMO have issued an update on the support for aquaculture businesses under the Fisheries Response Fund. The guidance on the fund has also been updated.

Support for farmers, landowners, and rural businesses
Defra has produced a background guidance document on the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan (CBIL) scheme, and how farming businesses can best access the scheme. Please find that document here.
The Rural Payments Agency has also updated its guidance on the support available for farmers, landowners, and rural businesses during coronavirus.

Support for civil society
DCMS has published guidance on how businesses can offer services, funds and volunteers to civil society during coronavirus.

PPE
The Cabinet Office and DHSC have updated their guidance on technical specifications for PPE. The Office for Product Safety and Standards has also published guidance for new small-scale manufacturers of PPE.

Booking process for Covid-19 Tests
DHSC have now digitised the process for booking Covid-19 tests. The portal enables individuals to book a test themselves, accessible via https://self-referral.test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk/
Alternatively, employers can refer staff using an employer portal. Accounts for this portal can be requested by emailing portalservicedesk@dhsc.gov.uk.

Seasonal Workers update
Pick for Britain website has launched. The website is a joint public sector and industry initiative to bring together those who are looking for work on UK farms over the harvest period with recruiters who have roles to fill. The website will act as a central hub to signpost people to the jobs available and to provide information about this type of work.
Defra is asking if you can make your members and supply chains aware of the Pick for Britain and Find A Job sites, and encourage suppliers and growers to list seasonal labour opportunities here
Please direct any enquiries about the hub to: accesstolabourfoodchain@defra.gov.uk

How business can help respond to coronavirus
Business which can provide products and services, such as medical equipment, hotel rooms, transport and logistics, and expertise, can offer their assistance to government through gov.uk.

COVID-19: guidance for employees, employers and businesses
Organisations should pay particular attention to the guidance for employees, employers and businesses which is being updated regularly with the latest advice.
There is also separate information for businesses in ScotlandWales and Northern Ireland.

Number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and risk in the UK
Find out the latest statistics, risk level, what to do if you have symptoms, and what the government is doing about the virus here.

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COVID-19 Defra Update: the latest news from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, 5 May 2020

Latest guidance from Public Health England can be found here.

Bounce Back Loans
The government-backed Bounce Back Loans for small businesses are now open. Businesses can apply for the loans through gov.uk.

Zoos and aquariums
Defra has announced a £14m support find for licensed zoos and aquariums. Zoos and aquariums can find guidance on the scheme andinformation on how to apply on gov.uk.

Environment Agency regulatory position statement
The EA has published a RPS on coronavirus and storing waste at unpermitted sites due to exceeding your storage limits. It has also updated is RPS on social distancing and handing over waste transfer and consignment notes in person.

Environment Agency operational update
The Environment Agency has issued an update on its operations during coronavirus.

Contact tracing app
The Health Secretary has announced that the pilot of the contact tracing app will take place on the Isle of Wight.

Webinars for SMEs
DIT has announced a series of free webinars for SMEs during coronavirus, focusing on issues for businesses trading internationally.

Self-employment
HMRC has announced that it is starting to contact people who may be eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

Waterways
The Environment Agency has updated its guidance for users of all Environment Agency waterways, including the River Thames, Anglian waterways and the Upper Medway Navigation.

Universities and students
The government has announced a range of measures to protect students and the higher education sector from the impact of coronavirus.

Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme
BEIS has updated its guidance for the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme, with further education establishments now being eligible.

Higher education
DfE has published guidance for higher education providers during the coronavirus outbreak.

Technology for children and schools
DfE has updated its guidance for local authorities, academy trusts and schools on how to get internet access, digital devices and support to provide remote education during coronavirus.

Tax credits
HMRC has announced that people who can’t work their normal hours because of coronavirus will still receive their usual tax credits payments.

Booking process for Covid-19 Tests
DHSC have now digitised the process for booking Covid-19 tests. The portal enables individuals to book a test themselves, accessible via  https://self-referral.test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk/
Alternatively, employers can refer staff using an employer portal. Accounts for this portal can be requested by emailingportalservicedesk@dhscgov.uk.

Seasonal Workers update
Pick for Britain website has launched. The website is a joint public sector and industry initiative to bring together those who are looking for work on UK farms over the harvest period with recruiters who have roles to fill. The website will act as a central hub to signpost people to the jobs available and to provide information about this type of work.
Defra is asking if you can make your members and supply chains aware of the Pick for Britain and Find A Job sites, and encourage suppliers and growers to list seasonal labour opportunities here
Please direct any enquiries about the hub to: accesstolabourfoodchain@defra.gov.uk

How business can help respond to coronavirus
Business which can provide products and services, such as medical equipment, hotel rooms, transport and logistics, and expertise, can offer their assistance to government through gov.uk.

COVID-19: guidance for employees, employers and businesses
Organisations should pay particular attention to the guidance for employees, employers and businesses which is being updated regularly with the latest advice.
There is also separate information for businesses in ScotlandWales and Northern Ireland.

Number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and risk in the UK
Find out the latest statistics, risk level, what to do if you have symptoms, and what the government is doing about the virus here.

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COVID-19 Defra Update: the latest news from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, 4 May 2020

Latest guidance from Public Health England can be found here.

Access to green spaces
Defra has updated its guidance on accessing green spaces.

High streets and town centres
MHCLG has announced £6.1m in funding to help high streets and town centres during the pandemic.

Flights between Great Britain and Northern Ireland
DfT has as announced that it will provide investment to protect air passenger flights for important routes between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Lifetime ISAs
HMT has announced a reduction in the withdrawal charge for Lifetime ISAs.

Business support grant funding
BEIS has updated its guidance for businesses on the Small Business Grants Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
HMRC has updated its guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, including further information on maternity leave.

Testing
MHCLG has announced that testing will be available for council workers. DHSC has also updated its privacy notice on testing for critical workers and their households.

Social distancing guidance
The Cabinet Office has updated guidance on social distancing, including FAQs on what you can and can’t do.

Cemeteries
The Environment Agency has published guidance on protecting groundwater when developing or expanding cemeteries during coronavirus.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
HMRC has published guidance on how different circumstances affect the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

DfID supply partners
The International Development Secretary has set out how DFID will support its supply partners.

Visa applicants
The Home Office has updated its guidance for visa applicants and temporary UK residents.

Teachers
DfE has updated its guidance for newly qualified teachers during coronavirus.

Land registration
HM Land Registry has announced changes to identity verification and signing deeds.

Prisoners
MoJ has published a Q&A for friends and family of prisoners.

Rugby League
DCMS has announced that it will provide £16 million to support the Rugby Football League.

Social housing
The Regulator of Social Housing has written to all small registered providers on changes to its regulatory approach.

Booking process for Covid-19 Tests
DHSC have now digitised the process for booking Covid-19 tests. The portal enables individuals to book a test themselves, accessible via https://self-referral.test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk/
Alternatively, employers can refer staff using an employer portal. Accounts for this portal can be requested by emailing portalservicedesk@dhsc.gov.uk.

Seasonal Workers update
Pick for Britain website has launched. The website is a joint public sector and industry initiative to bring together those who are looking for work on UK farms over the harvest period with recruiters who have roles to fill. The website will act as a central hub to signpost people to the jobs available and to provide information about this type of work.
Defra is asking if you can make your members and supply chains aware of the Pick for Britain and Find A Job sites, and encourage suppliers and growers to list seasonal labour opportunities here
Please direct any enquiries about the hub to: accesstolabourfoodchain@defra.gov.uk

How business can help respond to coronavirus
Business which can provide products and services, such as medical equipment, hotel rooms, transport and logistics, and expertise, can offer their assistance to government through gov.uk.

COVID-19: guidance for employees, employers and businesses
Organisations should pay particular attention to the guidance for employees, employers and businesses which is being updated regularly with the latest advice.
There is also separate information for businesses in ScotlandWales and Northern Ireland.

Number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and risk in the UK
Find out the latest statistics, risk level, what to do if you have symptoms, and what the government is doing about the virus here.

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News Update, 2 May 2020
Top-up to local business grant funds scheme
A discretionary fund has been set up to accommodate certain small businesses previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme.

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Request for information from South West food and drink producers, 30 April 2020

As key players in the UK's food supply chain, this has been a devastating time for the industry. However, the UK Government’s thoughts are now slowly beginning to turn to recovery – what this might look like, how it can be enabled etc. Taste of the West has been asked by Government to collate some further evidence and thoughts on this for a virtual meeting we have next Thursday 7 May.

Specifically…

  • We'd like to know how lockdown has affected your business between March and May 2020 – loss of sales, volume figures, staffing, etc.
  • What has been the single most difficult issue that you have had to face?
  • Has the Government business support so far been effective for your business?
  • In what ways might the agri-food sector need further Government support throughout the next 18 months or so?

Please send your replies directly to John Sheaves from Taste of the West: js@tasteofthewest.co.uk and if you would like to chat to John in person, please call 07974 660804. Many thanks and we look forward to receiving your comments.
 

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COVID-19 Defra Update: the latest news from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, 27 April 2020

Latest guidance from Public Health England can be found here.

Environment Secretary delivers daily coronavirus update (26 April 2020)
The Environment Secretary, George Eustice, provided an update (see the full press conference here) on the government response to coronavirus, including the food supply chain and help for vulnerable groups.

Support for vital freight routes
The government has announced a support package for essential freight services to Northern Ireland, the Isle of Wight and the Scilly Isles, and the European mainland.

Production of hand sanitiser
HMRC has published updated guidance on the use of denatured alcohol and duty-free spirits in the production of hand sanitiser and gel.

Business support grant funding
BEIS has updated its guidance for local authorities on the Small Business Grants Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund. 

Environment Agency operational update
The EA has issued an operational update on its current activity during coronavirus.

Closure of legacy manual booking processes for Covid-19 Tests
DHSE have now digitised the process for booking Covid-19 tests for eligible essential workers, and are closing all of the manual processes at 1700 on Monday 27 April, directing all applications through the new digital portal.
The portal enables individuals to book a test themselves, accessible via www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
Alternatively, employers can refer staff using an employer portal. Accounts for this portal can be requested by emailing portalservicedesk@dhsc.gov.uk

An open letter to vets to mark World Vet Day
The Environment Secretary has written an open letter to those working in the veterinary profession, thanking them for the part they are playing at this time.

Apprenticeships
DfE has provided guidance for apprentices, employers, and training providers about changes to apprenticeships during coronavirus.

Parental leave
BEIS and DWP have announced that furloughed workers will receive full pay during planned parental leave, rather than their furloughed rate.

Environment Agency fees and charges
The EA has updated its guidance on fees and charges, including information on what to do if you have difficulties paying invoices due to coronavirus.

CMA Taskforce
The Competition and Markets Authority has provided an update on the work of its taskforce which is monitoring and responding to consumer and competition problems arising from coronavirus.

Information for tied tenants
The Pubs Code Adjudicator has published guidance about where tied tenants can get information about coronavirus.

Support for adults with learning disabilities
DHSC has issued guidance on supporting and providing unpaid care for adults with learning disabilities and autism.

Community Interest Companies
Guidance has been updated for Community Interest Companies and the welfare of employees during coronavirus

School premises
DfE has published guidance for schools and other educational establishments on the management of premises which are partially open.

Educational hubs
DfE has issued guidance on using clusters and hubs to maintain educational provision during coronavirus.

Prison releases
MoJ has published a policy paper on the temporary release of certain-risk assessed offenders.

Support for vulnerable children
DfE has announced extra support to keep vulnerable children safe during coronavirus.

Admission appeals
DfE has published updated guidance on admission appeals for school places.

Assessment and grading for qualifications
Ofqual has opened a consultation on the assessment and grading of vocational, technical and other general qualifications.

Ask a question at the next coronavirus press conference
The government will answer one question from a member of the public at the daily coronavirus (COVID-19) press conference.

G20 Labour and Employment Ministers’ summit on COVID-19
On Thursday 23 April, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Thérèse Coffey attended an Extraordinary G20 Leaders' Summit (virtually) on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Clinical trial approved to help the NHS treat COVID-19 patients using plasma
DHSC have said, if effective, a national programme will deliver up to 10,000 units of plasma a week to the NHS to help treat coronavirus (COVID-19) patients.

Updated travel advice
The FCO have updated travel advice for Slovenia, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, New Zealand, Cyprus, Indonesia, BruneiAustralia and Phillipines.

Seasonal Workers update
Pick for Britain website has launched. The website is a joint public sector and industry initiative to bring together those who are looking for work on UK farms over the harvest period with recruiters who have roles to fill. The website will act as a central hub to signpost people to the jobs available and to provide information about this type of work.
Defra is asking if you can make your members and supply chains aware of the Pick for Britain and Find A Job sites, and encourage suppliers and growers to list seasonal labour opportunities here.Please direct any enquiries about the hub to: accesstolabourfoodchain@defra.gov.uk

#FoodHeroes
Defra have posted a new video on Facebook, thanking the thousands of #FoodHeroes are working tirelessly, across the country, to put food on our plates.

How business can help respond to coronavirus
Business which can provide products and services, such as medical equipment, hotel rooms, transport and logistics, and expertise, can offer their assistance to government through gov.uk.

COVID-19: guidance for employees, employers and businesses
Organisations should pay particular attention to the guidance for employees, employers and businesses which is being updated regularly with the latest advice.
There is also separate information for businesses in ScotlandWales and Northern Ireland.

Number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and risk in the UK
Find out the latest statistics, risk level, what to do if you have symptoms, and what the government is doing about the virus here.

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COVID-19 Defra Update: the latest news from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, 24 April 2020

Latest guidance from Public Health England can be found here.

Testing
The government has announced that all essential workers in England, and members of their households who are showing symptoms of coronavirus will now be able to get tested.

Infection and antibody test study
The government has announced the first wave of a major new study to track coronavirus in the general population.

Advice for charities
The Charity Commission has issued guidance to charities on managing financial difficulties during coronavirus.

Protections for high street shops
MHCLG and BEIS have announced new measures to protect high street shops from aggressive rent collection and closure.

Environment Agency regulatory position statement
The Environment Agency has published a regulatory position statement on spreading slurry or milk on land, or storing slurry.

Fraud and cyber crime
The Home Office has issued advice on how to protect yourself and your business from fraud and cyber crime.

Adult social care recruitment
DHSC has launched a new national adult social care recruitment campaign to boost the workforce in England.

Guidance for hospital staff and patients
Public Health England has published updated guidance on the management of exposed healthcare workers and patients in hospitals.

Export of medicines
DHSC has published updated guidance on medicines which cannot be parallel exported from the UK.

Support for victims of sexual abuse and violence
The MoJ has published guidance for those who are experiencing or feel at risk of sexual violence and abuse.

Advice for migrants
The Home Office has issued guidance on the support you can get if you do not have permission to live permanently in the UK.

Staying safe online
DCMS has issued guidance on how people can stay safe online during coronavirus, including advice for parents and carers.

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) open letter
The Chief Executive of the DVSA has written an open letter to driver and rider trainers about coronavirus.

Seasonal Workers update
Pick for Britain website has launched. The website is a joint public sector and industry initiative to bring together those who are looking for work on UK farms over the harvest period with recruiters who have roles to fill. The website will act as a central hub to signpost people to the jobs available and to provide information about this type of work.

Defra is asking if you can make your members and supply chains aware of the Pick for Britain and Find A Job sites, and encourage suppliers and growers to list seasonal labour opportunities here.
Please direct any enquiries about the hub to: accesstolabourfoodchain@defra.gov.uk

How business can help respond to coronavirus
Business which can provide products and services, such as medical equipment, hotel rooms, transport and logistics, and expertise, can offer their assistance to government through gov.uk.

COVID-19: guidance for employees, employers and businesses
Organisations should pay particular attention to the guidance for employees, employers and businesses which is being updated regularly with the latest advice.
There is also separate information for businesses in ScotlandWales and Northern Ireland.

Number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and risk in the UK
Find out the latest statistics, risk level, what to do if you have symptoms, and what the government is doing about the virus here.

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COVID-19 Risk Management Guide for Unoccupied Premises
Taste of the West Insurance Services urge you to have a look at this guide regarding risk management for unoccupied premises during the Coronavirus crisis. If your premises is unoccupied, the best advice we can give you is to tell your insurance broker and they will deal with your insurance company for you. If you are looking for more advice on insurance, please contact Jane or Jerry at Taste of the West Insurance Services. Similarly, you can contact Jim if you have any questions regarding risk management. Contact the team by calling 01404 510234 or emailing mail@totw-ins.co.uk.

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Update, 1 April 2020
We have now had clarification that company directors are eligible to be furloughed under the coronavirus job retention scheme. We would stress that further guidance and clarifications continue to be released and we will keep you updated. Please note that to qualify for the scheme directors must stop working for the company. We understand that statutory duties can be carried out but no services or revenue-generating work. If you continue to work, albeit with reduced hours/productivity you will not qualify.

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A message to all food and drink business owners from John Sheaves, CEO of Taste of the West Ltd, 31 March 2020

We are now well into the second week of almost total lockdown and there is a lot going on within our industry; it is good to see a great number of businesses being creative and innovative to keep their businesses going through this very difficult time. I know this is an extremely difficult and uncertain time for all businesses though, and if you are worried or concerned and want support or advice and would like to speak to us, or perhaps you are looking for ideas about how to just keep your business going in the coming weeks, then I urge you to please get in touch. In the meantime, the following advice from DEFRA has just come through and I wanted to make you aware of it. I know from talking to a number of you that inevitably your thoughts are turning to recovery from this situation, and how this will happen and what support there will be to aid this. I do think that as a sector we will need to get important messages to Government and these will have to be joined up, coherent and logical for them to understand the difficulties that all businesses, large and small, will face when recovery starts. I would be very interested in your thoughts at this time, and indeed what messages that you would like me to feed up the line back to Government, so please get in touch. I am in regular contact with Government representatives and, as ever, we are here working on your behalf.

John Sheaves: js@tasteofthewest.co.uk, call 07974 660804 or 01404 822012

 

COVID-19 Defra Update: the latest news from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, 30 March 2020

Latest guidance from Public Health England can be found here.

Responsible food shopping
We are continuing to encourage people to shop responsibly on social media. Our latest Twitter post can be found here.

Government partners with airlines to fly home British travellers
The government is working with airlines to fly home UK travellers who are stranded abroad. More details here.

Government working to crack down on misinformation
The government is working to tackle false and misleading information about coronavirus, including through engagement with social media companies. More details here.

Call for businesses to help make NHS ventilators
The government is looking for businesses which can support in the production and supply of ventilators and ventilator components, and support with existing stock.

Updated guidance on the destruction of spoilt beer
HMRC has introduced a temporary measure to help brewers and publicans in the destruction of spoilt beer.

Dangerous goods vehicle (ADR) annual inspections
The DVSA has suspended annual inspections of dangerous good vehicles. You can apply for a waiver to use your vehicle through gov.uk.

Business support outside of government
The Government is working closely with Business Representative Organisations and Trade Associations to support the national response to coronavirus. This link lists organisations you can speak with to get advice.

Number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and risk in the UK
As of 9am on 30 March 2020, a total of 134,946 people have been tested, of which 112,805 were confirmed negative and 22,141 were confirmed positive.
As of 5pm on 29 March 2020, 1,408 patients in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) have died.

Find out the risk level in the UK, what to do if you have symptoms, and what the government is doing about the virus here.

Coronavirus: Latest retailer activity
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) is providing a daily update on the actions taken by retailers to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
You can read today’s update on the BRC website.

COVID-19: guidance for employees, employers and businesses
Organisations should pay particular attention to the guidance for employees, employers and businesses which is being updated regularly with the latest advice.

 

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A message to all food business owners from John Sheaves, CEO of Taste of the West Ltd, 18 March 2020

I know this is an extremely difficult and uncertain time for all businesses, but particularly so for hospitality businesses who were looking forward to a seasonal uplift in the coming weeks ahead. As a company ourselves that has been going for nearly 30 years, our ethos has always been built around supporting you through good times and not so good times. If you are worried or concerned and want support or advice and would like to speak to us, or perhaps you are looking for ideas about how to just keep your business going in the coming weeks, then I urge you to please get in touch. In the meantime, we have compiled the following advice portal which will be updated as and when we receive information from Government. In addition, if there are messages that you would like me to feed up the line back to Government, then please get in touch. I am in regular contact with Government representatives and as ever, we are here working on your behalf.

John Sheaves: js@tasteofthewest.co.uk, 07974 660804

Advice Factsheet:

  • I think we have to accept that profitability in this particular year is not the priority, but maintaining cash into the business most definitely is. Therefore, we suggest that all avenues are explored to fund the business in the coming weeks. These may include seeking out additional grants and/or bank loans to maintain the business or changing direction from a food premise to a takeaway food business, for example.
     
  • The Government have responded positively and speedily in the past few days at a strategic level and on 17 March released a series of measures designed to help small businesses. Understandably though, the detail is yet to come through. I have lobbied Government for these details to be finalised as soon as possible. In the meantime we have complied this list of help below:
    • Help with business rates: the Government have announced that all business rate payers will not have to pay rates for a 12 month period. More information can be obtained from your local authority.
    • Offering grants up to £10,000 per business for those businesses who are eligible for small business rate relief. More information can be obtained from your local authority.
    • Further grants for businesses up to £25,000 for those businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 - £51,000. More information can be obtained from your local authority.
    • Mortgage holidays: the Government have announced that you can take a 3 month mortgage holiday to help with cash-flow in the short term. This will have to be made up eventually. Talk to your lender as soon as possible.
    • Relaxing Planning Restrictions: if you have a food preparation business e.g. pub/restaurant or café, then you can turn this facility into a takeaway without the need for planning.
    • Encouraging flexibility with banks: the Government have liaised with the banking sector to gain some much needed flexibility over existing loans and repayment facilities. Talk to you bank now.
    • Further loans: the Government have announced a new loan which underwrites bank loans to business to the value of 80% of the loan amount. Turning a ‘no’ decision, into a ‘yes’. Talk to your bank now about how to access this money which will be administered through the British Business bank. More information can be found here.
    • HMRC: do talk to your accountant about paying tax, including VAT, to HMRC, whilst it is a statutory duty of businesses to fulfil their tax obligations to Government, your accountant can advise on the best way of filing returns and liaising with HMRC.
    • Business Insurance: it is imperative to contact your insurance broker for further advice on Business Interruption Insurance. You maybe eligible to claim under your policy so check with your Broker.
       
  • Please do call the Taste of the West office on 01404 822012 if you require further advice. If you would like to talk in person to me, then please do get in touch - I am here to help and support all South West food and drink businesses. Email js@tasteofthewest.co.uk or call 07974 660804.

    In the meantime, please do read through the UK Government’s guidance, information and announcements which can be found here: www.gov.uk.