FSB Friday newsletter: July 03

News 3 Jul 2020

COVID-19: The latest

On Monday (June 29) it was announced that areas of Leicestershire would be entering a lockdown after a peak in Covid-19 cases. The government has issued guidance on what this means and who is affected.

Meanwhile, non-essential retail shops have now reopened in other parts of England, as well as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Social distancing rules will be further relaxed in England from tomorrow (4 July), with pubs, hairdressers, hotels and restaurants to reopen. However, people should still stay two metres apart, but where that distance is not possible, a “one metre plus” rule should be followed.

In Scotland outdoor hospitality firms will be allowed to reopen on 6 July. Restaurants and hairdressers will follow later in the month, on 25 July.

In Northern Ireland, restaurants and pubs that serve food and have table service can reopen from 3 July.

In Wales, bars, restaurants, leisure facilities and hotels remain closed. The Welsh government is working with the tourism sector to prepare the reopening of self-contained accommodation. A decision about the next phase is expected on 9 July, when regulations are reviewed.

FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry issued advice on how business owners can keep their staff and customers safe in the Metro.

He also gave The Sun a number of tips on how business owners can adapt to the new normal as part of what is being dubbed ‘Jump Back July’. These include taking care of staff, talking to customers in person or online and seeing what people want now and putting safety first.

FSB's coronavirus support hub includes a host of advice, guidance and resources. Due to the rapidly changing nature of Covid-19, information and advice from the Government can change quickly. For up to date advice, please see the Government's website.

LATEST ADVICE AND OPPORTUNITIES

Flexible furlough scheme launched
Businesses now have the flexibility to bring furloughed employees back to work on a part-time basis, with the government continuing to pay 80 per cent of salaries for the hours they do not work to help kick-start the economy. 

Free signs for your business                  
Let your customers know that your business is Covid-19 secure and help keep everyone at your premises safe with our free printable signage packs.

Northern Ireland trade questionnaire
The government has launched a new questionnaire for businesses which move goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It wants to know how the new processes for Northern Ireland goods movements impact your business.

Technology webinar on ‘supercharging your business’
Technology Leaders Ltd is hosting a webinar on what directors can learn from the collaborate innovation that produced new health technology, in answer to the UK Ventilator Challenge on Tuesday, 7 July. Registration essential.

Furlough scheme and employment questions: Scotland
FSB’s latest webinar will give Scottish businesses vital information on employment and taxation matters direct from the Department of Work and Pensions and HMRC experts, such as universal credit. The event will be held at 2pm on Wednesday, 8 July.

Self-employed parents and military reservists
If having a child or serving as a reservist depressed your 2018-2019 earnings or cancelled your self-assessment, under government guidelines you may now be eligible to claim for a grant under the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.

Clap for the NHS’ birthday
FSB is joining Together for the biggest #ClapForCarers yet at 5pm on Sunday to celebrate the NHS’ 72nd birthday, thanking staff for everything they do for us.

LATEST NEWS AND HIGHLIGHTS

Late Again: FSB's research into late payments
FSB’s latest research shows that the majority of small firms hit by late payments as a result of Covid-19 are struggling with cashflow.  In The Times, FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry calls on large firms to pay their suppliers on time, adding “our endemic culture of treating small businesses as free credit lines against their will must be bought to an end.” FSB’s public affairs team secured the support of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy committee chair MP Darren Jones, among other MPs. We will continue to push recommendations.

Prime Minister’s speech
On Tuesday, Boris Johnson set out the government’s ‘New Deal’, delivering jobs, skills and infrastructure for Britain. This includes bringing forward £5bn of capital investment projects, supporting jobs and the economic recovery. Ahead of the speech, FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry told the BBC that the announcement is encouraging, but that it’s important small firms aren’t “locked out of the ambition to build because of cumbersome public sector procurement rules.”

Bounce Back Loans
FSB Chief of External Affairs Craig Beaumont appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Moneybox to discuss the Bounce Back Loan scheme. He was joined by Stephen Pegge from UK Finance and spoke about business owners who have been left out of the scheme.

Urgent support for childcare providers
FSB has signed a letter, produced by gender equality charity Fawcett, calling on the Chancellor to provide urgent support for childcare providers to ensure that childcare is available when parents are able to go back to work. 

POLITICS, PARLIAMENT AND FSB 

  • Chancellor Rishi Sunak will be announcing his plans for steering the economy through the coronavirus crisis on Wednesday (July 8) and we continue to liaise with government ministers ahead of this. 
  • We have also been in contact with the Labour frontbench, which asked FSB for its own ‘mini submission’ on the things needed for this next, critical phase. Our focus is on pushing for measures, particularly on the National Insurance front, which helps protect jobs and create new ones.
  • In an oral question, MP Andrew Jones discussed increasing digital skills in North Yorkshire – to which Minister Mims Davies reaffirmed the government’s commitments to upskilling and protecting employment.
  • The Business and Planning Bill has now passed all stages in the commons and the House of Lords. We communicated potential issues regarding the consumer creditor and debtor protections which no longer applied under a certain provision of the Bill. 

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