As the Covid-19 pandemic takes hold, managers and business leaders need to be able to get reliable, timely information and advice about the many new business support measures that are being brought in to ease the load from UK companies and employers.
On an individual level, all of us have our own concerns for our health, job security and financial future. Here are some of the key trusted sources where information is being updated regularly:
- Your health and your team’s health is of course your top priority. Because it’s clear that many employees will fall ill with COVID-19, the government has taken the step to give statutory sick pay from day one instead of day four.
- The government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme provided huge relief for managers, leaders and employees. Its most eye-catching provision is that all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary if they would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis (up to 80%, and up to £2,500pm). Managers all around the UK will be getting their heads around the notion of “furloughing”. Speaking to managers who are looking into the scheme, there are still plenty of questions – does the £2,500 include National Insurance Contributions; can employees take holiday during the furloughed period? But it’s clearly a hugely important intervention.
- Self-employed people are particularly concerned about a sudden drop in earnings. Under the government’s recent action, the key point is this: “If you are self-employed and claiming Universal Credit, and are required to stay at home or are ill as a result of coronavirus, the minimum income floor (an assumed level of income) will not be applied for a period of time whilst you are affected. From 6 April the requirements of the Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed.”
- Self-employed workers can sign up to Universal Credit to receive statutory sick pay during this time.
- For an overview of the government’s efforts to support UK businesses, visit the Covid-19 landing page.
If you reside in Scotland, there are other specific resources you can turn to, such as:
- An information and action plan for the Covid-19 outbreak
- To help owners of non-domestic properties, including businesses, deal with the impact of COVID-19, the Scottish Government has made changes to non-domestic rates (business rates) for 2020-21.
- For more business support measures in Scotland, visit this page.
- Welsh businesses can find out if they’re eligible for grants here.
- Businesses eligible for Rural Payments Wales can apply here.
- You can seek help and support for your business via Business Wales.
- You can apply for grants, loans and investment for your business on Development Bank of Wales.
Gov Northern Ireland
The main hub can be found here, with key points including:
- Rate bills will be issued in June 2020 instead of April
- NI businesses can find help for their cashflow problems here.
- You can also apply for Small Business Rate Relief here.
- There’s advice on altering an employee’s terms of employment here.
- The British Business Bank is open to application for loans to support businesses through this challenging time.
- High-street banks such as Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and Natwest may also be able to support your business loans during this time.
- HMRC has updated its processes with the aim of making claims and relief easier to navigate. Find out more information here.
- You may be eligible for a tax holiday if you are a retail, leisure, or travel company.
- Larger companies can access funds through the new Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility. All the major banks are offering this scheme.
- The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme enables small companies to access working capital of up to £5m for up to six years. The government will pay to cover the first 12 months of interest payments. Again, all the major banks are participating.
The Mainstream Media
It’s becoming a familiar part of daily life, turning on the TV at 5pm to get the daily prime minister’s press conference. All the major broadcasters and media outlets are dedicating huge amounts of time to the Covid-19 pandemic. “The BBC will be using all of its resources - channels, stations and output - to help keep the nation informed, educated and entertained. We are making a series of changes to our output to achieve that,” said director-general Tony Hall. Here’s some of the best coverage:
- The televised daily prime minister’s press conference.
- A weekly prime-time Coronavirus special on Wednesdays on BBC1
- Sky’s constantly updated Coronavirus hub
- The Guardian’s World News pages feature an international perspective on the impact of Covid-19
- The Financial Times have built a Coronavirus page for all of their related features
- 5 Live will be answering listeners’ questions with regular phone-ins
We also have a third-party redundancy support service, which you can sign up for here. The service includes a free session with a redundancy counsellor and access career development resources.
CMI is bringing together advice and insights on our new Covid-19 information hub, Leading Through Uncertainty. Topics include managing virtual teams, setting priorities and how to care for your own and your team’s mental health during a crisis.
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