COVID-19 NEWS BULLETIN 27th MARCH 2020
Strap yourself in for a bumpy ride, there’s a lot of news today!
PM – tests positive, Matt Hancock showing mild symptoms, 7000 nurses and midwives sign up to return to NHS. Markets fall again.
Comment from Quilters Market Explainer: - Be global, diversify, infrastructure, media and Investment Trusts worth considering – but above all don’t make rash decisions – Re-check your Attitude to Risk with your money4dentists adviser and rebalance when the market corrects.
British banks must keep lending to businesses through the coronavirus crisis to ensure viable companies do not fail, the government and financial regulators have urged.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, Andrew Bailey, Governor of the Bank of England, and Chris Woolard, acting CEO of the Financial Conduct Authority have written to the CEOs of UK banks updating them on the COVID-19 situation and requesting they support the economy.
The letter said: 'This will require a willingness to maintain and extend lending despite the uncertain economic conditions. We must ensure that firms whose business models were viable before this crisis remain viable once it is over.'
The Chancellor has made £330 billion available to support the economy during the crisis.
However, there have been concerns about access to the government's Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the pace at which some banks are supplying emergency credit.
In response, the British Business Bank has now opened the scheme to all lenders who want to participate, subject to an accreditation process.
1. DIT support for UK businesses trading internationally
This advice is for UK businesses that export or deliver goods and services abroad and have been impacted by the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). It includes:
DIT support for UK business trading internationally
financial support for business trading internationally
DIT can support businesses by:
• providing assistance with customs authorities to ensure smooth clearance of their products
• offering advice on intellectual property and other issues with business continuity
British businesses that may face disruption due to the spread of Coronavirus (COVID- 19) can visit the dedicated business support website for more information.
This team will discuss the challenges faced by UK businesses at home and overseas to understand how best the department can support them.
Read more on COVID-19 support for businesses from the Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy.
1.1 Supply chains affected by coronavirus (COVID-19)
If your supply chain has been affected by coronavirus (COVID-19), DIT can help you to find alternative suppliers. The department has relationships with a global network of businesses across the world and will be able to advise you on the options available.
If you have an advisory or professional services firm that can help UK companies to find alternative suppliers, visit the dedicated business support website for more information.
1.2 International support for businesses involved in overseas projects
If you are operating projects in other countries, follow local guidance and speak to your nearest UK embassy or consulate. Alternatively, you can read the general advice on Overseas Business Risk in the relevant country.
2. Financial support for British businesses trading internationally
The Chancellor announced (17 March 2020) an unprecedented package of government-backed and guaranteed loans to support businesses, making available an initial £330 billion of guarantees – equivalent to 15% of GDP.
This was on top of a series of measures announced at Budget 2020, where the government announced £30 billion of additional support for public services, individuals and businesses experiencing financial difficulties because of COVID-19.
On 20 March 2020, the Chancellor announced a further workers’ support package to protect millions of people’s jobs and incomes as part of the national effort in response to coronavirus. A new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be set up to help pay people’s wages; Universal Credit and tax credits will also be increased as part of an almost £7 billion welfare boost; and to ease cash flow pressures for UK VAT registered businesses, VAT bills from now until the end of June, will be deferred until the end of the tax year.
On 26 March 2020 the Chancellor announced a scheme to support the self-employed through direct cash grants.
Your business may be able to get support to lessen the cost or financial effects of coronavirus (COVID-19) through:
• the business interruption loan scheme from the British Business Bank as part of the Enable Finance Guarantee
changes to Statutory Sick Pay
the UK-wide Time to Pay – scheme for tax payment relief for businesses and self-
an increase in the Business Rates Retail Discount in England to 100% for a year,
now expanded to the leisure and hospitality sectors
cash support to all business in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) and
funding for Local Authorities in England to support businesses that pay little or no
business rates because of SBRR or Rural Rates Relief
the temporary lowering of the Minimum Income Floor (MIF) for Universal Credit for
those who have COVID-19 or are self-isolating following government advice
cash grants of up to £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a
rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000
grants offered through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme
2.1 Financial support for exporters
UK Export Finance (UKEF) works with banks and insurance brokers to help companies of all sizes fulfil and get paid for export contracts. It provides guarantees, loans and insurance on behalf of the government that can protect UK exporters facing delayed payments or transit restrictions. Help from UKEF:
• if your business is facing disruption due to late payments, UKEF can help ease cash flow constraints by guaranteeing bank loans through its Export Working Capital
if you are concerned about getting paid, UKEF offers an export insurance
policy that can help you recover the costs of fulfilling an order that is terminated by
events outside your control
UKEF can also support finance for overseas buyers through the Direct Lending
Facility scheme, so they can continue to buy your goods and services
UKEF has over £4 billion of capacity to support UK firms exporting to China, as well as significant capacity across other markets affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) to
help cover these risks.
To find out if UKEF covers your region, email firstname.lastname@example.org
3. International business travel
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office offers the latest advice about travelling abroad, including the latest information on coronavirus (COVID-19), safety and security, entry requirements and travel warnings.
4. DIT coronavirus (COVID-19) business support contacts
If you have questions on international trade and coronavirus (COVID-19) visit the dedicated business support website for more information. There are DIT offices around the world that can offer advice to businesses specific toyour region or country. Contact your local embassy for further information.
5. Government coronavirus (COVID-19) advice and support
The government has set out a COVID-19 Action Plan to tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak based on our experience of dealing with other infectious diseases and our influenza pandemic preparedness work. Guidance for UK employers and businesses from the Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy offers information on healthcare advice for employers and support for UK businesses.
Public Health England and the Department for Health and Social Care have up-to- date information on the virus for health professionals and other organisations.