We’re committed to do all we can to support the business community in Staffordshire at this difficult time.

Chambers Support

Covid-19 Support Sheet

Covid-19 Risk Assessment

HR Support
Do you need HR help? Whether you’re not sure where to start, or you’re dealing with a problem that is particularly thorny, the Chamber’s HR Advisor team is here to help. Arrange a chat with our local HR experts to help you on a range of topics, from recruitment to documentation, employment law to grievance and redundancy, health and safety, insurance and more. We’ll go into the level of detail you need and help you to create the roadmap that your business needs to develop and maintain an effective HR and Health & Safety management system.

Employment Law
Understanding and dealing with legal issues is an essential responsibility for every employer. With the knowledge of your legal duties to your employees you can create a positive place to work – and avoid the serious financial and personal consequences of getting things wrong. Whether it’s hiring new members of staff, contract disputes, grievances, redundancies or just staying up-to-date with changing employment law, there’s support through the Quest Document Library. Access hundreds of free documents to download, edit and use covering HR procedures and health & safety compliance, as well as a free HR Health Check. If you have an urgent or specific employment law query, call the 24 Hour HR Hotline now on 01455 852037 or www.chamberhr.co.uk.

Skills Hub
If your business has diversified during the pandemic and your staff members require additional training, our advisors can guide you through identifying training needs, developing your employees’ skills and finding funding for paid training. Whether you’re self-employed or employ up to 250 people, we’re here to support you. The Skills Hub provides support for B2B and B2C SME businesses with no restriction on your industry, as long as you’re located within Staffordshire. We’ll help you identify how specialised training can help improve your business, choose the right courses, and find funding. Through the Skills Hub members can receive up to 48% of the cost of bespoke training courses (up to £5000). We can help fund bespoke training needs in areas that are unique to your business, like CRM or accountancy software, specialised engineering courses, or certification for specific business machinery. Get started with a free 1:21 Skills Review, where you’ll meet with an advisor to review your needs and identify training and funding options. Call 0300 600 1066 or visit www.staffordshireskillshub.org.uk The Skills Hub is part-funded by the European Social Funding (ESF).

Counselling Services
With your Chamber membership get discounted access for your employees to a 24/7 advice and counselling service as well as face-to-face counselling services provided by Westfield Health. This confidential telephone service can provide professional support for wellbeing issues like stress, anxiety, problems at work, as well as guidance and information on a wide range of health and lifestyle matters. The telephone advice line is not limited to workplace issues, help available for topics like money management, bereavement and family problems. Additionally, there is support for legal issues including consumer disputes, landlord and tenancy questions, welfare benefits and more. The service is available 24/7 to support the health and wellbeing of your staff and is staffed by trained medical. The 24 Hour Advice and Information line is on 0800 092 0987 or 0145 525 5123. You will need your Westfield Health scheme number to access support.

Staff Re-engagement
With planning for staff to return to work and to re-engage with their duties in a changed landscape, the only thing that might seem clear is it’s not “business as usual”. Make use of the new staff re-engagement tool from Insight6 to aid your business in Covid-19 recovery planning and return your employees to work with confidence. The Team Safety and Customer Confidence Portal is available as an exclusive Chamber member benefit. This online business tool is for businesses of any size or sector to regularly check with their teams about their feelings of safety in the workplace, and can be extended to customers to find out how confident they are in the safety of your company’s operations. Insight6’s Safety and Confidence Tool provides a mechanism to instantly notify a nominated member of your management team if a colleague or customer raises a concern about how safe they feel working in or visiting your business. With instant notification, you can make use of the best resources you have for recovery – your people. The Chamber is committed to supporting you and bringing our membership through one of the toughest trading environments ever to be seen. With Insight6 we want you to have confidence in your ability to reopen safely and keep customers returning. Your Team Safety and Customer Confidence Portal can be up and running within 48 hours. You’ll receive full implementation training and ongoing support from the team at Insight6 during a three-month license period.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
This new scheme delivered by the British Business Bank, will enable small and medium sized businesses to apply for a loan from £1,000 to up to £5m, with the government providing a guarantee of 80% on each loan and with no interest due for the first twelve months. CBILS supports a wide range of business finance products, including term loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance facilities. CBILS is now open for applications.

Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS)
Government to provide a guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans of up to £25 million to firms with an annual turnover of between £45 million and £500 million.

Support to self employed individuals
The Self-employment Income Support Scheme is a ground-breaking UK-wide scheme for self-employed individuals whose income has been impacted by coronavirus to receive direct cash grants. Those who are eligible can receive a cash grant worth 80% of their average monthly trading profit over the last three years, up to £2,500 per month. This covers 95% of people who receive the majority of their income from self-employment.

Other loans and grants
£25,000 cash grant - for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000
£10,000 cash grant to small businesses - there will be a £10,000 cash grant to small firms in England eligible for Small Business Rate Relief. This will be delivered by Local Authorities.

Please see the guidance for businesses setting out details of the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF).

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)
Government grants will cover 80% of the salary of retained workers, up to a total of £2,500 a month. The scheme, open to any employer in the country, will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1st and will be open before the end of April for at least 3 months. Find out how much you can claim here.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
SSP will be temporarily available to those who are advised to self-isolate and people caring for those within the same household who display Coronavirus symptoms and have been told to self-isolate. A new style Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit will be available to those that are not entitled to Statutory Sick Pay. For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of statutory sick pay per employee will be refunded by the UK government in full. This will provide 2 million businesses with up to £2billion to cover the costs of large-scale sick leave.

Business Rates
The UK government is temporarily increasing the Business Rates discount to all businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England to 100% for 2020-21, irrespective of rateable value.

Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)
The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) whose income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19. The scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month. People able to make their first claim by the beginning of June.

Three-month ban on eviction for commercial tenants
Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction.This will mean that no business will be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment in the next 3 months. Commercial tenants will still be liable for the rent after this period.

The Business Secretary Alok Sharma has confirmed that the government will put in place measures to ensure that companies required to hold annual general meetings can do so flexibly in a manner which is compatible with the best public health guidance. This might include postponing or holding the AGM online or by phone using only proxy voting.

See our Coronavirus Hub FAQ page on UK Government Support Measures for detailed information.

The UK Government has announced changes to the way businesses pay tax:

Deferral of VAT payments from 20 March until 30 June 2020. These are automatic: all are eligible with no application required. No business will need to pay VAT liabilities from this period until 5 April 2021.

12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England. This is for properties used as shops; restaurants and cafes; drinking establishments; cinemas and live music venues; hotels, guest and boarding premises; and self-catering accommodation.

Income Tax Self-Assessment payments due on 31 July 2020 deferred until 31 January 2021.

HMRC operates a helpline for businesses affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.

There has been no official announcement of enforced suspension of billing by utility companies (as of 23/3/20). Businesses should check for announcements by their suppliers and contact them for clarification of changes to terms and conditions if necessary.

See our Coronavirus Hub FAQ page on UK Government Support Measures for detailed information. UK Finance represents banks and other organisations that lend to businesses. It states that its members are ‘putting in place emergency measures, including extensions to overdraft, invoice finance and other working capital facilities, payment holidays and fee waivers’. Businesses worried about cashflow should contact their bank / finance provider to discuss the help available.

Some countries are restricting export of goods judged to be essential in the coronavirus crisis. The UK has banned certain medicines from parallel export (where goods intended for UK patients are sold overseas).

The Department for International Trade has a dedicated Coronavirus web resource for companies that trade internationally. This includes a commitment to support importers find alternative overseas suppliers where supply chains are interrupted.

BEIS have announced that rules on carrying over annual leave to be relaxed to support key industries during COVID-19(27/03). Workers who have not taken all of their statutory annual leave entitlement due to COVID-19 will now be able to carry it over into the next 2 leave years.

Since 30 March 2020, Right to Work checks have been temporarily adjusted to make it easier for employers to carry them out during the coronavirus outbreak.

Until further notice, employers do not need to see original documents and can complete Right to Work checks over video calls.

Prospective workers are now able to submit scanned documents, rather than originals, to show they have the right to work. Checks continue to be necessary and it is an offence to knowingly employ or let property to anyone who does not have legal immigration status in the UK.

If prospective or existing employees cannot provide any of the accepted documents, employers should use the Employer Checking Service.

Once the temporary changes end, employers will be asked to carry out prescribed checks on existing employees who started work during the pandemic.

Full guidance on what it means for employers can be found on GOV.UK and see further guidance from the Home Office.

The Pensions Regulator has issued guidance to provide support for those facing difficult decisions and circumstances.

Coronavirus Business Support
A full range of business support measures have been made available to UK businesses and employees. This page helps businesses find out how to access the support that has been made available, who is eligible, when the schemes open and how to apply. Businesses have been hit hard by the impact of Coronavirus. View the below resources to help support employers and employees in a change in circumstances. 3rd party resources

Growth Mapper and Recovery Advisor
The new Growth mapper diagnostic tool, delivered by Oxford Innovation, aims to save local businesses thousands in management consultancy fees by using innovative software to provide valuable insight into perceived strengths and weaknesses to identify areas of opportunity, growth and recovery. Up to eight senior staff members complete an in-depth survey on aspects of their business including finance, the market, and staff which is analysed with findings recorded in a detailed, visual report. Businesses are then invited to discuss their report at length with the Chambers’ Business Growth Advisor, Richard Brace, who will discuss areas such as commercial growth, focused investment and future organisational strategy. Richard is a former director of an international business research company with over 30 years’ experience in business advice and consultancy. He can offer advice and an objective diagnostic of your development strategy to help get your company on the road to growth and success. For more information please email richard.brace@staffordshirechambers.co.uk

Health and Safety
Do you have questions about risk assessments, safe working practices, health and safety compliance, insurance requirements and more? The HR Help Line is staffed with specialist advisors to help with your urgent or specific health & safety queries during office hours on 01455 852037 or visit www.chamberhr.co.uk. The HR Help Line is also available 24 hours a day to help with your HR queries.

Marketing Advisor
Are you looking for help on how to make the best use of the digital landscape for your business? Would you like to know how to effectively use social media, improve your online footprint or set up a digital storefront? The Chamber’s Digital Advisor is here for you. Contact us today to arrange a consultation about your business needs and get help setting up a roadmap to make the most use of the range of tools available online to promote your business and increase sales.
The Digital Advisor can help you create plans and strategy for any level of confidence. Whether you are looking to launch a website, make it easier for prospective customers to find you, create a social media presence that matches your company ethos, or need help choosing the best platform to sell your products online direct to customers – we can help. With a range of knowledge on these topics and more, get started today with utilising new channels to promote your business. Call us today on 01782 202222.

Virtual Office Services
We have launched a new Virtual Office Service to enable small businesses to operate more effectively from home.The new Virtual Office Service offers a virtual receptionist, city centre business address and mailbox in addition to existing Chambers’ services such as virtual conference facilities and meeting spaces.The Virtual Office Service will help to save money by negating the need to pay rent for an office space and reception staff. Prices for the Virtual Office Service are from £1.60 per day. For more information, please email lucy.adams@staffordshirechambers.co.uk

Business Planning
Companies House: guidance if Coronavirus has affected your company and you need more time to file your accounts.

HMRC: tax helpline to help businesses concerned about paying their tax due to Coronavirus.

EU drivers hours - Temporary relaxation of the enforcement of EU drivers’ hours rules: drivers supplying supermarkets.

Barclays has an existing £14 billion lending fund which launched in 2019 as part of a three-year commitment to help SMEs build resilience during uncertain times.

This Procurement Policy Note (PPN) from the Cabinet Office sets out information and guidance for public bodies on payment of their suppliers to ensure service continuity during and after the Coronavirus outbreak.

Aon: Business Continuity Management for Infectious Disease Threat and Cyber Risk Implications of the Coronavirus Outbreak. Association of British Insurers (ABI): Coronavirus Q & A on insurance related queries and Coronavirus Information Hub.

Growth Hub Business Support Clinics
10am – 4.00pm
  • Starting a new business?
  • Growing your business?
  • Want to access appropriate finance and funding ?
  • Looking to develop your marketing and promote your business to new potential clients?
  • Need to improve your productivity and increase profitability?
  • Want an introduction to exporting and international trade?
  • Recruiting and employing staff?
  • Want some guidance on tackling regulation and cutting through red tape?
  • Is your business looking to enhance environmental efficiency and business resilience?
  • Are you in the midst of handling rural business issues?
  • Dealing with premises and land issues?
  • Want to learn how apprenticeships can benefit your business?
  • And many more!
If you have answered Yes to any of the above then we can help you contact a range of specialist advisors, programmes or funds through The Growth Hub and introduce you to free, expert business advice and support.

The Growth Hub has been established to play a major role in the drive for strong, sustainable business growth across Staffordshire. It acts as the focal point for businesses that wish to grow, providing co-ordinated and cohesive growth programmes, business networks, growth groups and links to specialist information, advice and services.

Make an appointment to meet one of our SFEDI Accredited Growth Advisors at the exhibition. Our Growth Advisors are people who understand the day-to-day pressures of running a business. They can work with you to overcome barriers, solve problems and develop a strategy for growth. They all have specific knowledge of certain areas of Staffordshire too, and work closely with the relevant local authorities.

They provide a highly personalised and tailored service which is backed up by an excellent all round knowledge of business support and the type of funding that’s available. As well as helping your company grow, we want to help you create jobs.

Join us for a coffee and a chat that could boost your business! To book an appointment slot, please email p.wallis@burton-chamber.com and let us know the area you wish to discuss, we will then make sure to book an appointment with a specialist advisor.

Government Support

Reporting outbreaks of Coronavirus in the UK
UK Chambers should review and share the new guidance for businesses and organisations on how to recognise, contain and report incidents of Coronavirus. The COVID-19 early outbreak management information has been created to make sure that people who run businesses or organisations:
  • know how to recognise and report an incident of Coronavirus; and
  • are aware of measures local health protection teams may advise in order to contain it.
Print and download the new action cards developed to provide specific advice on the issues each type of organisation may face now lockdown restrictions have been eased.

The next chapter
On 17 July, the Prime Minister set out the plans for moving to the next phase of the UK government’s response to the virus. The strategy sets out a cautious roadmap to easing existing measures in a safe and measured way, subject to successfully controlling the virus and being able to monitor and react to its spread. The roadmap will be kept constantly under review as the epidemic, and the world’s understanding of it, develops.

Lifting restrictions from businesses in England
In England, from 1 August, if prevalence remains around or below current levels, and COVID-19 Secure guidelines are followed, the UK government will:
  • Give employers more discretion on how they ensure employees can work safely. Working from home is one way to do this, but workplaces can also be made safe by following COVID-19 Secure guidelines.
  • Reopen most remaining leisure settings, namely bowling, skating rinks and casinos, accompanied by COVID-19 Secure guidelines. This will not include particularly high-risk activities and settings such as nightclubs, which will be kept under review.
  • Enable the restart of indoor performances to a live audience, subject to the success of pilots that are taking place as soon as possible. More information is available here.
  • Enable all close contact services to resume, including any treatments on the face such as eyebrow threading or make-up application.
  • Carry out pilots in venues with a range of sizes of crowds including sports stadia and business events. If plans progress in line with expectations, pilots will expand to build up to and prepare for a full, socially distanced return in the autumn.
  • Business events and conferences given go ahead to resume from 1 October
  • Enable wedding receptions; sit-down meals for no more than 30 people, subject to COVID-19 Secure guidelines. Over time, we will assess whether gatherings of this type for other purposes can be made possible and when larger wedding receptions can take place.
  • In September, schools, nurseries and colleges will open for all children and young people on a full-time basis.
All businesses and venues which are listed to reopen on 25 July or 1 August must remain closed until those dates.

People are advised that they may now use public transport but are encouraged to consider alternative means of transport where possible.

More information is available here.

Face coverings mandatory in shops, supermarkets, shopping centres and enclosed transport hubs in England
  • From 24 July, face coverings must be worn in additional enclosed public spaces in England, as the UK government takes further steps to help curb the spread of the virus.
  • Face coverings are mandatory in additional enclosed public spaces from Friday 24 July including:
    - shops;
    - supermarkets;
    - shopping centres; and
    - transport hubs.
  • Venues such as restaurants, pubs and gyms are exempt.
  • Face coverings are not mandatory for:
    - anyone under the age of 11; and
    - those with disabilities or certain health conditions, such as respiratory or cognitive impairments that make it difficult for them to wear a face covering.
  • See the College of Policing guidelines for face coverings and the regulations.
Reopening in England
On 8 July, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak MP presented a Summer Statement titled A plan for jobs. The Chancellor made a number of policy announcements including:
  • Strong>Job Retention Bonus – a one-off payment of £1,000 to UK employers for every furloughed employee who remains continuously employed through to the end of January 2021.
  • Kickstart Scheme – £2 billion fund to pay for six-month work placements for 16 to 24-year-olds on universal credit.
  • Temporary VAT cut for restaurants, hotels and attractions – From 15 July 2020 to 12 January 2021, the reduced (5%) rate of VAT will apply to restaurants, hotels and attractions across the UK.
  • ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ voucher – Every diner is entitled to 50% discount up to £10 a head, from Monday to Wednesday for August 2020 across the UK.
    - Register your establishment
    - Service availability and issues
    - Promotional materials
  • Green Homes Grant – providing grants of up to £5,000 per household to make their home more energy efficient in England.
On 9 July, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden MP announced three phases of reopening for some, but not all, English businesses.

Phase one – 11 July

Phase one of the reopening relates to a relatively small section of the leisure sector: open air swimming pools. Review the guidance for operators, including:
  • limiting the number of people within the facility and pool itself, perhaps by using a mandatory online booking system;
  • managing how people move through the facility;
  • enhanced cleaning; and
  • encouragement to shower and change at home, wherever possible (staff and customers).
A number of other leisure facilities may be reopened from the 25 July (see below).

In addition, from the 11 July some open air cultural performances can take place, including gigs, festivals and concerts, but only where they have a ‘limited and socially distanced audience’.

Phase two – 13 July

Phase two of the reopening relates to some, but not all, of the remaining ‘close contact’ facilities – including beauty services, (clothes) tailoring and sports and massage therapists.

This is different to other sectors, as the requirement for reopening is based on the type of service rather than the type of business. For example, a salon that offers one permitted and one forbidden service can open, but only deliver the permitted service. Forbidden services are those which require close proximity to the face. There is no exhaustive list, but some of the forbidden services include:
  • face waxing;
  • eyebrow threading;
  • eyelash treatments; and
  • some (‘intricate’) beard services.
Review the guidance on close contact working. This is similar to guidance issued for those close contact services already reopened eg. hair salons using face shields, social distancing etc.

Phase three – 25 July

Phase three will see many indoor fitness facilities reopen, including indoor pools, gyms and fitness and dance studios. Review the guidance here.

Remaining sectors

There are a number of sectors which have not been given a date to open (in addition to the beauty services above) including:
  • Nightclubs, dance halls, discotheques;
  • Casinos;
  • Sexual entertainment venues and hostess bars;
  • Bowling alleys;
  • Indoor skating rinks;
  • Indoor play areas, including soft-play areas; and
  • Exhibition halls or conference centres which must remain closed for events such as exhibitions or conferences, other than for those who work for the business or organisation who run the venue.
Please note that, whilst theatres can technically open, indoor plays, concert gigs etc. cannot be held until further notice – although there are some pilots going ahead to test how this might work.

The guidance is subject to devolved powers and there may be differences in the approaches taken in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Working safely during Coronavirus
The government has updated the guidance for businesses on working safely during Coronavirus. In consultation with industry, this guidance has been produced to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible. There are 8 guides which cover a range of different types of work. Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles. You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep people safe. Further guidance for employers and businesses including: Once you have carried out a risk assessment you should display this notice in your workplace to show that you have complied with the guidance on managing the risk of Coronavirus.

Coronavirus Business Support
A full range of business support measures are available to UK businesses and employees. This page helps businesses find out how to access support schemes, who is eligible and how to apply.

The UK government's Coronavirus business support hub brings together key information for business.

Code of practice for the commercial property sector
The UK government has published a code of practice to encourage commercial tenants and landlords to work together to protect viable businesses.

Support to self employed individuals
The Chancellor announced on 26 March that millions of self-employed individuals will receive direct cash grants though the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, a ground-breaking UK-wide scheme for those whose income has been impacted by the Coronavirus.

Test and trace The NHS Test and Trace service launched across England on 28 May. Those who have been in close contact with someone who tests positive must isolate for 14 days, even if they have no symptoms. Take a look at the NHS test and trace workplace guidance and the Q&A for external stakeholders.

See further guidance for organisations in certain sectors on how to collect details and maintain records of staff, customers and visitors on their premises to support NHS Test and Trace.

Temporary easements in corporate Insolvency and governance
The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act has received royal assent and has come into force. The Act introduces temporary easements for AGMs and filing requirements for PLCs, new corporate restructuring tools to the insolvency regime to give companies the time they need to maximise their chance of survival and temporarily suspends parts of insolvency law to support directors.Detailed government guidance on the changes can be found here.

Additional support for business:
  • Coronavirus Business Support Campaign - Communications Toolkit
  • ACAS has published information for employees and employers, including information on simple steps to help protect the health and safety of staff, sick pay and absence from work.
  • More information on business interruption insurance.
  • Crime - to minimise the risk to queues of people in social distancing, organisations can take practical and steps to deter or disrupt a Vehicle As a Weapon Attack. Please see the CPNI advice note on Protecting pedestrian queues from Vehicle As a Weapon Attack.
  • As an emergency response to Coronavirus, Companies House has developed a temporary online service to upload a number of completed forms and send them to Companies House digitally.

    The Small Business Leadership Programme

    The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is funding training for senior SME leaders to enhance their business’s resilience and recovery from the impact of Coronavirus, and develop their potential for future growth and productivity.

    The Small Business Leadership Programme is free to participants and will be delivered by top business schools across England. Spread the word with your members in the UK.

Help primary school children continue their education during Coronavirus
Advice for parents and carers looking after primary school children.

Opening of schools
From the beginning of the autumn term, the Department for Education (DfE) will expect all pupils, in all year groups, to return to school full-time. Information on what parents and carers need to know about the opening of schools is available.

Further and Higher Education
Actions and information for Further and higher education: Coronavirus.

What colleges and universities and other providers need to do during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Higher education restructuring regime
A scheme for higher education providers in England facing financial difficulties as a result of coronavirus

Information for schools, students and parents on how:
  • GCSE;
  • AS;
  • A level;
  • vocational; and
  • technical qualifications
will be graded and awarded in summer 2020.

T Level industry placements
  • New package of support to help employers and Further Education (FE) providers deliver high-quality T Level industry placements.
  • The additional support and guidance includes:
    - new guidance setting out the key roles and responsibilities for providers and employers around industry placements, including a guide for students to help them prepare for their placement;
    - additional delivery models for industry placements in the Construction and Engineering & Manufacturing routes, to reflect modern practices;
    - modified delivery targets for Capacity and Delivery Fund placements to reflect the impact of the coronavirus on employers; and
    - an extension of both the Employer Support Fund pilot and the Employer Support Package also in response to Coronavirus.
The Skills Toolkit
The Skills Toolkit is a free online learning platform to boost workplace skills during the Coronavirus outbreak and beyond.

- High quality, flexible courses in digital and numeracy skills to support learning.
- Courses on offer will help people gain skills that employers demand and help kick start the country’s economic recovery.

Apprenticeships ESFA post-16 provider relief scheme (July to October 2020)
Information about support available for post-16 training providers during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Tier 4 sponsors, migrants and short-term students
Guidance for Tier 4 sponsors, migrants and short-term students on temporary concessions in response to the outbreak of Coronavirus.

The concessions will all be kept under regular review and will be withdrawn once the situation returns to normal.

Advice for visa customers who need to apply for a passport
Advice for visa customers and applicants in the UK, visa customers outside of the UK and British nationals overseas who need to apply for a passport and who are affected by travel restrictions associated with Coronavirus.

On 23 June, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson 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. From Saturday 4 July, pubs, restaurants and hairdressers will be able to reopen, providing they adhere to COVID Secure guidelines.

Review the guidance on the further easing of Coronavirus restrictions from 4 July 2020.

Eat Out to Help Out
From 3 to 31 August, get a 50% discount when you eat-in at restaurants that are registered. New plans to ensure pubs, restaurants and cafes offer both smoking and non-smoking outdoor options

People using pubs, restaurants and cafes will soon have greater freedom to choose non-smoking outdoor areas following an amendment tabled on 19 July to legislation in Parliament.

Travel corridors update
From today, Tuesday 28 July 2020, passengers will not need to self-isolate when arriving in England from:
  • Estonia;
  • Latvia;
  • Slovakia;
  • Slovenia; and
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Spain removed from travel corridors exemption list

If you arrive in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland from Spain on or after 26 July 2020 you will need to self-isolate. Travel corridor countries continue to be reviewed and will be removed immediately should the public health situation change for the worse. Take a look at BCC's response to the announcement that UK arrivals from Spain will have to self-isolate for 14 days.

Face coverings mandatory on public transport and indoor transport hub
Face coverings must be worn in additional enclosed public spaces from 24 July in England. In England you must wear a face covering by law in the following settings:
  • public transport
  • indoor transport hubs
  • shops and supermarkets
  • indoor shopping centres
  • banks, building societies, and post offices.
Transport operators can deny access to their public transport services if a passenger is not wearing a face covering, or direct them to wear one or leave a service if they are not wearing a face covering.

Face coverings are not mandatory for anyone under the age of 11 or those with disabilities or certain health conditions. Review the list of face covering exemptions and share with your members. See further guidance and details of the legislation from the College of Policing.

From 15 June, passengers using public transport are required to wear a face covering across all public transport. This applies to trains, buses, trams, ferries and planes. Safer air travel guidance for passengers
This guidance sets out how to travel safely in airports and on aircraft during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Self-isolation lifted for lower risk countries
From 10 July 2020 you will not have to self-isolate when you arrive in England, if you: This applies to all travel to England, by train, ferry, coach, air or any other route.

If you have been to or stopped in a country that’s not on the travel corridors exemption list you will have to self-isolate until 14 days have passed since you left that country.

When planning holidays or overseas travel, people should check the latest FCO travel advice on GOV.UK, including whether there are any self-isolation measures in place for their outbound or return journey.

If the country or territory they are visiting is exempt, they will not have to self-isolate on their return to England. Passengers should also stay alert to any changes to local public health measures while they are travelling, including by subscribing to FCO travel advice updates.

Travel corridors: countries and territories exemption list
From 10 July 2020, unless they have visited or stopped in any other country or territory in the preceding 14 days, passengers arriving from the following countries and territories will not be required to self-isolate on arrival into England: Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are exempt as they are part of the common travel area. The 14 British Overseas Territories are also exempt. This list may be added to over the coming days following further discussions between the UK and international partners.

Information for travel into Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be published by the Devolved Administrations.

Your stay abroad
You will have to comply with Coronavirus requirements in the country you travel to. This may include self-isolating or providing your details to local authorities.

Check Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) coronavirus advice for the country you are travelling to.

Make sure you have appropriate travel insurance in case you have unexpected costs.

Guidance for aviation operators and safer air travel guidance for passengers.
  • Department for Transport publishes COVID-secure aviation guidance to support operators and passengers.
  • Guidance for passengers and workers includes advice on wearing face coverings, checking in all baggage and creating safe work spaces.
  • When it is safe for restrictions on travel to be lifted, guidance will help the sector to protect staff and passengers.
Advice for employers
Briefing document for employers in the UK from the Rail Delivery Group.

Transport and travel guidance
Guidance and information for people using transport or working in the transport sector during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Driver and Vehicle Agency queries - Northern Ireland
Given the ongoing disruption and challenges a customer email has been launched.
Customers with Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) queries should contact dva.customerservices@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk for support.

‘Bounce back’ plan for agriculture, food and drink industry launched
A ‘bounce back’ plan of trade measures for the agriculture, food and drink industry was announced on 22 June to help support businesses that have been impacted by Coronavirus.

Trade Credit Insurance backed by £10 billion guarantee
  • On 4 June, the UK government announced guarantees of up to £10 billion to Trade Credit Insurance schemes for business-to-business transactions.
  • The measures will support thousands of businesses by protecting against customer defaults or payment delays
  • The scheme is available on a temporary basis for nine months, backdated to 1 April 2020, and available insurers operating in the UK market.
Force Majeure Certificates
These are certificates attesting the existence of force majeure circumstances i.e. circumstances beyond the control of the applicant such as fire, flood, industrial disputes, or in present circumstances, a pandemic. Please note that we can only certify factual details that can be evidenced. We cannot comment as to whether or not Force Majeure applies or argue such claims on behalf of the applicant. It is the responsibility of the applicant to claim Force Majeure and the issuing body’s role is to provide a certificate in support of such claim.

Delaying import duty payments as a result of Coronavirus
HMRC has released guidance on how to request an extension to the payment period for import duty/import VAT payments. Deferment is not automatic and requires immediate action.

Duty deferment account holders - Duty deferment account holders who are experiencing severe financial difficulty as a result of Coronavirus and who are unable to make payment of deferred customs duties and import VAT due on 15 April 2020 can contact HMRC for approval to enter into an extended period to make full or partial payment, without having their guarantee called upon or their deferment account suspended. The account holder should contact the Duty Deferment Office 03000 594243 or by email cdoenquiries@hmrc.gov.uk or the Coronavirus helpline on 0800 024 1222. Account holders will be asked to provide an explanation of how Coronavirus has impacted their business finances and cash flow.

Duty Deferment account holders will be able to use their accounts during the extended payment period agreed unless they default on a subsequent payment in that period, in which case HMRC may consider suspending their account. The outstanding payment will not affect their duty deferment limit so they will not need to increase their guarantee to cover the outstanding payment. Where HMRC agree to an extended payment period, interest will not be charged on the outstanding payments provided they are paid in full by the agreed date.

Duty/import VAT payments not covered by a duty deferment account - Registered Importers who pay cash or an equivalent and are facing severe financial difficulties as a direct result of Coronavirus can contact HMRC to request an extension to the payment deadline at the time the payment is due. They will be asked to provide an explanation of how Coronavirus has impacted on their business finances. HMRC will consider this request and decide whether or not to agree an additional time to pay. The decision will be taken on a case-by-case basis and could be refused.

If the request is approved the conditions, including the length of time offered, will depend upon the importer’s individual circumstances and may require the holding of a guarantee for the period of the time extension. We cannot offer this facility to non-registered importers. For further information, please contact the Customs Debt Policy inbox.

Maintaining the flow of trade at the Border
In order to maintain the flow of trade at the border during the current COVID-19 outbreak, Border Control Posts (BCP) may temporarily accept scanned or electronic copies of health certification from competent authorities or operators in some specific scenarios/circumstances in relation to:
  • Third country imports - products of animal origin (POAO) including fish and fishery products for human consumption. It does not include those derived from porcine origin, animal by-products (ABP) other than unprocessed ABPs of porcine origin and high-risk food and feed not of animal origin (HRFNAO). It does not apply to germinal product and live animals (other than live fish).
  • Intra-EU trade - this measure applies to Intra Trade Animal Health Certificates (ITAHCs) and journey logs for livestock imports. Official Veterinarians (OVs) in the UK may also issue ITAHCs and journey logs for livestock exports from the UK to the EU, submitted on TRACES (if applicable) and via email to EU member states.
Any measures taken are only for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak. Please refer to gov.uk for wider COVID-19 guidance or speak directly to the relevant BCP for further clarification and if you have questions about a particular import.

Coronavirus: Export Controls and Licences
In this 1-hour webinar, representatives from the Institute of Export & International Trade’s Export Control Profession and the Department for International Trade’s Export Control Joint Unit cover:
  • Continuation of UK export licensing during the pandemic;
  • EU controls relating to PPE and medical supplies and how they apply to UK;
  • Worldwide controls on PPE and medical supplies;
  • Importance for Export Control staff to communicate with their companies and supply chains;
  • The response of the IOE&IT and the Export Control Profession to the crisis.

In response to recent scams offering spurious financial support or tax refunds, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has published information and guidance including: In response to the increased threat from mandate fraud during the Coronavirus outbreak, the UK government Counter Fraud Function has issued a mandate fraud guidance document.




Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce is now offering an export documentation completion service to help you cover departmental sickness and holiday or furloughed staff.

We can now complete as well as authorise your EUR1s, ATRs, Certificates of Origin and other essential export documentation.

We offer a flexible service, up to date and compliant with all regulatory requirements, to schedule, ensuring you always give an immediate and professional response to your export customers.

For more information call 01782 224405.


As our events have now postponed, we are now bringing your our events online. We are organising webinars every week for you to join. they can all be found on our events calendar. If you have missed any of our webinars they can be found in our new webinar library.