COVID-19 Updates

 Last updated Tuesday 2nd November 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Business Bulletin 

The British Fashion Council is engaging directly with government in order to closely monitor COVID-19 updates, advice and support for businesses, and to ensure the challenges facing our industry are articulated to the government. As an organisation whose mission is to support and promote British fashion, we are working to take action by:

  • Liaising with government to raise challenges facing our industry and to ask for support for businesses and individuals, including financial support, guidance areas impacting operations such as travel exemptions
  • Working in partnership with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on the safe delivery of plans for this year’s London Fashion Week, with officials across a number of agencies to ensure that scheduled events can go ahead under Covid-secure guidance
  • Speaking to fashion retailers to see how they can support smaller, independent businesses

We’d like to hear from you so that we may communicate your specific concerns back to our government colleagues. Please reach out to us on info@britishfashioncouncil.com.

Please see this Practical Guidance on COVID-19, authored by Mischon de Reya, for additional business guidance and information.

Working Safely during Covid-19: Guidelines for Photography and Filming Shoots 

This document serves as guidelines as agreed through discussion with industry, and does not take precedence over, or negate any COVID 19 guidance issued by the UK government, or by others for example businesses insurers. The BFC recommends that businesses in the industry undertake a full analysis of their operations and current government advice to prepare as fully as possible. 

Read the full guidelines here

 

How to Access Government Support

Information is available on the gov.uk website on how to access funding, employer responsibilities, how to run your business safely and advice for the self-employed/sole traders. 

Government Financial Support

To find out more about financial support please use the business support finder. 

This page details all the schemes available and links to application details. Businesses should pay close attention to eligibility criteria and other factors such as EU state aid rules.

Note that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be replaced in November by the Job Support Scheme, which opens on 1st November. Further details on the Job Support Scheme can be found here. 

 

Paying Your Employees

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Available to any employer, business or charity in the UK through HMRC (see details above). Grants to cover up to 80% of salary costs of anyone not working due to Coronavirus but whose job has been retained, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.

Job Support Scheme

A new Job Support Scheme will be introduced from 1 November to protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to coronavirus. Under the scheme, which will run for six months, the government will contribute towards the wages of employees who are working fewer than normal hours due to decreased demand.

Paying Sick Pay 

Statutory Sick Pay – SSP – For Small or Medium Sized Businesses Available to employees from day 1 where they have to self isolate or are unwell because of Covid-19, SMEs can recover this cost from 13th March for a maximum of two weeks’ sickness per employee. We are awaiting further details as to the mechanism for making this claim.

Paying tax

As part of the Chancellor’s “Winter Package” the temporary 15% VAT cut for the tourism and hospitality sectors will be extended to the end of March next year. In addition, business who deferred their VAT bills will be given more breathing space through the New Payment Scheme, which gives them the option to pay back in smaller instalments. Self-assessment taxpayers will be able to benefit from a separate additional 12-month extension from HMRC on the “Time to Pay” self-service facility, meaning payments deferred from July 2020, and those due in January 2021, will now not need to be paid until January 2022.

Deferral of VAT

VAT payments between 20th March 2020 and end June 2020 will be deferred. Payment of VAT will be deferred to end of the tax year. Further guidance to eligibility and administration of this scheme will follow.

Self-assessment payment deferral

To support self-employed, income tax payments on account due to self-assessment on can be deferred.

Time to Pay Arrangements

TTP Advice for if you cannot pay your tax bill on time. 

Business Rates Relief

The government introduced a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses. Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England will not have to pay business rates for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

 

Business Support Grant Funds

Small Business Grant Fund 

Coronavirus Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund

Coronavirus Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund
Available for small and micro businesses that are not eligible for other schemes

 

Self-employed

Self-employed Income Support Scheme

Note that this scheme is being extended on 1 November 

 

Business Loans

The government is extending four temporary loan schemes to 30 November 2020 for new applications: As a result, more businesses will now be able to benefit from the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Bounce Back Loan Scheme and the Future Fund.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme This is delivered by the British Business Bank and available for small businesses that may be affected by cash flow interruption. Loans are delivered through accredited lenders. If your existing bank is one of these we recommend you contact your relationship manager to discuss further. Please find further information that may be helpful in preparation here.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme lenders will be given the ability to extend the length of loans from a maximum of six years to ten years if it will help businesses to repay the loan.

Bounce Back Loan

The scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses access finance quickly to borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of their turnover. The maximum loan available is £50,000. 

Businesses who took out a Bounce Back Loan will be given the option to repay their loan over a period of up to ten years through a new Pay as You Grow flexible repayment system. Interest-only periods of up to six months and payment holidays will also be available to businesses.

 

Coronavirus Future Fund

Convertible loans of between £125,000 and £5million to innovative companies which are facing difficulties due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

Corporate Financing Facility Available to larger businesses that have had, prior to being affected by COVID-19, a short or long-term rating of investment grade, or financial health equivalent to an investment grade rating. Loans to bridge coronavirus disruption to cashflows.

 

Support in the Manufacture of Essential Products

In times when we all need to pull together, the fashion industry can be of service. We are working with officials from both the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) who have confirmed they would be grateful for support in the manufacture of essential products including masks, that could be supported by fashion brands and manufacturers. Companies / individuals who are able to supply anything non-ventilator related are asked to complete the short survey

 

Online resources for businesses and employers 

For the latest information and advice, employers and business owners should visit guidance for employees, employers and businesses. Check the page regularly for updates and subscribe to receive email alerts.   

Information includes: 

  • Guidance on advice to provide to staff including: how to help prevent spread of COVID-19; what to do if someone suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 has been in a workplace setting; advice to give to individuals who have travelled to specific areas; and advice for the certification of absence from work resulting from COVID19 
  • Information on the support available to businesses impacted by COVID-19 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 
  • Government is also scaling up the Business Support Helpline so businesses in England, of all sizes, can pick up the phone and speak directly to an advisor (Devolved Administrations have their own equivalent services in place). The number to call is: 0300 456 3565
  • The Small Business Minister and Small Business Commissioner are calling on the UK’s big businesses to speed up payments to their small business suppliers wherever they can to ease COVID-19 related cash flow issues. You can find more information here.
  • HMRC have launched a tax helpline to help businesses concerned about paying their tax due to coronavirus (COVID-19). Find all the information here. The number is: 0800 0159 559
  • Companies House has produced guidance if coronavirus (COVID-19) has affected your company and you need more time to file your accounts. Find all the information here.

Get in touch:

Request for business intelligence: How is COVID-19 impacting businesses?
BFC is engaging directly with government in order to ensure the challenges facing our industry are articulated to the government. We’d like to hear from you so that we may communicate your specific concerns back to our government colleagues. Please reach out to us on info@britishfashioncouncil.com.

 

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