New Bounce Back Loans scheme for small businesses announced
The Chancellor Rishi Sunak has today, 27 April, announced a new Bounce Back Loans scheme that will be made available to small businesses from 9:00 Monday 4 May. These loans will be 100% government-backed. Businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days. Loans will be interest-free for the first 12 months and businesses can apply online through a short and simple form.
Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) guidance on insurance
The FCA has set up the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) - an independent body to provide arbitration for insurance claims of smaller businesses (with a turnover of less than £6.5 million and fewer than 50 employees). The decision of the FOS is binding on insurers up to £350,000.
To take your complaint directly to the FOS, please contact: The Financial Ombudsman Service, Exchange Tower, London, E14 9SR.
G20 Tourism Ministers’ meeting
The G20 Tourism Ministers held a meeting on COVID-19 on Friday 24 April, Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston was in attendance and addressed the group. He spoke of the importance of tourism to the UK economy, the Government’s support measures and the regular discussions he is in with the tourism industry about what their priorities are for the recovery period. He highlighted the key areas of concern including how businesses can operate while there are still social distancing measures in place; what further guidance is needed; and whether there is a need for tapered support as businesses adjust.
The G20 Tourism Ministers also issued a statement on COVID-19 outlining their commitments.
Other Government updates
- Guidance on how to protect yourself and your business from fraud and cybercrime during COVID-19 has been published.
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): business support grant funding – guidance for local authorities has been updated to include clarifications of whether grants are subject to tax.
- Furloughed workers to receive full parental leave entitlement, furloughed workers planning to take paid parental or adoption leave will be entitled to pay based on their usual earnings rather than a furloughed pay rate.
- The COVID-19 apprenticeship guidance has been updated.
- A letter was sent to local authorities regarding the success of the scheme to move homeless people into safe accommodation (including hotels), to say thank you and detailing the availability of additional funding.
- New measures have been put in place to protect high street shops and other companies under strain from aggressive rent collection.
- All essential workers and members of their households who are showing symptoms of COVID-19 are now able to get tested. Booking a test has been made simpler via a new online system
- Mobile coronavirus testing units launched to test frontline workers, the testing units will be operated by the Armed Forces and travel around the UK to increase access to coronavirus testing.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) COVID-19 survey
DCMS invites you to take part in a survey being conducted to understand the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on organisations in the digital, culture, media, sport, gambling, telecoms and tourism sectors and their engagement with the available government interventions. Your answers will remain anonymous and will be used to inform DCMS’ preparedness efforts.
The survey should take around 10-20 minutes and the deadline for responses is 15 May 2020. Please follow this link to access the survey to begin submitting your response.