Letter from Secretary of State Alok Sharma MP to the Manufacturing Sector 8 April 2020

To those working in manufacturing and industry in the UK

At this unprecedented time for the UK I want to pay tribute to you for the work you are doing to keep the UK economy going.
As you know, the Government’s priority is saving lives and we have advised that where possible, people should stay at home and work from home. However, our country needs your support to keep supply chains moving and key workers mobile, as well as to protect the economy as much as possible. Every business has a role to play in helping the country defeat coronavirus.

Manufacturing is a critical part of our economy and I would like to be clear that there is no restriction on manufacturing continuing under the current rules. Guidelines from Public Health England provide best practice advice on how this can be done safely. Many across aerospace, chemical, automotive, steel, aluminium, pharmaceutical, packaging and other sectors, including those providing essential services and materials, have answered the call to action and are playing a direct role in combatting COVID-19 by producing the material we need to fight the spread of the virus. It is vital that we ensure that servicing, parts and raw materials are available to keep vehicles and services on the road and operating. I would like to give you all my personal thanks for everything you are doing.

Those who cannot work from home and have to travel to work can continue to do so, consistent with the Chief Medical Officer’s advice. I would remind both you and your employers that good practice on hand-washing and social distancing where possible remains an important part of efforts to keep COVID-19 from spreading, as explained in the latest guidance on operating safely in the workplace. Further Government guidance is available on GOV.UK.

Read more: Letter from Secretary of State Alok Sharma MP to the Manufacturing Sector 8 April 2020

Open consultation: Freeports consultation

This consultation was published on 10 February. It was due to close on 20 April. We are grateful for the responses we have already received. The government recognises that many sectors with an interest in this policy are affected by coronavirus (COVID-19). We want to give all stakeholders time to submit their views so we have extended the consultation. The closing date is now 13 July 2020.

Read more: Freeports consultation

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Businesses and Employers Bulletin: 8 April 2020

This bulletin is issued by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and provides information for employers and businesses on Coronavirus (COVID-19). Organisations should pay particular attention to the business support information on gov.uk.

Contents

  • Additional guidance on social distancing in the workplace
  • Transport and travel guidance
  • COVID-19 Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme
  • HMRC COVID-19 webinars
  • New Updates and Guidance
  • Requests for Business Intelligence and Assistance

Read more: Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Businesses and Employers Bulletin 8 April 2020

Covid-19: guidance for France/Scotland/Wales

  • A new requirement that has just come into effect for all those entering France, including HGV drivers. This measure appears to be targeted at curbing potential non-essential travel over the upcoming Easter weekend (ie holiday trips) but it will obviously also apply to drivers carrying freight across the border. Advice is that all travellers will be required to present a certificate to confirm that their trip meets the criteria for essential travel – this includes goods carriers and cross border workers amongst others. A copy of the form is attached. It is straightforward to complete but it will take a few days to bed in during which there is scope for drivers getting stopped by the French and not understanding why, which gives way to potential alarm bells over freight routes seizing up. See https://uk.ambafrance.org/Coronavirus-Covid-19-transports-vers-la-France for more. International Travel Document to France
  • The Scottish Government have updated their guidance to the construction sector yesterday, ceasing all non-essential works unless related to the Covid-19 response. Operational advice states that “The construction sector and its supply chain is considered a non-essential business sector, except where supporting an essential sector as listed above”, i.e. CNI.
  • The Welsh Government also updated their guidance on physical distancing in the workplace. The guidance states that “The regulations require employers to take reasonable measures so that workers can maintain 2 metres distance from one another.  They do not require all employers to enforce 2 metres distance between all workers all of the time. There will be circumstances in which it is not possible to take reasonable measures.  But employers will be expected to undertake an assessment before concluding there are no reasonable measures that they can take, and there are no blanket exemptions form this legislation.  It is an important principle that employers undertake an assessment of what reasonable measures can be taken and to keep this under periodic review.”

COVID-19: A message from the Department for International Trade

As the UK goes through this unprecedented period, the Department for International Trade is committed to standing behind businesses and is asking businesses to do their best to stand behind their workers.

We understand that as a business owner or employee, you may be concerned about the impact of coronavirus (Covid-19) on your business, your colleagues and employees.

The Government is supporting businesses and employees through a package of measures to help manage the impact of coronavirus (Covid-19).

These measures include financial support packages for businesses and support for employees’ wages.

UK Export Finance (UKEF) has also expanded the scope of its Export Insurance Policy (EXIP) meaning UK businesses will now be eligible to secure export insurance cover to all major markets.

You should now:

1. Visit the Business Support website for more information about these and additional measures and support available to your business. This website will continue to be updated with the latest information.

2. Pay particular attention to the guidance for employees, employers and businesses which is being updated regularly with the latest advice.

3. Read the guidance for UK businesses trading internationally.

4. Take steps to protect yourself and others.

Remember, stay at home, protect our NHS, save lives.

Coronavirus: DIT offers support to exporters and investors

The Department for International Trade outlines support available to 160,000 exporters and international investors.

  • 160,000 exporters and investors trading internationally reached by government with outline of support on offer.
  • UK businesses now eligible to secure export insurance cover to major international markets.

Guidance on how to help secure export finance to keep trading during the coronavirus outbreak has been set out by government in direct communication to 160,000 exporters and investors Today (Monday 6 April).

As well as advice on what financial support is available for companies to manage the impacts of coronavirus, DIT stands ready to provide assistance with customs authorities to ensure smooth clearance of businesses’ products, and to offer advice on intellectual property and other issues with business continuity.

The message follows the news that UK businesses will now be eligible to secure export insurance cover to markets including the EU, US, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland with immediate effect, following UK Export Finance expanding the scope of its Export Insurance Policy (EXIP). Exports from the UK to these markets totalled £499 billion last year, accounting for 74% of all international sales from the UK.

Read more: Coronavirus: DIT offers support to exporters and investors

Trade and investment core statistics book

The most up to date snapshot of the UK’s trade and investment position, summarising trade statistics produced by ONS, HMRC, DIT and others.

Read more: Trade and investment core statistics book

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Businesses and Employers Bulletin: 6 April 2020

This bulletin is issued by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and provides information for employers and businesses on Coronavirus (COVID-19). Organisations should pay particular attention to the guidance for employees, employers and businesses which is being updated regularly with the latest advice.

The Business Support website helps businesses find the right support, advice and information to help with the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the support measures that are available. This website will continue to be updated as information becomes available.

Contents

  • Use of facemasks in the workplace
  • Business Secretary appeals to everyone to stay calm and carry on the good work
  • New Updates and Guidance
  • Requests for Business Intelligence and Assistance

Read more: Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Businesses and Employers Bulletin – 6 April 2020

A message from the Department for International Trade

As the UK goes through this unprecedented period, the Department for International Trade is committed to standing behind businesses and is asking businesses to do their best to stand behind their workers.

We understand that as a business owner or employee, you may be concerned about the impact of coronavirus (Covid-19) on your business, your colleagues and employees.

The Government is supporting businesses and employees through a package of measures to help manage the impact of coronavirus (Covid-19).

These measures include financial support packages for businesses and support for employees’ wages.

UK Export Finance (UKEF) has also expanded the scope of its Export Insurance Policy (EXIP) meaning UK businesses will now be eligible to secure export insurance cover to all major markets.

Read more: Coronavirus update 6 April from Dept for International Trade

Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The new Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) will provide a government guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans of up to £25m to firms with an annual turnover of between £45m and £500m. This will give banks the confidence to lend to many more businesses which are impacted by coronavirus. Facilities backed by a guarantee under CLBILS will be offered at commercial rates of interest.

Read more: Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme