UK and US start trade negotiations

International Secretary of State Liz Truss and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to launch the first round of Free Trade Agreement negotiations today.

Read more: UK and US trade negotiations

ALFED’s discussions with government during the COVID-19 outbreak

We have been in regular conversations with ministers during the COVID-19 outbreak, most recently regarding funding for UK aluminium. We asked the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Alok Sharma, to make straightforward changes to these schemes so aluminium businesses don’t slip through the cracks.

You may have seen that in response to industry feedback, including from ALFED and its members, on 16 April the Government announced revised rules for companies accessing the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS). These revisions broaden the scope to enable companies with turnover in excess of £250 million to access loans of up to £50 million.

ALFED’s work with the UK Government continues to ensure the aluminium sector and its members are engaged with government departments, such as BEIS,  regarding the COVID-19 outbreak.

New webinars to boost support for SMEs during coronavirus

All webinars are free to UK companies.

You can expect to:

• receive help and advice to sell overseas with confidence;
• gain new skills and knowledge;
• discover solutions to specific challenges to exporting;
• get your exporting questions answered by the experts

How long are the webinars?

Our experts usually present for 25 minutes and allow 35 minutes for answering your questions and helping you find solutions to any barriers you may face.

Read more: New webinars to boost support for SMEs during coronavirus

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Businesses and Employers Bulletin – 4 May 2020

This bulletin is issued by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and provides the latest information for employers and businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19). All coronavirus business support information can be found at gov.uk/business-support.

  • Apply for a coronavirus Bounce Back Loan;
  • Top-up to local business grant funds scheme;
  • Reminder: Webinars to support your business;
  • New Updates and Guidance;
  • Requests for Business Intelligence and Assistance

Read more: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Businesses and Employers Bulletin – 4 May 2020

Existing UK trade agreements with non-EU countries

Find out about the trade agreements the UK has already signed and our discussions with countries the EU has a trade agreement with.

Read more: Existing UK trade agreements with non-EU countries

Weekly Digest: coronavirus information and advice from HSE – 30 April 2020

In this issue:

  • Look after your mental wellbeing while working at home.
  • HSE advises on the importance of fitting respirators correctly.
  • Control of Major Accident Hazards guidance.

Read more: HSE weekly digest 30 April 2020

Environment Agency regulatory response to coronavirus

Our approach to regulation and enforcement during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Environment Agency recognises the challenges you face in these exceptional circumstances. This document sets out our:

  • priorities
  • expectations
  • approach to enforcement during the coronavirus outbreak
  • information on COVID-19 regulatory position statements

Read more: EA response to coronavirus

Small businesses boosted by bounce back loans

New 100% government backed loan scheme for small business

  • 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

Small businesses will benefit from a new fast-track finance scheme providing loans with a 100% government-backed guarantee for lenders, the Chancellor announced today (Monday 27 April).

Rishi Sunak said the new Bounce Back Loans scheme, which will provide loans of up to £50,000, would help bolster the existing package of support available to the smallest businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Read more: Small businesses boosted by bounce back loans

Coronavirus Businesses and Employers Bulletin – Special Announcement – New Bounce Back Loan Scheme

This bulletin is issued by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and provides the latest information for employers and businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19). All coronavirus business support information can be found at gov.uk/business-support.

The new Bounce Back Loans scheme, announced by the Chancellor today, will allow businesses 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 from Monday 4 May, businesses can apply online through a short and simple form.

The Government, which has been consulting extensively with business representatives about the design of the new scheme, will provide lenders with a 100% guarantee for the loan and pay any fees and interest for the first 12 months. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months.

The loans will be easy to apply for through a short, standardised online application. Loans should reach businesses within days – providing immediate support to those that need it as easily as possible.

The scheme will launch for applications on Monday 4 May. Firms will be able to access these loans through a network of accredited lenders. The government will work with lenders to ensure loans delivered through this scheme are advanced as quickly as possible and agree a low standardised level of interest for the remaining period of the loan.

The new scheme will run alongside the existing Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS).

The Government is also taking additional steps on the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) to ensure that lenders have the confidence they need to process finance applications quickly, including removing the per lender portfolio cap for the government guarantee, and changing the viability tests that so that all banks will need to assess is whether a business was viable pre COVID-19.

Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS)

The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) opened on Monday 20 April 2020 to facilitate access to finance for medium-sized and larger businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

Read more: CLBILS