Coronavirus (COVID-19) – update 26

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – update 26

11 May 2020

Remember that you can raise any issues with us and we will try to help.

Returning to work – UK Government guidance on easing some restrictions

You will be aware that the UK Government is preparing to publish guidance for relaxing the lockdown and enabling some sectors of society to re-open. As an essential industry the majority of businesses in the UK fresh produce sector have continued to operate by putting in place measures to protect workers and customers.

There are however many businesses which have not been able to continue to operate within the cut flower and plants, food service and wholesale sectors.

We hope that the guidance to come will help those businesses which have not been able to operate so that they can re-open. At the same time, we hope that the guidance will not significantly cut across existing measures which businesses have already put in place or impose additional unnecessary costs.

The guidance has been developed to cover different working environments (e.g. outdoor; factory; in vehicles; shops; offices; hotels/restaurants; in other people’s homes), rather than being specific to different industry sectors so it is likely to be quite generalised. We will share the guidance when it is available and we would like to hear from you if you have any questions or feedback.

Bounce Back Loans
The government-backed Bounce Back Loans for small businesses are open. Businesses can apply for the loans through gov.uk.

Business rates revaluation postponed
A revaluation of business rates will no longer take place in 2021 to help reduce uncertainty for firms affected by the impacts of coronavirus.

How to treat certain expenses and benefits provided to employees
Advice on taxable expenses and benefits when they are paid to employees because of coronavirus and how to report them to HMRC – click HERE.

Support for farmers, landowners, and rural businesses
Defra has produced guidance on the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan scheme and how farming businesses can best access the scheme – click HERE.

The Rural Payments Agency has also updated its guidance on support available for farmers, landowners, and rural businesses.

Temporary easements for exporters
HMRC has put temporary measures in place enabling exporters to apply for, and receive, copy preference documents from HMRC via email when exporting goods under the UK and EU's preferential trading arrangements. Further information and links to the forms themselves obtained from Notice 827: UK and EU preferential export procedures and Notice 812: European Union preferences - trade with Turkey

There is also guidance for businesses experiencing severe financial difficulties as a result of Covid-19 in relation to May duty deferment account payments – click HERE.

Seasonal Workers update
Just a reminder that the Pick for Britain website is a joint public sector and industry initiative to bring together those who are looking for work on UK farms over the harvest period with recruiters who have roles to fill. The website acts as a central hub to signpost people to the jobs available and to provide information about this type of work.

The Department for Work and Pensions is also keen to encourage businesses to use the Find a Job website to advertise vacancies.

Help to source fresh produce – Compassion London
Compassion London is a charity cooking 3,000 meals a day to give away to people who need them including hospital staff, vulnerable people in the community and older people who cannot get out in London.

The charity is asking for help in sourcing fresh fruit and vegetables. They have volunteer drivers who can pick up produce from within a 50 mile radius of Hendon. Can anyone help by providing fresh fruit and veg which would otherwise go to waste? Contact: emma@subjectmatters.co.uk

If you have any issues and queries please contact us