COVID-19 Business Update 23/03/2020

This email is part of a regular update I send out to businesses in Scunthorpe. If you have not received this email directly from me please click here to subscribe to my COVID-19 Business newsletter. 

Update - 23/03/2020  

I hope you are well.

Tonight’s announcement

You may have heard of the Prime Minister’s decision to announce a “lockdown”. In his statement he noted specifically that we will only be allowed to leave our homes, among other things, when we are “travelling to and from work, but only when this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.” Please can you strongly consider the advice above and utilize the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to it’s fullest.

I will expect quite a few questions on what constitutes "absolutely necessary" works. As usual, I will forward you the Minister's statement with further details once I receive them. 

Fighting for the self-employed

Just to reiterate my point yesterday – I am pushing for the Government to address the current lack of redress for the self-employed, and to look into potentially increasing the current SSP rates as one of the solutions. This is something that I will continue to do and we should expect an announcement soon.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Some more details (in addition to the site) to consider:

  • You may, but do not have to furlough all your employees – you can furlough a portion of your employees and keep your business going
  • The understanding is that if you furlough an employee, they will be furloughed for the duration of the crisis
  • If you are concerned of immediate cash flow please can you consider utilising the Government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (up to £5m loan with 0% interest rate for 12 months) in advance

If you have employees with a pre-existing condition, or employees with vulnerable family members please can you consider their circumstances and furlough them as soon as possible?

Information and advice

The Government has compiled all existing grants and schemes under its Coronavirus Business Support page – please visit the new site.

Today I received the information below from Humber Local Enterprise Partnership which may be of interest:

“We have reprioritised our Growth Hub’s resources to support business survival.  Advisors are offering telephone consultations and triaging enquiries, and we have introduced a new grant programme to support businesses with homeworking (e.g. purchasing IT equipment and services) and other resilience issues.  We will shortly be introducing online workshops to replace in-person ones, focussed on resilience issues, and are working on other additional support.  The address for enquiries is

Collating and disseminating support information is a top priority.  We are continually adding to and improving the information on the dedicated Coronavirus page on the Growth Hub’s website ( as new schemes emerge from Government and elsewhere.  We are also providing this as a daily briefing to business-facing organisations in the region to ensure they have access to consistent up-to-date information. “

I have also received the update below from Barclays. They have provided me with an MP hotline so please let me know if you have any issues with them and I will be on their case.
Support for Small Businesses 

Today we have launched our participation in the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBIL), which was announced by the Chancellor in the Budget and put in place by the British Business Bank today. Further information can be found here:

The terms of the scheme were finalised over the weekend and we are working hard to ensure our staff are trained and ready to help customers, many of whom we know will be increasingly anxious. Please bear with us as we work to put in place the arrangements to ensure the smooth operation of the scheme.
The CBIL scheme is a borrowing facility designed to help businesses access finance where a lender would not be able to provide finance to the business on their normal lending criteria. The British Business Bank has set out strict eligibility criteria and limits to the size of loans that we must apply when assessing applications. This means that some businesses will find that they are unable to access loans under the scheme, but we will work with customers and clients to help them understand the framework.

Support for Larger Businesses

The Bank of England has also launched today a Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF). The CCFF will provide funding to corporates with an Investment Grade credit rating and who make a material contribution to the UK economy, through the purchase, by the Bank of England, of Commercial Paper of up to one-year maturity. In addition to assisting our clients originate into and access the facility, we have been providing our thoughts to the relevant authorities as to how best to meet their objectives.

Support for Customers

More broadly, we have created a hub with all the latest information on our products and services for customers: It is updated daily so that customers can find the information they need in one place. Our colleagues are also facing unprecedented times and so we are asking customers to only phone us if they have an immediate financial problem.  That way, we can help make sure that those who are most vulnerable receive the support they need. All of our online and mobile channels are working as normal. The attached one pager summarises the support we are providing for customers across the bank.
Following Government advice my office in Scunthorpe will be working via telephone and email, rather than face-to-face. This will not affect the services that I currently offer, and I will still continue to be available and if you need anything please write to me via my email
Take care,