Weekly Digest – 11 November 2020

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. We hope you and your family are safe and doing well. Read on for this week’s updates and some ideas that will help us all move forward.

Mass Testing For 67 More Areas in England

COVID-19 deaths and new cases in the UK have fallen on last week – raising hopes the second wave is beginning to slow.

Now, after the launch of a mass testing programme in Liverpool, the new rapid “lateral flow” tests will be rolled out to 67 more areas in England.

The Department of Health and Social Care said it was sending 600,000 of the rapid tests out to directors of public health in these areas to expand asymptomatic testing for COVID-19.

You can find the complete list of areas here.

NHS Ready From December to Roll Out New COVID-19 Vaccine

While Health Secretary Matt Hancock said there are no guarantees that Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine, which is 90% effective, will be rolled out soon, NHS will be ready to begin a large-scale vaccination programme if this or any other vaccine will be approved.

Earlier, the Health Secretary also announced that vaccinations would take place in care homes, centres such as sports halls and also clinics that would open seven days a week. He said he will be giving GPs an extra £150m to help with the roll-out.

UK Stocks Soar On News Of Viable COVID-19 Vaccine

Shares on the London Stock Exchange soared on the news that Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine achieved 90% effectiveness. The UK has pre-ordered 40 million doses once the vaccine is deemed effective, and further orders are in the pipeline.

UK Quarantine-Free Travel Possible With Rapid COVID-19 Tests

U.K. Transport Secretary Grant Schapps has announced plans to introduce quick COVID-19 tests to eliminate the need to quarantine. The Transport Secretary was referring to a trial where swabs of the nose or throat are placed on a test device and the results are displayed within 15 to 30 minutes.

Currently, the UK is on lockdown until December 2 and strict travel restrictions banning foreign holidays are being implemented.

Winners of Innovate UK’s COVID-19 Innovation Recovery Fund

Almost 1,200 companies across the country will share £134 million of new Innovate UK investment through its latest dedicated COVID-19 innovation recovery fund. All winners from the Sustainable Innovation Fund are developing ‘green innovations’ and focusing on sustainability.

Each successful company will receive up to £175,000 to accelerate commercial production of their innovative products and services.

Do you need help applying for funding assistance or would like to consult regarding your available options? Flick us a message and let’s talk.

Government Increases Support for Self-Employed

The UK government will be increasing its support to the self-employed over the coming months through the following ways:

  • UK-wide Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will allow self-employed individuals to receive 80% of their average trading profits for November.
  • Grants will be paid faster, with the claims window opening by 30 November rather than 14 December.

The increase means £4.5 billion of support for the self-employed between November and January. Also, more businesses will be able to benefit from government loan schemes, as deadlines for applications for additional support and the Future Fund have been further extended until 31 January 2021.

Is your business still struggling? Let us help you consider your options and apply for funding and government support. Contact us today!

‘Time is Running Out’ Campaign Launched

The government launches the ‘Time is Running Out’ campaign, urging business leaders to step up their preparations for the UK leaving the EU on 1 January 2021. This call to action is to prevent businesses from getting caught out by new rules at the end of the UK transition period and get ready for changes and opportunities.

In just over 8 weeks, the UK will be leaving the EU Single Market and Customs Union. Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove emphasised that it is on all of us to put in the work to embrace the new opportunities and challenges that come with being an independent trading nation with control over its own borders, territorial waters, and laws.

You may check gov.uk/transition to see actions you need to take or get in touch with us so we can provide some expert guidance.

Support for Areas on Very High Alert

Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently announced the following support for areas on Very High Alert under the new Three-Tier COVID-19 Lockdown System:

  • The Job Support Scheme, combined with Universal Credit, will allow low income individuals affected by business closures to receive at least 80% of their wages.
  • Up to £465 million will be provided to implement and enforce restrictions on top of the £1 billion of additional funding for local authorities across the UK.
  • The government will work with local authorities to allocate testing and introduce local contact tracing.

If you find it difficult to adapt to the new Three-Tier Lockdown System, message us so we can help you operate your business safely and more effectively.

Giving businesses flexibility to pay back loans

More than a million businesses who took out a Bounce Back Loan will be given flexibility with repayments through a new Pay as You Grow system. We’ll keep you informed as we get more details.

What funding is available for your business?

With two-thirds of UK companies completely operational, but many still in a state of financial distress, the government continues to provide support for business recovery.

To cover the impact of the crisis, there are grants made available by the government such as the £1.25b Future Fund and R&D rescue package for fast growth businesses and smaller businesses with a Research & Development focus. The UK government has recently expanded this rescue package for start-ups.

If your business has been severely hit by COVID-19 and you need more support, the government is giving businesses access to financial support through various initiatives such as the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, where you can get up to £50,000 no-interest loans for the first 12 months.

The Business Interruption Loan Scheme offers a maximum loan of £5 million made available through commercial banks, lenders have provided £12.2 billion worth of facilities to 55,674 companies.

You can also claim for 80% of your employee’s wages plus any employer National Insurance and pension contributions if you have put them on furlough because of COVID-19 under the Job Retention Scheme, which has been extended until the end of October. You can check your eligibility here.

With all the financial assistance schemes available for businesses, it can be difficult to assess which one is suitable for your business. Get in touch if you need some help.

Adapting Your Leadership Style in the Post-Pandemic World

COVID-19 has changed the business landscape now and for the foreseeable future. As a business leader, you need to adapt your leadership style and strategies accordingly to fit the new work environment in the post-pandemic world.

Below are four key things you can do to adapt your approach:

  • Improve your emotional intelligence
    These are difficult times for everyone. As your employees face new challenges, it is important for you to recognise these struggles and exercise empathy and flexibility.
  • Foster trust and communication
    Now, more than ever, business leaders must communicate to ensure staff are on board and they trust their leaders’ guidance. Keep your communication lines open, as well take time for one-on-one sessions and team discussions.
  • Get your team members involved
    Make your employees feel that they have a voice in the company. Involve them on company decisions, especially on matters that will concern them such as work arrangements.
  • Keep an eye on the future
    As we navigate the post-pandemic world, there will surely be more uncertainties ahead. Your role as a business leader is to be ready to quickly adapt to those future changes by staying on top of what’s gonna happen next.

Do you want to run your business better? Drop us a message so we can schedule a one-on-one consultation.

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