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Scottish Textile News

  • 24-Mar-2020 6:34 PM | Anonymous

    Help with non-domestic rates in Scotland during coronavirus (COVID-19)

    To help owners of non-domestic properties, including businesses, deal with the impact of COVID-19, the Scottish Government has made changes to non-domestic rates (business rates) for 2020-21.

    The Scottish Government has introduced extra rates reliefs (discounts). It has also introduced a one-off grant for some businesses.

    These reliefs will be available to non-domestic properties from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021.

    It will be possible to apply for the grants from 24 March 2020 and they will be available to 31 March 2021.

    Extra reliefs to help with COVID-19

    All non-domestic properties in Scotland will get a 1.6% rates relief. This relief effectively reverses the change in poundage for 2020-21.

    You do not need to apply for this relief and it will be applied to your bill by your local council.

    Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

    Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will get 100% rates relief. To get this relief, a property has to be occupied. Properties that have closed temporarily due to the government's COVID-19 advice will be treated as occupied.

    The Scottish Government are working with Scotland's 32 Councils to make sure this relief is administered in the most effective way. You can check this page for updates, including information on any application process.

    You can get these rates reliefs even if you already get another relief for your property.

    Grants

    Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value between £18,001 and up to and including £50,999 will be able to apply for a one-off grant of £25,000.

    A one-off grant of £10,000 will also be available to small businesses who get:

    Small Business Bonus Scheme relief

    Rural Relief

    You can also get this grant if you applied for Nursery Relief, Business Growth Accelerator Relief or Disabled Relief but are eligible for the Small Business Bonus Scheme.

    You can only apply for one grant – even if you own multiple properties.

    Self-catering premises are not eligible for the grant funding.

    Applying for a grant and getting paid

    To apply, you'll need to complete an application form. You can find this form on your local council website.


  • 23-Mar-2020 10:12 PM | Anonymous

    The Prime Minister issued a statement this evening (23rd March) introducing three new measures.

    1. Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes
    2. Closing non-essential shops and community spaces
    3. Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public

    These measures are effective immediately. The government have issued more detailed guidance on what these new measures mean and a copy of the guidance can be found here.

    All clothing and textile retail stores should now close. However, the guidance does state that people can travel to and from work, ‘but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home’.

    Textiles Scotland, as part of UKFT, continues to be in close dialogue with the government and will provide detailed information on issues relating to Covid-19 as and when it becomes available.


  • 20-Mar-2020 6:11 PM | Anonymous

    The Chancellor has announced a very significant package of financial support available to businesses to help limit the impact of the Covid-19 virus on employees.

    Full details will follow shortly, but the headlines are as follows:

    Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

    HMRC will provide grants to cover 80% of the costs of employees who are not working due to coronavirus shutdowns but who have not been laid off. The scheme will cover up to £2,500 per month for each eligible employee. The scheme will run for an initial 3 months, backdated to 1st March 2020.

    The application process is being established now and it is anticipated that the grants will start to be paid by the end of April at the latest.

    Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

    The interest-free element of these loans has been extended from 6 months to 12 months. These loans will be available from Monday 23rd March

    VAT Returns

    Chancellor has deferred the next quarter of VAT payments so no business will pay VAT until the end of June and businesses will have until the end of the financial year to make these payments.

    Self Employed

    The government has suspended the minimum income floor meaning that the self-employed will be able to access Universal Credit in full, at the same level as Statutory Sick Pay for employees.

    The government has also deferred the payment of the next self-assessment payment until January 2021.


  • 20-Mar-2020 2:25 PM | Anonymous

    People unable to work for more than seven days because of coronavirus (COVID-19) can obtain an isolation note through a new online service.

    Isolation notes will provide employees with evidence for their employers that they have been advised to self-isolate due to coronavirus, either because they have symptoms or they live with someone who has symptoms, and so cannot work.

    To get an online isolation note visit https://111.nhs.uk/isolation-note/

    After answering a few questions, an isolation note will be emailed to the user. If they don’t have an email address, they can have the note sent to a trusted family member or friend, or directly to their employer. The service can also be used to generate an isolation note on behalf of someone else.

    For the first seven days off work, employees can self-certify so they don’t need any evidence for their employer. After that, employers may ask for evidence of sickness absence. Where this is related to having symptoms of coronavirus or living with someone who has symptoms, the isolation note can be used to provide evidence of the advice to self-isolate.

    Isolation notes can be obtained without contacting a doctor.

    Government Stay at Home Guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection

    It is very important that individuals with symptoms that may be due to coronavirus and their household members stay at home. Staying at home will help control the spread of the virus to friends, the wider community, and particularly the most vulnerable.

    Full details can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

    Main Messages

    • If you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus illness (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started. (The ending isolation section below has more information)
    • If you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus, then you must stay at home for 7 days, but all other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. See the explanatory diagram
    • For anyone else in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14 day isolation period. The ending isolation section below has more information, and see the explanatory diagram
    • It is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community
    • If you can, move any vulnerable individuals (such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions) out of your home, to stay with friends or family for the duration of the home isolation period
    • If you cannot move vulnerable people out of your home, stay away from them as much as possible

    If you have coronavirus symptoms:

    • Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital
    • You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home
    • Testing for coronavirus is not needed if you’re staying at home
    • Plan ahead and ask others for help to ensure that you can successfully stay at home and consider what can be done for vulnerable people in the household
    • Ask your employer, friends and family to help you to get the things you need to stay at home
    • Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water, or use hand sanitiser
    • If you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, or your condition gets worse, or your symptoms do not get better after 7 days, then use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service. If you do not have internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999


  • 19-Mar-2020 3:01 PM | Anonymous

    HM Treasury and the Bank of England have announced that they will be launching a Covid Corporate Financing Facility (“CCFF”) on 23 March 2020 to provide additional help to firms to bridge through Covid-19 related disruption to their cash flows. The CCFF will be separate to the initial £330bn package of government guarantees.

    The new Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) will support companies which are fundamentally strong, but have been affected by a short-term funding squeeze. This will act as a vehicle to support corporates who would ordinarily seek market-based finance for their working capital, but find themselves unable to access financial markets in this uncertain operating environment. This facility will primarily provide bridging support to see through the temporary nature of Covid-19 related disruption. It will have the ability to offer unlimited financing to eligible companies over the coming year.

    The Bank of England will operate this facility on behalf of HM Treasury, and the Bank will put in place the facility as soon as possible. The Government will indemnify the Bank’s operations under this facility. Full details are available here


  • 19-Mar-2020 1:04 PM | Anonymous

    The Government has now published details on how the business rate relief scheme will work.

    For 2020/21 only, certain businesses will receive a 100% discount on business rates. Each local authority will adopt and publish its own scheme and then central Government will reimburse local government.

    Which properties will benefit from the relief?

    For the fashion and textile sector properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied premises that are wholly or mainly being used as shops.

    The Government consider shops to mean:
     i. Premises that are being used for the sale of goods to visiting members of the public: This includes the following examples
    − Shops
    − Charity shops
    − Furnishing shops
    − Dry cleaners 

    In addition, some companies may also qualify for the relief if their premises operate as a tourist attraction and if it operates a café/coffee shop.

    To qualify for the relief, the premises should be wholly or mainly being used for the above qualifying purposes. 


  • 18-Mar-2020 3:29 PM | Anonymous


    The Fashion & Textile Children’s Trust (FTCT) can support families within the UK fashion and textile industry, particularly in light of the Coronavirus.  FTCT offers grants towards the cost of essential items for children aged between 0-18 years, whose parent/carer works in the UK fashion and textile industry.

    At this time, FTCT are reaching out to both employees and employers at companies whose income has been or is likely to be affected by closures, short-hours or lay-offs as a result of Coronavirus.

    When FTCT can help

    If there are dependents aged 0-18 within the family and parents are experiencing financial difficulty due to loss of income, an FTCT grant could cover the cost of essential items such as clothing, school uniform and household essentials.

    While FTCT grants can’t help with the immediate issues such as replacing lost income or helping towards the cost of bills, they can be particularly helpful once the Coronavirus crisis begins to subside and the financial impact will really be felt.

    Parents are encouraged to find out more about FTCT grants and apply in advance for seasonal items such as school uniform or essential clothing, which will become essential in the summer months.

    Click here to find out more.

  • 18-Mar-2020 3:28 PM | Anonymous

    The Chancellor has announced a package of measures to provide support for businesses to try to ensure the impact of COVID-19 is minimised.
     
    A new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will enable businesses to apply for a loan of up to £5 million, with the government covering up to 80% of any losses with no fees. Businesses can access the first 6 months of that finance interest free, as government will cover the first 6 months of interest payments. The Loan Scheme should be available from the 23rd March. Read more here.
     
    For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of Statutory Sick Pay per employee will be refunded by the government in full. Details on how this scheme will work are due to be published shortly. We will send the information as soon as it becomes available.

    A new helpline has been launched to supply Scottish businesses with tailored advice on coronavirus. It will be open Monday to Friday from 08:30 to 17:30, based at Scottish Enterprise's call centre in Clydebank. Call handlers will answer questions from businesses related to Covid-19 as well as relaying the challenges faced by businesses to the Scottish government. The helpline number is 0300 303 0660. Read more here.

    Scottish Enterprise has produced Coronavirus guidance for businesses in Scotland here.

    A dedicated Government helpline has been set up to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities. Through this, businesses may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.
     
    There will be a £10,000 cash grant to the smallest businesses, delivered by local authorities. Small businesses that pay little or no business rates and are eligible for small business rate relief (SBBR) or rural rate relief will be contacted by their local authority - they do not need to apply. The funding will be provided to local authorities in early April. Guidance for local authorities on the scheme will be provided shortly.
     
    £25,000 grant will also be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.
     
    Finally, the government is introducing a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.
     
    Currently any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs should be directed to your relevant local authority. Guidance for local authorities on the business rates holiday will be published by 20 March.
     
    What support will be available from the private sector for companies managing the impact of coronavirus? 
     
    Some banks have begun to make dedicated funds available for firms experiencing coronavirus-related hardship. For example, NatWest bank have announced £5bn of Working Capital Support for business that will see disruption. Lloyds Banking Group has announced £2bn of arrangement fee free finance available to support small businesses and Barclays have highlighted their 12-month capital repayment holidays and its £14bn SME lending fund.

    Some insurers are not categorising coronavirus as an illness that is covered under business continuity insurance or business interruption insurance. It is strongly recommended that firms check with their insurers what their policies will cover.
     
    UKFT has already published guidance on the impact on tradeshows and advice on both employment law and general health and hygiene. We will provide further guidance and support for business managing coronavirus in the weeks and months ahead if its impact continues to increase.

  • 18-Mar-2020 3:20 PM | Anonymous

    Dear UK fashion and textile community,

    This is a very difficult time for our whole industry. As your trade association, UKFT is in close contact with the Government and other business organisations such as the CBI, and together we will to provide you with the most up to date, relevant help and advice.

    We very much want to hear how the Covid-19 situation is affecting you, your team and your business. We will take all of your issues and concerns to Government.
    The UKFT team are available to offer support and advice and to help you plan for the time when the current situation passes. We are also looking at how we continue to offer help and advice via webinars and other online channels.

    Some members have already contacted us to see how they can switch production to help the national interest. If you are able to help please do let us know as we are co-ordinating these responses to the Government.

    Below is an overview of the latest support available for businesses from both the Budget and from the Chancellor’s statement last night. We will update the details as and when the situation changes.

    The fashion and textile industry has always proved to be extremely resilient and now is the time for us all to work closely together to support and sustain each other. The power of our individual and collective actions, and the support and compassion we show to each other, will offer our businesses a unique advantage as we deal with this unprecedented situation.

    Stay well, stay in touch, and together we will face the uncertainties ahead,

    Nigel Lugg and Adam Mansell
    Chairman and CEO
    UKFT

    Click here to email us.

  • 16-Mar-2020 11:48 AM | Anonymous

    The Covid-19 virus is having an impact on many different aspects of business including how employers cope with sick pay. The following advice has been prepared for Textiles Scotland, part of UKFT, by the UKFT Employment Adviser.

    When an employee is sick or self-isolating because of Covid-19, Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is likely to apply and for businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of statutory sick pay per employee will be refunded by the Government in full.

    However, there may be a problem when employees in a completely different area, e.g. warehouse or even a different factory are consequently laid off simply because with another area shut down there is no work for them to do. In this case they would not need to self-isolate and could not claim SSP.

    The question of layoff then arises. Some companies will still follow National Agreements which may include the right to layoff, and payments made are either in accordance with the Employment Rights Act for the first five days in any 13 week period, or in accordance with the terms of the National Agreement, whichever is the higher.  However, the overwhelming majority of employment contracts are likely to only have a right to layoff in certain circumstances, such as the failure of supplies or power cuts.

    If there is no contractual right to layoff, then an employer doing so is liable to claims of constructive dismissal.  Whilst it is expected that most employees would be sensible and understanding about layoff in such circumstances, some employees may be looking for a reason to resign with some form of compensatory payment which would be likely, in the best circumstances, to be at least as much as a redundancy payment. For example, they could have requested redundancy or be in the middle of disciplinary or competence actions. Employers should be well aware of these risks.

    It should also be noted that employees who are laid off continuously for four weeks or whose earnings fall below 50% of average for 6 weeks out of 13 are entitled to claim an automatic redundancy payment.

    There is more information available on the ACAS website here.

    Textiles Scotland members with specific employment queries relating to the impact of Covid-19 or any other query related to employment law please email info@ukft.org


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