COVID-19

Grant Payments

Local authorities will all receive funds for the small business grants this week and they should be paid into bank accounts in the next 10 days. Under this scheme all premises which receive Small Business Rate Relief or who operate in the hospitality, retail or leisure sector with a ratable value of £15000 or less should automatically receive £10,000. Hospitality, retail or leisure businesses with a rateable value of between £15,000 to £50,999 should receive a £25,000 grant. Those with a rateable value above this are excluded and grants are restricted to one per premises.

Job Retention Update

In addition to paying 80% of the wages of furloughed staff (up to £2500), the Government has now said it will also cover their National Insurance and auto-enrolled pension contributions.

Free HR Advice

PAPA employment advisors Ellis Whittam have created an advice hub to help members deal with issues around employment law during the Coronavirus pandemic. This can be freely accessed here

Surgical Masks Advice – No Protection

Some food businesses have inquired about providing production staff with surgical masks. However, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says: “While a surgical mask may be effective in blocking splashes and large-particle droplets, a face mask, by design, does not filter or block very small particles in the air that may be transmitted by coughs, sneezes, or certain medical procedures. Surgical masks also do not provide complete protection from germs and other contaminants because of the loose fit between the surface of the face mask and your face.” There is advice on the Food Standards Agency website what to do to protect food production staff – see link

School Vouchers

The Government has said that schools can give pupils eligible for free school meals £15 supermarket vouchers each week instead of having to provide meals for them.

Welsh Government Launches New Fund

The Welsh Assembly has announced a new £500m fund to provide extra support to Welsh businesses and charities experiencing a sharp drop in trading as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The Economic Resilience Fund aims to plug the gaps in the support schemes already announced by the UK Government, including the Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, which will guarantee 80% of people’s wages and income. The new £500m Welsh fund will support firms of all sizes, including social enterprises, with a focus on those which have not already benefited from the coronavirus grants already announced by the Welsh Government. See https://gov.wales/coronavirus-covid-19-support-businesses

Mental Health

The Government has set out guidelines around how to help people struggling with mental health over the Coronavirus period. See: more details

Holiday Extensions

The Government has announced that employers and workers can carry up to 4 weeks of paid holiday into next year if they cannot take holiday due to Coronavirus. See link

Government Eases Insolvency Laws

The Insolvency Act is to be temporarily suspended to give confidence to directors to continue trading through the Coronavirus situation without the threat of personal liability, should the company ultimately fall into insolvency. Find out more here

Renting: guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities

New guidance has been issued giving advice to landlords and tenants on the provisions in the Coronavirus Act 2020, and further advice for landlords, tenants and local authorities more broadly about their rights and responsibilities during the COVID-19 outbreak. See more details here

Thank You for George Eustace MP

The Secretary of State for the Environment George Eustace MP has issued a letter of thanks to food businesses for their support through this pandemic. See more details

OTHER UPDATES

Scottish Bottle Return Scheme

The Scottish Government has introduced the legislated needed to start its bottle return scheme. The scheme, which is now due to start in July 2022. Full details of the scheme can be found at www.depositreturn.scot

Salt Targets

The PAPA has submitted its response to Public Health England’s proposed new salt targets. In it the Association questions the basis for an arbitrary 10% further reduction in salt levels and whether this is realistic given the difficulties in achieving the 2017 targets. You can find the Association’s full response here.

Jim Winship

Director

The Pizza Pasta & Italian Food Association

M: 07850 104034

E: jim@papa.org.uk