The UKBCCI provided meals to NHS frontline staff at Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospital in London yesterday – 19th May 2020.
UKBCCI President Mr Bajloor Rashid MBE , along with Directors Mr Oli Khan, Mr Saiful Alam and Mr Siddiqur Rahman Joynal volunteered their time in delivering a selection of two hundred meals as a mark of gratitude.
The food was kindly donated by the sponsors of this initiative all based in Hertfordshire: Raj Garden in Bushey, Surma in Stevenage and the Prince of Bengal in Watford. The owners of these restaurants are all directors of the UKBCCI.
We hope you are keeping safe and well.
We are sure that many of you are following the news and are keeping up to date, but we just wanted to cover the pertinent points this week.
The government’s chief medical adviser Prof Chris Whitty has said in a recent government daily coronavirus briefing, that the UK will have to live with some disruptive social measures for the remainder of this year at least. Adding that the way forward will be a “highly effective vaccine” or drugs that will treat the disease. “So we have to accept that we are working with a disease that we are going to be with globally… for the foreseeable future”.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab spoke at that same briefing and said relaxing ’social distancing’ too soon would potentially risk a second spike of coronavirus cases. Saying that a second lockdown would “prolong the economic pain” across the UK.
So as things stand these safety measures will stay in place with a gradual relaxing allowing schools, some businesses and public transport to be reopened in the not too distant future.
The government’s economic package is really appreciated by the UKBCCI and we feel it is unprecedented . This government is supporting UK business. The job furlough scheme for businesses is now being rolled and the launch appears to be going smoothly. So far 140,000 UK companies have applied for this government aid.
The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, had said that the first million people being furloughed were at risk of losing their jobs without the government’s support. More businesses will be applying for the scheme in the coming days and weeks, but it’s reassuring to know that the scheme appears to be working. The measures were put in place to pay wages for threatened jobs due to staff not being able to work because of coronavirus. Under this programme, businesses can claim, through the coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (JRS), up to 80% of employees salaries from the state, up to a maximum of £2500 per month, plus any employer National Insurance and pension contributions. Loans, tax relief and cash grants are also available. Self-employed people will receive up to £2,500 per month in grants for at least 3 months.
Details of how to apply for the Job Retention Scheme are here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wages-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme
So, of those of us in the catering industry, we will have to brace ourselves for continued disruption to restaurants, cafes, bars etc. It is pleasing to see evidence though that restaurants offering takeaway for their customers are doing brisk business.
With Covid-19 comes an increased responsibility in hygiene safety measures. The government have information online that will greatly assist us and offer increased confidence to the buying public. Details are found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-food-businesses/guidance-for-food-businesses-on-coronavirus-covid-19
Our President, Bajloor Rashid MBE wanted to express his sincere thanks to the British High Commissioner in Bangladesh, along with British Airways and all Foreign Office staff members in London and Bangladesh for assisting in the first flight out of Bangladesh this week for British nationals. The UKBCCI and the whole of the British Bangladeshi community is grateful for the initiative that has been shown.
At the end of the day, business must go on and life must go on, but there will be definite changes to society as a result of this pandemic.
As a footnote to this message, there are some positives to be taken from the current way we are having to live. Families, as a whole in the UK, are benefitting from better interaction between family members as a result of the pandemic, the skies seem to be clearer and there seems to be a less frantic way we seem to be living our lives, the pace surely is better for our souls. We just need to find an effective vaccine and then we can return to a better form of normal, where we can work and play.
Take care and be safe.
On Monday 23rd March Boris Johnson addressed the nation. It was an extremely vital announcement.
At the UKBCCI we wholeheartedly support all the actions that our government are taking to stem the Covid 19 tide, and we urge everybody to follow and adhere to the Prime Minister’s set of life saving rules.
The government have recently announced that they will pay the wages of employees unable to work due to the coronavirus pandemic. The strategy is to help protect people’s jobs.
The plan is to pay 80% of salary for staff who are kept on by their employer, covering wages of up to £2,500 a month. The UKBCCI believe that the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, will shortly be offering help to the self-employed too.
For details of the broader business help that the government are offering, please see our previous message: https://www.ukbcci.org.uk/coronavirus-a-message-from-the-ukbcci-president/
So, please do all that you can to help our nation by following the isolation measures that are now in place.
We thank you and wish you well over this testing time.
Dear Members and Business Owners,
I wanted to take the opportunity to acknowledge your worries and concerns at this unprecedented time.
There is a fair degree of comfort that can be taken from the Government’s action plan in combatting the challenges our businesses will face due to Covid 19.
You are probably aware that the Chancellor spoke yesterday about the package of financial measures to buffer the impact of the virus on trade in the UK.
These include £330bn in loans, £20bn in other aid, a business rates holiday, and grants for retailers and pubs. Additionally help for the airline industry is also being considered.
I was relieved to hear that the government will go further if the package proves to need topping up.
The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak told a press conference yesterday it was an “economic emergency. Never in peacetime have we faced an economic fight like this one.” He was further quoted as saying “This is not a time for ideology and orthodoxy, this is a time to be bold, a time for courage. I want to reassure every British citizen this government will give you all the tools you need to get through this.
“That means any business who needs access to cash to pay their rent, their salaries, suppliers or purchase stock will be able to access a government-backed loan or credit on attractive terms.
“And if demand is greater than the initial £330bn [for loans] I’m making available today, I will go further and provide as much capacity as required. I said whatever it takes, and I meant it,” he said.
At the same media briefing, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “we must do whatever it takes to support the economy”. He added: “This a time to be bold, to have courage. We will support jobs, we will support incomes, we will support businesses…We will do whatever it takes.”
Personally, I welcome Rishi Sunak’s boldness and decisiveness and it shows a good start in his tenure as the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer. It is indeed a baptism of fire for him but the early signs are encouraging that through his actions and Boris Johnson’s government we will see our way through this huge challenge.
I have attached a government advice link here, which gives businesses essential guidance:
This guidance will assist employers and businesses in providing advice to their staff on:
- the novel coronavirus, COVID-19
- how to help prevent spread of COVID-19
- what to do if someone has symptoms of COVID-19 has been in business settings
- eligibility for sick pay
This guidance also provides details of support available to businesses including:
- statutory sick pay relief package for SMEs
- a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England
- small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
- grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
- the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support long-term viable businesses who may need to respond to cash-flow pressures by seeking additional finance
- the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme to help with tax
At the UKBCCI we will be playing our part in supporting our members and offering advice through this turbulent period.
I would just like to close by saying that the UKBCCI extend our prayers and best wishes to you all and that we will get through this…together.
Bajloor Rashid MBE