BCC says the suspension of tariffs is welcome news but more must be done to resolve the long-running dispute
For the latest information and advice, UK employers and business owners should visit the official guidance for employers and businesses. Businesses should check for daily updates and subscribe to receive email alerts to ensure they are acting on the most up to date information.
There may be some variations to the below measures announced among devolved nations. Further information on support for businesses in the devolved nations can be found:
If you have any queries please contact:
Restrictions are easing across the UK.
You should not travel to red or amber list countries or territories. Check what you need to do to travel internationally.
From 21 June, there’s a 4-week pause at Step 3 of the roadmap. After 2 weeks, the government will review the data to see if the risks have reduced. It’s expected that England will move to Step 4 on 19 July.
Step 3 restrictions remain in place - follow the guidance on what you can and cannot do.
The Delta COVID-19 variant is spreading in England. See where it’s spreading fastest and find out what you should do.
From 5 June, many areas are changing COVID-19 protection levels. Find out your area’s level in Scotland on GOV.SCOT.
From 7 June, you can choose 2 other households to meet indoors, becoming an extended household. Up to 30 people can meet outside, including in gardens and pubs. Read the rules for Wales on GOV.WALES.
You can now socialise indoors in a group of up to 6 people from no more than 2 households, including for overnight stays. Up to 15 people from no more than 3 households can meet in a private garden. Shops, hairdressers and visitor attractions can reopen as well as indoor areas of pubs and restaurants. Read the guidance on current restrictions on nidirect.
England remains in Step 3
The government has announced a 4-week pause at Step 3. Step 3 restrictions remain in place, and you should follow the guidance on this page, which explains what you can and cannot do.
It is expected that England will move to Step 4 on 19 July, though the data will be reviewed after 2 weeks in case the risks have reduced. The UK government will continue to monitor the data and the move to Step 4 will be confirmed one week in advance. However, some restrictions will change on 21 June.
From 21 June, there will be changes to the rules on:
Gatherings of over 30 people remain illegal; outdoor performances such as outdoor cinemas, and outdoor theatres can reopen. Indoors, the rule of 6 or 2 households will apply; indoor hospitality, entertainment venues such as cinemas and soft play areas, the rest of the accommodation sector, and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes will also reopen. International travel will be subject to review.
No legal limits on social contact, reopening the remaining closed settings like Nightclubs, and larger events, no legal limit on all live events (all subject to review).
The decision on each stage will be based on data not dates, and government will move cautiously to keep infection rates under control. The roadmap can be found in full here.
Free, regular, rapid coronavirus COVID-19 testing is available to everyone in England.
Coronavirus Business Support
A full range of business support measures are available to UK businesses and employees. This page helps businesses find out how to access support schemes, who is eligible and how to apply.
The UK government's Coronavirus business support hub brings together key information for business.
Working safely during Coronavirus
The government has updated the guidance for businesses on working safely during Coronavirus. In consultation with industry, this guidance has been produced to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible. There are 8 guides which cover a range of different types of work. Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles. You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep people safe.
Further guidance for employers and businesses including:
Further and Higher Education
Higher education restructuring regime
Advice for visa customers who need to apply for a passport
The Skills Toolkit
The Skills Toolkit is a free online learning platform to boost workplace skills during the Coronavirus outbreak and beyond.
Travel abroad: step by step
Safer Travel messages
As services get busier, it is more important than ever that the public follows Safer Travel guidance so they and others can travel safely.
People are being asked to minimise their travel. If they need to travel, they should follow the UK government’s guidance on how to travel safely:
‘Bounce back’ plan for agriculture, food and drink industry launched
Trade Credit Insurance backed by £10 billion guarantee
Force Majeure Certificates
These are certificates attesting the existence of force majeure circumstances i.e. circumstances beyond the control of the applicant such as fire, flood, industrial disputes, or in present circumstances, a pandemic. Please note that we can only certify factual details that can be evidenced. We cannot comment as to whether or not Force Majeure applies or argue such claims on behalf of the applicant. It is the responsibility of the applicant to claim Force Majeure and the issuing body’s role is to provide a certificate in support of such claim.
Delaying import duty payments as a result of Coronavirus
HMRC has released guidance on how to request an extension to the payment period for import duty/import VAT payments. Deferment is not automatic and requires immediate action.
Duty deferment account holders - Duty deferment account holders who are experiencing severe financial difficulty as a result of Coronavirus and who are unable to make payment of deferred customs duties and import VAT due on 15 April 2020 can contact HMRC for approval to enter into an extended period to make full or partial payment, without having their guarantee called upon or their deferment account suspended. The account holder should contact the Duty Deferment Office 03000 594243 or by email [email protected] or the Coronavirus helpline on 0800 024 1222. Account holders will be asked to provide an explanation of how Coronavirus has impacted their business finances and cash flow.
Duty Deferment account holders will be able to use their accounts during the extended payment period agreed unless they default on a subsequent payment in that period, in which case HMRC may consider suspending their account. The outstanding payment will not affect their duty deferment limit so they will not need to increase their guarantee to cover the outstanding payment. Where HMRC agree to an extended payment period, interest will not be charged on the outstanding payments provided they are paid in full by the agreed date.
Duty/import VAT payments not covered by a duty deferment account - Registered Importers who pay cash or an equivalent and are facing severe financial difficulties as a direct result of Coronavirus can contact HMRC to request an extension to the payment deadline at the time the payment is due. They will be asked to provide an explanation of how Coronavirus has impacted on their business finances. HMRC will consider this request and decide whether or not to agree an additional time to pay. The decision will be taken on a case-by-case basis and could be refused.
If the request is approved the conditions, including the length of time offered, will depend upon the importer’s individual circumstances and may require the holding of a guarantee for the period of the time extension. We cannot offer this facility to non-registered importers. For further information, please contact the Customs Debt Policy inbox.
Maintaining the flow of trade at the Border
In order to maintain the flow of trade at the border during the current COVID-19 outbreak, Border Control Posts (BCP) may temporarily accept scanned or electronic copies of health certification from competent authorities or operators in some specific scenarios/circumstances in relation to:
Any measures taken are only for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak. Please refer to gov.uk for wider COVID-19 guidance or speak directly to the relevant BCP for further clarification and if you have questions about a particular import.
Coronavirus: Export Controls and Licences
In this 1-hour webinar, representatives from the Institute of Export & International Trade’s Export Control Profession and the Department for International Trade’s Export Control Joint Unit cover:
New Director-General, Shevaun Haviland, says action is needed to boost UK trade, unlock the blockages in the skills training system and build a greener and more sustainable economy.
BCC says businesses will welcome the Agreement in Principle as a positive step forward but there is a long way to go before a free trade deal is signed.
Claire Walker, Co-Executive Director of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Businesses will be disappointed by this setback to the reopening in England. This delay to the removal of restrictions will come as a hammer blow to those firms who must remain closed, and to those who continue to see their ability to trade severely restricted.