What a week that was - Chamber COVID-19 update

Dear member,

thank you for your ongoing support of the Chamber of Commerce.

We are living and operating in quite exceptional times and firstly we hope that you and your teams are in good health and coping as well as possible.

Across the UK, the network of Chambers is at the front line of providing support to businesses struggling to survive, adapt, and to make the best decisions for themselves and their people, under extraordinary circumstances.

This has been one of the fastest moving weeks in policy terms the country has possibly ever seen. The Chamber team is working hard to get the answers businesses - as well as sole traders and the self-employed - need around access to financing and the range of government support schemes available to them.

Right now, we’re focused on ensuring the banks get cash to where it’s needed fast to support to firms and people on the ground; on assessing the guidance released last night on the jobs retention scheme against the questions you have put to us as members; on asking Government at all levels to ensure guidance and messaging is clear and consistent and on supporting our regional connectivity by lobbying for very necessary support for our airport and regional airlines.

You'll find the answer to many of your specific queries on our Covid-19 hub. This is updated daily and includes the latest UK and Scottish Government announcements, Chamber guidance and clarity on the most frequently asked questions among business owners.

If there’s anything else you think we should know or would like our help with please contact us at policy@agcc.co.uk. The Chamber is having regular discussions with local, Scottish and UK Government both directly and through our colleagues at the British Chambers of Commerce and will make sure your voice is heard.

It's vital now that we work together as the business community of North-east Scotland to ensure we get through this period and are positioned to breathe new life back into our economy as we come out the other side. The Chamber is at the heart of this.

Now more than ever we also need to #supportlocal. Are you a North-east business looking for support? Or can your products and services help others out? We can help you connect.

We've all seen great examples of how a community can come together to get through a crisis. The Chamber has created a new platform on LinkedIn, the Chamber Help Hub, to provide the forum for you to let others know where you need help, or to shout about the assistance your business can provide - and get connected. Link in with us now and start posting.

The week in (quite a big) nutshell:

Progress on rates relief:

Regulations for the 100% rates relief for heavily impacted sectors have now been published. The final regulations highlight that alongside hospitality, retail, tourism, and leisure, rates relief will also be provided for the aviation industries, particularly airports and handling services. The release for this announcement is available here:


Applications are also now open for the £10,000 and £25,000 grants for eligible businesses, and can be found here: https://www.mygov.scot/non-domestic-rates-coronavirus/

Further guidance on the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme (CJRS):

Guidance was published by the UK Government on eligibility and criteria related to the CJRS on March 26. You can see guidance for employers on eligibility and aspects of the scheme here:


Guidance for individual employees is available here:


No personal guarantees for CBILS loans under £250K:

The British Business Bank has announced that the ‘Big Four’ banks will not request personal guarantees for loans under £250K obtained via the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. You can see this announcement and details of how to apply via the scheme here:


Additional guidance for UK business on VAT deferral

The latest guidance from the UK Government is that VAT returns should be filed as usual; and that in order to ensure payments are not taken automatically, direct debits should be cancelled.

More information is available here: UK government guidance regarding VAT deferral.

Update on the off-payroll working rules reform

The off-payroll working rules reforms have been postponed until 2021. For more information visit: www.gov.uk/government/news/off-payroll-working-rules-reforms-postponed-until-2021

Business and social distancing advice update:

You will find the latest guidance from the Scottish Government here on business and social distancing. The latter part of the document highlights businesses which must close during the outbreak, and the former part provides guidance to firms

Request for help supplying ventilators:

The government is looking for businesses to support in the production and supply of ventilators and ventilator components. For more information visit: www.gov.uk/government/news/production-and-supply-of-ventilators-and-ventilator-components

Support for the third-sector:

Third sector organisations can apply for the Third Sector Resilience Fund which is now open for applications. Further guidance on applications and eligibility is available here:


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