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Local Business wins UK Enterprise Award

Local business owner, Nicola Barrett of Prestige Intouch was awarded

Best Mobile Beauty Therapist (London): Nicola Barrett

by the prestigious 2020 UK Enterprise Awards proudly hosted by SME-News!

“Prestige Intouch, like all of our victors, has demonstrated excellence, commitment, dedication even in the face of uncertainty. For this, we humbly commend you!”

Redbridge Chamber of Commerce congratulates you!

Covid-19 Finance Planning

As lockdown measures begin to ease, business’ owners need to start planning now for the impact on their cash flow and reserves.

Whilst Government have provided short term fixes for business, the real pain is likely to be felt once lockdown has been lifted and we all return to work. There are six key dates over the next year that need to be considered and planned for very carefully.

1. 21st September 2020

For most businesses, the lockdown itself will not be the worst period for cash flow, instead it will be when things start up and running again. As the new working capital cycle begins, there will be certain commitments, and the reserves you would normally rely on have already been depleted.

If we assume that most businesses are going to get back to some sort of ‘normal’ in June or July, the peak effect of the working capital rebuild is probably going to hit in September. Therefore, the last week of September is a key date that businesses should start planning for now.

2. 1st October 2020 and 1st January 2021

Most companies have December or March year-ends, 1 October this year and 1 January next year are key dates as they are when Corporation Tax payments are due.   The crisis hadn’t kicked in back in December and was only just taking hold in March, so profits were probably higher at year end than now and the tax bill will be higher accordingly.

The lockdown may have depleted the cash generated in your last financial year meaning it is no longer there to pay the tax due. For December year-ends, who have just gone through the September working capital peak, cash could be particularly tight when Corporation Tax falls due.

3. 7th November 2020

For businesses with a March/June/September/December VAT stagger, 7th November is the due date for the VAT on the September quarter. The September quarter is likely to be the first quarter with a significant liability from returning to normal trading.

Bearing in mind that this payment is going to be following hot on the heels of the September working capital peak and potentially the October Corporation Tax payment, the VAT payment will need to be planned for.”

Whilst it may be possible to spread the payment with a Time To Pay arrangement with HMRC, or short-term borrowing, these tactics are potentially dangerous to enter into.

The VAT man is one not to get on the wrong side of and if there is one thing that will push businesses into insolvency more than any other, it’s getting behind on their VAT.

4. 31st January 2021

The end of January is the payment date for income tax. While this is a personal liability, not a company one, for many owner-managers, all income comes from the business, so there is usually a knock-on effect.

Since the government made it possible to defer the 31 July 2020 payment on account, the amount that will be due on 31 January 2021 will potentially be that much higher.

We should all set our 31 July 2020 payment to one side so we have it ready, but if you have reduced your drawings to protect the company, that may not have been possible, so you may need to draw money from the company to pay the tax due, causing more issues with cash flow.

Whilst you could potentially agree a Time To Pay arrangement with HMRC, you are only spreading the debt and causing more stress to on-going cash flow.

The January 2021 payment will be based on your income to 5 April 2020, which was again pre-crisis and may well be higher than your current income for the tax year 5 April 2021.

It may, therefore, be possible to reduce the payment on account that needs to be made on 31 January alongside the 2019/20 final payment.

Get your tax return done as soon as possible so that you know what the amount is. Remember any Grants received from Government are taxable as income, so allow for that in your calculations.

5. 31st March 2021

One of the first things the Chancellor announced was that VAT that was due during lockdown did not need to be paid until the 31st March 2021, so this is a significant date. Given the various stress on businesses’ cash flow that have already had a significant impact, this has the potential to be one of the most critical dates of the COVID-19 crisis.

It is essential to confront the realities of the situation now and as it’s more than nine months away, you have time to plan, put money aside or arrange facilities to fund it.   The worst thing you can do, as a business owner, is to put your head in the sand and ignore this potential issue that’s coming towards you.

Other dates to keep in mind are rent quarter days; traditionally in the UK, quarterly rent is payable in March, June, September and December.

If your business pays rent quarterly, then three of these quarter days closely coincide with the key dates we have identified at the end of September 2020, December 2020 and March 2021.

6. 1st May 2021

The final date to be aware of is the year anniversary of the CBILS (Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme) and BBLS (Bounce Back Loan Scheme). These started to be advanced in April and May 2020, mostly with twelve-month repayment holidays, so most repayments will start around 1st May 2021.

The CBILS loans are assessed for affordability, often assuming a return to 2019 trading levels by the time the loan payments commence while the BBLS loans were issued with no checks on affordability at all!

Due to the significant impact on the economy, it’s quite likely that 2019 sales levels will not return as quickly as hoped and that, combined with the aforementioned pressure on cash flow, many businesses could find themselves unable to repay their loan which could result in a second wave of business failures over the course of summer.

Those businesses that are prepared to confront the brutal facts of their current reality will be the ones that prevail in the long term.

The dates above are key; start thinking about how you might navigate through a series of ‘pinch points’ from a cash flow perspective and lay your plans now.

If at all possible, take advantage of the CBILS or BBLS loans now to cover your cashflow later, rather than deferring VAT and Tax payments and having to apply for loans when the business is in distress, which are unlikely to be granted at that point.

By planning now you will have longer to pay the debt back and more certainty in your financial planning, allowing you to concentrate on rebuilding the business and that vital cash flow.

The key to business resilience will be to address these challenges head-on and it all starts with planning now.

There is a Zoom meeting on Tuesday 26th May @ 11am where we can address any concerns or ideas that you have concerning the above – That invite has and will further be sent under separate cover.


Coronavirus update, VE Day 2020, COVID-19 testing, May bank holiday refuse collection & more

VE Day 2020

    Marking victory in a national crisis

We’re calling on everyone to join in this Friday 8 May, as we celebrate the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe following World War ll. We may not be able to get together for the special VE Day bank holiday, but there are many ways we can join in spirit to mark the occasion and celebrate our community in our own time of national crises.



Week of activities leading to VE Day in Redbridge

Redbridge’s culture teams have lots of activities and events throughout the week leading up to VE Day, so people can join in celebrations safely from home and learn about the war and its impact on Redbridge.

Look out for new films from Redbridge Museum and Redbridge Drama Centre that will showcase different aspects of the war in the borough. Our libraries will also be hosting a range of online craft and activities themed on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics), including songs, films and literature relating to World War II. 

► Read the full programme of events



Hunting out your bunting

The BBC is encouraging people across Britain to mark VE Day, express their pride in our country and to remember and honour the men and women of World War II, by asking people to get creative and make their own special ‘Great British Bunting’ to hang in their windows.

More on BBC Make a Difference

A moment of remembrance to honour lives lost

    At 11am on Friday 8 May, all communities are invited to pause for a two-minute silence outside their homes to honour the service and sacrifice of the Second World War II generation, and also take the opportunity to reflect on the devastating impact COVID-19 has had on so many lives across the world. 

This part of VE Day is a chance for people across all generations and communities to join in a national moment of reflection and remembrance. The circumstances today are different to those of 75 years ago, but the response of our communities remains the same: Be kind. Unite. We can, and we will, pull through this together.

Coronavirus testing

    Testing for coronavirus is being made available at mobile testing sites across London for those who are eligible. Testing is available by appointment only.


► Who can apply

Early May bank holiday rubbish collection dates

    Thank you to everyone for your support while our teams continue to collect rubbish.

May bank holiday service changes:

Normal collection date Revised collection date
Friday 8 May Monday 11 May
Monday 11 May Tuesday 12 May
Tuesday 12 May Wednesday 13 May
Wednesday 13 May Thursday 14 May
Thursday 14 May Friday 15 May
Friday 15 May Saturday 16 May

► More information about rubbish collections 

Keep an eye out for your vulnerable neighbour

    If you are concerned for the safety of a vulnerable adult who may have learning disabilities or mental health problems and could be being abused, please contact our First Contact Team on 020 8708 7333 from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm or email Adults Alert.

Report abuse of a vulnerable adult  

Don’t avoid hospital A&E in an emergency

    People are being urged not to avoid going to hospital because of coronavirus if they have a health emergency.

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BRHUT), which manages our local hospitals is concerned that people may be avoiding coming to emergency departments due to their concerns about coronavirus. Hospitals have been set up to manage both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients, and BRHUT is stressing that people should visit hospital in an emergency to avoid risking their long-term health. 

► Read more about hospital services

If teenage anger turns to violence

    Arguments are a natural part of family life, and if tensions are mounting indoors, anger and frustration can be common from teenagers. However, it is not acceptable for your teenager to use aggression, threats or become violent towards you or their brothers or sisters.

If you’re concerned for yourself or your family, or know somebody else who may be fearful of their child, contact Reach Out for help and support on 0800 145 6410 from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. 

► More on Reach Out

New virtual service for young people launches with Olympian and European boxing champion

    We’ve partnered with BoxUpCrime to launch a new virtual workout and telephone support service for children and young people aged from 8 to 17 years old

BoxUpCrime offer live weekly workouts and training videos via its Instagram account; as well as information and advice on how to prepare healthy meals, support with CV writing, and ideas on how to remain active and motivated at home. BoxUpCrime kick-started its live weekly workouts with European boxing champion, Lawrence Okolie, last Friday.

The team also offer daily telephone support and an advice hotline for children and young people in the borough who may be struggling at home during the lockdown. Children and young people can text, WhatsApp or call to chat with one of its qualified team members on 07903 101 748 (9am to 9pm).

► More on BoxUpCrime

Packed lunch service delivers for 1,700 children

    The council took early action to provide packed lunches to around 1,700 children who are entitled to free school meals, but who aren’t attending school due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Councillor Jas Athwal, Leader of Redbridge Council, said: “It is so important that young people eat a healthy and balanced diet, especially while they’re still growing. While schools are closed for the majority of local children, we want to make sure those relying on school meals aren’t missing out.”

► More on school meals for eligible children

Police say thanks, and keep going!

    The Metropolitan Police Service has taken to social media to thank people for supporting the national fight against COVID-19 and reinforce the importance of social distancing, and continuing to stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.

Its message is: “Keep going, it’s the only way we’ll defeat the disease and keep people safe.”

► Watch the #LondonTogether video

How has coronavirus affected you?

    Would you be interested in taking part in a study into the social and psychological effects of COVID-19?

The research by University College London will be used to understand the effects of the virus and social distancing measures on mental health and loneliness, and to inform Government advice and decisions.

The researchers are looking for adults who are happy to take part and spread the word. Participation involves answering a 10-minute online survey now and then answering a shorter follow-up survey once a week, whilst social isolation measures are in place.

► How to take part

Further advice and guidance

    Visit our coronavirus information hub for updates

► More about the virus: what you need to do

► NHS advice 

► Information on sick pay for those affected 

► COVID-19: stay at home guidance

► COVID-19: guidance for employees, employers and businesses

► COVID-19: guidance for health professionals

► Information about housing

► What you need to know about benefits




Stay up to date

We will be keeping residents up to date with latest information on COVID-19 by email.

Protecting businesses from COVID-19 scams

Malicious email attachments, false government grant phone calls and CEO impersonation scams are among a raft of scams undermining businesses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The increasing risk has led National Trading Standards to launch Businesses Against Scams – a free online training tool to protect businesses, employees and customers from costly scams.

With remote working and many businesses having to stop or diversify their trading practices, criminals are seizing the opportunity to target employees who are isolated from colleagues. Scams include criminals impersonating government officials or a senior member of the business in order to put pressure on employees to give out sensitive information or make payments.

Criminals will also try and gain access to businesses devices and networks, and everything stored on them. They can do this by:

  • Sending emails with malicious attachments;
  • Exploiting vulnerabilities in your operating systems if they are not up-to-date;
  • Trying to get you to click links or visit malicious websites.

Once they have access to your device and your data, they may try to steal your data or extract money from you by getting you to pay a ransom.

At a time when businesses are already facing challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, the proliferation of related scams are adding further strain on businesses. This includes scams directly targeting businesses – such as tax refund frauds – which can lead to significant financial losses for businesses.

Scams targeting customers also undermine businesses, as criminals often impersonate businesses to defraud their customer base, causing reputational damage and potential loss of business. The emotional and mental impact on employees and business owners who have fallen victim to a scam can also be devastating and long-lasting.

The increased risk for businesses has led National Trading Standards to encourage more businesses to join Businesses Against Scams. The initiative provides free tools for businesses to help upskill and train their workforce, through free online training modules that will help staff identify and prevent potential scams. Businesses can take the training and sign up at

Louise Baxter, Head of the National Trading Standards Scams Team, said:

“Criminals will use every opportunity they can to defraud innocent people. They will continue to exploit every angle of this national crisis and we want businesses to be prepared. We’ve launched Businesses Against Scams as a free tool for organisations to help them protect their business, their staff and their customers.”

Lord Toby Harris, Chair of National Trading Standards, said:

“COVID-19 has presented new opportunities for businesses to be exploited. Criminals are expert at impersonating people, businesses and the police. They spend hours researching a business for their scams, hoping an employee might let their guard down just for a moment. Business must be vigilant at all times. Never rush, act cautiously and always challenge.

“The Businesses Against Scams initiative empowers businesses and their employees to take a stand against scams by equipping them with the advice and knowledge on how to identify and prevent a scam.”

Four common scams targeting businesses include:

Government grant/tax refund scams – A business is contacted by phone, email or post by government imposters suggesting the business might qualify for a special COVID-19 government grant or a tax refund. Variations on the scheme involve contacts through text messages, social media posts and messages.

Businesses should be cautious about unexpected urgent communications offering financial assistance. Check that the information is genuine by using official government websites.

Invoice/mandate scams – A business may be contacted out of the blue by someone claiming to be from a regular supplier. They state that their bank account details have changed and will ask you to change the payment details.

Never rush a payment. Use contact details that you have used before to check that it is genuine.

CEO impersonation scams – A sophisticated scam that plays on the authority of company directors and senior managers. An employee receives a phone call or email from someone claiming to be a senior member of staff – they ask for an urgent payment to a new account and instil a sense of panic. Scammers may even hack a staff email account or use spoofing software to appear genuine.

Be cautious about unexpected urgent requests for payment and always check the request in person if possible.

Tech support scams – With more people working remotely and IT systems under pressure, criminals may impersonate well-known companies and offer to repair devices. Criminals are trying to gain computer access or get hold of passwords and login details. Once they have access, criminals can search the hard drive for valuable information.

Always be suspicious of cold callers. Genuine companies would never call out of the blue and ask for financial information.

If a business believes they have been the victim of a scam they must contact their bank immediately and report any suspicious activity to Action Fraud or by calling 0300 123 2040.

Businesses Against Scams is a new element of the successful Friends Against Scams initiative, run by National Trading Standards to provide free online training to protect and prevent people from becoming victims of scams

Special Panellist Announcement – COVID-19 Business Support Webinar – MP Sam Tarry

We are extremely proud to announce that MP Sam Tarry will be joining our expert panel on the 23rd of April 2020.

Sam Tarry is a British politician who has been the Member of Parliament for Ilford South since the 2019 general election.

Webinar Topics/Speakers

  • Deferring VAT and Self-Assessment payments (Speaker – Jamal Khan)
  • Self-employment Income Support Scheme (Speaker – Jamal Khan)
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank (Speaker – Jamal Khan)
  • A new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans (Speaker – Jamal Khan)
  • Tax planning (Speaker – Usama Awais)
  • Statutory Sick Pay relief package for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) (Speaker – Albert Peters)
  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Speaker – Albert Peters)
  • Business Assurance (MP Sam Tarry)
  • 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England (Speaker – Paul Nightingale)
  • small business grant funding of £10,000 for all businesses 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 (Speaker – Paul Nightingale)
  • Commercial rent protection Scheme (Speaker – Kevin Clarke)
  • Energy costs and bills (Speaker – Ryan Edwards)

Please register for a place now via our Eventbrite and Zoom links below (Both registrations are required)

Event & Registration (How to register and how the event will be held)

Event platform – Zoom webinar (Zoom is a web-based video conferencing tool with a local, desktop client and a mobile app that allows users to meet online, with or without video. Attendees will require access via a laptop, desktop, handheld pad or mobile phone device to attend)


Date – 23rd April 2020

Registration starts – 5.15pm

Presentation starts – 5.30pm

Q&A starts – 6.50pm

Event finishes – 7.30pm

Format – An hour of presentations from members of the panel, followed by an hour of Q&A from attendees


Registration platform – Eventbrite/Zoom

To register, you will need to acquire a free ticket from Eventbrite and also register for the meeting through Zoom meetings. The registration process can be completed by clicking on the links below in turn; 


Eventbrite Registration Link


Zoom Meeting Registration Link


Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to make contact at Please share the links above so that others may also benefit from the webinar and information shared.

COVID-19: Job Retention Scheme is live and more online meetings announced

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is now open for applications. Employers can now claim online for a grant for 80% of their furloughed employees’ salaries, up to a maximum of £2,500 per employee, per month, through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. This scheme will be open until the end of June 2020.

Before employers claim, they need to:

  • Read all the available guidance on GOV.UK before applying;
  • Gather all the information and the precise calculations they need before starting their application. If they have a payroll provider, they will be able to help them with this;
  • Employees can find out more in the calculation guidance where they can access a claim calculator. This will allow them to check their claim for most employees who are paid the same amount each pay period;
  • Access the simple, step-by-step guide on GOV.UK for additional help.

To receive payment by 30 April, employers will need to complete an application by 22 April.
The government expect to be very busy so are asking that employers only call if they can’t find what they need on GOV.UK or through their webchat service – this will leave lines open for those who need help most.

Video Relay Service (VRS)
The availability of Video Relay Service (VRS) into all DWP services is being extended. VRS enables British Sign Language (BSL) users to contact DWP via a BSL interpreter. The customer uses a video link accessed through their own computer, smartphone or tablet. The interpreter will then speak to a DWP agent relaying the conversation by phone. There is no need for anyone to be in the same location and the customer does not have to book the service in advance.

This means that the customer and DWP agent can have a telephone conversation in real time.

VRS is already available for BSL users who claim DWP disability benefits as well as Access to Work.

VRS will be exteded to customers claiming Universal Credit first, then in the coming months further extend VRS into all DWP services. See the press release here. 

The Employabiity Sector Resilience Survey
If you haven’t already done so, please set aside some time to complete the sector resilience survey – we have extended the deadline until Friday 24 April 2020, 12pm to allow more responses to build our solution based response. Please share the survey with your own supply chains and networks delivering employment support services. If you have any questions or experience any issues with this survey please email us at

GM reveals plans to secure skills and employment training during COVID-19 crisis – read more

ERSA Online for members
Save the dates below and register via the links. Please follow ERSA on Eventbrite to be the first to hear when registrations go live! Please note, if you have an overdue invoice and have not been in touch to discuss or your membership has lapsed you will not be invited to join the online meeting. 

28 April, 11am ERSA Online: Employer Engagement, Register in advance here 

7 May, 10.30am ERSA Online: Youth Employment, Register in advance here 

11 May, 11am ERSA Online: Employment Support GM, Register in advance here 

13 May, 11am ERSA Online: Disability and Health, Register in advance here

18 May, 2pm ERSA Online: Employment Support London, Register in advance here

20 May, 11am ERSA Online: Supply Chain, Register in advance here 

21 May, 11am ERSA Online: Communications and political Insights, Register in advance here

10 June, 11am ERSA Online: Older Workers, Register in advance here

ERSA Online is free to fully paid up ERSA members, £50 plus booking fee and VAT for everyone else. A link to join each online meeting will be sent to those registered in advance once membership has been verified, or payment received. Terms apply, please check before registering. 

The ERSA Employability Awards 2020 is open for entries until 30 April at 5pm. Full details and online entry can be found at


Stay in touch, stay safe

Postponement of new LEZ and DVS rules in London

Dear Customer,

The Mayor of London has asked Transport for London to delay the enforcement of new rules for London’s Low Emission Zone (LEZ) and Direct Vision Standards (DVS) for at least four months after their introduction this October.

Although the new rules under both schemes will still legally come into force on 26 October, no charges will be payable or enforced until the end of February 2021. The new date for the start of enforcement will be kept under review.

We realise that the coronavirus pandemic has impacted the road, freight and bus sectors in ways which could make compliance with the new standards more challenging.

Though companies have been preparing for the new rules for some time, with many vehicles already compliant, the pandemic has disrupted supply chains and has placed additional demands on the industry. Postponing enforcement will allow the freight industry to focus on its core operations during the pandemic. 

We remain committed to working together to tackle some of London’s biggest challenges, including road danger and air quality. Tightened emission standards for buses, coaches, lorries and specialist vehicles – in line with the tough requirements in place for the central London Ultra Low Emission Zone – will help clean up London’s air and save lives. 

Meanwhile, the DVS will reduce danger to vulnerable road users by introducing a safety permit system for HGVs, assigning vehicles a star rating based on how much the driver can see through their cab window. 

You can find full details of the LEZ scheme and DVS scheme on our website. 

Yours sincerely,

Customer Information Team

Transport for London

Covid-19 business support – City of London

city business library

Covid-19 business support

Based on current Government advice on Coronavirus/Covid-19, we regret to inform you that the City Business Library will be closed to the public until further notice. Although we are currently closed, we are doing our best to help you protect, research and grow your business in these unprecedented times.

What we are doing during the Covid-19 self isolation period:

City Business Library staff are currently all working from home, if you have any questions we will be happy to answer them via email.

Our members are still able to access the databases available to them via their chosen membership subscription.

We will soon be introducing free bitesize business start-up advice sessions, you can register for these on Eventbrite.

We are supporting our partners and speakers with their webinars which you can find on our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages.

Free information resources available for City Business Library members:
Our online databases including access to the Cobra (Complete Business Reference Adviser) database that has a factsheet ‘Coronavirus – Government Support for Business’ which contains advice on sources of information for businesses and employers.

Free websites focusing on funding support for business:

  • London Growth Hub offer useful links on their site to help London businesses through these times, including free 121 advice for businesses and employers
  • Federation of Small Business offer guidance and support advice, they also includes free webinars for anyone
  • GRANTfinder have produced information about government schemes to help with funding for UK business

Free websites focusing on the impact on industries/market sectors:

A free webinar hosted by IBISWorld on Covid-19, and is a detailed report on: The economic situation of the coronavirus in the UK; The key sectors affected; The long-term repercussions for the economy

Facts and figures on Covid-19/Coronavirus, updated regularly, by Statista. this will give not only the headline global data but the impact on individual industry sectors.

Marketline has produced an Executive Briefing (2MB) with an in-depth look at the impact on industry sectors worldwide. This file will be emailed to all CBL members, but can be emailed to anyone on request, please email the team. It was written 24 March 2020 but we will send any further updates.