Message to Members from Geoff Hill – COVID-19 UPDATE

“I hope that you are all well and managing to stay safe during these extraordinary times. None of us are unaffected by the spread of Coronavirus, Covid 19. We are being asked to make considerable sacrifices in our personal freedoms, our work lives and in our normal contacts with friends, family and colleagues. It is up to us to do what we can to help to stem this awful illness, by staying at home, keeping away from other people who are not members of our household, keeping off public transport and washing our hands frequently, especially when we come into our homes from outside. I expect that you know all this, but it cannot hurt to reiterate and reinforce these messages.

I am sure that you are also aware of a great many spurious posts on social media and the internet that claim to offer extra advice, like drinking hot drinks to kill the virus, etc. Please try not to be taken in by these nuggets of self help, they are fools gold; they invariably claim to be from a reputable source. They are not; the best advice is on the NHS website or other govt. websites. 

While we are all hoping that this epidemic will end soon in the meantime we might be able to spread a little help among Chamber members by reaching out to our colleagues, so if any of you are able to offer business help and advice especially free or heavily discounted or other services that may be delivered virtually, via the internet, please email me on and I will seek to get your offers placed on the Chamber website. Please do look at the website, as there are often new posts of local and regional interest to read.

For those of you who are likely to want to seek the Govt. financial support that has been promised: loans, grants or larger capital sums, for small and large businesses, the following link might start you on the path to obtaining this support. From London Councils:

Herewith some links that we hope will prove useful:

Grants for small businesses

Support for businesses through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.

To access the scheme you will need to;

  • designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change – changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation
  • submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC will set out further details on the information required)

HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.

If your business needs short term cash flow support, you may be eligible for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan

Furloughed workers template letter to employees
Download a template letter here

 More news will follow as it becomes available to the Chamber.

 Your first port of call for local advice/support will be the local council hub

London Borough of Redbridge Website:

I hope that this is of some help. May I wish you all the best and Keep Safe”


Geoff Hill