hit by Coronavirus could miss out on Bounce Back Loans
WE understand that only
8 banking groups have so far been authorised to handle
applications for the UK Government's Bounce Back Loan Scheme,
that is 100% backed by Government and not the Banks. Some
businesses are getting them with ease, but others are having
major problems, like with Barclays Bank, who have flagged some
of their account holders accounts with a unknown flag, that is
now blocking them from accessing the loans raising fears that
many small businesses could be locked out of the scheme. This
and the low number providers has lead to a call that both the UK
government and the British Business Bank must pull out all the
stops to ensure the scheme has sufficient capacity to meet
demand and fix problems quicker.
As many Small businesses have been scrambling to apply to the
new scheme, which offers loans worth up to ₤50,000 at an
interest rate of 2.5%. The 1st 12 months are payment and
interest free, many are asking why the UK Government did not
introduce this scheme 1st and then the bigger cash scheme later
or at the same time?
Mike Cherry, national chairman of the Federation of Small
Businesses, said:- "Unfortunately, we are hearing lots of
reports that bounce back applications are hard to access or
enquiries are simply being acknowledged with a 'we'll call you'
message and nothing further."
For customers of using the Barclays website, as a business
(Southport Reporter), we can confirm this is definitely
happening. Like some of our readers have reported, who are with
Barclays, we have also found that if you get in contact with
them, via the original phone number, that was provided on the
original error page, and you do what is required to:-
'fixed,' the problem, as reported to you on the call,
the page still blocks you from applying. Also, it is worth
adding that calls can often last over 3 to 4 hours, most on a
03457 or 0800 numbers, is time wasted. In our case we got asked
to verify our ID, we found the system still would not let us
apply, even though it was corrected. Back on the phone for even
more time wasted, only to be told, after a 3hr call that they
will:- "Call us back to fix it, sometime in the next 2 to
A Barclays spokesman has already said:- "We're sorry that
some customers are still having trouble applying for a Bounce
Back Loan on our website and may be receiving an error code. We
require additional information from some customers to complete
their application, and have updated the system to explain and
request a call back."
"Long hours wasted at banks and on phones, when you should be
sorting out your invoices and getting ready for customers, the
last thing you need is any time lost like this." A
Barclays client told us and we fully agree.
For those businesses affected, this is is not acceptable.
We would like to know if you have been affected by this problem.
Please email us to:-
and let us know. The more we are aware of how big the issue is,
the more we can wait we can use to push the Bank to get sorted.
More than 1
in 3 closed small firms fear they'll never reopen amid
widespread redundancy plans
A new study from the
UK's largest business group underscores the threat posed to
millions of livelihoods by a sudden retraction of support for
small firms in the weeks ahead.
FSB's fresh survey of 5,471 small business owners across the UK
finds that 44% of North West businesses (41% at UK level) have
been forced to close since the beginning of the Coronavirus
outbreak in the UK. Of those that have closed, 38% of NW
businesses (35% at UK level) are not sure whether they will ever
For those small businesses paying a mortgage or lease on their
premises, 34% of NW businesses (28% at UK level) have failed to
make, or faced severe difficulties in making, rent or mortgage
repayments as a result of the pandemic's economic impacts. 27%
of NW businesses (25% at UK level) have had to shelve product
development plans. Among NW exporters, one in four (21% at UK
level) say they have had to either reduce or cancel
In response to the strain being placed on them, 41% of NW small
employers (37% at UK level) are considering, or have already
74% of small employers across the NW (71% at UK level) have
furloughed staff to aid the survival of their business,
illustrating the extent to which the Job Retention Scheme has
protected the livelihoods of millions as economic activity has
As initial efforts are made to switch the economy back on, 70%
of these NW businesses (74% at UK level) say the ability to
partially furlough workers would benefit them. Of these, 47% of
NW businesses (50% at UK level) say they want to bring staff
back gradually, and 34% (31% at UK level) say it would keep
their business viable.
FSB North West Chairman, Chris Manka, said:- "The impact
of the Coronavirus pandemic has been felt right across the small
business community, with thousands of small firms all over the
UK fearing for their futures. The Government has stepped up with
a huge range of support for millions of small businesses and
sole traders, from income support schemes, to cash grants, to
help with accessing finance and business rates breaks.
Policymakers now need to realise that the economy will not go
from zero to a hundred overnight once we're into the recovery
phase. The crucial support that's on offer needs to be kept
under review, and adapted to reflect the new normal as we chart
a course back to economic recovery. Take the Job Retention
Scheme. A big chunk of small business owners who have saved jobs
by making use of it say that the ability to furlough staff on a
part time basis; allowing them to work according to client
demand and gradually come back into the workplace, whilst being
supported by the scheme the rest of the time; would not only be
helpful, it would save the firm. Part time furloughing is not a
nice to have, it's fundamental to saving jobs."
The new study also highlights those within the small business
and self employed community that have struggled to access
Government initiated support.
Among small firms that pay business rates, close to 1 in 7 (15%)
say their landlord charges them for rent and business rates in a
single recurring bill, meaning they risk missing out on cash
grants linked to the payment of rates.
The Government has now
launched a discretionary fund aimed at helping those faced with
this situation, though the vast majority (81%) do not know what
share of their single charge is accounted for by rates, making
it difficult for them to establish what, if anything, they might
8% business owners have applied for Universal Credit, with 29%
having their applications rejected. Even amongst those that have
had applications approved, less than 1 in 7 (13%) have received
their advanced payment.
Meanwhile, of those small business owners that say they are not
using the self employed Income Support Scheme, the majority
(68%) say this is because they are directors of limited
companies. FSB continues to make the case for support for those
excluded from existing grant schemes, including by calling for
increased access to improved local hardship funds.
Chris Manka added:- "The
support measures that we've secured are helping the vast
majority, but they're not helping absolutely everyone. We're
hearing from business owners who are falling through the cracks
and taking their stories straight to the top of Government.
Policymakers need to be in listening mode and prepared to help
the most vulnerable over the challenging months ahead. No one
should be left behind."
Applications for Self
Employment Income Support Scheme open early
THE Government's world
leading scheme to support the self employed has opened for
claims; weeks ahead of schedule. From 13 May 2020 self employed
individuals or members of partnerships whose business has been
adversely affected by Coronavirus will be able to apply for a
Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant worth 80%
of their average monthly trading profits. Millions are expected
to benefit from the scheme with the payments; to be paid in a
single instalment covering three months and capped at ₤7,500;
expected to land in bank accounts within 6 working days of each
claim. Everyone eligible for the SEISS, which is 1 of the most
generous support schemes announced by any Government in response
to Coronavirus, will be able to receive the Government grant by
25 May 2020, or within 6 days of a completed claim.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said:-
"We're working ahead of time to deliver support to the self
employed and from today, applications open for the millions of
people eligible for the scheme. With payments arriving before
the end of this month, self employed across the UK will have
money in their pockets to help them through these challenging
People will be able to make their claim on a specified date
between 13 May to 18 May 2020, based on their Unique Tax
Reference number. HMRC has assigned eligible self employed
individuals a specific date to apply on and this can be checked
on HMRC's online checker.
The SEISS is part of a comprehensive package of support for self
employed people, including Bounce Back loans, income tax
deferrals, rental support, increased levels of Universal Credit,
mortgage holidays and the various business support schemes the
Government has introduced to protect businesses during this
Derek Cribb, CEO of IPSE (the Association of Independent
Professionals and the self employed) said:- "For the self
employed, Coronavirus is not only a health crisis, but also a
pressing income crisis. It is therefore very welcome that the
Government has managed to get this new scheme in place ahead of
schedule, and that a section of the freelance community can now
get the help they need early. We are delighted that the
Government has heeded much of IPSE's advice by setting up the
Self Employment Income Support Scheme, which extends a
much-needed lifeline to those self employed people who are
eligible for it."
Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the Federation of Small
Businesses, said:- "The Self Employment income support
scheme represents a lifeline for the millions of self employed
people who are expected to qualify. I would encourage all those
who think they are eligible to use the online checker if they've
not done so yet, and to apply on the date allocated. We are
particularly pleased to see the scheme opening earlier than
scheduled, with a simple fast track application and a promise
for speedy payment. Getting the system designed and built ahead
of schedule is impressive. Just like the Job Retention Scheme
portal we hope it will cope with the high expected demand. I
would like to pay tribute to the staff of HMRC for the behind
the scenes work to get this scheme off the ground."
Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master
Builders said:- "The self employed account for 40% of the
construction workforce so the Government's decision to bring
forward the payment to the end May will be very welcome news for
the many independent trades people who operate in construction.
The Government's support package to date has been targeted at
businesses so the self employed will be welcoming this cash
boost at a time when they need it most."
response to COVID-19 strengthened by 450 frontline recruits
NORTH West Ambulance
Service (NWAS) has boosted its workforce to support the Region
throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing more than 450 new
workers to the frontline in recent weeks.
An additional 187 staff are in place to handle 999 calls across
the Greater Manchester, Liverpool and Preston emergency
operations centres, while 150 additional NHS 111 clinicians,
health and service advisors have joined the team at the
Liverpool and Greater Manchester contact centres.
Recruitment and training of new starters is continuing in NHS
111, with 142 staff expected to have joined the service by
August, ready to support members of the public with urgent
Temporary training centres were set up using empty spaces in
local Schools to help train the workers, which include:- Student
Paramedics, Apprentices, staff who have been redeployed from
other parts of the trust, and some agency workers.
NWAS has also increased the number of ambulances available by
converting 80 non-emergency patient transport vehicles and
adding the equipment needed to respond to emergencies.
To staff these additional vehicles, Student Paramedics and
apprentice emergency medical technicians have become fully
operational and 150 of NWAS' patient transport service (PTS)
employees have volunteered to receive additional training and
work alongside emergency service clinicians to provide a safe
and effective service.
Daren Mochrie, Chief Executive, said:- "Providing the
right care to the people of the North West is always our number
one priority and we knew from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic
we would need to be ready for an increase in demand on our
service. Expanding our workforce in this way has allowed us to
continue to help those who need us. It was not an easy task ;
increasing our workforce at this pace and scale has taken a real
team effort from across the organisation so thank you to all the
departments who have been involved; from IT to estates, our
education and training, HR, transformation and programme
management teams, as well as all the clinical and operational
staff who have welcomed new colleagues and supported them. It
takes courage to step up to a challenging new role at a time
like this and we really do appreciate the support and input from
all our new starters and volunteers. We have received so much
support from the public and all we ask is that everyone
continues to help us out by following Government advice and
doing your part to protect the NHS and save lives. We are here
for you if you need us; dial 999 if you have a life threatening
illness or injury, such as chest pain, symptoms of a stroke or
severe bleeding. If it's not an emergency, you can visit:- 111
Online for urgent care advice."
For more information about NWAS or for current vacancies,
"No awkward silences
please..." Take a moment to talk about organ donation
during:- 'Dying Matters Awareness Week'
ON the 20 May 2020 the
law around organ donation is changing in England, subject to
finalising the Parliamentary process, and we want to encourage
everyone to consider the options and register or share their
Under the new law, all adults in England will be considered as
having agreed to donate their own organs when they die unless
they record a decision not to donate, (known as 'opting
out'), or are in 1 of the excluded groups.
Those excluded will be people under 18, those who lack the
mental capacity to understand the new arrangements and take the
necessary action; people who have lived in England for less than
12 months or who are not living here voluntarily and those who
have nominated someone else to make the decision on their
It is important that people know they will still have a choice
whether or not to donate. Families will still be consulted, and
people's faith, beliefs and culture will continue to be
respected. Where the individual hasn't expressed a decision,
specialist nurses will support their families to make a
decision, based on what their loved ones would have wanted. If
the decision is not to donate, this will be honoured and upheld.
Very few people die in the circumstances where organ donation is
possible so every organ donor is precious. Organ donation will
not go ahead if a potential donor tests positive for Covid-19.
However, there are still life saving organ transplants taking
place at this time, bringing hope to seriously ill patients on
the Transplant Waiting List.
Anthony Clarkson, Director of Organ and Tissue Donation and
Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said:- "This
year during Dying Matters Awareness Week, we are asking everyone
to talk about organ donation. Not only is it important to
register your choice, but also to discuss your decision with
your family and friends. Even though the law around organ
donation is changing on the 20 May 2020, there is no deadline to
making your donation decision, you can register your choice at
any time. Your family will always be involved in discussions
about the possibility of donation, so it is vital you share your
choice with them, whether you are with them in person, or are
staying connected via a chat over the phone or on family Zoom or
The main theme for this year's Dying Matters Awareness Week (11
May to 17 May 2020) is:- 'Dying to be heard.' It encourages us
to also consider the other side of conversation; not just
talking but listening too. If you've already made your organ
donation decision, do you know the decision of those around you?
If organ donation becomes a possibility, relatives find it much
easier to support a loved one's decision if they already know
what they wanted.
If you haven't already, please make your choice now, register it
on the NHS Organ Donor Register and tell your family. For more
information and to register your decision, whether you decide to
opt in or opt out, visit:-
Total UK cases
COVID-19 cases - update for Liverpool City Region and
AS some people within
England who cannot work from home are returning to their
workplaces, as the Government begins easing some lockdown, a
reminder of the continuing pandemic comes as the latest UK
fatalities show a rise of 494 deaths, Currently that national
total number of COVID-19 recorded deaths stands at 33,186
people. The number of COVID-19 infections has risen by 3,242,
taking the total of laboratory confirmed infections to 229,705,
ac cording to the Department of Health. In England, we have been
told that there are now a total of 139,086 confirmed cases. In
the North West, the total of confirmed cases now stands at
22,853, both past and current. The number of laboratory
confirmed cases within the following Local Authorities, in and
around the Liverpool City Region are as follows:-
► Liverpool, 1,515 confirmed cases.
► Sefton, 874 confirmed cases.
► Wirral, 1,144 confirmed cases.
► St. Helens, 708 confirmed cases.
► Halton, 351 confirmed cases.
► Lancashire, 3,239 confirmed cases.
► Cheshire West and Chester, 943 confirmed cases.
► Cheshire East, 1,050 confirmed cases.
► Manchester, 1,362 confirmed cases.
► Stockport, 978 confirmed cases.
► Trafford, 696 confirmed cases.
► Wigan, 1,033 confirmed cases.
► Bolton, 913 confirmed cases.
► Rochdale, 674 confirmed cases.
► Bury, 651 confirmed cases.
► Tameside, 558 confirmed cases.
► Oldham, 960 confirmed cases.
► Blackburn with Darwen, 372 confirmed cases.
These stats are according to Public Health England as of
13/05/2020. Last updated 4.24pm GMT. UK total includes cases
detected through:- "Pillar 2" testing (tests carried out by
commercial partners) and therefore does not equate to the sum of
the 4 countries' counts, which only include:- "Pillar 1" (tests
carried out by NHS / PHE / Devolved Administration Labs)..
UK total includes cases detected through:- "Pillar 2" testing
(tests carried out by commercial partners) and therefore does
not equate to the sum of the 4 countries' counts, which only
include:- "Pillar 1" (tests carried out by NHS / PHE / Devolved
UK Government Coronavirus Press
Conference on 13 May 2020 Video