Latest: Guidance for ‘critical services workers’

What to do if you or someone you employ is required to self-isolate. This includes being contacted by NHS Test and Trace, self-isolation rules and financial support.

Read more here. 

CLBILS Scheme Goes Live & New Future Fund Announced

The British Business Bank has provided NEPIC with an update on the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Schemes and Fund, designed to support UK businesses that are losing revenue and seeing their cashflow disrupted as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

For full details, click here.

Event postponement

In exercising our duty of care to members and staff, and following subsequent Government recommendations issued yesterday evening, we have taken the decision to postpone all NEPIC events until further notice. It is our plan to reschedule major events, including the Digitalisation and Meet the Members Conferences, for the autumn and will issue new dates once we feel it is appropriate to do so. For members that have existing bookings with us, please rest assured that refunds and booking transfers are available. A member of the team will be in touch soon.

Ongoing support

As a business we are committed to providing a service that enables our community to communicate, network and do business. During these unprecedented times, your NEPIC team will work tirelessly to deliver our promise to you. We are currently exploring alternative online event solutions, along with additional communication forums and guidance specifically relating to COVID-19 issues. Further updates will be issued over the coming days and weeks by email, social media and dedicated webpage –

Covid-19 Discussion Forum in LinkedIn

To further support our members during these extremely challenging times, and help us to understand your needs and concerns as they arise, we have created a dedicated NEPIC Covid-19 Discussion Forum via LinkedIn.

Please join us and use this forum to discuss issues surrounding Covid-19 and how it is impacting your business – putting forward questions, concerns, ideas and collaboration opportunities to the team and network. To join, please click here.

Stay connected

We urge members to stay connected with each other. Members’ Hub offers a fantastic, unlimited service that will allow you to share news, opportunities and best practice with the network. To get involved, simply log-in and post your latest news and updates. Then, leave the rest to us! As well as your posts featuring on our news page, we’ll also include within our e-bulletin and share across our social platforms.

Government guidance for employees, employers and businesses

This guidance will assist employers and businesses in providing advice to their staff on:

  • the novel coronavirus, COVID-19
  • how to help prevent spread of all respiratory infections including COVID-19
  • what to do if someone suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 has been in business settings
  • what advice to give to individuals who have travelled to specific areas
  • actions to take if staff come into contact with someone who is a possible or confirmed case of COVID-19

Here to help

Please let us know if there is anything more we can do to support your business during this challenging time. Equally, if you have any advice or best practice that you would like to share with the network, please send this through to

Keep in touch

Please keep in touch with your NEPIC team. We will undoubtedly transition to home working over the coming days, however, where possible fully intend to adopt a business as usual approach. Our team members are available via email, mobile and Skype. Visit our team page for full details.

Guidance to employers and businesses about COVID-19

The UK Government has produced guidance for employers about the signs and symptoms and how to treat staff presenting with symptoms. As well as information on the support available. Click here to find out more here.

Business Rate Measures

Government has announced the intention to increase the Business Rates retail discount in England to 100% for the 2020 to 2021 tax year for properties below £51,000 rateable value.

Government will introduce a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

Businesses that are eligible for the increased retail discount will receive a new bill from the Council as soon as possible. As this relief will mean that eligible businesses have no business rates to pay in 2020/21 the direct debit payments previously notified for 2020/21 will not be collected.

Small Business Grant Funding

Government is providing funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR). This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 (increased from the £3,000 announced in the 11 March Budget) to businesses currently eligible for SBRR or Rural Rate Relief, to help meet their ongoing business costs.

Government is also providing £25,000 grants to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000.

The Council is awaiting further detailed information from the Government with regard to these one off grants for small businesses and will make further information available as soon as possible.

Larger businesses – Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
A new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will enable businesses with a turnover of no more than £41m to apply for a loan.

The value of this loan was increased by the Chancellor on 17 March from £1.2m to £5m. Government will ensure businesses can access the first 6 months of that finance interest free, as Government will cover the first 6 months of interest payments.

For further information please click here.

Other measures from UK Government

Statutory Sick Pay – For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of statutory sick pay per employee will be refunded by the UK Government in full. This will provide 2 million businesses with up to £2bn to cover the costs of large-scale sick leave.

Time to Pay – A dedicated helpline has been set up to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress caused by COVID-19 and with outstanding tax liabilities to receive support with their tax affairs. Through this businesses may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement tel 0800 0159 559.

Support for UK exporters – Other support for export, supply and UK Export Finance impacted by COVID-19 can be found by clicking here.

North East Growth Hub COVID-19 Toolkit To keep up to date with the latest updates and guidance visit the North East Growth Hub COVID-19 Toolkit – please click here for more information

Request for UK Industry support The UK Government has issued a call to action to companies who have the capabilities to repurpose their staff and facilities to making ventilators to assist in treating patients affected COVID-19. If your business is able to support this request – please either call 0300 456 3565 or email

Further background to the request can be found by clicking here.

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