UK Government Trade Credit Support Scheme

On 4th June 2020 the details of the Government Trade Credit Support Scheme were announced. The Government will support UK private sector B2B trade credit insurers with a £10 billion guarantee from 1st April 2020 until 31st December 2020.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) along with a number of trade credit insurers negotiated the scheme with the Government over the past two months. The Government will act as a reinsurer to the trade credit insurance industry, meaning it will share the losses from insolvencies with the insurers. Insurers will take 10% of the claims from insolvency and the Government will take 90% of the premium and claims.

The aim is to allow credit insurers to maintain credit coverage where supply chains have been impacted by Covid-19 and reduce the impact of unaffordable premium rate increases. This will help ensure credit insurance remains readily available to support business recovery as lockdown restrictions are eased.

Milo Bogaerts, Chief Executive of Euler Hermes UK and Ireland, said:
“Through this landmark agreement the public and private sectors are joining forces to support ‘UK plc’ by maintaining liquidity and confidence in the intercompany trade credit market. This will help our customers through this difficult period, help them to remain competitive, and allow them to take every opportunity to restart trading with confidence as the UK economy emerges from lockdown.”
Euler Hermes

Alun Sweeney, Regional Director UK & Ireland of Atradius, said:
“We have recognised from the very beginning of the Covid-19 crisis that the consequences for trade would be significant and we very much welcome this positive and supportive response from the Government. As an industry, we remain aligned in regard to the need for this kind of action and together with our colleagues at the Association of British Insurers we have been committed to make it a reality. The Scheme is an essential measure to help boost our economic recovery, help protect the supply chain, safeguard jobs, and increase business confidence and will make a real difference to the thousands of businesses who rely on the security that trade credit insurance cover provides.”
Attradius: 023 – Govt scheme launch June 2020

Coface has welcomed the announcement saying that:
“A key component of the scheme is to maintain (subject to normal underwriting practices) credit limits on buyers that are temporarily affected by the Covid-19 crisis and whose solvency would otherwise not be questioned. Maintaining cover as far as possible between suppliers and their clients will be a key ingredient in allowing the UK economy to overcome the challenges of the current crisis.”
Coface

At FinCred IS we understand that companies will be keen to learn how this announcement will affect their credit insurance cover. Hannah Lyon-Wall, Director of credit insurance broker FinCred IS can assist with any of these queries [email protected] Direct: 01732 749754 Mobile: 07825 178928

Please visit the links below for further information:

HM Government
ABI

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COVID-19: Resilience top tips from Ben

When there are changes, or anticipated changes, it can be unsettling. This can affect our mental health, physical health and sense of wellbeing. Building resilience is essential to help us not only cope with change but bounce back quicker.

The good news is that we can develop our resilience skills (bouncebackability). Here are some tips to help you build up your resilience:

Look after your physical health
Make healthy lifestyle changes – introduce a walk into your daily routine, taking up running or take part in virtual exercise classes at home.
Looking after your physical health and also improve your mental health.

Have good quality relationships and social support
Think quality over quantity, focusing on building real connections with a couple of people you really value. Knowing that you have support there when you need it is not only a comfort, but you can also draw upon that support when times are tough.

Knowing that you have support there when you need it is not only a comfort, but you can also draw upon that support when times are tough.

Set goals
Setting stretching, yet realistic, goals is a great way to keep yourself motivated. No matter what you’re looking to achieve, think about your goal and set bite-size targets so you can track your progress along the way.
This is a great way to build your confidence too.

Develop problem-solving skills
It is a great opportunity at the moment to develop your problem solving skills – start with something small and think about:

  • What is the problem/issue that you have?
  • What are the possible options to manage the problem/issue?
  • Who can you draw upon for support to help you with this?
  • Weigh up your options and decide what action you’re going to take
  • Practising problem-solving means you will have the skills and confidence to tackle new challenges as they come along.Take time to get to know yourself
    Spend some time getting to know yourself by thinking about:
  • What’s important to you?
  • What are you grateful for?
  • What are you good at? Then write a list of these.
  • What could you improve on?

At the moment, across the automotive industry, we are clearly facing challenging times. This is a great opportunity for us to build our personal resilience to help us through the future.

Taking the time to get to know yourself, your values and strengths will improve your confidence and assertiveness

For ideas on how to develop your skills in these areas and build your resilience, watch the video or read our tips.

If you’re struggling don’t forget that you chat with Ben online or call the helpline on 08081 311 333. Ben’s helpline team can also help you to access their digital support programmes to help you with resilience, stress, anxiety, depression, money worries and sleep.

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New Autotech Talks uploaded

In the latest in the series of Autotech Talks, Autotech Recruit’s CEO Gavin White has been speaking to Colin Gleghorn, director at Fourmative and also to Stephen Whitton, from SSW Automotive.

Recognised for delivering coaching and training to businesses within the automotive aftermarket, Colin Gleghorn provides his take on the impact the 6 months MOT extension will have on the market, and the need to closely follow guidelines.

There are around 3 million vehicles in the UK which should have been MOTed by now, so there will be a definite spike in testing as the lockdown continues to ease. However, while garages will still need to continue to meet specific MOT guidelines, they will also be under scrutiny from the HSE to deliver on the 5-point plan and face random spot checks to ensure compliance.

Imploring garages to follow the guidelines as; “if we don’t get it right it might take us longer to get back to normal,” Colin provides guidance to technicians and garage owners on how to ensure they implement the measures, adapt themselves and self-regulate.

With the prospect of a changing market and a decrease in consumer confidence as a result of Covid-19, Colin also encourages the aftermarket to adopt a smarter way of working and utilise contactless technology where possible.

In the other Autotech Talk Stephen Whitton, from SSW Automotive discusses how adaptability is now key within the automotive industry and argues that training shouldn’t be put on the back burner.

In a progressive industry that has a reputation for being reactive with regard to training, the need to ensure technicians are sufficiently skilled has never been more vital, particularly as sales of electric vehicles have been comparatively high over the last couple of months.

“The industry can’t afford to take their eye off the ball.” While admitting that traditional styles of training with groups of people will likely see a demise in the near future, there are many new, innovative online training tools available and Steve urges industry bosses to become more ‘learner-centred’ and employers of choice, renowned for developing great people.

Sharing tips and strategies to creating a lifelong culture of learning, Steve also raises issues around creating a pipeline of future talent, citing the IMI’s statement that the automotive industry is set to see the lowest number of school leavers since the war.

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The Garage Inspector: lighting upgrades offer a win-win for workshops and for customers

Since Andy Savva was announced by Lumileds as a brand ambassador for Philips Automotive Products, the “Garage Inspector” – as he is known throughout the UK’s automotive aftermarket businesses, has tackled a number of different subjects. As a highly successful former independent garage owner of more than 25 years, Andy now offers aftermarket businesses advice on best practise and better business.

In a series of films about Philips automotive lighting products, through its own dedicated Garage Inspector YouTube channel, Andy talks about why the need for lighting upgrades is growing – and the opportunities on offer because of this.

With an aging demographic among motorists in the UK, Andy goes into the science involved, from a road safety perspective, explaining the fact that as we get older the lenses in our eyes become darker and we need three times more light as a 50-year-old to see the same distance as a child of 12. Better bulbs that light up the road more effectively, therefore, are without question one of the best-value safety upgrades it is possible for the customer to make. When liaising with customers, technicians only need to ask a simple question to start the process: “Would you like more light when driving at night?”

The upselling of bulbs also benefits the workshop with a better profit margin on the bulbs sold. Additionally, there is the likelihood, if they are an OE quality product – like those carrying the Philips name – that they will offer less risk of a costly early failure, which would mean the workshop having to make good – an expensive option from both the opportunity cost and also in terms of good customer relations.

The Garage Inspector also reiterates the need for halogen bulbs to be sold in pairs – as mismatched pairs look odd and compromise performance. Furthermore, there is also the likelihood that if one fails the other is on its way out.

Andy, as ever, keeps it plain and simple: “Here’s to safer motoring for your customers and a more profitable business for you.”

The Philips automotive lighting range, developed by Lumileds, allows technicians to fulfil these criteria: Philips RacingVision, which is currently Auto Express Headlight Bulb of the Year, was the first halogen bulb with performance rated at up to 150% brighter light, compared to the standard industry bulb. It is available in H4 and H7.

Philips X-tremeVision G-force, meanwhile, offers up to 130% brighter light when up against the minimum legal standard, and its H4 version was recently hailed as the ‘best performer for high beam reach’ by What Car? Magazine and, in this latest G-force evolution, also offers an unrivalled blend of performance and durability. It is available in H1, H4, H7, H11 and HB4.

The Philips range offers a wide variety of lighting solutions for every type of automotive lighting application. Halogen, HID Xenon and LED lighting ranges are all available within the portfolio, so that whatever the lighting need, the range of Philips bulbs is going to have it covered from headlight through to signalling and interior lighting.

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How to handle negativity on social media – advice from Impression Communications

At some point in our lives, we will encounter negative comments either directly or indirectly on social media.

With social media use increasing, so too is online negativity and a new phenomenon called “social distancing shaming”. This is where businesses and individuals that are failing to comply with the rules are shamed for it online.

Below are some tips to deal with negative reviews and comments

Listen to the tone
Is there a wider problem? Will additional activities have to be undertaken for you to meet this problem? Your business might just improve as a result.

Respond as quickly and as positively as possible
You must respond to negative reviews as quickly as possible. And, do it calmly. It’s essential you demonstrate your determination to make things right.

Show empathy
Don’t fight the comment as that’s feeding it. The person who wrote it is clearly annoyed about something so put yourself on their side of the problem.

Take it offline
A common solution, but don’t do it too early. Offer the facility for them to speak to someone over the phone or through more private means like messenger.

Know what’s genuine
Unfortunately, there are times when there is nothing you can do to solve a problem or successfully handle a customer complaint online. If the customer is aggressive or uses foul language, that’s unacceptable and you may have to report the comments or block/hide it.

Remember! Your extensive, empathetic responses to negative reviews will be amplified a lot more than the original complaint and, as a result, it will significantly benefit your business.

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Public health border measures to come into force next week

The rules covering new measures to be imposed at the UK border from next week to protect against coronavirus were published on 3 June 2020.

The self-isolation measures being introduced from Monday are designed to prevent new cases being brought in from abroad and to prevent a second wave of the virus.

Key measures being introduced include:

  • all arrivals, bar a short list of exemptions, will be required to complete an online locator form to supply contact details, travel details and the address of where they will self-isolate for 14 days. Where international travellers are unable to safely self-isolate in their own accommodation the government will support them finding appropriate accommodation at their own expense
  • passengers arriving in the UK will be required to self-isolate for 14 days and could be contacted regularly throughout this period to ensure compliance. Public Health England will contact people at random to ensure they understand the requirements and are self-isolating. Removal from the country would be considered as a last resort for foreign nationals who refuse to comply with these public health measures
  • anyone failing to comply with the mandatory conditions may face enforcement action. A breach of self-isolation would be punishable with a £1,000 fixed penalty notice in England or potential prosecution and unlimited fine
  • the level of fine could increase if the risk of infection from abroad increases. The devolved administrations will set out their own enforcement approaches
  • Border Force will undertake checks at the border and may refuse entry to any non-resident foreign nationals who refuses to comply with these regulations and isn’t resident in the UK. Failure to complete the form is also punishable by a £100 fixed penalty notice.

The rules do not apply those travelling from within the common travel area (CTA) in Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, unless they have arrived in the CTA from overseas within the last 14 days, in which case they will have to provide locator details and self-isolate on arrival here. This will help make sure that those who could have come into contact with the virus overseas cannot bypass the self-isolation measures.

Those who have arrived in the CTA longer than 14 days ago will not have to provide locator details or self-isolate if they travel to the UK.

The new measures will be in place across the United Kingdom from 8 June, although enforcement measures will be set individually by the Devolved Administrations. The measures will be subject to review, to ensure they are in line with the latest scientific evidence and remain effective and necessary. The first review will take place by 29 June.

The government is continuing to look at other options to increase travel when it is deemed safe to do so. These include arrangements, known as “air bridges” or international travel corridors, which would remove self-isolation measures and safely open up routes to and from countries with low transmission rates.

Agreement would need to be made with individual countries before these measures take effect and the UK would seek assurances that any safe corridors met the needs of both countries.

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Aspect CPM launch their BACK TO WORK COVID-19 business support initiative

Suppliers to the industry for 25 years in merchandising and promotional support, Aspect CPM have taken steps to help support businesses with their BACK TO WORK information initiative, which has all the necessary products to ensure companies are complying with the COVID-19 government recommendations.

With a vast range of PPE range of products at excellent prices, Aspect update their inventory list on a regular basis. “Prices are changing all the time, ”says Steve Anderson, Aspects Commercial Director, “we want to ensure that our customers receive the best availability at the best possible price. Regularly updating our BACK TO WORK website offers the customers the best deals around at the current time.

“Supported by our fast and efficient next day delivery service we’re helping get businesses back up and running.”

Aspect are new to the IAAF but not the industry and as an opening offer to the members they have bottles of hand sanitiser at a great prices.

To place an order today and for many other great PPE offers visit www.aspectcpmhealthcare.co.uk and for a wider variety of Clothing, Print and Merchandise www.aspectcpm.co.uk

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Additive values at the garage reception desk

Garages and mechanics are anticipating a return to service, repair and MOT preparation scheduling as lockdown restrictions across the UK begin to ease. Controlling emissions, restoring lost engine power and general engine lubrication tasks will be high on the list of maintenance issues to be addressed, according to Lucas Oil.

“Additive technology will be a first call for solutions by many mechanics,” says Dan Morgan, Sales and Operations Director at Lucas Oil Products. “Additives have proven track records when it comes to low cost maintenance regimes but the profit margins to be earned from sales of additives that can extend oil lifetimes, improve MPG and reduce emissions are truly worth exploiting in a time of economic crisis,” he adds.

When it comes to diesel engines, NOX emissions, a decline in fuel efficiency levels and the treatment of Diesel Particulate Filters can all be treated with the help of a single specialist product like Diesel Deep Clean, from Lucas Oil.

Petrol-driven vehicles of any age can get low cost protection from the inside with the help of additives such as Upper Cylinder Lubricant, which can remove tar and other deposits from injectors while improving fuel efficiency and restoring power.

Lucas Oil says there is money to be made and customer satisfaction levels to be raised by selling problem solving additives that address smoking engine problems or treat hard spots in steering columns. Fully synthetic motor oils with integrated additive packages that are successful in reducing the running temperatures of cooling systems are also key product ranges under the Lucas Oil brand.

“Menu service pricing is likely to become a very competitive area over the coming months. This is where additives score highly thanks to results that are often immediate with long term benefits for the motorist,” adds Dan Morgan.

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Finding the Right Battery: The Industry Leading VARTA® Application Database Now Covers 99.6% of All Car Models in Europe

The European car fleet comprises more than 40,000 different models, which means that not even workshop experts are able to identify the right battery for every single one of them. This is where the VARTA Partner Portal comes in and provides assistance with finding the right fit. VARTA has now updated its reference application database with an additional 7,176 vehicle models from 165 brands, representing 19.8 million additional vehicles on Europe´s roads. The database now covers 94% of the models in the European market and no fewer than 99.6% or 381 million of the registered vehicles. Customers and workshops can now search for 38,000 car models and their batteries, on the industry leading VARTA Partner Portal (www.varta-automotive.com/en-gb/business-portal).

The VARTA Partner Portal offers four modules to prepare workshops for new battery service situations, too. That includes the growing number of start-stop vehicles. Not only are vehicle electronics increasing in complexity as a result, but battery testing and replacement are also becoming more difficult. Battery service is now a complex task for workshop mechanics, who need up to 28 steps to change a battery. Consequently, service times for a battery change have increased significantly – in part, because they are often installed in locations that are difficult to access.

Four modules for all the key information
Free, unlimited access to the VARTA Partner Portal is quickly and easily available for every workshop employee with any internet-enabled device after a one-off registration. It provides workshop employees with various options to immediately obtain all the key information for replacing the battery:

The BATTERY SELECTION module provides the exact-fit battery recommendation and can find a specific battery by part number through the Battery Search Code. It suggests alternatives for an enhanced performance and covers nearly all start-stop car models.

With the BATTERY POSITION module, workshop employees can find the battery right away. The Partner Portal shows a detailed image where the battery is located in the selected vehicle. Details, for example the fastest way to access the battery, can be called up with a click.

The step-by-step FITTING INSTRUCTIONS show the estimated service time and help to change a battery more efficient and accurately. They also make the battery fitting process easier for start-stop vehicles and indicate whether you have to connect to the battery management system.

The BATTERY KNOWLEDGE section is a repository of know-how. It explains, for instance, the changed role of the battery, the importance of using the right battery technology for start-stop vehicles and the special factors that have to be taken into account when testing batteries in start-stop vehicles.

To access the VARTA Partner Portal for FREE, please visit www.varta-automotive.com/en-gb/business-portal

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COVID-19: Furlough is changing

Lawgistics, the IAAF’s legal helpline provider has produced a summary of the changes that were recently announced to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the updated government guidance.

Closure to new entrants from 30 June. Only those employees who have been on furlough for a minimum period of 3 weeks before this date may be furloughed. This means that 10 June 2020 is the latest date to put on furlough a new employee who has not been furloughed before.

The HMRC has clarified on Twitter that the 3-week qualifying previous furlough period to be eligible for the Scheme past 30 June does not have to be ending on this date but could be at any time prior to this date. This would mean that an employee who was furloughed, for example, for 3 weeks starting 1 March only can still be put on furlough under the modified Scheme from July.

The number of employees an employer can claim for in any claim period from July onwards cannot exceed the maximum number the employer has claimed for under the current Scheme.

Flexible working. From 1 July employers can have the furloughed staff work part-time and claim wages for the balance of the hours not worked through the Scheme. Say, a salesman is employed full-time normally working 40 hours per week. From 1 July, if the rest of the furlough conditions are met, he can work two days a week 16 hours in total, which the employer will pay together with due contributions, and the wages for the balance of 24 hours can be claimed through the furlough.

The flexible furlough arrangement will have to be agreed with the employee and can be for any number of hours and any work pattern. The minimum period of flexible furlough will be one week.

Tapered support. From 1 July the amount of furlough grant will be gradually reduced:

  • July: the furlough grant remains at the current level;
  • August: Payments for employer NI and pension contributions will stop from this point onwards. Wages will remain paid at 80% up to £2,500 cap;
  • September: Wages will be paid at 70% up to £2,187.50. Employer will pay 10% of wages to make up 80% total up to £2,500 cap, and the NI and pension contributions;
  • October: Wages will be paid at 60% up to £1,875. Employer will pay 20% of wages to make up 80% total up to £2,500 cap, and the NI and pension contributions.

Because of the changes, claims for overlapping months will not be allowed. Claims under the current scheme must be made no later than 31 July.

On 20 May 2020, the Treasury issued its second Direction governing the Scheme. This Direction narrows the gap between the first Direction and the published guidance:

  • No requirement for a written agreement between the employer and the employee that the employee will not be doing any work for the duration of furlough;
  • The agreement to furlough only needs to be confirmed by the employer in writing. For the avoidance of doubt and to avoid employment law implications, we suggest that that the furlough agreement template which we previously published in our legal updates should still be used for claims under the current Scheme;
  • The second Direction confirms the Scheme in the present form runs till 30 June;
  • It clarifies that an employer and an employee on SSP can agree an end date for the period of incapacity so that the employee can be put on furlough;
  • The Direction also clarifies that if an employee’s unpaid leave started before 1 March, and the employer and employee agreed before 20 March to end it earlier than originally planned, the furlough period can start after the modified date;
  • The Direction confirms that the claims through the Scheme cannot include certain statutory payments, SMP is one of them.

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