Via the FSB News bulleting (25.03.20)

Hello, This is clearly a very difficult time for all of us as small business owners, and I want to reassure you that FSB is working day and night to get as much support for you as possible – talking to the UK government, devolved administrations and the banks among others. We have already managed to get some significant support, but there is much more to do, including for the self-employed specifically, and making sure that measures already announced are being implemented swiftly. I thought I would give you a rundown of where we are with some of the key issues and activity: Employees All small employers will be able to access financial support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary, for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off due to the crisis. This could be either because the work that person does is not viable any more, for the time of the crisis, or because the business cannot operate any more. The scheme is not yet live, as legislation will need to be amended, but when it is it will work as follows: The employer will need to designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and tell them of this change. The worker will then not be able to undertake any work. HMRC will require details through an online portal. HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers’ wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. We are continuing to seek clarity on some specific details of this scheme, including whether it would cover an employee who is partially furloughed (i.e. working fewer hours than normal). We understand this scheme will become operable in April, with payments backdated to March 1 if needed. Self-employed While financial help for employees is welcome, and in line with what FSB had been calling for, there is not a similar level of support for the self-employed who have so far been offered access to Universal Credit at £96 a week. We have been strongly making the case to the Government at the highest levels – including Number 10, the Treasury, BEIS and DWP – over the last few days that this is nowhere near enough, and that urgent and significant support is needed for this vital group. As a result, the Prime Minister pledged on Sunday that the government would be “standing behind” the self-employed – we’re now working hard to get that pledge turned into quick and concrete action. Overall, we are seeking to secure improved support for the self-employed and all small business owners. Business Rates Small Business Rates Relief for the smallest firms in England was something FSB was instrumental in achieving long before this current situation. Those businesses will now get a £10,000 government grant as part of coronavirus support measures already announced. This will be administered through local authorities, who should be contacting you if you are eligible in the coming days. Those in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England who usually pay rates will now have 100% relief for a year from April 1, as will nurseries after the government’s announcement to close childcare providers at the same time as schools. Small firms that operate as retail, hospitality or leisure businesses with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000 in England, will be eligible for a £25,000 grant, which will be administered through local authorities. A number of similar measures are in place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, although there are some differences in detail from nation to nation. There is a breakdown of that on our coronavirus advice page We are looking at what further rates reliefs could be given to sectors not yet included in supply chains, and some other reforms too. Loans A temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme has now come into effect, delivered by the British Business Bank, to support primarily small and medium sized businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts. We are now pushing the banks to make sure that this is passed on and the lenders get the money to the small businesses that need it without delay. Many small businesses may struggle to get in touch with their bank today, due to an unsurprising wave of interest – so our advice is to hold on if you can and contact them later in the week. Rents and mortgages The UK government has announced with banks that mortgage holidays will be available for three months – this counts for small businesses that own their properties, as well as private households, which will be useful for members on both counts. At the end of last week, it also announced protections for private households that rent, meaning that for three months they cannot be evicted. Yesterday we secured a win for small business renters too, with that three month protection extended to them. As we go forward we are asking all major landlords to small businesses to provide as generous support as possible. More information You can find more information and guidance on our website which we’re constantly updating. Your businesses are the backbone of the UK’s economy, and it is vital that you are helped and supported through this difficult period. FSB is working tirelessly to secure that help, support and information, and it is at times like this that all the FSB community really is here to support you and make sure your voice is heard. With best wishes,

We would like to thank Co-operatives UK for sharing the following information which will be updated on a regular basis.


THE Chief Executive of St Ann’s Hospice has been chosen by the Queen as the next High Sheriff of Greater Manchester.

The appointment of Eamonn O’Neal was formally announced by Buckingham Palace today and he will take up his ceremonial role next month.

The father-of-three, from Sale, has been a Deputy Lieutenant of Greater Manchester for six years.

He will be installed as High Sheriff at The Monastery, Manchester, on Friday, April 17, succeeding Mark Adlestone OBE DL whose term of office ends that day.

O’Neal, who will hold office for 12 months, has been CEO of the Greater Manchester hospice since 2016 following a successful career in television, radio and newspapers.

He said: “It’s a huge honour and quite humbling to be chosen as the High Sheriff of Manchester.  I’m grateful to have the chance to connect and engage with the charitable, voluntary, faith, ethnic, cultural and business communities across the county.”

The role Office of High Sheriff is the oldest secular title in British history and among the most ancient in the world, dating back more than 1,300 years.

At that time the Sheriff represented the monarch, collected taxes, raised armies and was the rule of law across the county.

O’Neal said: “I won’t be collecting taxes, or raising an army, but as High Sheriff I’ll be proud to represent the Queen as the ceremonial head of the judiciary in the county.”

“I also regard this Royal appointment as recognition of the great work done by St Ann’s Hospice in looking after the communities of Greater Manchester for many years. 

“St Ann’s is one of the oldest and largest hospices in the country and we’re about to celebrate our 50th anniversary. 

“I’ll be dedicating the High Sheriff appointment to our patients, staff, families and volunteers and the other charities I work with.”

O’Neal is also a trustee of The Dianne Oxberry Trust and The Diocese of Salford.   He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree by the University of Bolton in 2015 in recognition of his ‘outstanding contribution to the media and charity.’

Masterplan for Wythenshawe Hospital regeneration moves forward

Proposals for the long-term regeneration of Wythenshawe Hospital have been endorsed by Manchester City Council.  

Following the approval of a draft plan by the council’s Executive on Wednesday 11 March, a final version of the Strategic Regeneration Framework for the hospital and its surrounding campus will be developed for public consultation

The plans to transform the campus over the next 10 – 15 years are being drawn up by Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.  The vision is to create a sustainable ‘health village’, including health-related commercial and residential facilities alongside core hospital services, providing an accessible, welcoming hospital for patients and visitors, with an enhanced clinical environment within a greener campus.

Wythenshawe Hospital is well regarded for its clinical research into specialities including respiratory medicine and cardiology and the Trust has confirmed that it will become a ‘centre of excellence’ for heart and lung treatment and research. Masterplanning has also identified an opportunity for potential growth in commercial opportunities, which is created by the hospital’s reputation as a region-leading life sciences cluster.

The masterplan will aim to create a net zero-carbon campus, in line with the city’s aim to become zero-carbon by 2038, which is supported by the Trust.  

The Leader of Manchester City Council, Sir Richard Leese, said: “The plan to create a ‘health village’ at the Wythenshawe Hospital campus represents a real opportunity to strengthen the city’s existing science base and, critically, to significantly improve health and social facilities for Manchester, while also contributing to the city’s ambitious aims to become zero-carbon by 2038.

“As well as the key aim of enhancing the hospital for patients and visitors, there is real potential to build on its strengths in research and development to create new jobs and apprenticeships for the local community.”

Mandy Bailey, Chief Executive of Wythenshawe Hospital, part of Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust said: “The Wythenshawe Masterplan sets out an ambitious vision for the redesign of the whole Wythenshawe Hospital campus. Together we aim to build a diverse, innovative and technologically advanced health community, home to exceptional and sustainable healthcare facilities.

“By creating a globally competitive destination where commercial, research and medical industries can work together we will bring jobs, skills and the latest healthcare developments to the region for the benefit of our local community”

The report on the Wythenshawe Hospital Campus Strategic Regeneration Framework can be downloaded at

Half of young people in the UK feel like they do not belong to their local communities, a third feel lonely and half feel unready for work.

Our vision is #YoungPeopleCan and we change the lives of young people in Greater Manchester.

We deliver a range of development programmes and drop-in activities to help young people learn vital skills, develop positive wellbeing and build a network of supportive people.

Since we were founded in 2007, we have helped over 10,000 young people.

‘Greater Manchester Youth Network are excited to share the news of a new programme to support looked after children and care leavers in Manchester. 

Through the National Lottery’s ‘Reaching Communities’ fund we have secured funding for a three year programme. This began in January 2020 and we’re now accepting new referrals of young people who are currently in care, or have experience of being in care. We offer small group activities, 1:1 support, volunteering and social action opportunities and a chance to meet socially with other young people. 

All of our activities look to facilitate the personal development of young people. We do this through a variety of activities designed to build social skills, encourage heath and wellbeing, develop self-esteem and gain skills for the future. The activities are split by age with two core groups being 13-17 and 18-25. 

There are regular weekly group sessions, short term focus projects, days out, supported volunteering, and opportunities to work with our other groups around Greater Manchester. 

There is never any pressure to attend sessions, all our activities are drop in so young people can come to as many or as few as they choose. Travel expenses and refreshments are provided. 

To find out more about us check out the Greater Manchester Youth Network (GMYN) website

Follow us on twitter @GMYN or request a referral form directly from the Manchester programme co-coordinators 

Faye / and Katie

Disability Confident. Have you heard of it?     Disability Confident is encouraging employers to think differently about disability and take action to improve how they recruit, retain and develop disabled people and make the most of the talents disabled people can bring to their workplace.

Why you should become Disability Confident? Being Disability Confident could help you discover someone your business just can’t do without whilst drawing from the widest possible pool of talent. Being Disability Confident can help you lead the way in your business sector and beyond by positively changing attitudes, behavior’s and cultures. The scheme has 3 levels designed to support you at every step on your Disability Confident journey. You must complete each level before moving on to the next.

Marriott have fully embraced Disability Confident and are moving up the levels. They have provided this insight into how disability confident is now an integral part of their business.

When I ask a group of new associates “What is the first thing they think of when we talk about disabled guests”, more often than not I get the standard answer “wheel chair users”. How wrong can they be?

All associates starting at the Manchester Airport Marriott hotel receive a 2-day orientation to the company. Part of this training focuses on Disability awareness and how we can make a disabled guests stay memorable just like any other person. We cover many types of disabilities and teach associates how to best serve guests no matter what the circumstances.  This is essential as we want to give associates the relevant skills so they don’t worry about how to approach any of our guests who may have a disability.

In conducting this training we hope to change this stereo typical image that people have of disabilities. We greatly value both disabled guests and disabled associates here at the hotel and the training opens their eyes so that in their everyday job we can ensure the all guests receive the very best service.

We are also expanding this training to now cover mental health issues as there has been a huge increase in the awareness of this of the last 2 years. It is important that we give our associates the right information so their awareness is raised so we can confidently deal with this in the hotel.

As a company, Marriott hotels in the UK are now accredited as a disability confident employer and through staying focused and building on what we already do we hope to gain further accreditation to level and 2, and ultimately level 3.

Level 1: Disability Confident Committed      To be recognised as Disability Confident Committed just agree to the Disability Confident commitments and identify at least one action that you’ll carry out to make a difference for disabled people.

The commitments are:

  • inclusive and accessible recruitment
  • communicating vacancies
  • offering an interview to disabled people
  • providing reasonable adjustments
  • supporting existing employees

Your business may be doing these things already. If so, the scheme is a great way of letting everyone know that you’re serious about equal opportunities for disabled people. Once you’ve signed up you’ll receive:

  • a certificate in recognition of your achievement
  • a badge for your website and other materials for 3 years
  • a self-assessment pack to help you continue your journey to becoming a Disability Confident Employer

You can then progress to level 2 and 3 or stay at level 1. At each level employers commit to taking actions that will make a real difference to the lives of disabled people making them feel comfortable applying for your vacancies.

For more information on Disability Confident please contact Elaine or Karen, Employer Advisers at Wythenshawe Jobcentre at who can give you further information or help to get you registered.