April 27 coronavirus update for businesses

Lancashire Business View's daily coronavirus updates are brought to you with the support of Boost, Lancashire's growth hub, and its #AskForHelp service. You're not alone in this.

Leyland Trucks factory reopens

The DAF factory in Leyland, along with its counterparts in Eindhoven in the Netherlands and Westerlo in Belgium, has successfully restarted its operations. Over the past four weeks the plants have introduced new hygiene and social distancing measures.

Hundreds of work stations have been assessed and adjusted. Tasks have been separated, routes altered and work schedules modified. Measures have been implemented to enable workers to maintain a distance of at least 2m, and cleaning products have been made widely available. As a precaution, production staff are now also wearing face masks.

Harry Wolters, DAF president, said: "For the moment we are less concerned about production figures. Instead, the safety of DAF and Leyland Trucks employees is our number one priority. That’s why the production volume is still relatively low. We will only crank it up when it is safe to do so. I am proud of the creativity and dedication displayed by our employees. We can now continue to supply our customers with the best trucks on the market"

YUDU makes hotline available to community groups

Clitheroe tech firm YUDU has made its emergency Sentinel Hotline available for free to community groups and local authorities. 

YUDU Sentinel create a Hotline phone number which is shared by the community group or council. The user types a written message into the Hotline dashboard and it’s immediately converted into a voice message. The update instantly becomes available to anyone who calls the hotline number, and allows organisations to communicate and manage the needs of the vulnerable during lockdown.

Richard Stephenson, the company's CEO, said: "As a crisis communication company, we wanted to do our bit during the emergency. Hotline is the perfect way to keep people informed and allows callers to leave voice messages so they can be contacted if they have specific requests. I really hope local Lancashire groups take up our offer as we believe it can be uniquely beneficial to our communities during these difficult times."

#BrilliantBurnley highlights business success stories

Burnley Council is acknowledging the hard work and committment of ten Burnley businesses who have successfully adapted to the coronavirus lockdown.

The case studies include Birchall Foodservice which opened a click-and-collect alternative to supermarket shopping, FDM which is digitally printing PPE components, Crow Wood Hotel and Spa Resort which is producing food for care homes, and gin distillery Batch Brew which has converted its process to manufacture hand sanitisers.

Government measures to protect retail tenants

New government measures will help protect retailers against landlords taking aggressive action to extract rent arrears. New temporary measures will stop landlords using statutory demands, winding up orders and Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR) to obtain rent that is unpaid as a result of the ongoing lockdown.

Ministers believe the The Coronavirus Act 2020 will protect local high streets and help preserve millions of jobs. However, the measure has not to date, stopped landlords claiming unpaid rent in other ways, including using statutory demands and commencing winding up proceedings.

Eleanor Longworth, associate solicitor at WHN Solicitors, said: “The upshot of the impending legislation is that commercial landlords will no longer be able to use statutory demands and issue winding up proceedings if the reason the tenant can’t pay is down to coronavirus.

"In addition, there are to be restrictions on a landlord’s ability to use CRAR, which ordinarily allows landlords to instruct agents to seize goods to discharge debts, unless landlords are owed at least 90 days of unpaid rent. "The clear government objective is to assist tenants and ease the financial burden in the hope that they will survive the crisis and continue to trade when the restrictions are lifted.

"Landlords may be left with a significant gap in cash flow, with insurance premiums and contractors still to be paid. Government initiatives to date have been tenant focused, with little being done to help landlords who may themselves be under significant financial strain."