March 26 coronavirus update for businesses

Three-month extension granted for filing accounts

Companies House has granted businesses an additional three months to file accounts so that they can prioritise dealing with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

You must apply for the extension before your filing deadline, which can be done here and should take no more than 15 minutes.

Those citing issues around COVID-19 will be automatically and immediately granted an extension.

MOTs extended on all vehicles

The government has announced that car, motorcycle and van owners will be granted a six-month exemption from MOT testing from March 30. Lorry, bus or trailers will be exempt for three months from March 21, though you may need to apply for this, depending on the vehicle.

Alex Kindred of car insurance expert at Confused.com said: "A six-month extension to MOTs is a weight off drivers' shoulders, particularly for those still relying on their car to carry out essential work or pick up essential items.

"Although, it's important we keep our cars in a roadworthy condition during this time, with garages still open for essential work or repairs. There are also things we can do ourselves, but knowing how to do this can be confusing. To help, we’ve list some simple checks to follow to make sure our cars are kept in a roadworthy condition.

MIPIM cancelled

MIPIM, the international property and investment conference to which Lancashire was due to send its largest-ever delegation, has been cancelled.

The showcase event which attracts 27,000 delegates from across the globe was originally schedule to take place in March in Cannes, and was later postponed until June as a result of the growing coronavirus crisis.

However, with this date also looking unlikely the organisers have once again postponed the event, with no new date in mind.

Filippo Rean, of Reed MIDEM which organises the event, said: “The situation surrounding COVID-19 is changing daily and government measures are becoming increasingly restrictive.

“It is clear that holding a large MIPIM tradeshow in Cannes in June is not feasible given the rapid spread, devastating impact and uncertain evolution of the virus.

“As it is not possible to organise a traditional MIPIM by the end of this year, we are planning a different form of gathering for clients in the autumn in Paris, plus a digital experience, MIPIM Connect.”

Lancashire was to have been represented at the gathering by a four-day programme of events including panel debates, invite-only hospitality, and the county’s first standalone exhibition space in the Palais des Festivals.

It was also to have been the first time that Lancashire had taken a business delegation out to the gathering.

Blackpool BID organises collection for NHS workers

Blackpool’s Business Improvement District has teamed up with Blackpool Victoria Hospital, Blue Skies Hospital Fund and the Winter Gardens to provide a coordinated drop off and distribution point for donations for front line NHS staff.

Mike Simmons, on behalf of BID, said: "Whilst we appreciate many individuals will be keen to help and smaller donations will be welcome this scheme will allow large donations such as bottled water, bottled or canned drinks, toiletries, soaps, soap powder and fabric conditioner, shampoo, toothpaste, hand lotion, biscuits, energy bars, microwaveable food or pot noodle types, and little treats for the staff to enjoy whilst on their well-earned breaks."

The Winter Gardens will be a central hub for drop off and secure storage. To be able to drop off you will need to call 01253 629748 at least 30 minutes before your intended drop off time and advise what you will be donating. Subject to no further government measures restricting movement, this will begin on Thursday 26th March.

Entrepreneur asks businesses to support NHS

Norman Tenray, chief executive of Longridge-based construction group OBAS UK, has contacted a variety of local colleges, universities and shuttered businesses urging them to release all available vital equipment such as dust masks, vinyl gloves, aprons and other personal protective equipment. He is encouraging organisations with resources available to call the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, who are acting as a coordinating point for stock release and availability.

Norman said: "It’s crazy that within the UK we have a range of PPE equipment which is crucially needed, there are over 600 universities within the UK that would usually use these products for training students across a range of subjects to include hairdressing, beauty, catering, engineering and in manual working circumstances.

"If each of these universities have 100 dust masks or 1000 vinyl gloves then that could be 60,000 dust masks or 600,000 vinyl gloves that could be immediately available! Now think about businesses and sole traders across the UK and just imagine what impact this could have if every hairdressing company could make available one box of gloves, and if every car spraying company made one box of masks available!

"I am delighted that Lancaster University, Preston’s College, LTE Group in Manchester and numerous local businesses have already volunteered to be involved but am positive that many more businesses can truly make an immediate difference in protecting our communities across the UK."

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