1620: Momentum offers free R&D advice

As a number of companies across the UK switch manufacturing processes to join the fight against Covid-19, leading R&D tax specialist, Momentum Group, has offered to provide free claims advice to anyone now producing clothing or equipment to aid the NHS.

Momentum Group Managing Director, Tom Verner has also called on the government to ensure R&D claims are paid within 28 days to enable companies to maintain a healthy cash flow.

Tom Verner said: “This is an unprecedented global crisis and the only way we will beat Covid-19 is by working together and helping each other.

“Companies who have switched production to produce protective clothing, medical equipment and sanitiser not only deserve our respect and thanks, but they also deserve the full R&D tax credit support available from the government.

“The Momentum Group are specialists in this area, having successfully secured over £150million in tax benefits for our clients, and we are happy to be able to offer free claims advice to these companies.I am urging them to get in contact with us – there is no obligation.

“In the recent Budget the government underlined its support for R&D work by increasing the value of the benefit available, and now we will do everything in our power to ensure these businesses working in the interests of public health will receive their full entitlements by giving the best advice possible.

“The monetary value of R&D tax credits to these companies could run into tens of thousands of pounds which could benefit cash flow enormously. It is also vital that when claims are submitted that the government moves quickly with payments.”

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1015: GMB condemns 'shocking' images from Tyneside firm

An image shared widely on social media showing staff at Smulders, Hadrian’s Yard, Wallsend ‘packed together like sardines’ in the company canteen last week - clearly breaching the two metre social distancing guidelines - has been condemned by the GMB Union, which says the company is ‘putting workers and their families at risk’ by 'gaming the system'.

GMB says if the company cannot keep workers safe it should furlough until the crisis is over. Workers now appear to have been drafted in from London – where the Coronavirus crisis is more severe – to cover local staff who are staying at home because they don’t feel safe.

"If people were to gather in this way outside or at a supermarket the police would attend," said Etain Stobbart, GMB Organiser. "Putting people’s lives and those of their families and the community they live in at risk is not acceptable. Our members face the choice between health and income, as Smulders continue to carry on with no regard for their employee’s safety.

"Smulders is reaping what it has sowed from a business model at the mercy of health and safety, at the very time when Coronavirus demands a change in culture. Their business model is the very opposite of what they could get away with in the EU, the fact that this hostile and anti-trade union company is acting in this way shows that in the current health and safety environment.

“Smulders is gaming the system."

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0930: CILT initiative aims to keep supply chains moving

The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) has set up a database (https://ciltuk.org.uk/covidresponse) for organisations in urgent need of supply chain resources, to ensure the UK is able to respond to the coronavirus crisis.

CILT’s database provides a service that matches organisations together, so that those who have capacity can help those organisations in urgent need, such as the NHS and the grocery retail sector, by making available staff, vehicles, warehouse space and expertise to support the supply chain.

More than 500 individuals and organisations have responded to the Institute’s initial call to action so far, and the information provided is being uploaded into the public non-editable resource database.

Kevin Richardson FCILT, Chief Executive, CILT, says: “We have seen a rapid pivot in operational needs, with demands on the logistics sector soaring as home delivery and pharmaceutical supply chains are put under pressure.

“Conversely, as home working grows, so demand for public transport has fallen. We believe as a profession we can work together to meet this challenge.”