Coronavirus advice and support

Seafood Scotland are working with key stakeholders, government and partners on the impacts of the Coronavirus outbreak. This unprecedented event is a catastrophic threat to the entire seafood supply chain in Scotland. The worldwide impact to the sector is not an overnight fix but we are working relentlessly to ensure that the impact of this and the support that is required by businesses is conveyed to government for urgent action. Please be assured that we are all working together to push for solutions to the sector’s crisis.

One of the lessons from any crisis situation is the importance of clear communications. We therefore will put out daily communications to the industry giving updates. We are in constant dialogue with our food & drink specialists in market to get the latest information and insights throughout our key export markets and we will give updates on these markets as part of the daily update.

Scotland Food & Drink are also communicating daily updates on the impacts of the Coronavirus outbreak to all of the Food & Drink sector in Scotland , and will cover the latest situation with the outbreak and the advice to businesses and on public health. We will therefore combine the information given by them which is relevant to the seafood sector alongside our update.




21st May

White Fish Market

Three auctions today. Peterhead 11 boats / 3301 boxes, Shetland 4 boats / 999 boxes and KLB 1 boat / 120 boxes.  Overall total 16 boats / 4420 boxes.
 
With almost 900 boxes on the auction, Peterhead possibly saw the largest landing of cod since the end of March and happily, even with the bank holiday looming on Monday, prices were good with no obvious signs of the market creaking due to oversupply.
 
While there was an evident lack of better sized haddock and whiting on offer today, which resulted in the prices for both going up on yesterday, the balance of the auction was generally a decent mix with more flats such as plaice and lemon sole beginning to appear as some vessels which would normally target nephrops switch over to flats.  The price for the small plaice isn’t great (60ppkg), but at a probable ratio of 3 plaice : 1 lemons,  grosses are being pulled up by good demand on the sole resulting in what would generally be considered viable fishing.
 
Pd auction tomorrow will be light (<2000 boxes), but with what’s due for the start of next week, and depending on the level of private sales over the weekend, we could be struggling to get all in under the 5k limit on Monday.   Scrabster will have an 800 box + market tomorrow, and it would be expected a sale will occur in Shetland.
 
Demersal vessels operational  = 73

Thanks to Bill McKenzie, The Don Fishing Company for these updates.

Seafish Training Funding

Funding for fishermen’s e-learning 

Funding has been provided by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) and Trinity House to enable us to offer free online tutor support and assessments via our network of approved training providers for the following Seafish Online Training courses: 

  • Navigation
  • Engineering
  • Stability awareness

These courses have been selected for funding because they make up some of the requirements of our voluntary under 16.5m skipper certificates. Fishermen who pass the online supervised end-of-course assessments will be issued with Seafish certificates for two-day navigation, two-day engineering and one-day stability awareness for experienced fishermen.

Any fishermen wanting to take advantage of this offer should contact our Fishermen’s Training team on training@seafish.co.uk. The team will provide whatever assistance is required and arrange tutor support and/or assessment.

Funded e-learning for onshore workers

As a special measure during the Covid-19 lockdown, Seafish is subsidising the cost of e-learning for workers in the onshore sectors of the seafood industry. 

Funding will cover the full cost of the following e-learning courses, allowing learners who pass an invigilated exam to gain a regulated qualification for free:

Funding can also be used to contribute towards the cost of our remote learning Intermediate Food Hygiene qualification. Further information on this course is available on our Food Hygiene and HACCP Training Courses webpage.

Funding can also support part of the cost of the following taught courses, delivered by video conference software:

This funding to support onshore training courses is available during May 2020. To register for support please apply to onshore@seafish.co.uk using this expression of interest form, or via your local Seafish approved trainer.

Seafish Social Media Courses

Seafish are partnering with Mindfully Wired Communications to host free social media workshops for UK seafood businesses.
 
Webinars are open to fishermen, merchants, fishmongers, marketing teams, business owners, and supportive family members, their aim is to enhance direct sales of UK seafood through professional social media use. Two webinars are scheduled; one for beginners and one to build on skills to expand online presence.
 
Please see the following links for further information and how to register a place. 
 

22nd May:     Social Media for Beginners: Getting Started with Online Marketing 
28th May:      Social Media Marketing: Tools to Boost Your Online Impact                               

 
We are requesting only one person per business as spaces are limited to 25 per session. If these are fully subscribed people can still add their name to a waiting list, the events will be repeated if there is enough interest.
 

Seafood Scotland Pro Chef Fishmonger Masterclasses

Today we hosted out first fishmonger masterclass and had 150 chefs online and we are receiving fantastic reviews. Please pass on to any chefs you know about the next one, which is next Wednesday.

Do you know any chefs looking to brush up on the fishmonger skills? 

Hosted by acclaimed Scottish seafood chef Roy Brett, and Fishmonger, Author and Channel 4 presenter CJ Jackson from The Seafood School at Billingsgate, the Fishmonger Masterclass series offers you the unique chance to develop and improve your seafood preparation skills for when you’re back in the kitchen.

Fishmonger Masterclasses

WEDNESDAY 20 MAY 10.30am – Round Fish *Complete*

WEDNESDAY 27 MAY 10.30am – Shellfish

WEDNESDAY 3 JUNE 10.30am – Flat Fish

Within this series you will learn what to look for when sourcing quality Scottish seafood along with the different fishmongering techniques across a range of species. We will also cover sustainability and seasonality as well as providing you with useful hints and tips around how to achieve the best margins and use from a whole fish or shellfish. There will be plenty of opportunity to ask questions to our hosts during each Fishmonger Masterclass.

Places are limited and on a first come first served basis, so don’t miss out and register today here

Coronavirus Information Hub

Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses

>> Financial assistance

>> Business help

>> Webinars & guides

Workforce

>> Adapting your workplace
>> Key workers
>> Recruitment

My World of Work: Job Hub

20th May

French Market Update

Update on food service
• Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris, raised the possibility of dedicating streets to restaurants to support the restart of their activity. “We are going to make sure that they can expand into the public space so that they can work in satisfactory sanitary conditions. And this will continue until September. Entire streets could be reserved for them free of charge,” the mayor told the newspaper. Anne Hidalgo explains that parking spaces could be reserved in these same streets.
In addition, Anne Hidalgo says that a “zero tax” system should be put in place for the capital’s bars, cafés and restaurants. “They will be exempt from road charges, taxes on stalls or terraces,” she says. “The special fee for non-household waste will also be abolished.”
• In order to strengthen the catering offer in the business district, Paris La Défense has organised the return of Food Trucks from Tuesday 12 May.
• Sodexo (a French investor in the UK) has partnered with the Uber Eats delivery platform for home meal delivery in France as part of its Ready-to-Share project, offering family size meals. In a trend seen elsewhere in the food industry, home grown products are given preference over imported ones. Meals are prepared with 100% French-origin beef, pork and chicken parts, sustainably fished seasonal fish, fruit and vegetables. 60% of Sodexo’s supplies are from short circuits.
• Buffalo Grill, No. 1 French chain restaurant with table service, has just announced that it will reopen 200 of its 360 restaurants as of 11 May. In partnership with Uber Eats, it is deploying delivery but also launching click & collect and takeaway sales.
• High-end gastronomy restaurants have found ways to keep their activity going from take away options, deliveries, online cooking lessons to restaurant’s drive-through.
• Between 24 and 30 April 2020, the trade union Brasseurs de France consulted all its members (nearly 300 companies) on the impacts of the Covid-19 crisis. According to this study, 25% of the breweries are at a complete standstill and less than 10% plan to restart their production in May. In addition, 40% of companies are experiencing a drop in production of at least 60%.

Update on retail
• The pressure from unions and government to show ‘economic patriotism’ has worked well, though price and availability of goods are still big factors in the success of this trend. France imports half of its fruit and vegetables, making it impossible for supermarkets to only buy local, so patriotism will likely be seasonal. Carrefour is prioritising French produce (95%) but will still buy missing produce from elsewhere. Intermarché says that buying French is pricier and that might not appeal to all. Leclerc mentions that non-French produce in its shops is scarce. The (union) Confederation Paysanne propose regulation of imports, e.g. importing strawberries when France is not producing them – but this would go against European treaties, which they are asking to be reviewed.
As a retailer often at the centre of controversies around farmer’s fair remuneration, Leclerc retail chain is launching a new brand, “Engagé” (=Committed), that offers three guarantees: better remuneration to support French farmers, animal welfare practices, GMO-free and/or antibiotic-free products.
• The national deconfinement protocol was updated over the weekend. It allows one person per 8m² of sales floor space (in addition to the 1 person per 4 m² of residual surface area, rule). For establishments with a residual surface area of more than 40,000 m², reopening is authorised unless local authorities have issued a prohibition order. Such a prohibition applies to shopping centre in Ile-de France and includes flagship department stores such as Les Galeries Lafayette and Printemps.

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour

• Frozen foods are once again the fastest growing segment of the food market. According to the analyst, the value of sales of salted frozen foods is up 18% over the same period a year ago. The sweet frozen food and particularly ice cream, took advantage of favourable weather conditions, progressing by nearly 53% (VS 1 year).

According to a Harris Interactive/Observatoire Cetelem survey, this period of slowdown has encouraged 89% of French people to ask themselves questions about the way they consume, particularly in favour of a more responsible/sustainable lifestyle (84%). More specifically, 47% feel that they consume more organic food products- with a peak at 60% among the under 35 year old-, and 76% prefer “Made in France” products. Concerned about their diet, the French have favoured healthy and local products. This is what the latest study by the Observatoire E.Leclerc des Nouvelles Consommations (E.Leclerc Observatory of New Consumption) conducted at the end of April showed. 45% of French people have increased their selection of French origin products and from short circuits (37%). 29% of French people say they will attach more importance to the impact of their food on the environment after May 11th.
According to Kantar, at the beginning of April, 53% of consumers favoured direct sales to producers.
• Containment also had other effects on eating habits. An Ifop study for the Just Eat meal delivery platform revealed that during this period, 20% of French people ate more often together around a table. In addition, 1/3 of the respondents indicated that they had prepared 100% homemade meals.
• Lockdown has had an impact on the weight of most French people, according to the Ifop study for Darwin Nutrition. 57% of the people surveyed admit to having gained weight since March 17th. They have thus gained 2.5 kg on average since the implementation of containment. To remedy this, one French person in five is considering a diet at the end of the health crisis but, above all, 56% of respondents plan to eat healthier as soon as the confinement is lifted.
• According to an OpinionWay study carried out for the NGO Max Havelaar, while 35% of French people say they choose their items according to availability on the shelves, 65% opt for ethical products. As soon as the confinement ends, more than 80% of consumers surveyed believe that they will adopt a more “responsible” consumption. The respondents also say they are concerned about the fate of farmers: 66% of French people consider that farmers are not sufficiently remunerated.

Current situation
• France’s first phase of progressive deconfinement started on May 11th, following detailed measures set out by the Prime Minister May 7th. The Health Minister presented a map of France, categorising each départment (county), as red or green based on criteria including active circulation of the virus, and the pressure on hospitals’ intensive care capacity. This categorisation will dictate the extent to which local authorities are able to adapt the Government’s deconfinement strategy locally. The Government will now monitor health figures closely ahead of a review on 2nd Jun where a decision will be taken on whether further easing of restrictions is possible in green departements, including potentially allowing some bars and restaurants to reopen.
Social gatherings are allowed for groups up to 10 people. Until September, no events with more than 5000 people will be allowed.
On Thursday 14 May 2020, Prime Minister Édouard Philippe announced a plan of “18 billion euros in commitments” to support the tourism sector. He assured that “French people will be able to go on holiday in France in July and August”. Cafés and restaurants could reopen on 2 June in the green departments: the final decision on the reopning will be taken on May 25th.
The First Minister and Economy Minister have indicated that shopping centres of more than 40,000 m² will finally be able to reopen as of May 11. The exception is Ile-de-France, which is classified as a red zone.

White Fish Market

The expected mid-week dip in landings after 2 larger landings Monday and Tuesday, but still three auctions again today. Peterhead 8 boats / 4189 boxes, Shetland 2 boats / 320 boxes and Scrabster 1 boat / 149 boxes .  Overall total 11 boats / 4658 boxes.
 
Peterhead auction heavier with domestic market species today such as cod and haddock today, but there was also a reasonable amount of whiting and saithe.  Export species- monk, ling, megrim and hake- only making up 10% of the auction.  The auctions in Shetland and Scrabster are very similar to PD with more emphasis on domestic than export species.
 
Prices are best described as workable rather than good, and nothing other than the very best quality, especially haddock and (relatively scarce) whiting, is hitting any high notes.
 
Pd Market tomorrow expected to be approx. 3000 boxes and then light on Friday.  
 
Demersal vessels operational = 70

Thanks to Bill McKenzie, The Don Fishing Company for these updates.

Seafish Social Media Courses

Seafish are partnering with Mindfully Wired Communications to host free social media workshops for UK seafood businesses.
 
Webinars are open to fishermen, merchants, fishmongers, marketing teams, business owners, and supportive family members, their aim is to enhance direct sales of UK seafood through professional social media use. Two webinars are scheduled; one for beginners and one to build on skills to expand online presence.
 
Please see the following links for further information and how to register a place. 
 

22nd May:     Social Media for Beginners: Getting Started with Online Marketing 
28th May:      Social Media Marketing: Tools to Boost Your Online Impact                               

 
We are requesting only one person per business as spaces are limited to 25 per session. If these are fully subscribed people can still add their name to a waiting list, the events will be repeated if there is enough interest.
 

Seafood Scotland Pro Chef Fishmonger Masterclasses

Today we hosted out first fishmonger masterclass and had 150 chefs online and we are receiving fantastic reviews. Please pass on to any chefs you know about the next one, which is next Wednesday.

Do you know any chefs looking to brush up on the fishmonger skills? 

Hosted by acclaimed Scottish seafood chef Roy Brett, and Fishmonger, Author and Channel 4 presenter CJ Jackson from The Seafood School at Billingsgate, the Fishmonger Masterclass series offers you the unique chance to develop and improve your seafood preparation skills for when you’re back in the kitchen.

Fishmonger Masterclasses

WEDNESDAY 20 MAY 10.30am – Round Fish *Complete*

WEDNESDAY 27 MAY 10.30am – Shellfish

WEDNESDAY 3 JUNE 10.30am – Flat Fish

Within this series you will learn what to look for when sourcing quality Scottish seafood along with the different fishmongering techniques across a range of species. We will also cover sustainability and seasonality as well as providing you with useful hints and tips around how to achieve the best margins and use from a whole fish or shellfish. There will be plenty of opportunity to ask questions to our hosts during each Fishmonger Masterclass.

Places are limited and on a first come first served basis, so don’t miss out and register today here
 

Business funding

The Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund closed for applications on Monday. It was announced today that the fund has had another £30 million committed to it, taking the total to £120 million. The assumption is that this additional money will help deal with the demand from existing applications and doesn’t mean the scheme will re-open again. The news on successful applications continues to be fed out to applicants. If you haven’t heard yet, you will in the coming days.

Testing

We understand there will be an announcement tomorrow on antibody testing plans. This is obviously significant as testing so far has only be available to confirm active cases and hasn’t been available to confirm a previous infection and subsequent recovery. I have no detail on what may be announced tomorrow, but hopefully we will have a clearer timeline on availability of an antibody test, which has proved elusive so far. A reminder again that the current testing (to determine if someone is currently infected) is available to anyone in Scotland over the age of five.   

Test, trace, isolate, support – the plans

You will have seen widespread coverage of the Isle of Wight trial on a new app to track those who have been in contact with people who test positive for Covid-19. There remains little information on the effectiveness of the trial. In the meantime, three NHS areas in Scotland are trialling a different app. This, however, will not use the proximity technology (GPS etc) as the means of tracing contacts. Instead, normal follow up discussions with a confirmed case will identify these individuals. However, what is unclear are the implications for businesses of this approach. People who have been in a certain level of contact with a confirmed case have to isolate for 14 days. There is therefore the very real prospect of major disruption to manufacturing if an individual tests positive and it requires others in the workforce to then isolate. We have suggested that Government runs a trial of a mock case in a manufacturing setting to determine what level of action would be needed, to help plan for that eventuality. The key mitigating factor is also the speed at which contacts can then be tested and results received (with the aim of 24-48 hour turnaround). We should have more information on this as plans develop and will continue discussing this with Government.

What is happening later this week

Thursday – tomorrow sees the publication of a route-map for Scotland out of restrictions. This will give us further indications of the timetable for re-opening parts of the economy and the easing of restrictions on personal movements.

Friday – we are likely to see the publication of new guidance for manufacturers.  However this publication date has been a moving feast, so there are no guarantees it will emerge on Friday.

Coronavirus Information Hub

Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses

>> Financial assistance

>> Business help

>> Webinars & guides

Workforce

>> Adapting your workplace
>> Key workers
>> Recruitment

My World of Work: Job Hub

19th May

White Fish Market

Three auctions today.  Peterhead 10 boats/ 5139 boxes, Shetland 3 boats / 746 boxes and Scrabster 1 boat / 175 boxes.   Total 14 boats / 6060 boxes.

PD auction heavier with hake and saithe, but there were still decent volumes of cod, haddock, monk and ling available.  Whiting starting to fade off now and megrim a little scarcer than it has been for the last few weeks.  With three Rockall boats on auction today, we’re now down to two left to land (by end of this week)  then that will probably be it for volume off the Rock until the squid fishery gets going.

Allowing for some poorer quality haddock that did not sell well, prices were still generally a little back on yesterday, but we tend to think that the haddock landings over the last couple of days have sated the demand on larger sizes for now.  The hake price is best described as viably steady but unspectacular, and with the Ascension Day holiday coming up in France on Thursday, saithe lost a little ground on yesterday, but still settled above a £1 on balances.

Seven vessels already due for Pd tomorrow so a reasonable auction is expected.  Looking less clear towards the end of the week as with the bank holiday coming up on Monday possibly making Friday auction unattractive, and somewhat poorer fishing, a few vessels may take the weekend and come up for Monday, which would be about the latest for those still to undertake the 8 day tie up.

Demersal vessels operational = 70

Thanks to Bill McKenzie, The Don Fishing Company for these updates.

UK’s new MFN tariff regime, the UK Global Tariff Announcement

The UK’s new MFN tariff regime will replace the EU’s Common External Tariff on 1 January 2021 at the end of the Transition Period was announced today. The full announcement and details can be found here.

“Our new tariff is tailored to the needs of the UK economy. It will support the economy by making it easier and cheaper for businesses to import goods from overseas. It is a simpler, easier to use and lower tariff regime than the EU’s Common External Tariff (EU CET) and will be in pounds (£), not euros. It will scrap red tape and other unnecessary barriers to trade, reduce cost pressures and increase choice for consumers and back UK industries to compete on the global stage.

The Government is taking a common-sense approach to our new tariff schedule by streamlining and simplifying nearly 6,000 tariff lines, and lowering costs for businesses by reducing administrative burdens. The changes include scrapping unnecessary tariff variations, rounding tariffs down to standardised percentages, and getting rid of all “nuisance tariffs” (those below 2%).

We are also getting rid of the EU’s complex Meursing table, allowing us to scrap thousands of unnecessary tariff variations on products – including over 13,000 tariff variations on products like biscuits, waffles, pizzas, quiches, confectionery, and spreads. The UKGT also expands tariff free trade by eliminating tariffs on a wide range of products.

The Government is maintaining tariffs on a number of products backing UK industries such as agriculture, automotive and fishing. This will help to support businesses in every region and nation of the UK to thrive.”

Seafish Social Media Courses

Seafish are partnering with Mindfully Wired Communications to host free social media workshops for UK seafood businesses.

Webinars are open to fishermen, merchants, fishmongers, marketing teams, business owners, and supportive family members, their aim is to enhance direct sales of UK seafood through professional social media use. Two webinars are scheduled; one for beginners and one to build on skills to expand online presence.

Please see the following links for further information and how to register a place.
22nd May:     Social Media for Beginners: Getting Started with Online Marketing
28th May:      Social Media Marketing: Tools to Boost Your Online Impact

We are requesting only one person per business as spaces are limited to 25 per session. If these are fully subscribed people can still add their name to a waiting list, the events will be repeated if there is enough interest.
Seafood Scotland Pro Chef Fishmonger Masterclasses

Do you know any chefs looking to brush up on the fishmonger skills?

Hosted by acclaimed Scottish seafood chef Roy Brett, and Fishmonger, Author and Channel 4 presenter CJ Jackson from The Seafood School at Billingsgate, the Fishmonger Masterclass series offers you the unique chance to develop and improve your seafood preparation skills for when you’re back in the kitchen.

Fishmonger Masterclasses

WEDNESDAY 20 MAY 10.30am – Round Fish

WEDNESDAY 27 MAY 10.30am – Shellfish

WEDNESDAY 3 JUNE 10.30am – Flat Fish

Within this series you will learn what to look for when sourcing quality Scottish seafood along with the different fishmongering techniques across a range of species. We will also cover sustainability and seasonality as well as providing you with useful hints and tips around how to achieve the best margins and use from a whole fish or shellfish. There will be plenty of opportunity to ask questions to our hosts during each Fishmonger Masterclass.

Places are limited and on a first come first served basis, so don’t miss out and register today here

Guidance coming this week

There are four pieces of guidance this week. The first yesterday, the other three are likely in the coming days.

  1. Change of public health advice: the loss of sense of taste or smell has now been added as the third symptom which should trigger isolation (alongside a continuous cough or fever). Any of these symptoms on their own – or combined – should result in your entire household self-isolating for 14 days and the effected individual should not leave the house for 7 days. The only circumstances in which this alters is if you have a negative test for Covid-19. A reminder that a test can be arranged if you work in the food and drink sector and you are in the first three days of having symptoms. The access to testing is also open to your household members too, should they suffer one of the three symptoms referred to above.
  2. Manufacturing guidance: the publication of new guidance for the whole manufacturing sector – and specific guidance for the food and drink sector – is expect to be published imminently in Scotland. We will update you when it emerges and highlight if there are any significant differences to the current guidance.
  3. Road out of lockdown: a further Scottish Government framework document is expected to be set out by the First Minister this week. In line with other regions of the UK, it is expected to provide a clearer timetable for unwinding restrictions. We will summarise it here when it is published.
  4. Quarantine plans: we expect news in the next 24-48 hours on how the new quarantine plans will be enforced for incoming air passengers. There is a debate ongoing around seasonal workers in particular and how they – and other groups – may be exempt from the standard 14-day isolation requirement.

Test, trace, isolate and support – the app

There has been a lot of coverage of the planned roll-out of a mobile phone app to trace the movements of individuals and alert them should one of their regular contacts test positive for Covid-19. It has been trialled on the Isle of Wight, but there is little information published yet on the success or otherwise of the trial. In addition, there are now trials planned in some NHS areas in Scotland but this is a different app to the one being trialled in the Isle of Wight.. There remain significant questions on how the app will deal with issues in the workplace with staff coming into regular contact with each other and what a policy of isolating contacts will mean for business. At this stage, the roll out in Scotland of the app does not seem imminent, but we will update you as plans develop.

Consumer campaign for SupportLocal.scot

Scotland Food & Drink launched an integrated advertising campaign to promote the Support Local directory to the Scottish public. The four-week campaign features across radio and digital platforms and encourages consumers to use the directory to find Scottish food and drink producers now delivering or offering a click and collect service. We have almost 300 businesses on the directory and if you’ve not signed up yet you can do so on the website here (scroll to the bottom of the page).

Coronavirus Information Hub

Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses

>> Financial assistance

>> Business help

>> Webinars & guides

Workforce

>> Adapting your workplace
>> Key workers
>> Recruitment

My World of Work: Job Hub

15th May

Re-opening of Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund

This fund re-opened for new applications a few hours ago and is likely to remain open until Monday evening (5pm). The doubling of funding for the scheme to £90 million has been a key factor in its re-opening. As a reminder, the broad target for this grant fund are businesses that have not been able to access grant funding through other mechanisms. They must have less than 250 employees and less than €50 million (euros) in turnover. In addition, you must be able to demonstrate that you would ordinarily be viable, are vital to the local or national economy but currently vulnerable (with cashflow projections demonstrating financial distress caused by events related to Covid-19). In short, if you want to apply, act quickly as the fund is only likely to be open until 5pm on Monday.  The information and link to apply is here.

Seafish Social Media Courses

Seafish are partnering with Mindfully Wired Communications to host free social media workshops for UK seafood businesses.
 
Webinars are open to fishermen, merchants, fishmongers, marketing teams, business owners, and supportive family members, their aim is to enhance direct sales of UK seafood through professional social media use. Two webinars are scheduled; one for beginners and one to build on skills to expand online presence.
 
Please see the following links for further information and how to register a place. 
 

22nd May:     Social Media for Beginners: Getting Started with Online Marketing 
28th May:      Social Media Marketing: Tools to Boost Your Online Impact                               

 
We are requesting only one person per business as spaces are limited to 25 per session. If these are fully subscribed people can still add their name to a waiting list, the events will be repeated if there is enough interest.
 

Seafood Scotland Pro Chef Fishmonger Masterclasses

Do you know any chefs looking to brush up on the fishmonger skills? 

Hosted by acclaimed Scottish seafood chef Roy Brett, and Fishmonger, Author and Channel 4 presenter CJ Jackson from The Seafood School at Billingsgate, the Fishmonger Masterclass series offers you the unique chance to develop and improve your seafood preparation skills for when you’re back in the kitchen.

Fishmonger Masterclasses

WEDNESDAY 20 MAY 10.30am – Round Fish

WEDNESDAY 27 MAY 10.30am – Shellfish

WEDNESDAY 3 JUNE 10.30am – Flat Fish

Within this series you will learn what to look for when sourcing quality Scottish seafood along with the different fishmongering techniques across a range of species. We will also cover sustainability and seasonality as well as providing you with useful hints and tips around how to achieve the best margins and use from a whole fish or shellfish. There will be plenty of opportunity to ask questions to our hosts during each Fishmonger Masterclass.

Places are limited and on a first come first served basis, so don’t miss out and register today here
 

**Reminder**

China Digital & eCommerce Webinar with ZUDU and Scottish Development International on 19th May 2020

Scottish Development International in association with ZUDU will host a webinar on 19th May 2020 10am-11am.
 
Are you a company who wishes to trade with China? Join us for this webinar session to learn about the digital space in China, and how this has evolved in recent months. We’ll look at the current situation in China, how Covid-19 has affected the market, and how Chinese organisations have adapted their business models and invested in digital technologies. By doing so, many Chinese companies have mitigated the impacts of Covid-19 and have adapted to the rapidly changing environment. This workshop will provide practical guidance to companies on how to reach Chinese consumers through effective digital and eCommerce strategies, and touch on some of the first hand experiences of Scottish companies through the pandemic. Companies can learn from the recent experience in China and discover opportunities to adapt their business models and react quickly to the evolving markets across the world. This webinar will be presented by James Buchan who is Managing Director of Zudu, a company which has been helping companies break into and grow their presence in the Chinese market for several years. Supported by Xiaoxiao Zhang, China Marketing Manager of Zudu, who has been working with Zudu since graduating from the University of Dundee and developed platforms designed to help Scottish companies break into the Chinese market.
 
To book your place, register via this link – China Digital & eCommerce: An International Trade Opportunity.

Coronavirus Information Hub

 

Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses

>> Financial assistance 
 

>> Business help

>> Webinars & guides

Workforce

>> Adapting your workplace
>> Key workers
> Recruitment

My World of Work: Job Hub

14th May

Re-opening of Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund

This fund re-opened for new applications a few hours ago and is likely to remain open until Monday evening (5pm). The doubling of funding for the scheme to £90 million has been a key factor in its re-opening. As a reminder, the broad target for this grant fund are businesses that have not been able to access grant funding through other mechanisms. They must have less than 250 employees and less than €50 million (euros) in turnover. In addition, you must be able to demonstrate that you would ordinarily be viable, are vital to the local or national economy but currently vulnerable (with cashflow projections demonstrating financial distress caused by events related to Covid-19). In short, if you want to apply, act quickly as the fund is only likely to be open until 5pm on Monday.  The information and link to apply is here.
 

Seafood Scotland Pro Chef Fishmonger Masterclasses

Do you know any chefs looking to brush up on the fishmonger skills? 

Hosted by acclaimed Scottish seafood chef Roy Brett, and Fishmonger, Author and Channel 4 presenter CJ Jackson from The Seafood School at Billingsgate, the Fishmonger Masterclass series offers you the unique chance to develop and improve your seafood preparation skills for when you’re back in the kitchen.

Fishmonger Masterclasses

WEDNESDAY 20 MAY 10.30am – Round Fish

WEDNESDAY 27 MAY 10.30am – Shellfish

WEDNESDAY 3 JUNE 10.30am – Flat Fish

Within this series you will learn what to look for when sourcing quality Scottish seafood along with the different fishmongering techniques across a range of species. We will also cover sustainability and seasonality as well as providing you with useful hints and tips around how to achieve the best margins and use from a whole fish or shellfish. There will be plenty of opportunity to ask questions to our hosts during each Fishmonger Masterclass.

Places are limited and on a first come first served basis, so don’t miss out and register today here
 

**Reminder**

China Digital & eCommerce Webinar with ZUDU and Scottish Development International on 19th May 2020

Scottish Development International in association with ZUDU will host a webinar on 19th May 2020 10am-11am.
 
Are you a company who wishes to trade with China? Join us for this webinar session to learn about the digital space in China, and how this has evolved in recent months. We’ll look at the current situation in China, how Covid-19 has affected the market, and how Chinese organisations have adapted their business models and invested in digital technologies. By doing so, many Chinese companies have mitigated the impacts of Covid-19 and have adapted to the rapidly changing environment. This workshop will provide practical guidance to companies on how to reach Chinese consumers through effective digital and eCommerce strategies, and touch on some of the first hand experiences of Scottish companies through the pandemic. Companies can learn from the recent experience in China and discover opportunities to adapt their business models and react quickly to the evolving markets across the world. This webinar will be presented by James Buchan who is Managing Director of Zudu, a company which has been helping companies break into and grow their presence in the Chinese market for several years. Supported by Xiaoxiao Zhang, China Marketing Manager of Zudu, who has been working with Zudu since graduating from the University of Dundee and developed platforms designed to help Scottish companies break into the Chinese market.
 
To book your place, register via this link – China Digital & eCommerce: An International Trade Opportunity.

Coronavirus Information Hub

Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses

>> Financial assistance

>> Business help

>> Webinars & guides

Workforce

>> Adapting your workplace
>> Key workers
> Recruitment

My World of Work: Job Hub

13th May

China Digital & eCommerce Webinar with ZUDU and Scottish Development International on 19th May 2020

Scottish Development International in association with ZUDU will host a webinar on 19th May 2020 10am-11am.
 
Are you a company who wishes to trade with China? Join us for this webinar session to learn about the digital space in China, and how this has evolved in recent months. We’ll look at the current situation in China, how Covid-19 has affected the market, and how Chinese organisations have adapted their business models and invested in digital technologies. By doing so, many Chinese companies have mitigated the impacts of Covid-19 and have adapted to the rapidly changing environment. This workshop will provide practical guidance to companies on how to reach Chinese consumers through effective digital and eCommerce strategies, and touch on some of the first hand experiences of Scottish companies through the pandemic. Companies can learn from the recent experience in China and discover opportunities to adapt their business models and react quickly to the evolving markets across the world. This webinar will be presented by James Buchan who is Managing Director of Zudu, a company which has been helping companies break into and grow their presence in the Chinese market for several years. Supported by Xiaoxiao Zhang, China Marketing Manager of Zudu, who has been working with Zudu since graduating from the University of Dundee and developed platforms designed to help Scottish companies break into the Chinese market.
 
To book your place, register via this link – China Digital & eCommerce: An International Trade Opportunity.
 

UK Government scheme to support credit insurance 

In yesterday’s update it was highlighted that work was ongoing between the insurance industry and Government on trade credit insurance. The result of those talks was announced this morning by the Treasury. The UK Government is going to temporarily guarantee business-to-business transactions that are currently supported by trade credit insurance. The fear has been that with some businesses being unable to pay bills that either credit insurance cover could be withdrawn or that premiums could skyrocket. This new reinsurance protection from Government should ensure the vast majority of insurance coverage will be maintained. It’s not entirely clear when the scheme will be up and running, but you can see the detail of the news here.

Manufacturing guidance – the current state of play

The UK Government has published new guidance for manufacturers to continue or resume production whilst managing the Covid-19 risk.  However, this guidance is for ENGLAND ONLY. The Scottish Government is working on manufacturing guidance and, separately, there will be further guidance developed by Food Standards Scotland. At this stage, it is not expected that the new FSS guidance will depart from the very clear and helpful information FSS has had in place for some weeks now. We would continue to urge all business to use that FSS guidance as the clear ‘manual’ for how to operate and perform their risk assessments on site.

Quarantine measures

Discussions continue on how the new 14 day quarantine period will be enforced for air passengers coming into the UK. It could affect seasonal labour coming in to Scotland. There are also some suggestions that brief business trips abroad, when they resume, may be exempt from the quarantine requirements. We’ll share more information when we have it.

Furlough – existing scheme runs to August, then changes

A reminder that the existing furlough scheme will now run in its current form until the end of July (a one month extension). A new form of the scheme will then continue for a further three months from August to October. In the new period, the scheme will still guarantee 80% wages for furloughed staff however businesses will be asked to share the cost with Government (in what proportion is unclear). In addition, workers will be able to work part-time in their normal employment and be on furlough for the remainder of their normal working week. Full details on the post-August plan will be published by the end of the month. The detail as we know it so far is here.

Coronavirus Information Hub

Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses

>> Financial assistance

>> Business help

>> Webinars & guides

Workforce

>> Adapting your workplace
>> Key workers
> Recruitment

My World of Work: Job Hub

12th May

Furlough scheme extended

The big news today, as expected, has been the extension of the furlough scheme. There is lots of detail still to come but we know the scheme will now run until the end of October (a four-month extension) and employees will continue to receive 80% of their salary, capped at £2,500 a month. But major changes will be introduced from August. From then, so-called ‘flexible furlough’ will be introduced allowing furloughed workers to return on a part-time basis, something which we and many others have been calling for. However, employers are expected to share the cost of furlough with Government after July. How much of the furlough wages will have to be picked up by businesses is unknown. The Chancellor has said more information on how the revised scheme will work after July will be published by the end of May. In the meantime, you can see the detail that we do know here.

Credit insurance

There is work going on within the insurance industry around credit insurance support. We don’t know many details yet but recognise that this could be an important part of the restart and recovery process for businesses as restrictions are eased. The concern over the ability of some of our customers to pay for products and services is going to be significant so support around credit insurance will be more important than ever. We’ll share more information when we have it.

Access to ingredients, material and services – feedback needed

If any of you are struggling with access to key resources or services, please can you share that with us so we can feed the information into Government. For example, demand for perspex has increased significantly as manufacturers, retailers and others purchase it to assist with physical distancing. We hear lead times for these orders may be lengthening.  Likewise, there appears to be a proliferation of businesses offering ‘deep clean’ services and some concern at the quality of service that may be delivered. If you are experiencing any issues around access to products or services, please let us know

Coronavirus Information Hub

Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses

>> Financial assistance

>> Business help

>> Webinars & guides

Workforce

>> Adapting your workplace
>> Key workers
> Recruitment

My World of Work: Job Hub

11th May

A number of countries are now looking at the easing of lockdown and for Scottish seafood a large part of the exports are destined for food service across the world. Below is the proposed dates for the start of relaxation of lockdown in respect of restaurants and bars. To caveat this, these are initial dates should the virus continue to slow down in these countries. As these countries start to ease lockdown, tourism will not be part of this initial wave of lockdown which has implications for logistics as many of the countries outwith Europe rely on passenger planes to get the product to market.

Italy – I June will see the start of opening of restaurants and bars

Belgium – starting to reopen 8 June

France – Decision to be made at the end of May

Germany – restaurants are gradually starting to open this week 

Spain – gradual reopen – outside terrace restaurants can open at 30% capacity from today and indoor restaurants at 30% capacity can open from 26 May

Dubai – Restaurants open at 30% capacity

USA – different in each state – 8 have announced opening protocols

China – gradual opening of restaurants occurring now

Hong Kong – restaurants open and observing social distancing

Japan – restaurants open

Singapore – restaurants operating for take away only at present

Thailand – restaurants in Bangkok open observing social distancing
 
 

Future of furlough

An update will be given by the UK government tomorrow on the future of the furlough scheme

 

Lockdown extended in Scotland

As expected, lockdown restrictions in Scotland have been extended. The working assumption is that it is a three week extension of lockdown (to 28 May) however it was repeated that the Scottish Government could introduce relaxations at any time before the next fixed, three-weekly review. The only relaxation is the rules around households being able to take more regular outdoor exercise.
 

Support Local

Seafood Scotland have been working with Scotland Food & Drink on a new national directory Support Local to connect the public with businesses that can supply local, Scottish food and drink products directly to consumers. These businesses may be producers, manufacturers, wholesalers or may be retail and hospitality businesses that stock Scottish products and are now doing home delivery or click and collect. The directory went live today at www.supportlocal.scot for consumers.

Click here to get listed on the Support Local website.

We will continue to build up the directory listings each day. Please make sure you put as much information as you can on the page as this is your opportunity to talk the consumer. Let them know what products you are selling, how they can purchase them, if you do deliveries and when. Seafood Scotland will be promoting the seafood element of the website, encouraging consumers to use this tool and happy to promote these companies through social media.

 

Coronavirus Information Hub

 

Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses

>> Financial assistance 
 

>> Business help

>> Webinars & guides

Workforce

>> Adapting your workplace
>> Key workers
> Recruitment

My World of Work: Job Hub

10th May​

Future of furlough

I have had enquiries from companies asking if they can bring staff out of furlough while they have orders and if the orders stop can they re-furlough them. The answer is you can but you will need to furlough the staff member for the 3 week block.

Discussions continue around the need for a form of furlough beyond the end of June. As perhaps the most valuable support measure introduced, our view is that it will need to modify gradually in the same way as lockdown restrictions will unwind gradually. Last night, Scottish Government Ministers wrote to the Chancellor urging the continuation of furlough support including emphasising, as we have done, the benefit of a part-time furlough approach in the future. 

Lockdown extended in Scotland

As expected, lockdown restrictions in Scotland have been extended. This was confirmed by the First Minister at lunchtime. The working assumption is that it is a three week extension of lockdown (to 28 May) however it was repeated that the Scottish Government could introduce relaxations at any time before the next fixed, three-weekly review. The only relaxation on the cards is to the rules around households being able to take more regular outdoor exercise.
 

Whitefish Landings & Market Update

Three auctions today – Peterhead 11 boats / 2026 boxes, Shetland 3 boats / 438 boxes and Scrabster 1 boat / 361 boxes –  total 15 boats / 2825 boxes.
 
Acknowledging that landings are light, there is now a definite bounce around the cod, haddock and whiting sale with all three species achieving good to very good price levels.  Signs that north sea haddock is beginning to improve in condition with prices for these now edging slightly higher than those paid for Rockall fish which in terms of filleting quality are heading in the opposite direction. Saithe is also still selling well, and it’s noted that today’s average in Hanstholm jumped to £1.18, up almost 30p on where it was between Monday and yesterday, suggesting higher demand is returning for next week.
 
Noted that from next week Lorient auction will be accepting fish from Spanish vessels, however it remains to be seen if this is going to be the end,  or only a  loosening of the current restrictions being placed on foreign fish being sold on auction there. 
 
Peterhead market tomorrow may be slightly smaller at around 1500, but some further vessels may report yet. An auction in Shetland would be expected also.
 
Demersal vessels operational  =  64

Thanks To Bill McKenzie, Don Fishing Company for these excellent daily landings updates.

Support Local

Seafood Scotland have been working with Scotland Food & Drink on a new national directory Support Local to connect the public with businesses that can supply local, Scottish food and drink products directly to consumers. These businesses may be producers, manufacturers, wholesalers or may be retail and hospitality businesses that stock Scottish products and are now doing home delivery or click and collect. The directory went live today at www.supportlocal.scot for consumers.

Click here to get listed on the Support Local website.

We will continue to build up the directory listings each day. Please make sure you put as much information as you can on the page as this is your opportunity to talk the consumer. Let them know what products you are selling, how they can purchase them, if you do deliveries and when. Seafood Scotland will be promoting the seafood element of the website, encouraging consumers to use this tool and happy to promote these companies through social media.

Coronavirus Information Hub
Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses
Financial assistance 

Business help

Webinars & guides

Workforce

My World of Work Job Hub
In response to the Coronavirus pandemic Skills Development Scotland has developed the My World of Work Job Hub, a new free service, offering employers a way to advertise immediate job vacancies in Scotland.

 >> Find out more and upload your vacancies.

5th May​

Today, I wrote to retailers to ask them to re-open their fish counters. Morrison’s have already opened their fish counters in recent days and we need to see the other retailers re-opening the counters for business. Tomorrow will also see a press release going out with this ask to retailers. I shall keep you updated on any progress.

Just a reminder that if you have had an email from Marine Scotland re current EMFF projects for an update you must respond tomorrow or the project funding will be cancelled.

The Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund closed at 5pm tonight due to the volume of applications and looking to re-open for applications next week.

MARKETS UPDATE

Japan

Update on food service
• Inbound tourism in Japan dropped by a staggering 93% in March 2020, food service (and retails) has been heavily affected.
• The metropolitan government will offer subsidies to smaller business operators that accept its suspension requests — 500,000 yen ($4,600) for managers with a single shop and 1 million yen for those running multiple outlet.

Update on retail
• Virus pandemic pushes Japan’s shoppers to buy online, mainly essential goods only
• e-commerce penetration has long been among the lowest of developed markets. Only 7% of transactions were online in 2018, according to government statistics.
• After the coronavirus outbreak calms down, it is expected that more people will be online in Japan.

Feedback from buyers
• According to Salmon importer, they are only importing the amount of salmon for customers who have a contract to supply retail over the next several months. 90% sales dropped. • Logistic fee is very high and hard to secure the space on cargo

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour
• Consumer sentiment fell below the level of 2011 earthquake
• Consumers tends to save the money therefore choose cheaper option (prefer to mince beef rather than steak).

Freight and logistics issues
• Stress on trucking amid driver shortage.
• 60% of logistic companies impacted.
• Stress on last mile delivery.
• Delayed deliveries due to increasing demand.

Any other comments / challenges / opportunities
• Tokyo and other major cities are not put on lockdown and the government does not deem it necessary at this point
• Transportation, hospitals, food stores, pharmacies will continue to operate
• According to NHK poll, 75% of people in Japan think that the state of emergency was declared too late

Singapore

Update on food service
• Whilst there is a positive outlook for the grocery retail segment as supermarket sales in Singapore picked up during SARS in 2003 and it is expected to be no less different this time round. However, with co-mingling and staying out amongst crowds being forbidden, things are less positive on the F&B foodservice segment which could see earnings tumbling more than 60% this year.
• In an effort to mitigate the impact on the foodservice sector in Singapore many fine dining and five-star restaurants are offering a delivery service to combat the fact diners can’t eat in. It has been suggested by Emmanuel Benardos, GM of F&B at Fairmont Singapore & Swissotel The Stamford, that hotels should continue delivery service post-covid. https://hotelintel.co/what-will-happen-to-the-culinary-scene-when-we-re-open/

Update on retail
• According to Nielsen data, 37% of Singaporean consumers have increased online shopping activities since the COVID-19 outbreak, and over three-quarters (76%) indicated they will not return to pre-outbreak online shopping levels.
• Supermarkets remain open but with strict safety measures including: o Tracing technology registration apps prior to entry & registering of temperature screening and identity card. o Safe distancing measures including a queuing system to restrict the number of shoppers inside at any one time, and at till queues.
• Although shelves appear to be well stocked there are a number of over-facings where products are unavailable. Norwegian smoked salmon has over-faced where Scottish smoked salmon is usually present in one of the main supermarket chains visited at the weekend. This is the case with some dairy and fresh products as well.
• M&S are still selling roped grown Scottish mussels and other Scotland produce but the shelf life is shorter than usual on many products.
• Wet markets which make up 20% of total sales are operating on a odd/even alternate days based on the last digit of your identity card number to reduce the number of visitors.

Whitefish Landings & Market Update

Three auctions today-  Peterhead 6 boats / 2561 boxes, Shetland 2 boats / 424 boxes  and Scrabster 1 boat / 157 boxes-  total 9 boats / 3142 boxes.  There has also been a considerable amount of rockall haddock (smaller grades) moved privately over the last 36 hours, but there are signs that this fishery is now beginning to wane, so possibly we’re down to another couple of landings per vessel until fishing recommences later in the year – and this does largely presuppose that a viable squid fishery is possible, which right now seems unlikely.
 
Price wise the edge was off slightly in PD for haddock, but still holding reasonably well just above £2/kg on bigger sizes.  Cod broke the daily 400 box barrier for the first time in a few weeks, and the prices seen yesterday held firm with good signs of demand.  More saithe and whiting to be found today both selling reasonably well, with whiting showing real improvement as volumes landed decrease.  Hake today was ok for the largest sizes, but moving down the grades it becomes a real struggle.  A lot less monk and ling, and hardly any megrims, which after yesterday was no bad thing, as there is no sign of improvement, with the issues for these markets being compounded further by Irish landings hitting a market with no buyers.  
 
Sales into France still range from difficult to non-existent for processed product, and there are actual reports of the authorities conducting checks on retailers, fishmongers etc, to ensure imported products are not being offered for sale. One small wholesaler found with imported product has seemingly been ordered to close for 15 days as punishment by the local Mayor’s office.  
 
Vessels have now definitely began to stop for the 8 day tie up in May. Demersal vessels operational  = 66. Thanks To Bill McKenzie, Don Fishing Company for these excellent daily landings updates.

Support Local

Seafood Scotland have been working with Scotland Food & Drink on a new national directory Support Local to connect the public with businesses that can supply local, Scottish food and drink products directly to consumers. These businesses may be producers, manufacturers, wholesalers or may be retail and hospitality businesses that stock Scottish products and are now doing home delivery or click and collect. The directory went live today at www.supportlocal.scot for consumers.

Click here to get listed on the Support Local website.

We will continue to build up the directory listings each day. Please make sure you put as much information as you can on the page as this is your opportunity to talk the consumer. Let them know what products you are selling, how they can purchase them, if you do deliveries and when. Seafood Scotland will be promoting the seafood element of the website, encouraging consumers to use this tool and happy to promote these companies through social media.

Coronavirus Information Hub
Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses
Financial assistance 

Business help

Webinars & guides

Workforce

My World of Work Job Hub
In response to the Coronavirus pandemic Skills Development Scotland has developed the My World of Work Job Hub, a new free service, offering employers a way to advertise immediate job vacancies in Scotland.

 >> Find out more and upload your vacancies.

4th May​

MARKETS UPDATE

China

Update on food service
The private sector, which provides more than half of urban jobs, has seen widespread lay-offs, especially in retail, catering and other consumer-facing services. These occupations necessitate mass gatherings or direct physical contact, which were prohibited since the height of the epidemic. Some fine restaurants in big cities especially those targeting at expats tourists and higher-income consumers announced the closure of the store or suspension of the launching plan.  The local governments in tier 1 cities collaborate with department stores and chained stores within the industry to launch the safe-environment program, aiming to ensure the consistent monitoring of people movement, practice of hygiene and to boost the consumption in those physical stores. People are required to present their ‘safety QR code’ before entering the public building in Shanghai.

Update on retail
Retail sales in China shrank by 19% in the first quarter of 2020, as consumers were stuck in lockdown and the country’s stores were shuttered.  Shopping online growing as it provides efficient and time-saving alternative to urban citizens. However, more and more people are willing to go to the retail store or the fresh market to buy the daily groceries such as meats, fish and vegetables. People are still wearing their masks when going outside. It is not compulsory but as a result a habit now.

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour
We have seen the increased frequency of dine-out and gathering in public areas. The relaxation of the lockdown restriction and reopening of the facilities in service sectors including restaurants, parks and bars are positive signals to consumers. Beijing and a few other severely-hit provinces like Hubei province announced to lower down the crisis level from priority to medium. Governments at all levels introduced stimulation policies and plan to boost the domestic consumption. Take Shanghai for example, the local government announced a two-month shopping festival beginning on May 5th. The aim of the sales gala is to boost the city’s consumption back to pre-virus levels. There will be big discounts online and at physical stores. Ecommerce platforms such as Alibaba will also join this festival from online portal to offer discounts which will help Shanghai consumers save about 2 billion yuan ($282 million) during the festival.

Freight and logistics issues
International air-freight to China is still high at the moment. According to DataSalmon, cost-and-freight prices from Chile to Shanghai, China for head-on, 6 kilogram-and-up salmon fell 14% then 29% y-o-y in weeks 14 and 15 of 2020, to $9.00/kg and then $7.33/kg, respectively. Congestion at the major airport and ports are still serious though the travel restriction has been slightly lifted and number of flights are increased.

Hong Kong

Update on food service
The social distancing policy will be extended to 7th May 2020, all restaurants must comply with the following requirements: 1. Tables 1.5m apart or effectively partitioned 2. No more than 4 persons each table 3. Must wear masks in restaurants all the time except when eating/drinking 4. Screen body temperature before entering restaurants 5. Provide hand sanitiser to customers 6. Bars remain closed. 

Update on retail
Two Japanese supermarket chains (Sogo & Yata) have expanded their bi-annual promotions in their online shops and extended the promotion period from 2 weeks to more than a month. 

Feedback from buyers
One seafood importer commented though the price of air freight was increased yet it is important for them to keep their retail customers as they could not make much profit in food service channels these days.

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour
Keep buying online and food delivery. But more people go out for dining as new infection cases dropped to single digits since last week.

Freight and logistics issues
Quoted by one of the forwarders in HK, the price of shipping 1 pallet/1 tonne of chilled products by air from Glasgow/Edinburgh/London to HK is £2575.

Any other comments / challenges / opportunities
During 21-27April, there were totally 11 imported new Covid-19 cases, and zero local case. The HK government announced on 28 April that: • the majority of the civil servants who are currently working from home will return to the office starting May 4. • Public services will start returning to normal next Monday. • Libraries, museums, and outdoor venues of public facilities, such as sports grounds will reopen next Monday. • All other travelling restrictions remained unchanged.

Whitefish Landings & Market Update

Markets today Peterhead 12 boats/ 3873 boxes, Shetland 5 boats / 1197 boxes, Scrabster 3 boats / 454 boxes and KLB 1 boat / 269 boxes.  Total 21 boats /  5793 boxes.   Peterhead was well short of the 5000 box limit for the first Monday in several weeks, indicating the beginning of the slow down of the Rockall haddock fishery. Peterhead market today had 43 individual buyers in attendance, and while there are still a handful yet to return, we are getting close to seeing almost all back at the sale.
 
Very little whiting and saithe at Peterhead, with the auction almost evenly split between cod/haddock for domestic and monk/meg/ling for export.  The cod sale went as well as we’ve seen since March 24th, with all sizes performing reasonably strongly.  Better haddock grades (vast majority of haddock from the Rock) also still selling well, with even the smallest grades starting to show small signs of improvement from the Monday lows seen in weeks previous. Conversely,  Rockall monks and megrims did not sell well at all today,  with the rock monks being on average £1/kg less on the middle/retail sizes  than better yielding fish from the inshore grounds.  Rockall megrims were virtually unsellable, but demand for inshore megrims was reasonable, however the overall volume of megrims did take some heat out of that sale.  The ling sale is still a catastrophe with no improvement in sight.
 
Oversupply aside the Spanish market is now back up and running, and as they slowly ease themselves out of lockdown it’s expected to see a little more Italian trade beginning to come through this week.  There are concerns here though, as most exporting into Italy have aged debtor issues to some degree or another, and it’s not expected that all Italian wholesalers will reopen, with some choosing to wind up and/or go into administration.
 
Some whitefish vessels have already stopped for the 8 day tie up, and a few more ( mainly export orientated catchers) plan to stop this week after landing. Notable that a few more prawn vessels have put to sea, but it remains how many have converted over to whitefish and how many are feeding into what might be renewed demand from the processor based in Ireland. Demersal vessels operational at sea = 68. Thanks To Bill McKenzie, Don Fishing Company for these excellent daily landings updates.

Support Local

Seafood Scotland have been working with Scotland Food & Drink on a new national directory Support Local to connect the public with businesses that can supply local, Scottish food and drink products directly to consumers. These businesses may be producers, manufacturers, wholesalers or may be retail and hospitality businesses that stock Scottish products and are now doing home delivery or click and collect. The directory went live today at www.supportlocal.scot for consumers.

Click here to get listed on the Support Local website.

We will continue to build up the directory listings each day. Please make sure you put as much information as you can on the page as this is your opportunity to talk the consumer. Let them know what products you are selling, how they can purchase them, if you do deliveries and when. Seafood Scotland will be promoting the seafood element of the website, encouraging consumers to use this tool and happy to promote these companies through social media.
 

New Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund *Important Information*

The £45 million ‘Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund’ was launched on Thursday is a mechanism for SMEs, primarily aimed at those that haven’t been able to get significant grant funding so far. To qualify they need to be vital to their local or national economy, viable were it not for Covid-19 but currently in a vulnerable state. In short, the following criteria needs to be met:

  • Up to 249 employees that have been trading successfully prior to Covid-19 
  • Less than €50m turnover or balance sheet total of €43m
  • Can demonstrate funding will support business to be viable
  • Not in financial difficulty before 31th December 2019
  • Must have business bank account

**This fund has had a huge number of applicants and will close tomorrow – Tuesday 5 May at 5pm for consideration of applications** It is anticipated the fund will reopen next week for further applications but I would urge any businesses in severe hardship who has not accessed funding to get applications in before the first deadline. Application details here

Testing

There is still no news on the use of mobile testing facilities on the islands. If there are any of our businesses on the islands that need access to testing and cannot secure it through alternative routes, please let us know

Coronavirus Information Hub
Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses
Financial assistance 

Updates from 4 May

  • Applying for a Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan

Business help

Webinars & guides

Workforce

My World of Work Job Hub
In response to the Coronavirus pandemic Skills Development Scotland has developed the My World of Work Job Hub, a new free service, offering employers a way to advertise immediate job vacancies in Scotland.

 >> Find out more and upload your vacancies.

30th April​

The current situation with the export markets has changed very little over the past 24 hours, however there has been pressure applied to government from industry to help with the ongoing situation in France. Spain has put together a timetable of unlocking the country which should see food service starting to open up towards the end of May.  

Locally we see more smaller whitefish processors either starting back up or looking to start back up next week. There is around 60% of fish and chips shops now open and logistics are getting better. 

A large number of processors who have applied for the Scottish Seafood Resilience Fund have had applications approved and money paid into their bank accounts which will help support their fixed costs during this unprecedented time.

Whitefish Landings & Market Update

Today sees auctions in all main whitefish ports-  Peterhead 6 boats/3100 boxes, Shetland 5 boats/975 boxes, Scrabster 3 boats/645 boxes and KLB 1 boat/280 boxes . Total 15 boats/ 5000 boxes.
 
As the market clears the pre May Day holiday slow down there was a price improvement in some export species such as megrim and hake (larger/medium grades), but the uplift on smaller sizes has yet to be seen.  Ling and monk are still selling poorly , with only those trucking and having access to the “pseudo” French monk market able to buy.  Saithe, somehow remaining unaffected by French actions, sold reasonably well.
 
Domestic sales still showing signs of regaining strength with haddock selling well again and cod starting to show consistent signs of improvement too. Whiting was toiling yesterday, but today saw prices move up closer to viable levels, albeit still only average at best.

As we approach May it’s expected that the proposed tie up scheme will come into play at 00.00 hours on Monday May 4th.  Advice to skippers so far has been for those targeting export species to get the tie up  over with early in the month, and for those at the Rock to delay until closer to the end of the month.  Rationale being the export market requires a period of restricted supply to try and assist price structures to recover (and hopefully give a period of grace for the French situation to sort itself out), plus this time frame will also clear the public holidays still to come after May Day.  And for the Rock, the haddock will be switching off shortly so it’s as well to take the maximum benefit from this fishery, and narrow down the period of time between the Rock slowing down and the haddock coming back on in the North Sea in June. This should maintain continuity of supply as best we can. Noted that Fraserburgh harbour is somewhat emptier today, but as things stand demersal vessels operational still = 60. Thanks To Bill McKenzie, Don Fishing Company for these excellent daily landings updates.

Seafood Scotland are starting the first Supper Club this evening. This is a invite only virtual cookery class with chefs regionally from across Scotland, teaching the audience to cook with Seafood. Everyone will cook alongside the chef using local fishmonger delivery. Tonight will be in Edinburgh cooking a lemon sole recipe with influencers, bloggers along side invited guests with the chef Carina Contini, of Edinburgh’s Contini, The Scottish Café and Restaurant . This will be done via zoom and the recipe and demonstration will be put onto social media platforms and we are looking forward to sharing the event with you all tomorrow.

Support Local

Seafood Scotland have been working with Scotland Food & Drink on a new national directory Support Local to connect the public with businesses that can supply local, Scottish food and drink products directly to consumers. These businesses may be producers, manufacturers, wholesalers or may be retail and hospitality businesses that stock Scottish products and are now doing home delivery or click and collect. The directory went live today at www.supportlocal.scot for companies to register. This will go pushed out to consumers on Monday 4th May.

Click here to get listed on the Support Local website.

We will continue to build up the directory listings each day. Please make sure you put as much information as you can on the page as this is your opportunity to talk the consumer. Let them know what products you are selling, how they can purchase them, if you do deliveries and when. Seafood Scotland will be promoting the seafood element of the website, encouraging consumers to use this tool and happy to promote these companies through social media.
 

New grant funding opens for applications

Three new grant funds for businesses opened at lunchtime today. The most relevant for seafood businesses is likely to be the £45 million ‘Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund’. It is a mechanism for SMEs, primarily aimed at those that haven’t been able to get significant grant funding so far. To qualify they need to be vital to their local or national economy, viable were it not for Covid-19 but currently in a vulnerable state. In short, the following criteria needs to be met:

  • Up to 249 employees that have been trading successfully prior to Covid-19 
  • Less than €50m turnover or balance sheet total of €43m
  • Can demonstrate funding will support business to be viable
  • Not in financial difficulty before 31th December 2019
  • Must have business bank account

More information on evidence that would need to be submitted and the link to start your application is here.
 

Lockdown timetable – no imminent easing of restrictions

The First Minister has given a strong signal in today’s briefing that there is unlikely to be any significant change to lockdown when it is reviewed next week. It is due for its next formal review by Thursday 7 May. 

Coronavirus Information Hub
Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses
Financial assistance 

Updates from 30 April

  • Updated financial assistance table
  • Information about the £100 million grant package from the Scottish Government

Business help

Webinars & guides

Updates from 30 April

  • IRI Flash Report – w/e 25 April 2020

Workforce

My World of Work Job Hub
In response to the Coronavirus pandemic Skills Development Scotland has developed the My World of Work Job Hub, a new free service, offering employers a way to advertise immediate job vacancies in Scotland.

 >> Find out more and upload your vacancies.

29th April​

Whitefish Landings & Market Update

We saw the usual mid-week dip in supplies with Peterhead 10 boats / 2819 boxes and Shetland 3 boats / 797 boxes. Total 13 boats / 3616 boxes.
 
While there was less fish unfortunately this did nothing to increase export market demand and several species such as monk, ling and hake are continuing to sell poorly, with the latter two going for a pittance.  The French embargo of Scottish processed fish shows no sign of improvement, and supermarkets remain under pressure to market only produce labelled as “Product of France” on their counters. This is leaving the auction open to the truckers with little or no competition from those would normally purchase for processing.  This is obviously enraging the processors, as the whole fish moving into France is ultimately destined for supermarkets who would in normal circumstances be purchasing processed goods from them.  This situation would seem at odds with the embargo, but It does appear that Scottish fish is fine as long as it’s very cheap, cut by a French knife and most importantly of all, French fishermen don’t see it being delivered.  

On other export markets, post May Day, the Spanish market should improve so megrim would be expected to recover, but leading on from the French issue, Spain is seeing increased volumes of hake and prices may be suppressed for some time.  Some positive news from Spain, received word that Spanish bars and restaurants will be permitted to reopen on June 2nd at 50% capacity so some food service demand will return.
The domestic market continues to hold steady with reasonable demand on haddock and cod showing a small sign of improvement.  Word of more buyers dealing in the home market returning next week so hopefully the cod and haddock sale are now, allowing for circumstances, fairly settled. Demersal vessels operational at sea =  56 Auctions are due in Pd tomorrow, and expected in Shetland, Scrabster and possibly KLB. Thanks To Bill McKenzie, Don Fishing Company for these excellent daily landings updates.

Seafood Scotland Response to Market Situation

Seafood Scotland have been working hard to develop plans in place to try and work with our in-market specialists, Scottish Government and partners on the current international market situation and how a recovery plan can be put into place to resume exports.

Below is some of the immediate activity that is planned for Seafood Scotland to increase sales and consumption of Scottish Seafood locally and throughout the UK.

We have developed a UK campaign to promote Scottish seafood direct to consumers via radio and paid social media which will start next week. Scottish Government are in continued dialogue with the major retailers to push for fish counters to reopen and when this is successful we will look to ramp up this activity and promotion. 

SFS are starting a Supper Club tomorrow evening. This is a invite only virtual cookery class with chefs regionally from across Scotland, teaching the audience to cook with Seafood. Everyone will cook alongside the chef using local fishmonger delivery. Tomorrow will be in Edinburgh cooking a lemon sole recipe with influencers, bloggers along side and general public. This will be done via zoom and the recipe and demonstration will be put onto social media platforms after the event.

Chef Fishmonger Courses, while Scottish chefs are furloughed at home we are seizing the opportunity to teach them fishmonger skills, to encourage them to buy Scottish seafood for their menus once they are operational again. SFS will run 3 x 11/2 hour courses starting mid-May and will be hosted by CJ Jackson of Billingsgate School and high profile Scottish chefs who will demonstrate. We already have 30 interested chefs. This will start in 2 weeks time. 

We are supporting the Support Local hub with Scotland Food and Drink (further details below)  and have been working with seafood companies to have them included on this. We will also have a social media campaign to promote seafood companies on the directory when this launches to consumers on Monday.

Support Local

Seafood Scotland have been working with Scotland Food & Drink on a new national directory Support Local to connect the public with businesses that can supply local, Scottish food and drink products directly to consumers. These businesses may be producers, manufacturers, wholesalers or may be retail and hospitality businesses that stock Scottish products and are now doing home delivery or click and collect. The directory went live today at www.supportlocal.scot.

At the bottom of the home page is a form to fill in if you want to be listed on the directory. It is free and open to all. We will continue to build up the directory listings each day. Please make sure you put as much information as you can on the page as this is your opportunity to talk the consumer. Let them know what products you are selling, how they can purchase them, if you do deliveries and when. Seafood Scotland will be promoting the seafood element of the website, encouraging consumers to use this tool and happy to promote these companies through social media.

Face coverings vs face masks

This has been a significant issue today following the new advice from Scottish Government yesterday which recommended that the general public use a face covering if in confined public spaces, such as on public transport or in shops. The advice for using face masks in the workplace has not changed.

The full advice is available here, go to question 13 for businesses.

Testing of key workers

Testing has opened up to a broader range of individuals in England, including anyone working out of the home or over 65 if they are symptomatic. This remains a change in England only. It is under review in Scotland and we will likely hear more on Friday on any changes in Scotland. However, as things stand, home testing kits or drive-thru testing remains open to key workers in the food and drink sector if they are symptomatic. The new testing centre at Perth College will be open by tomorrow, supplementing centres in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Aberdeen.

There are 13 mobile testing units now available in Scotland. There is a particular issue on the Scottish islands, who are beyond the 90 minute maximum drive allowed to reach a test centre. We are likely to hear shortly on plans for mobile units to head to these communities.

Grant support

The £45 million Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund opens tomorrow for applications. We still don’t have the criteria nor application process to share, as this is obviously being put together at rapid pace. So we will share more info in tomorrow’s update

Coronavirus Information Hub
Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses
Financial assistance 

Updates from 29 April

  • Updated financial assistance table

Business help

Webinars & guides

Updates from 29 April

  • Grocery habits are changing – the latest report from Kantar

Workforce

My World of Work Job Hub
In response to the Coronavirus pandemic Skills Development Scotland has developed the My World of Work Job Hub, a new free service, offering employers a way to advertise immediate job vacancies in Scotland.

 >> Find out more and upload your vacancies.

28th April​

Markets

Positive signals from Spain for live shellfish this week which is most welcomed by companies and hope that this is an early sign of a turnaround in Spain. Whilst food service in Spain remains closed under lock down they are moving more towards restaurants delivering prepared food which is proving successful.

Whitefish Landings

Markets today as follows:  Peterhead 10 boats/ 3534 boxes, Shetland 5 boats / 947 boxes and KLB 1 boat / 565 boxes.  Total 16 boats / 5046 boxes, not including private sales.
 
Two weeks on from the Easter weekend and the market place has become increasingly difficult every day since, culminating in today’s auction where we saw some new lows for several species such as hake, ling, megrim and whiting. Only one species could be said to be generating any kind of competitive demand – haddock – and even this relies to some extent on restricting volumes to market especially for smaller grades.  Cod in low volumes is maintaining much the same level we’ve seen for the last week or so, and the truckers are still, for now, receiving orders for middle grades of monk for processing in France.  Today’s whitefish prices are somewhere in the range of 15-20% back on yesterday- and those seen yesterday were approx. 30% less on what would normally be considered acceptable.  Fish could now be considered to be half price – and this presupposes it actually sells, which in the case of some species/qualities it did not today.The continental holiday on Friday will be exacerbating the issue to some extent, but for many species the biggest problem is the French retail situation and the effective ban on imports. The Breton Fishermen’s Association have issued a press release which blames Scotland and Ireland for suppressing prices, but retailers are also accused of profiteering. Auctions expected throughout the rest of the week in PD and elsewhere. Boats operational at sea  = 60. Thanks To Bill McKenzie, Don Fishing Company for these excellent daily landings updates.

Support Local

Seafood Scotland have been working with Scotland Food & Drink on a new national directory Support Local to connect the public with businesses that can supply local, Scottish food and drink products directly to consumers. These businesses may be producers, manufacturers, wholesalers or may be retail and hospitality businesses that stock Scottish products and are now doing home delivery or click and collect. The directory went live today at www.supportlocal.scot.

At the bottom of the home page is a form to fill in if you want to be listed on the directory. It is free and open to all. We will continue to build up the directory listings each day. Please make sure you put as much information as you can on the page as this is your opportunity to talk the consumer. Let them know what products you are selling, how they can purchase them, if you do deliveries and when. Seafood Scotland will be promoting the seafood element of the website, encouraging consumers to use this tool and happy to promote these companies through social media.
 

Current EMFF Projects *Reminder*

Given the severe impact of the Covid 19 pandemic on the seafood supply chain, Scottish Government Ministers wish to understand the impacts on business & ability to undertake projects at present. If you have a project that is due to complete this year you will have received an email from Marine Scotland. It is very important that you respond to this email by the 6th May as failure to respond will result in the assumption the project will not go ahead. I am highlighting this as I know companies will have employees off self isolated or furloughed who may be responsible for correspondence with Marine Scotland. 

New financial support

A reminder that the new ‘bounce-back’ loans for SMEs (under 250 employees) open on Monday with the promise of a quick, two-page application and loans of up to £50,000 being delivered into bank accounts within 24 hours. Interest and repayment free for 12 months (this element may not be for fisheries companies) and will give further guidance once I receive  details

On grants, the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund from Scottish Government opens on Thursday. The £45 million fund will be managed by the enterprise agencies with a target to pay grants within 10 days of applications being submitted. The targets for support are businesses – across all sectors – that are viable, vital but vulnerable due to Covid-19 and have not been able to access other grant support. If you think you may fit this category, you should update your latest cashflow forecast now as it is likely to be one of the elements required to demonstrate the financial impact of the outbreak on your business.

We are aware of concerns around the slow payment of the existing Covid Small Business Grants in some local authority areas. This has been raised with Government and we should understand more this week on whether the process pace is consistent across Scotland or if there are particular challenges in some areas. The opening of the Covid small business grant scheme to multiple rateable properties within the same business is targeted for 5 May.

Testing

A new drive-thru testing centre is likely to open in Perth in the next 24 hours, supplementing the four sites already open in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness. The capacity at Scottish centres remains able to cope with demand and links to the testing registration portal are all on the SF&D Covid Hub. The demand for home, self-test kits remains significantly beyond the supply available however. Yesterday, all 10,000 available home tests were allocated within 45 minutes of the portal opening. The plan is to double availability to 20,000 tests by Thursday. However, realistically, the drive-thru facilities are the best option to aim for if you are a key worker, symptomatic and within a 90-minute drive of a test centre. 

Face coverings

At lunchtime, advice altered to the general public in Scotland on face coverings. The general public are now encouraged to wear a cloth, face covering (not a medical mask) if they are out and about in confined spaces, such as in shops or on public transport. The wearing of a cloth covering is not mandatory, it is not enforceable, it is a matter of personal choice. The advice on the wearing of masks in the workplace has not changed though.

Coronavirus Information Hub
Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses
Financial assistance 

Workforce

My World of Work Job Hub
In response to the Coronavirus pandemic Skills Development Scotland has developed the My World of Work Job Hub, a new free service, offering employers a way to advertise immediate job vacancies in Scotland.

 >> Find out more and upload your vacancies.

27th April​

Current EMFF Projects

Given the severe impact of the Covid 19 pandemic on the seafood supply chain, Scottish Government Ministers wish to understand the impacts on business & ability to undertake projects at present. If you have a project that is due to complete this year you will have received an email from Marine Scotland. It is very important that you respond to this email by the 6th May as failure to respond will result in the assumption the project will not go ahead. I am highlighting this as I know companies will have employees off self isolated or furloughed who may be responsible for correspondence with Marine Scotland. 

Whitefish Landings
On auction – Peterhead 15 boats/4800 boxes, Shetland 6 boats/1311 boxes,  Scrabster 2 boats/966 boxes and KLB 2 boats/400 boxes (majority landed KLB sold privately).  PD also had one Irish consignment of 239 boxes hake which we believe would have normally been sent to France.  Total boats landing for sale/intake today 25 for approx. 9000 boxes.
 
With the Rockall boats split up relatively evenly over the coming week, most sizes of Rockall haddock sold better than at this point last week, but the smallest size is still only clearing the sale at approx. 50ppkg – and with volume of Rockall fish available there is still no demand for poor yielding North Sea.
Some cod selling better today, but pricing by quality and size variation varies widely from shot to shot, and as per haddock the smallest grades are struggling down below £1/kg. Signs that whiting now beginning to toil too for smaller grades, however larger sizes are back in price also, but are still on the right side of viable- just.
 
On the export side the auction was a struggle with no sign of increased demand for any species, and some falling quite a way back from the close of last week . Two factors to this a. The continental May day holiday on Friday, and b.  increasing pressure upon French retailers to stock French produced product.
 
The issues caused by the Mayday holiday were entirely foreseen, and It came as no surprise that species such as megrim destined for the Spanish market did not sell well on auction.  Those species normally processed for the French market (and therefore on a much shorter logistical journey) had time on their side regards the holiday, but the political pressure being placed on French retailers to restrict product lines to “Product of France” only, is now being felt on auction as processors had to back off, leaving the field mainly clear for those trucking whole fish directly into processors based in Boulogne and Lorient. For now at least, the ire of French fishermen seems to be very species focused, with imported processed monk, ling, hake and skate being removed from retailers counters in the hope that this appeases (fishermen and government) and that their stores do not suffer any direct action.  The other concern is that French catchers are probably aware that some product being offered might be French processed, but not necessarily French caught, and it’s thought that the processing sector there could also come under the scrutiny of French catchers soon.
  
Auctions are expected in Peterhead all week, with overspill from today (5000 box limit) for PD tomorrow already. Thanks To Bill McKenzie, Don Fishing Company for these excellent daily landings updates.

Markets

The major updates for markets today is the situation in France breaching single market laws that Bill McKenzie has highlighted. It is a very concerning situation with pressure being applied to Scottish and UK Governments. Air freight options are still currently being looked at for a number of markets as logistics is also causing issues of getting product into countries due to the lack of passenger planes, however, the cost of this is proving prohibitive.

UK Food Service 

Still no major reopening of the food service market. More fish & chip shops across the UK are now reopening and work is currently underway by Scottish Seafood Association to co-ordinate some of the logistics companies to support this demand to ensure processors can meet their customers demands and has schedules for deliveries from a number of logistic companies. If you require these details please contact jimmy@scottishseafoodassociation

Promoting Local Sales

Seafood Scotland are keen to promote any initiatives to support local selling of Scottish Seafood online and  through social media. Please get in contact at enquiries@seafoodscotland.org to give us your details.

Funding

New Coronavirus Loans for small businesses

The ongoing problem with the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) has been partly addressed today with a welcome announcement from the Chancellor on a new loan scheme for small businesses. It is still a debt offer, not a grant, but a new scheme will open next Monday. It will be open to SMEs and will offer a maximum loan of £50,000 or 25% of turnover. Importantly, the form to apply will be simple (a two-pager, self-declaration) and money should appear in bank accounts within 24 hours. Importantly, these are 100% guaranteed by Government so the banks are simply the delivery mechanism; there will be no ongoing tests of business viability applied to applications. The loans are interest free for 12 months. 

Grant support

The Scottish Government’s £45 million Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund is expected to open later this week. We will share more details on the criteria and application process as soon as we have them. 

Testing

On Saturday, the Scottish Government opened up testing to key workers. This includes key workers in the food and drink supply chain. The testing is open to key workers and members of their household if they are symptomatic. Testing should be done within five days of first exhibiting symptoms – any longer and the reliability of the test is compromised.

There are two ways to get tested: by attending a drive-thru test centre or by requesting a self-testing kit at home. The latter option has been subject to higher demand than there is supply of home test kits. Today, the allocation was taken up within the first hour of the UK-wide website making them available. There are four drive-thru test centres in Scotland. They are at Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen airports and also on the campus at UHI in Inverness. All the details of how to access a test are available here.

Coronavirus Information Hub
Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses
Financial assistance 

Workforce

My World of Work Job Hub
In response to the Coronavirus pandemic Skills Development Scotland has developed the My World of Work Job Hub, a new free service, offering employers a way to advertise immediate job vacancies in Scotland.

 >> Find out more and upload your vacancies.

24th April​

Please find below the last update of the week. Apologies there was no update last night I had computer issues. I hope you all have a restful weekend.

Markets

Export Market
 

The export market is the major market for seafood companies. This market continues to remain decimated. Lockdown remains in the majority of markets that exports seafood.

USA

All 50 states are in emergency with 3-4 weeks of extended restrictions. There is a fear that between 20-30% of restaurants will not reopen in the same way or at all in the recovery phase. Most restaurant operators looking at June as the earliest opening for dining-in, with seating spaced out and other restrictions on menus and back of store operations. 

China

The seafood industry which mainly supplied to catering business, has been hugely impacted by the COVID-19 due to the closure of the business, lack of labour and fresh supplies. In order to mitigate the negative impact, some business swiftly readjust their business and expand the sales channel, for example to increase the online offering in the form of set-meals, and contactless take-away, to utilise the central kitchen to prepare ready meals to retailers such as O2O stores. March to June will be crucial to most of the catering business as the whole industry will go through a tough period of reshuffle and companies should adapt the new strategy and repositioning themselves via social media marketing.

UK Food Service 

Still no major reopening of the food service market. More fish & chip shops across the UK are now reopening and work is currently underway by Scottish Seafood Association to co-ordinate some of the logistics companies to support this demand to ensure processors can meet their customers demands and has schedules for deliveries from a number of logistic companies. If you require these details please contact jimmy@scottishseafoodassociation
 

Retail markets

Morrisons are trialing opening a small amount of fish counters and if they feel this complies with social distancing measures they will roll out the opening of more. This is a really positive step and work is ongoing to push other retailers to open their fish counters. Recent data released shows the like for like sales for loose fish in retailers has dropped by 69.58% against this time last year’s sales

Whitefish Landings
 

Week finishing quietly with Peterhead landing 4 boats/1308 boxes and Shetland 7 boats/938 boxes.  Total 11 boats for 2246 boxes. Across the two markets a generally good mix to be found, with haddock & monk both less prevalent.  Cod price strengthened a little today with some larger grades topping £3/kg for choices. There was evidence of some boats looking at alternative fisheries such as flats, but this is somewhat earlier than this fishery would usually be attempted and the plaice were small and still fairly thin, and prices achieved reflected the size and condition of the fish.The monk sale strengthened a little today, and while large and small are still weak, there was some evidence of increased demand for middle grades.  Buying power appeared to come more from truckers than processors with the whole fish purchases presumably being destined for France.  This was unexpected, as over the last 24 hours intel would suggest that heavy political pressure from the French fishing industry was now taking a stronger effect, with retailers canceling orders for imported product, and attempting to stock only French.  One monk processor reports a 90% reduction in his expected orders for today, and another smaller merchant is withdrawing from the French market for at least the next week.
 On the auctions it’s reported that Lorient is now refusing to sell anything other than French vessel landings, and Breton fishermen have already began patrolling the port looking for evidence of imports.  There are concerns of the same happening at the main logistical hub in Boulogne Sur Mer and this would have knock on effects even for product not destined for the French market place. 
 A large market is expected for PD Monday, but the Rockall vessel landings have now been restructured over the 1st half of the week, so hopefully the 5000 box limit will not be breeched. However,  this does assume that all vessels make their intentions known timeously, and do not arrive in port expecting the market to have capacity to accept their landing. Thanks To Bill McKenzie, Don Fishing Company for these excellent daily landings updates.

Promoting Local Sales

Seafood Scotland are keen to promote any initiatives to support local selling of Scottish Seafood online and  through social media. Please get in contact at enquiries@seafoodscotland.org to give us your details.

Funding

The Scottish Government has published more information on the £100 million grant scheme for the self-employed and SMEs. In short, it divides into three parts and the following 2 schemes may be applicable to companies who have been unable to access the other announced funds.

  1. £34 million for the newly self-employed (since April 2019). This will take the form of rapid access grants of £2,000 based on self-declared hardship, managed through local authorities.
  2. £45 million through a Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund. Again, managed by the enterprise companies for vulnerable SME firms vital to local/national economies.

All funds will open by 30 April with grants aimed to be paid within a fortnight of applications being submitted. We’ll share more information on the criteria and process when we have it.

The Scottish Seafood Business Resilience Fund closed for applications on Wednesday and companies are already starting to see payments being made into their bank accounts.
 

Social Distancing Measures Strengthened

The Scottish Government has enshrined the two metre, social distancing rule in regulations, stating that ‘all reasonable measures’ should be taken to ensure social distancing is in place. This means that enforcement action could be taken against businesses that are deemed not to be implementing appropriate measures.  You can find the official press release here 

I would encourage employers to ensure that they take all reasonable measures to comply with social distancing where possible, and to put procedures in place, ensuring that these procedures are communicated and understood by all employees.

Key Worker tests

The Scottish Government today announced that key workers and their families will be able to access corona virus testing. Find the announcement here and full details to follow.

Reminder

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is now open for claims. The aim is to start paying money into businesses by the end of April.  A reminder too, that the scheme has been extended to cover 80% of the wages of furloughed up until the end of June (originally only extended to May). You can submit a claim here.

Coronavirus Information Hub
Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses
Financial assistance 

Workforce

My World of Work Job Hub
In response to the Coronavirus pandemic Skills Development Scotland has developed the My World of Work Job Hub, a new free service, offering employers a way to advertise immediate job vacancies in Scotland.

 >> Find out more and upload your vacancies.

22nd April​

Markets

Export Market
 

The export market is the major market for seafood companies. This market continues to remain decimated. Lockdown remains in the majority of markets that exports seafood.

  • France – Lockdown will continue until at least the 11 May. Restaurants and bars will not reopen then and no date has been set for reopening. 7% of French consumers have started using e-retailing websites for food orders for the first time and 6 out of 10 customers have said they plan on maintaining their e-retailing habits after the crisis.Platforms who are listing direct sellers are booming. Eating local and supporting the industry is priority for customers at this moment. They are uncertain if this will continue after the crisis. Seafood volumes are starting to increase a little with some of the French supermarkets buying volumes again – scapmaree, casino, carrefour for example.
     
  • Italy – Lockdown extended to 3 May. Italy’s MFA looking to support “made in Italy” export stimulus plan with more than 150 businesses and associations coming together. Pressure coming from association to allow takeaway services to start up.
  • Spain – The Spanish government looking at a phased return to normality with restaurants and bar openings with restrictions being in phase 4 with a current timeline of 25th May until end of June

UK Food Service 

Still no major reopening of the food service market. More fish & chip shops across the UK are now reopening and work is currently underway by SSA to co-ordinate some of the logistics companies to support this demand to ensure processors can meet their customers demands.

Retail markets

After the panic buying, retailers have seen sales drop whilst people eat there way through their stockpile of goods. Processors supplying into retail outlets have faced challenges supporting these sales through reduced sku’s, staff illness through self-isolation and putting into place social distancing measures. Fish counters remain closed in the majority of the retail outlets and retailers are being pressed to open these counters as soon as possible.

Whitefish Landings

Auctions generally lighter today, as they have been mid-week for the last few weeks.  Peterhead 6 boats/940 boxes, Shetland 3 boats/1045 boxes and KLB 1 boat/120 boxes.
 
For Peterhead the decision was taken to split one Rockall pair team between today’s auction and tomorrow, and sell more of the smaller grades privately.  It was generally considered that after the larger volumes of haddock hitting auction Monday and Tuesday, that an already dangerously oversupplied market was close to failing,  and that some processors needed space to clear their feet.   From today’s haddock market outcome this would appear to have worked, but we won’t have certainty until tomorrow.
 
While there was less monk today this market is pretty dire. It would appear that monk tails are now making less delivered into France than whole fish was making at the point of 1st sale little over a week ago. Given the unprecedented monk price volatility, the French multiples are apprehensive about engaging in longer term discussions on shifting volume through in store promotions and some multiples are trying to increase throughput of French caught fish – hence current demand for saithe.
 
Peterhead for tomorrow will be a slightly larger affair with Rockall & North sea haddock, monk, whiting, hake, megrim and saithe available.   Outwith monk, and to somewhat lesser extent haddock, most of these species are still maintaining reasonable demand.  Shetland has 4 vessels reported for tomorrow’s auction. Number of vessels operational at sea =  77. Thanks To Bill McKenzie, Don Fishing Company for these excellent daily landings updates.

Promoting Local Sales

Seafood Scotland are keen to promote any initiatives to support local selling of Scottish Seafood online and  through social media. Please get in contact at enquiries@seafoodscotland.org to give us your details.

Funding

The Scottish Government has published more information on the £100 million grant scheme for the self-employed and SMEs. In short, it divides into three parts and the following 2 schemes may be applicable to companies who have been unable to access the other announced funds.

  1. £34 million for the newly self-employed (since April 2019). This will take the form of rapid access grants of £2,000 based on self-declared hardship, managed through local authorities.
  2. £45 million through a Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund. Again, managed by the enterprise companies for vulnerable SME firms vital to local/national economies.

All funds will open by 30 April with grants aimed to be paid within a fortnight of applications being submitted. We’ll share more information on the criteria and process when we have it.
 

Social Distancing Measures Strengthened

The Scottish Government has enshrined the two metre, social distancing rule in regulations, stating that ‘all reasonable measures’ should be taken to ensure social distancing is in place. This means that enforcement action could be taken against businesses that are deemed not to be implementing appropriate measures.  You can find the official press release here 

Reminder

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is now open for claims. The aim is to start paying money into businesses by the end of April.  A reminder too, that the scheme has been extended to cover 80% of the wages of furloughed up until the end of June (originally only extended to May). You can submit a claim here.

Coronavirus Information Hub
Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses
Financial assistance 

Updates from 22 April:

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme FAQs from affiliate member Greenburn.

£100 million fund to support the self-employed and SMEs.

Workforce

My World of Work Job Hub
In response to the Coronavirus pandemic Skills Development Scotland has developed the My World of Work Job Hub, a new free service, offering employers a way to advertise immediate job vacancies in Scotland.

 >> Find out more and upload your vacancies.

21st April​

Landings

Overall landings are back a little on yesterday Peterhead 13 boats/4130 boxes, Shetland 4 boats/1038 boxes and there will be 471 boxes in KLB later this evening from 1 boat.  Total vessels landing for today totalling 18 for 5639 boxes across all auctions.

While Peterhead had a smaller auction today it was, compared to yesterday,  probably a better overall mix of species, with more whiting and less monk and small haddock, however the market for both monk and the smallest grade of haddock remains absolutely dire with the prices for these falling again today.

With monkfish on the grounds prolific, the French market in a state of confused freefall, and the Italian market (smaller grades) and German market (larger grades) all but closed off, it is highly unlikely that the price of monk will recover beyond current levels in the short term.  The small haddock issue is to some extent exacerbated by a lack of processing capacity, as the majority of businesses that would traditionally handle this size remain closed with staff on furlough.   The majority of the Rockall fleet has now been asked to work on a restricted fishing schedule, delaying sailings where necessary, to best facilitate the production capabilities of the processors currently open to intake.

Some species/grades are still finding a reasonable market price level, mainly larger grades haddock, megrim, saithe and whiting. Cod is still around where it was, and ling is again well below £1/kg.  Quality is key for generating a viable return at the point of sale, as poorer fish are being avoided and disregarded by the main buyers.  Peterhead will have auctions tomorrow and Thursday, and Shetland has three vessels notified for tomorrow.

After today’s landings the current estimate of demersal vessels operational is 75.

Promoting Local Sales

Seafood Scotland are keen to promote any initiatives to support local selling of Scottish Seafood online and  through social media. Please get in contact at enquiries@seafoodscotland.org to give us your details.

Funding

The Scottish Seafood Business Resilience Fund for the processing sector deadline has been extended for 48 hours given the tight turnaround required with Easter Monday taken into account. The amended deadline is Wednesday 22nd April 2020. Application details can be found here

Scottish Government have also announced a :

  • £3m fund for Aquaculture. This fund will be for shellfish growers and trout farms and further information can be found here
  • A Sea fisheries Hardship Fund tranche 2 for shellfish vessels over 12 m in length, further information can be found here 

We’re expecting to hear tomorrow more information from the Scottish Government on the £100 million fund for SMEs affected financially by the outbreak. The package is likely to include specific hardship grants for the newly self-employed, and a fund for wider businesses that have suffered lost revenue and can’t access other support. This should fill a void for anyone who cannot access any of the above funding. The various elements of the £100M fund will be delivered by the enterprise agencies and local authorities. The plan is that the funds will open for applications on 30 April with grants paid 10 – 14 days from an application being submitted. We’ll share more detail in tomorrow’s update and via social media as the information emerges. 

Social Distancing Measures Strengthened

The Scottish Government has enshrined the two metre, social distancing rule in regulations, stating that ‘all reasonable measures’ should be taken to ensure social distancing is in place. This means that enforcement action could be taken against businesses that are deemed not to be implementing appropriate measures.  You can find the official press release here 

Reminder

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is now open for claims. The aim is to start paying money into businesses by the end of April.  A reminder too, that the scheme has been extended to cover 80% of the wages of furloughed up until the end of June (originally only extended to May). You can submit a claim here.

Coronavirus Information Hub
Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses
Financial assistance 
Updates from 20 April:

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme online portal goes live and set to be extended to the end of June.

Webinars & guides
Updates from 20 April:

  • Key findings from IRI, including a UK COVID- 19 Flash Report and details on Range and Recession Trends.
  • Striking the right tone during Coronavirus with FDFS.

Workforce

20th April​

Landings

Today saw the most fish offered for sale since the UK’s lockdown was first announced 4 weeks ago today.   Peterhead saw 14 boats/5000 boxes (the current socially distanced max for PD auction), Shetland 5 boats/1232 boxes, Scrabster 3 boats/937 boxes, KLB 2 boats/743 boxes. It’s estimated 2 vessels landed all privately, and a further 3 sold the majority of their catch privately leaving balances on auction.  All told approx. 26 boats landed over course of the weekend for intake/sale today.
 
The poor price outcome for some species/grades on Peterhead auction today reflected the larger volumes being offered for sale, especially for already fragile markets such as monk (rockall monk especially poor dropping a little below £2/kg)  and the smallest grade of haddock struggling to hit 50p/kg.  Some species/grades still holding up relatively well (larger haddock grades, whiting, saithe, megrim), if somewhat back on the close of last week.  Cod showing signs that demand is a little better, but the volume hitting the market is still very low, and given the fragility of the market place it would be better for all concerned if it remained that way.
 
Peterhead market will have rockall fish tomorrow and Wednesday, and it’s expected other vessels will fall into place for landing over the next 48 hours.
 
The number of demersal vessels now operational is approx. 80.

Promoting Local Sales

Seafood Scotland are keen to promote any initiatives to support local selling of Scottish Seafood online and  through social media. Please get in contact at enquiries@seafoodscotland.org to give us your details.

Funding

The Scottish Seafood Business Resilience Fund for the processing sector deadline has been extended for 48 hours given the tight turnaround required with Easter Monday taken into account. Application details can be found here

Scottish Government has announced a :

  • £3m fund for Aquaculture. This fund will be for shellfish growers and trout farms and further information can be found here
  • A Sea fisheries Hardship Fund tranche 2 for shellfish vessels over 12 m in length, further information can be found here 

Today’s big news has been the opening of the claim process for furloughed workers. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme opened up for claims this morning. The aim is to start paying money into businesses by the end of April. We understand there have been tens of thousands of claims submitted in the first few hours so we will learn quickly how the new system copes with processing them all. A reminder too, that the scheme has been extended to cover 80% of the wages of furloughed up until the end of June (originally only extended to May). You can submit a claim here.

In other developments, we expect more information shortly from the Scottish Government on the £100 million SME grant fund. This is aimed at businesses that have been unable to access other grant support. We’ll share information on the criteria and grant levels as soon as we have it. 

On commercial access to Coronavirus testing, we are also expecting an announcement in the coming days from the UK Government on providing access to the antigen test for critical workers. That obviously means a focus on NHS and healthcare workers but could also mean the wider group of workers involved in critical national infrastructure, such as food supply. Details are still being worked on, but it is expected that employees could access the test either at home or possibly at a testing centre. It is important to note again that the antigen test will determine if an individual has Coronavirus at the point of being tested. It can’t determine if the individual has had the virus previously and developed immunity. A future antibody test will be able to do that and it could be a critically important tool to unwinding restrictions. However, as yet there is no verified test, nor timetable for it being available to businesses and their workforce.

Coronavirus Information Hub
Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses
Financial assistance 
Updates from 20 April:

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme online portal goes live and set to be extended to the end of June.

Webinars & guides
Updates from 20 April:

  • Key findings from IRI, including a UK COVID- 19 Flash Report and details on Range and Recession Trends.
  • Striking the right tone during Coronavirus with FDFS.

Workforce

16th April​

As we know Applications are now open for the Scottish Seafood Business Resilience Fund. This fund it open to all Seafood Processing companies. The application form can be found here. Deadline for Applications is the end of the day Monday 20th April.

Some feedback from Marine Scotland on initial applications that have came in – and to be fair these applications were submitted before the webinar and further guidance came out.

  • Box 1 needs a little narrative around your circumstances, just one line isn’t enough. 
  • Box 2 needs to have your fixed costs listed – it cannot just say please see attached accounts. Your grant is to cover your fixed costs (capped at turnover percentage) so you need to put in here what these are for calculating the award. 
  • Sign the state aid declaration even if you haven’t had any other funding
  • You must submit ID – a driving licence or passport
  • You must submit your applications in a readable format – PDFs, Word or Excel

Having completed applications in the correct format will speed up the payment process. Seafood Scotland have drawn up a mock application and have a FAQ / Guidance document – please let me know if you would like a copy.

Scottish Government has announced a £3m fund for Aquaculture. This fund will be for shellfish growers and trout farms and further information can be found here.
 

There is positive news on Coronavirus Job Retention (Furlough) Scheme to update you on today.

The UK Government has announced that employers can now claim for furloughed employees that were employed and, on their PAYE payroll, on or before 19 March 2020. This is a welcomed extension from the original 28 February cut-off date. Further confirmation also issued is that furlough is not limited to those employees who would otherwise be made redundant. This means that businesses which are functioning normally, or are in the category of key businesses, can furlough employees who are shielding or who have childcare responsibilities. The HMRC online portal is expected to launch on Monday 20 April. More information on the details of the scheme can be found here.

There were 2 significant funding announcements from the Scottish Government. A £120 million extension to the small business grant scheme that allows eligible businesses to make a grant claim for each property in their business (75% for additional premises). A £100 million fund for the self-employed and micro/SME businesses that may have fallen between the gaps of other support measures.

Coronavirus Information Hub

Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses
Financial assistance 
Updates from 16 April:

  • Seafood processors can now apply for support through the new £10 million Scottish Seafood Business Resilience Fund
  • Coastal businesses and third sector organisations affected by Covid-19 can now benefit from a £7.2 million Scottish Crown Estate fund which is devolved to councils
  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme information and useful webinar
  • Notice period for commercial leases extended from 14 days to 14 weeks

Business help
Updates from 16 April:

  • Changes to exporters processing license applications during Coronavirus. New interim measures are now in place to help manage license applications during Coronavirus.

Webinars & guides
Workforce
Adapting your workplace
Key workers
Recruitent

14th April​

Applications are now open for the Scottish Seafood Business Resilience Fund. This fund it opening to all Seafood Processing companies. The application form can be found here. Deadline for Applications is Monday 20th April.

We know that a number of you have questions on how to fill in the form and we are pulling together a Frequently Asked Questions guide that we will issue tomorrow but we are also holding a webinar tomorrow – Wednesday 15 April at 3pm to go over the application form and answer anyone’s questions. You will be able to watch us explain the form and also submit anonymous questions via a text box. You will not be on camera at any point and no question is a daft question. We will not be announcing who has asked the questions either so please participate. the link to register for the webinar is here  https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_9TOi8M5bSfSJvURRcW04jg

The latest news on the furlough scheme is that, subject to successful testing, the portal for companies to apply for funding for furloughed workers will open on 20 April. All being well, money should flow into businesses from 30 April with HMRC aiming for a quick turnaround of applications. Obviously, these are all brand new systems needing built and tested extremely quickly, so there may well be delays to this timetable but it gives you some idea of the targets being worked to. More clarification on the furlough scheme – including what information businesses will need to provide to claim, clarification on maternity/paternity leave, issues with contractors etc – has been published. The latest guidance is here.

Scotland Food & Drink Update

We are going to restructure the daily update. Now that our Coronavirus Information Hub is live on the Scotland Food & Drink website, please use it as the central gateway to the latest information. You’ll find the hub here.

The current national lockdown expires on Thursday. The speculation is that UK Government, supported by devolved nations, will announce a further three week extension to the current restrictions. However, don’t make any operational decisions on that until it is confirmed, but you can at least factor it into your planning work.

On haulage and logistics issues, Seafood Scotland has had reports of disruption in haulage capacity affecting the seafood sector. Again, any information on issues affecting other sectors should be fed in via info@foodanddrink.scot

The current derogation on EU drivers hours legislation is due to expire but it is hoped that an extension will be granted, allowing greater flexibility for a crucial supply chain link that has much reduced capacity just now.

We have had a number of businesses submit further evidence of financial hardship and business impact in recent days. The difference in grant support north and south of the border for businesses with retail outlets is also being raised. This feedback from our membership is hugely valuable and we are feeding it into government to shape future support decisions.  So, please keep this information coming.

  • Seafood processors can now apply for support through the new £10 million Scottish Seafood Business Resilience Fund
  • Coastal businesses and third sector organisations affected by Covid-19 can now benefit from a £7.2 million Scottish Crown Estate fund which is devolved to councils
  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme information and useful webinar
  • Notice period for commercial leases extended from 14 days to 14 weeks

Business help

Updates from 14 April:

  • Changes to exporters processing license applications during Coronavirus. New interim measures are now in place to help manage license applications during Coronavirus.

Coronavirus Information Hub

Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses

Financial assistance

Updates from 14 April:

Webinars & guides

Workforce

9th April​

Landings

Between auction and private sales today has possibly seen the most fish offered to all for two weeks.we had 1200 boxes on PD auction. Scrabster has 2 boats for 365 boxes and Shetland has 5 boats for 654 boxes.  PD prices have held firm at a high level, and it’s difficult to identify a species for which there is no current demand.

Expectation is of a similar sized market on Peterhead tomorrow, but this may increase yet depending on whether or not boats which left earlier this week manage to get back in for tomorrow or take advantage of good weather over the weekend.  Four boats are already definite for Monday (two pairs- 1 from Rock and the other expected which is targeting saithe) and a further Rockall landing is notified for delivery/auction Tuesday. 

Market intelligence suggests that French demand will take a downturn next week.  The retailers will be closed on Monday so this in itself would have an effect, but with more vessels landing into the post Easter market it would be expected that the monk price will come back. Fillets into France may buck that trend if the buyer is looking for a cheaper option, but it may be that ling and coley drop off too, however this may depend on French vessel activity.  Spain looking slightly more optimistic with demand remaining firm for megrim and hake. Spain is seeing very little in terms of hake imports from Namibia and elsewhere so demand for this species could be expected to grow further after the holiday weekend.

Domestically we have still to really test the market on cod, but small amounts are selling relatively well.  The home market for larger sizes of haddock fillet still looking remarkably good, but much will depend on volume not breaching demand next week.

I have an international market report for this week and will send this out separately to the industry.

As we head into the Easter weekend I would like to wish everyone a restful weekend and the daily update will return on Tuesday.

Scotland Food & Drink Update

In terms of the latest news, workforce absence levels appear steady at around 10-15% of the workforce. Indeed, there are some reports of improvement.

This good news is tempered by growing concern over the financial health of many businesses, in particular cashflow concerns. The slowing of retail sales is exacerbating the effective closure of hospitality and many export markets. We are building up specific company examples to illustrate the impact of market closures and other disruption (including examples of unpaid invoices by customers). This will be a crucial part of the discussions next week with Government on further interventions to support businesses. Please share your own examples via info@foodanddrink.scot.

The delivery of UK Government-backed Business Interruption Loans remains extremely low. We understand there have been around 300,000 applications with only around 2,000 approved thus far (0.65%). 

There is close monitoring of the whole food and drink supply chain ongoing. Farmers are feeling the impact of major disruption to the dairy market as well as concerns rising across the red meat sector. The main fish markets are more volatile than usual too in terms of both prices and the amount of fish being landed day-to-day. The haulage sector remains under enormous pressure with at least a third of drivers now furloughed. Any disruption to logistics should also be reported to us. The current consumer shift more towards convenience outlets, away from multiple retail, is also causing some challenges in terms of normal supply chains.

Discussions continue between our industry partners and Scottish Government around consumer messaging on supporting local produce, with a number of initiatives already in development by Quality Meat Scotland and Seafood Scotland amongst others.

Furlough letter template and webinars from Acas
Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) has produced a free-to-download furlough letter template for employers to use to confirm that there is an agreement to temporarily furlough a worker or employee. Download here
There is also an upcoming webinar – Coronavirus: an advisory webinar for employers – on Thursday 16th April which will provide practical advice for employers to help manage the impact of Coronavirus in the workplace. Register here 

Temporary relaxation of drivers’ hours rules: all sectors carriage of goods by road
In response to unprecedented pressures on local and national supply chains, the Department for Transport has introduced a temporary and limited urgent relaxation of the enforcement of EU and GB drivers’ hours rules in England, Scotland and Wales. Click here for details.

Letter of support for the Aquaculture industry
Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing has paid tribute to Scotland’s aquaculture sector for keeping UK supermarkets stocked with fresh salmon, trout and shellfish. Mr Ewing’s letter acknowledges the many barriers that the Coronavirus outbreak has placed in the sector’s way and the importance of aquaculture.

Coronavirus information hub 
Scotland Food & Drink has created an online Coronavirus hub that pulls together all of the updates, information, support and advice we’ve issued in these daily updates over the last few weeks. We’ll be updating it daily and will be a central gateway to the most up to date information. Click here to visit the hub. ​

Social distancing guidance for businesses in Scotland 
The revised guidance from the Scottish Government sets out all business workplaces that are not being specifically required to close should consider it imperative that they keep open only those premises or parts of premises that are truly critical or essential to the national and international Covid-19 effort.
Guidance from Food Standards Scotland: COVID-19 –  Food Business operators and their employees
This guidance has been developed to supplement generic guidance for consumers and food businesses which has been published by Food Standards Scotland and on the Gov.uk website. To access this important new guidance please click here.

Coronavirus Business Toolbox

Letters and employee briefings

Travel to work pro-forma letter, word version template, click here.
Childcare Request pro-forma letter, word version template, click  here.
Employee social distancing briefing example, click here.

Guidance and tips

Social distancing best practice tips, click here.
Food Standards Scotland social distancing guidance click here

Business Support Measures

Overview, key links and application status update on food and drink relevant financial support measures can now be found here. 
Business Gateway is releasing webinars across Scotland to help businesses through COVID-19.  Topics range across such as staffing issues, managing business debts, government funding and rates relief. To find out more and to register, please click here.  

Redundancy Support Service

The Scottish Government has enhanced its support service for those made redundant as a result of COVID-19.  Advice is available at redundancyscotland.co.uk or by calling 0800 917 8000.

Recruitment

Skills Development Scotland has developed the My World of Work Job Hub, a new free service, offering employers a way to advertise immediate job vacancies in Scotland during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Find out more and upload your vacancies.
Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal have launched a jobs portal for all essential businesses based in Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian, West Lothian, Fife or the Scottish Borders, looking to recruit urgently to respond to high demands as a result of COVID-19. Click here to access the portal.

Public health advice

Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus. Do not meet others outside your household, even friends and family. This includes people of all ages – even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions.
You can only leave your home:

  • to shop for basic essentials – only when you really need to
  • to do one form of exercise a day – such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
  • for any medical need – for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
  • to travel to and from work – but only where this is absolutely necessary

NHS asks people to share their coronavirus symptoms to help others

A new Coronavirus Status Checker that will help the NHS coordinate its response and build up additional data on the COVID-19 outbreak has been launched on Friday by Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock.
People with potential coronavirus symptoms are now being asked to complete the status checker and answer a short series of questions which will tell the NHS about their experience.
 
Health advice 
For people showing symptoms suggestive of coronavirus the UK Government is stressing the importance of seeking help online by using the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.
What to do if you have coronavirus symptoms
Continue to stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.
If you have coronavirus symptoms and need help, from now on you should dial 111, not your GP. You only need to call 111 if your symptoms worsen and are unmanageable, or do not improve after 7 days.

8th April​

Seafood Scotland have been developing plans over the past 2 weeks with industry to see how we can promote Scottish Seafood locally and nationally and plans are being finalised to put this into action. We are keen to get more seafood into retail and are working hard to make this happen and also to promote local outlets and suppliers. 

I am keen to get an update from the processing sector on the current situation regarding production and requirements. The fleet need to understand the requirements moving forward and recognise that the fleet at present need to be demand led. Can you let me know the following:

  •  Are you still operating?
  • Are you remaining closed?
  • Are you planning to open once your furloughed staff can return?
  • What species and what volumes do you require on a daily basis?
  • Do you have any staffing requirements?
  • Are your customers reopening / ordering more?
  • Do you have any logistical issues getting to your customers?

The more information you can give me will help get a good understanding of not only landing requirements but also business support. 

Scotland Food & Drink Update
Some of the discussions with Government and other business organisations earlier today focused on the rollout of the business support measures. Around 2000 business interruption loans across the UK have been approved but we know it remains an unappealing option for a lot of our food and drink businesses. 

HMRC continues to work on the portal that will manage payments for furloughed staff. Some reports were suggesting that funding might not reach businesses until June (exacerbating cashflow problems in the meantime). The latest information suggests a quicker timescale but we should know more over the next fortnight. We’re pushing for clarity from UK Government as soon as possible.
We now have a dedicated contact point within Police Scotland to feed in any enforcement issues our businesses face, particularly in relation to the movement of essential workers. So share any issues with us. The police have confirmed that they don’t expect staff that are travelling to be carrying permission notes/approval letters, however they can be helpful. 
We understand overall grocery sales in the UK were down again last week, compared to the same week last year. That is now two straight weeks of lower retail sales year-on-year as the shadow cast by earlier stockpiling continues, alongside fewer shopping trips being made. We’re stressing the increased financial impact this is having on businesses already hit by the collapse of large parts of the foodservice and export market. 
 
The Prince’s Trust and NatWest Enterprise Relief Fund 
The Prince’s Trust and NatWest have launched a £5million fund to help young entrepreneurs across the UK to keep their businesses afloat during the coronavirus crisis.
The fund is available to entrepreneurs aged 18-30, who can apply for grants and tailored support to maintain core business operations during the crisis, as well as meet any existing financial commitments, such as paying for essential equipment or settling invoices from suppliers.
To be eligible, businesses must have started up in the last four years and be run by someone aged 18 to 30. To apply for funding and support from The Prince’s Trust and NatWest Enterprise Relief Fund, click here.

Covid-19: How borrowers can manage the impact on their financing arrangements
In these uncertain times, borrowers will need to consider the impact of the pandemic on their existing funding arrangements in order to keep businesses viable as a going concern and to ensure that businesses are in the best position to return to normal post-pandemic.
Brodies LLP outline some practical steps borrowers should consider taking to manage the impact of the pandemic on their existing financing arrangements, and some logistical considerations for new facilities or facility amendments.
Read the article.

Social distancing guidance for businesses in Scotland 
The revised guidance from the Scottish Government sets out all business workplaces that are not being specifically required to close should consider it imperative that they keep open only those premises or parts of premises that are truly critical or essential to the national and international Covid-19 effort.
Guidance from Food Standards Scotland: COVID-19 –  Food Business operators and their employees
This guidance has been developed to supplement generic guidance for consumers and food businesses which has been published by Food Standards Scotland and on the Gov.uk websiteTo access this important new guidance please click here.

Coronavirus Business Toolbox

Letters and employee briefings

Travel to work pro-forma letter, word version template, click here.
Childcare Request pro-forma letter, word version template, click  here.
Employee social distancing briefing example, click here.

Guidance and tips

Social distancing best practice tips, click here.
Food Standards Scotland social distancing guidance click here

Business Support Measures

Overview, key links and application status update on food and drink relevant financial support measures can now be found here. 
Business Gateway is releasing webinars across Scotland to help businesses through COVID-19.  Topics range across such as staffing issues, managing business debts, government funding and rates relief. To find out more and to register, please click here.  

Redundancy Support Service

The Scottish Government has enhanced its support service for those made redundant as a result of COVID-19.  Advice is available at redundancyscotland.co.uk or by calling 0800 917 8000.

Recruitment

Skills Development Scotland has developed the My World of Work Job Hub, a new free service, offering employers a way to advertise immediate job vacancies in Scotland during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Find out more and upload your vacancies.
Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal have launched a jobs portal for all essential businesses based in Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian, West Lothian, Fife or the Scottish Borders, looking to recruit urgently to respond to high demands as a result of COVID-19. Click here to access the portal.

Business help
The findbusinesssupport.gov.scot website is the best way to find the information you need in relation to Coronavirus (24/7). 
Sign up for email updates from the Scottish Government on Coronavirus guidance and advice for businesses in Scotland here.        
If you can’t find the information you’re looking for on the site above, call the business helpline number on 0300 303 0660
 
Public health advice
Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus. Do not meet others outside your household, even friends and family. This includes people of all ages – even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions.
You can only leave your home:

  • to shop for basic essentials – only when you really need to
  • to do one form of exercise a day – such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
  • for any medical need – for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
  • to travel to and from work – but only where this is absolutely necessary

NHS asks people to share their coronavirus symptoms to help others

A new Coronavirus Status Checker that will help the NHS coordinate its response and build up additional data on the COVID-19 outbreak has been launched on Friday by Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock.
People with potential coronavirus symptoms are now being asked to complete the status checker and answer a short series of questions which will tell the NHS about their experience.
 
Health advice
For people showing symptoms suggestive of coronavirus the UK Government is stressing the importance of seeking help online by using the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.
What to do if you have coronavirus symptoms
Continue to stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.
If you have coronavirus symptoms and need help, from now on you should dial 111, not your GP. You only need to call 111 if your symptoms worsen and are unmanageable, or do not improve after 7 days.

6th April​

£10 million assistance for processing businesses during Covid-19 pressures
Financial support for seafood processors to help them through economic pressures related to COVID-19 will be available through a new £10 million scheme.
The Scottish Seafood Business Resilience Fund provides a combination of grants and loans to businesses suffering severe hardship following the shutdown of international markets and the food service industry across the UK. As soon as full application and criteria details are published I will send these out to the sector.
Read the full announcement here

Seafood Scotland FAQs

Can seafood companies apply for the Business Loan Interruption Scheme? – yes ithe scheme has been revised and seafood companies are eligible to apply for this support, there are restrictions for fisheries surrounding the interest and fee payment support only.

Can I continue fishing if I still retain a handful of customers and I have received funding under the Fisheries £5m grant scheme for 12 metres length and under? – yes you can still operate while receiving funds.

I will update FAQ’s as they occur.

UK Export Finance to offer export insurance in all major markets in response to Coronavirus 
UK Export Finance has today announced it is expanding the scope of its Export Insurance Policy (EXIP) to cover transactions with the EU, Australia, Canada, Iceland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and the USA with immediate effect.
UKEF will help companies concerned about the impact of Coronavirus to export with confidence, by offering insurance that can cover up to 95% of the value of an export contract. The insurance will protect against the risk of non-payment should UK exporters’ customers become insolvent or their government actions make fulfilling the contract impossible.

Scotland Food & Drink Update
There have been a few important developments for the food and drink sector over the weekend. After a long wait, further guidance was published by UK Government on some of the rules surrounding the furloughing of workers. It has been confirmed that, unless there are specific contractual restrictions, workers that are furloughed can do other paid work for a different employer. The link to the latest guidance is below.

On Saturday, the Scottish Government issued further guidance on social distancing with businesses. It reiterated that businesses should remain open if providing something essential to the wellbeing of Scotland (this includes food supplies), alongside being able to provide confidence to the workforce on their protection and social distancing. For this latter point, once again, the Food Standards Scotland guidance is the place to go for how to achieve that for workers who cannot work at home and who must be on site.

Absenteeism rates are largely stable at between 10-20% across the supply chain.  

Lastly, Seafood Scotland working with Scotland Food & Drink and its other partners are already involved in early thinking on the industry’s recovery plan.  Our partners across industry and government are involved and we’ll share more information on that as it develops over the coming weeks.
 
Update: Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme 
HMRC has updated guidance on how to claim for your employees’ wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The online service is not available yet, but it is expected to be available by the end of April 2020. Click here to read the latest guidance.
 
Update: Social distancing guidance for businesses in Scotland 
The revised guidance sets out all business workplaces that are not being specifically required to close should consider it imperative that they keep open only those premises or parts of premises that are truly critical or essential to the national and international Covid-19 effort.

Additional guidance from Food Standards Scotland has been developed to supplement generic guidance for consumers and food businesses which has been published by Food Standards Scotland and on the Gov.uk website.

It intends to translate Scottish Government guidance on ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19): business and social distancing guidance’ and the advice published by Health Protection Scotland for Non-Healthcare Settings for application in food manufacturing settings. This guidance also takes account of guidelines produced by the food industry on practical ways to provide a safe working environment at this time.
 To access this important new guidance please click here.
 
Do you have surplus edible food?
Company Shop, a social enterprise, is supporting front line workers and disadvantaged communities by redistributing surplus food and products at a discount. Company Shop can purchase your surplus stock, providing a financial return on product that may otherwise have gone to waste.
 To enquire about selling your surplus, contact any of the Scottish business development team:
Sandra Brown – sandra.brown@companyshop.co.uk, 07813 993 304
Mark Don – mark.don@companyshop.co.uk, 07813 993 322
 
Retail landscape in Italy
IRI has published data on consumer behaviour within Italy to provide guidance to UK food and drink manufacturers on what could happen within retail in the short term.
Key findings from Italy

  • Small stores, local supermarkets and discount stores are in growth while out of town hypermarkets are in decline. Discount stores could be experiencing an increase due to personal financial concerns, while out of town hypermarkets are losing sales due to restrictions on travel
  • Major announcements lead to spikes in shopping behaviour. With major government announcements continuing to take place on weekdays, it is likely shopping patterns will spike midweek
  • Basket sizes increased from €45 to €76, (46% increase) while shoppers spent more on goods such as non-perishables and canned or dried goods. The trend for home baking is likely to continue too
  • Some snacking categories may decline slightly as pre-packed snacks are no longer required for packed lunches. Although, consumers do still want some treats during the crisis, chocolate bars have seen a rise in demand

To hear more about shopper and market insights, IRI are running a webinar on Wednesday 8 April at 2pm GMT. Click here to register.

Coronavirus Business Toolbox

Letters and employee briefings

Travel to work pro-forma letter, word version template, click here.
Childcare Request pro-forma letter, word version template, click  here.
Employee social distancing briefing example, click here.

Guidance and tips

Social distancing best practice tips, click here.
Food Standards Scotland social distancing guidance click here

Business Support Measures

Overview, key links and application status update on food and drink relevant financial support measures can now be found here. 
Business Gateway is releasing webinars across Scotland to help businesses through COVID-19.  Topics range across such as staffing issues, managing business debts, government funding and rates relief. To find out more and to register, please click here.  

Redundancy Support Service

The Scottish Government has enhanced its support service for those made redundant as a result of COVID-19.  Advice is available at redundancyscotland.co.uk or by calling 0800 917 8000.

Recruitment

Skills Development Scotland has developed the My World of Work Job Hub, a new free service, offering employers a way to advertise immediate job vacancies in Scotland during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Find out more and upload your vacancies.
Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal have launched a jobs portal for all essential businesses based in Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian, West Lothian, Fife or the Scottish Borders, looking to recruit urgently to respond to high demands as a result of COVID-19. Click here to access the portal.

Business help
The findbusinesssupport.gov.scot website is the best way to find the information you need in relation to Coronavirus (24/7). 
Sign up for email updates from the Scottish Government on Coronavirus guidance and advice for businesses in Scotland here.        
If you can’t find the information you’re looking for on the site above, call the business helpline number on 0300 303 0660
 
Public health advice
Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus. Do not meet others outside your household, even friends and family. This includes people of all ages – even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions.
You can only leave your home:

  • to shop for basic essentials – only when you really need to
  • to do one form of exercise a day – such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
  • for any medical need – for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
  • to travel to and from work – but only where this is absolutely necessary

NHS asks people to share their coronavirus symptoms to help others

A new Coronavirus Status Checker that will help the NHS coordinate its response and build up additional data on the COVID-19 outbreak has been launched on Friday by Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock.
People with potential coronavirus symptoms are now being asked to complete the status checker and answer a short series of questions which will tell the NHS about their experience.

Health advice
For people showing symptoms suggestive of coronavirus the UK Government is stressing the importance of seeking help online by using the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.
What to do if you have coronavirus symptoms
Continue to stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.
If you have coronavirus symptoms and need help, from now on you should dial 111, not your GP. You only need to call 111 if your symptoms worsen and are unmanageable, or do not improve after 7 days.

2nd April​

Fish Market Information

There was slightly more fish hitting markets over the course of today. Prices remain strong, but supplies are still very low. This morning Peterhead had 483 boxes (40% monk) and Shetland 677 boxes (40% whiting). KLB will have a small market later tonight of 200+ (export mix). 

Reports for tomorrow currently showing another small market in Pd of approx. 600 ( all Rockall fish consigned from UL) and Scrabster has reported in with 1 boat for 167 boxes of mainly haddock and whiting. Shetland showing 380 boxes Friday from 2 boats, with another boat still to report.

There will be more haddock on PD market from tomorrow, so we should get a better idea of where the remaining fresh trade demand for bigger sizes is at.

Locally efforts to get more vessels back to sea are being hampered by the weather.  While there is a short lull between tomorrow and Saturday, Sunday into Monday now looking poor also with a southerly f6, gusting f8 forecast.   On the west coast the boats on the edge could get worked over the weekend but the forecast is currently giving what could be a fairly punchy Atlantic depression forming west of Rockall moving NE up and over the Wyville Thomson Ridge as we move into Monday.   If the forecast is correct by P.M. Monday the Northerly grounds, especially up and around Shetland will be taking the brunt of it.

The forecast aside we still hope that several boats will make a move by Monday, but given the delay the weather will cause, it is estimated that it could be a week yet before auctions market increase beyond current minimal levels.

Market Update 2nd April​
Coronavirus Employer Roadmap​
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme​
Key workers letter movement​
Key workers letter childcare providers​
Furlough letter to employee​

Market Assessment

Local

We are currently working with Scotland Food & Drink to develop a portal to promote local selling activity that is taking place. We are continuing to promote activity through social media at present so please feel free to send us any information you wish us to be communicated out.

UK

At a UK level we are working with Scottish Government to develop a campaign to get more seafood into UK retail.

Export

At Seafood Scotland we have access to in-market specialists in number of key markets across the world. We have received market intelligence on a number of key markets which I have summarised and attached for information. Tonight I have focussed on France, Italy, Spain, Middle East, USA and China. We will continue to update this information for you.

I have also attached a poster I was send by Paul Thomson from JK Thomson, his daughter in law designed this for their office, a little bit of humour.

 

Scotland Food & Drink Update

The additional guidance from Food Standards Scotland, mentioned yesterday, was published this morning. See below for the link. This is really important official guidance and it should be treated as the go-to place for information on how to maximise social distancing and worker protection, at the same time as continuing to maintain food/drink production and supply. The new guidance incorporates some of the best practice information we had shared previously. You can also use this as a risk assessment tool within your own business. It will also be a helpful mechanism to engage with the workforce and give them even further confidence on the steps you’re taking to protect them and the business. Thanks to FSS for the work on this, which aligns with advice across the rest of the UK.

There’s one bit of feedback we’re asking for from you over the next 24 hours – around access to government financial support, in particular the Business Interruption Loan Scheme. There have been a number of reports of problems and delays. We hear that changes may be coming and there’s reports the Chancellor may overhaul the scheme very shortly. In particular, by removing the requirement for banks to consider all other lending options first. That is one likely reason that money is not flowing as quick as it should. All feedback welcome via info@foodanddrink.scot.

Other areas to tell us about include updates on your staff absenteeism. It still seems to be levelling out at around 10-15% on average. But we know it is spiking more sharply in some businesses. Secondly, the haulage industry is under significant pressure. Over 40% of the UK fleet is parked up just now. The wheels of delivery are still moving but any issues should be reported to us.

We’re also working with Seafood Scotland and other industry partners and Scottish Government on campaign work to encourage people to buy local. A central portal for the public to access direct delivery is being explored too. All of this would help to find new customers for products now locked out of export and foodservice markets. We will keep you updated on progress.

Lastly, Scottish Government officials are working hard on the next phase of financial support for the sector. The seafood processing sector has been at the sharp end of the impact, so measures for them, alongside options for the wider sector, are in development. Expect to hear more in tomorrow’s daily update on that.

Important New Guidance from Food Standards Scotland: COVID-19 – Guidance for Food Business Operators and their Employees

In these challenging times, it is essential for the food sector to prioritise the safety of their staff as a critical resource and to ensure all of their employees are following government guidance on infection prevention and control measures against COVID-19.

Whilst there is currently no evidence that food is a source of the virus, it is more important than ever for food businesses to implement effective Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS), including the application of frequent and thorough hygiene practice.

This guidance has been developed to supplement generic guidance for consumers and food businesses which has been published by Food Standards Scotland and on the Gov.uk website.

It intends to translate Scottish Government guidance on ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19): business and social distancing guidance’ and the advice published by Health Protection Scotland for Non-Healthcare Settings for application in food manufacturing settings. This guidance also takes account of guidelines produced by the food industry on practical ways to provide a safe working environment at this time.

 To access this important new guidance please click here.

Best Practice and Tips from Industry: Social Distancing Measures in the Workplace

In addition to the official guidance (above) we have collated a number of tips and best practices from businesses and partners regarding social distancing in the workplace. These tips are offered to enhance and supplement the FSS Guidance and businesses have told us they are proving useful as they implement new ways of working. The tips can be found here (updated 1 April).

We’d like to thank all the businesses and partners who contributed and shared their learnings. If you have helpful resources or tips that you’d like to share, please send them to info@foodanddrink.scot

Job Hub

Skills Development Scotland has developed the My World of Work Job Hub, a new free service, offering employers a way to advertise immediate job vacancies in Scotland during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Find out more and upload your vacancies.

If you have any suggestions for development of the site please feedback via info@foodanddrink.scot 

Redundancy support service

The Scottish Government has enhanced its support service for those made redundant as a result of COVID-19.  Advice is available at redundancyscotland.co.uk or by calling 0800 917 8000. 

Scotland Food & Drink Partnership updates

We’ve pulled together a table of the comprehensive updates, activity and support available across the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership. To access this great resource, please click here. 

Latest UK Retail Sales Figures Insight

Data partner IRI has shared with the SF&D Market Intelligence Team one of the most up-to-date pictures available (sales data to 28th March) of what is happening in the turbulent UK multiple retail market. After media stories of stockpiling, empty shelves and product shortages this report details the real changes taking place in demand and supply in UK supermarkets.

Report Summary

  • Last week’s grocery sales were lower than the same week in 2019. UK value sales in grocery were -3.8% lower which equates to £64.1m value sales (w/e 28th March 2010)
  • Some categories experienced growth (vs the same week in 2019). These include lager, fresh chicken, fresh beef, prepacked cheddar, and prepacked sausages
  • Other categories showed decline (vs the same week in 2019). These include sandwiches, chilled ready meals, cakes, water, and lunch salads

To access the full report please click here.

VisitScotland Business Impact Survey

VisitScotland has released the second wave of their survey that is tracking the effects of Coronavirus on the industry. As well as gaining insight into the overall impact on Scottish tourism, it is also generates understanding across different regions and business sectors, including food and drink activities. The survey results can be found here

Coronavirus Business Toolbox

Letters and employee briefings

Travel to work pro-forma letter, word version template, click here.

Childcare Request pro-forma letter, word version template, click  here.

Employee social distancing briefing example, click here.

Guidance and tips

Social distancing best practice tips, click here.

Food Standards Scotland social distancing guidance click here

Business Support Measures

Overview, key links and application status update on food and drink relevant financial support measures can now be found here. 

Business Gateway is releasing webinars across Scotland to help businesses through COVID-19.  Topics range across such as staffing issues, managing business debts, government funding and rates relief. To find out more and to register, please click here.  

Business help

The findbusinesssupport.gov.scot website is the best way to find the information you need in relation to Coronavirus (24/7). 

Sign up for email updates from the Scottish Government on Coronavirus guidance and advice for businesses in Scotland here.        

If you can’t find the information you’re looking for on the site above, call the business helpline number on 0300 303 0660

Public health advice: Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of Coronavirus

This includes people of all ages – even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions.

You can only leave your home:

  • to shop for basic essentials– only when you really need to
  • to do one form of exercise a day– such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
  • for any medical need– for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
  • to travel to and from work– but only where this is absolutely necessary

Health advice

For people showing symptoms suggestive of coronavirus the UK Government is stressing the importance of seeking help online by using the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.

What to do if you have coronavirus symptoms

Continue to stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.

If you have coronavirus symptoms and need help, from now on you should dial 111, not your GP. You only need to call 111 if your symptoms worsen and are unmanageable, or do not improve after 7 days.

1st April​

Today I have been answering a lot of queries from individuals and trying to seek clarity on a number of issues. Every day things are changing and more clarity begins to emerge with some of the questions being asked, guidance and FAQ’s are being developed and amended according.

Please find attached again the guidance and Q&A regarding furloughing of staff and how the payment structure for this will operate, a template letter for furloughing staff and also key worker movement letter. I will always put amended versions on the page so you can keep up to date with the latest guidance and will highlight any key points of change. Food Standards Scotland are currently making amendments to their guidance and will be published in due course and will give you these when I receive them.

Please keep your questions coming in.

Please be assured that Scottish Government are working hard to finalise an intervention scheme that will support the processing sector and an announcement will be made very soon.

Scotland Food & Drink Update

We are keeping a close watching brief on workforce absentee levels with very variable level of absence reported across the country and between individual businesses. Please keep information flowing to us on changes on this and general impacts of the outbreak on your operations. We are involved in daily calls with our fellow industry bodies and with government and it’s your information shaping the responses being developed. As always, you should email info@foodanddrink.scot with a briefing on your current situation.

A reminder too that yesterday saw the launch of the new workforce recruitment platform, which could be a very useful mechanism for businesses seeking to fill emerging gaps in their own workforce. The link to that is below.

Many of you continue discussions in your own businesses on social distancing and building further protection for workers that have to be on site to keep food and drink supply moving.  There may be further guidance issued from Food Standards Scotland (FSS) later. In the meantime, the business section in the Q&A from FSS remains the go-to place for official guidance. We also have the SF&D best practice guide available too. Links to both are below. 

Job Hub

Developed by Skills Development Scotland, Job Hub has been launched on behalf of the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership.

Job Hub is a free service which enables employers across Scotland to quickly and efficiently advertise vacancies to a broad audience through Scotland’s dedicated careers resource My World of Work. 

Redundancy support service

The Scottish Government has enhanced its support service for those made redundant as a result of COVID-19.  Advice is available at redundancyscotland.co.uk or by calling 0800 917 8000.

Social distancing within food businesses

A reminder that Food Standards Scotland has published a Q&A for consumers and businesses. Many of the calls we’ve had are answered within this guidance on social distancing and other safety measures.

Best practice and tips from industry on how to maintain social distancing measures in the workplace

This is not official guidance but is proving useful for many businesses we’re told. We will continue to develop and expand these tips as we learn more. The tips can be found here (updated 1 April).

We’d like to thank all the businesses and partners who contributed and shared their learnings. If you have created your own guidelines or have come across any helpful resources please share by sending to info@foodanddrink.scot 

Employee social distancing briefing

Some food and drink businesses have found it helpful to issue a briefing to employees, detailing the measures being taken to maintain social distancing and provide regular updates on company guidance. Click here for an example sent to us from a member. 

Scotland Food & Drink Partnership updates

We’ve pulled together a table of the comprehensive updates, activity and support available across the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership. To access this great resource, please click here. 

Personal Skills Learning Resource

The Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD) has collated some of its top resources for the personal skills needed to cope with immediate changes to working life. These can be accessed here

 Business Gateway webinars

Business Gateway is releasing webinars across Scotland to help businesses through COVID-19.  Topics range across such as staffing issues, managing business debts, government funding and rates relief. To find out more and to register, please click here.  

Kantar – COVID-19: Ensuring Resilience in Retail

If you missed yesterday’s webinar with the Kantar UK team answering questions about the impact and implications the Coronavirus pandemic is having on retailers, manufacturers and people’s shopping behaviour you can now listen to a recording. Click here to access. 

Public health advice: Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of Coronavirus

This includes people of all ages – even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions.

You can only leave your home:

  • to shop for basic essentials– only when you really need to
  • to do one form of exercise a day– such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
  • for any medical need– for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
  • to travel to and from work– but only where this is absolutely necessary

Letters and employee briefings

Travel to work pro-forma letter, word version template, click here.

Childcare Request pro-forma letter, word version template, click  here.

Employee social distancing briefing example, click here.

Guidance and tips

Social distancing best practice tips, click here.

Food Standards Scotland social distancing guidance click here

Business Support Measures

Overview, key links and application status update on food and drink relevant financial support measures can now be found here. 

 

Business help

The findbusinesssupport.gov.scot website is the best way to find the information you need in relation to Coronavirus (24/7). 

Sign up for email updates from the Scottish Government on Coronavirus guidance and advice for businesses in Scotland here.        

If you can’t find the information you’re looking for on the site above, call the business helpline number on 0300 303 0660.  

Coronavirus update

152,979 people in the UK have been tested for the virus of which 29,474 were confirmed positive. Of those hospitalised in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus, 2,352 have died.

The actual number of people with the respiratory infection in the country is estimated to be much higher.

A total of 17,007 people in Scotland have been tested. Of these:

  • 14,697 tests were confirmed negative
  • 2,310 tests were positive
  • 76 patients who tested positive have died

Health advice

For people showing symptoms suggestive of coronavirus the UK Government is stressing the importance of seeking help online by using the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.

What to do if you have coronavirus symptoms

Continue to stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.

If you have coronavirus symptoms and need help, from now on you should dial 111, not your GP. You only need to call 111 if your symptoms worsen and are unmanageable, or do not improve after 7 days.

31st March​

The key issue the seafood sector faces today still remains that supply and demand need to match. The sector are all trying hard to find a new way of working to ensure catches are landed in a timely manner in the correct volumes with the current demand from processors who are still operating.

It is therefore vital that you continue to feed into the sales agents what your requirements will be and will allow everyone to be able to plan for supply matching demand over the coming weeks.

We have good guides to share with you; a roadmap for employers who are considering furloughing staff, and a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme FAQs. I have also attached again the key workers movement letter. If any companies are having any labour issues because of staff absenteeism can you please let me know.

We continue to wait on official guidance for car sharing travelling to and from work, however, the advice we have been told at present is only people living in the same household can car share. I will share official guidance as soon as I receive this.

If you have any issues you wish to raise, please do not hesitate to contact me and I if I don’t know the answer I will find out.

 

Scotland Food & Drink Update

Today, we’ve been raising a few issues that further clarification is required on.  Some of the exact rules around the furlough of workers are still to be confirmed. In particular, the ability of furloughed workers to support workforce gaps in other sectors is being explored.   

On travel restrictions, there are some reports of police stopping vehicles with staff that are car sharing in order to get the work. Further official public health advice is being sought to help clarify for the police – and for our businesses – what the enforcement advice should be.

In other developments today, Scotland Food & Drink has joined six of its industry partner organisations in signing a letter co-ordinated by FDF Scotland to all of Scotland’s MPs and MSPs. It highlights the work being undertaken by businesses and our workforce to keep the nation’s food and drink supply chain moving. A link to the letter is below.

Also today, a new workforce platform to connect those looking for work with those needing additional workforce has launched. This will add – and provide a central connection to – the many other excellent initiatives happening on this subject. See more information below.

Scotland Food & Drink Partnership updates

We’ve pulled together a table of the comprehensive updates, activity and support available across the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership. To access this great resource, please click here.

Recognising the valuable role of the Scottish food production supply chain – a letter to MPs & MSPs

Today FDF Scotland co-ordinated a letter signed by industry partners to MPs and MSPs across Scotland highlighting the valuable role that the food production supply chain is doing by providing high quality food to front line workers and the Scottish population, during this unprecedented time. Read the full letter. 

Job Hub

Today, sees the soft launch of Job Hub developed by Skills Development Scotland on behalf of the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership.

Job Hub is a free service which enables employers across Scotland to quickly and efficiently advertise vacancies to a broad audience through Scotland’s dedicated careers resource My World of Work. 

If you have any suggestions for development of the site please feedback via info@foodanddrink.scot

Home delivery  

Many producers and independent retailers are turning to home delivery as an option to reach local customers in self-isolation or unable to travel to their local shop.

The Association of Convenience Stores has issued new guidance on how to start a home delivery service. This can be found here.

Business Gateway webinars

Business Gateway is releasing webinars across Scotland to help businesses through COVID-19.  Topics range across such as staffing issues, managing business debts, government funding and rates relief. To find out more and to register, please click here.    

April 6 Employment Law Changes – The Good Work Plan

Though Coronavirus is currently dominating the headlines, there are huge employment law changes that have to be legally implemented by 6 April 2020.

Known as The Good Work Plan, these are designed to give greater protection to those working under more flexible work arrangements. They will impact every single business in the UK, such as through changes to holiday pay calculations and the increased protection of agency workers.

To help get your head around the changes, here are two free guides that the HR & Employment Law experts of our partner, Citation, have put together:

 

Social distancing within food businesses

A reminder that Food Standards Scotland has published a Q&A for consumers and businesses. Many of the calls we’ve had are answered within this guidance on social distancing and other safety measures.

Best practice and tips from industry on how to maintain social distancing measures in the workplace

This is not official guidance but is proving useful for many businesses we’re told. We will continue to develop and expand these tips as we learn more. The tips can be found here.

We’d like to thank all the businesses and partners who contributed and shared their learnings. If you have created your own guidelines or have come across any helpful resources please share by sending to info@foodanddrink.scot 

Employee social distancing briefing

Some food and drink businesses have found it helpful to issue a briefing to employees, detailing the measures being taken to maintain social distancing and provide regular updates on company guidance. Click here for an example sent to us from a member. 

Public health advice: Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of Coronavirus

This includes people of all ages – even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions.

You can only leave your home:

  • to shop for basic essentials– only when you really need to
  • to do one form of exercise a day– such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
  • for any medical need– for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
  • to travel to and from work– but only where this is absolutely necessary

Coronavirus Business Toolbox

Letters and employee briefings

  • Travel to work pro-forma letter, word version template, click here.
  • Childcare Request pro-forma letter, word version template, click  here.
  • Employee social distancing briefing example, click here.

Guidance and tips

  • Social distancing best practice tips, click here.
  • Food Standards Scotland social distancing guidance click here

Business Support Measures

Overview, key links and application status update on food and drink relevant financial support measures can now be found here. (updated 31 March)

 

Business help

The findbusinesssupport.gov.scot website is the best way to find the information you need in relation to Coronavirus (24/7). 

Sign up for email updates from the Scottish Government on Coronavirus guidance and advice for businesses in Scotland here.        

If you can’t find the information you’re looking for on the site above, call the business helpline number on 0300 303 0660.  

Coronavirus update

In the UK there are more than 22,000 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus and at least 1,408 people, who have tested positive for the virus, have died.

More than 112,800 people in the UK have been tested for the virus but were found not to have it. The actual number of people with the respiratory infection in the country is estimated to be much higher.

A total of 15,895 people in Scotland have been tested. Of these:

  • 13,902 tests were confirmed negative
  • 1,993 tests were positive
  • 60 patients who tested positive have died

Please note: delays to reporting over the weekend have contributed to the increase in total test figures and deaths confirmed today.

Health advice

For people showing symptoms suggestive of coronavirus the UK Government is stressing the importance of seeking help online by using the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.

What to do if you have coronavirus symptoms

Continue to stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.

If you have coronavirus symptoms and need help, from now on you should dial 111, not your GP. You only need to call 111 if your symptoms worsen and are unmanageable, or do not improve after 7 days.

29th March​

You will see from the SF&D update below the partnership has been working on a number of issues today including ensuring Police Scotland now have the template letter we have provided for your employees to travel too and from their workplace. We are also busy working with Scottish Government to look at support mechanisms.

The key issue the seafood sector faces today in ensuring that supply and demand match. A large number of companies responded to my email on Friday regarding the requirement to temporarily close their businesses due to lack of orders as export and food service markets collapse. It has become apparent over the weekend with statements made from both the UK and Scottish Governments that this lockdown will not be a 3 week short lockdown and then things start to go back to normal. This lockdown and market restrictions will be here for the coming weeks possibly 3 months and what then becomes normal?

We need to ensure that companies that have a market, however limited, can as far as possible, have a supply of fish to process. The fishermen also need assurances that there are buyers for their fish once it is landed and also that the prices are not going to collapse. There was no market in Peterhead today with only private sales taking place, there will be one tomorrow. Many of the processors will have seen the email that SSA put out today about the need for us all to work together to find a workable solution in these unprecedented times we are undergoing. We need to all find a new way of working and ensure that the catching sector are working on demand of supply from the processors. It is therefore vital that you feed into the sales agents what your requirements will be moving forward.

Seafood Scotland, SFF and SSA have had very productive conversations with Scottish Government regarding the promotion of Scottish seafood today and are progressing with this and we will keep you all informed of the progress.

Please continue to ask questions and feed in information.

Scotland Food & Drink Update

At the start of week two of ‘lockdown’ there continues to be a range of priority issues for the Scotland Food & Drink team, working with partners, government and individual businesses. 

Over the weekend a number of you have shared more information on the significant changes you’re implementing to embrace the social distancing requirements. 

Workforce absence is starting to rise based on reports we are receiving; it probably sits at around 15% on average across the sector. Please keep sharing your own situation, it helps inform the daily discussions between the industry organisations and government. Please drop us a note via info@foodanddrink.scot.

The template travel letter we issued to assist workers who may be questioned on their movements has now been shared with Police Scotland.  Please report any issues your essential workers face in travelling to work.

We’d remind businesses that there is no further requirement for PPE for your staff, beyond what would normally be required. It will be important we don’t add to the national demand for those products, the priority for which needs to be frontline NHS staff. 

There is also a great deal of work going on to address product supply gaps and to explore how products previously destined for export and the out of home markets could be redirected to meet retail, convenience and home delivery demand. 

In addition, discussions continue with government on business support measures.

Scotland Food & Drink Partnership updates

We’ve pulled together a table of the comprehensive updates, activity and support available across the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership. To access this great resource, please click here.

Enterprise Agencies

Scottish Enterprise, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and South of Scotland Enterprise have today (30 Mar) published an open letter, outlining their joint commitment and actions to support Scottish business as they respond to the significant challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

These actions seek to complement the unprecedented financial and economic measures outlined by the Scottish and UK Governments over the past week or so. 

Business resilience

The Scotland Food & Drink team is working hard to create a new guide to business continuity and resilience, and we hope to be able to bring you this within the next few days.

Tomorrow, Tue 31 March, two of our partners are hosting seminars to share their respective industry knowledge on a wide range of key resilience related issues.

Kantar – COVID-19: Ensuring Resilience in Retail

  • Join the Kantar UK team to hear about the impact and implications the Coronavirus pandemic is having on retailers, manufacturers and people’s shopping behaviour. To find out more, join Kantar on Tuesday 31 March at 2pm GMTfor a webinar where a team of Kantar retail experts will share findings from daily, weekly and monthly panel data, how to win the mircro-battles and their opinions on what is next for retail. Please find the registration link here

Shepherd and Wedderburn – COVID-19 Food and Drink Sector Webinar update

  • In this food and drink focused webinar, Shepherd and Wedderburn’s legal experts take a sectoral look at some of the core COVID-19 related issues, examining staffing, frustration of contract, competition law, and the licensing and regulatory impact of the recent Coronavirus Act. Please find the registration link here

 

Social distancing within food businesses

A reminder that Food Standards Scotland has published a Q&A for consumers and businesses. Many of the calls we’ve had are answered within this guidance on social distancing and other safety measures.

Best practice and tips from industry on how to maintain social distancing measures in the workplace

This is not official guidance but is proving useful for many businesses we’re told. We will continue to develop and expand these tips as we learn more. The tips can be found here.

We’d like to thank all the businesses and partners who contributed and shared their learnings. If you have created your own guidelines or have come across any helpful resources please share by sending to info@foodanddrink.scot 

Employee social distancing briefing

Some food and drink businesses have found it helpful to issue a briefing to employees, detailing the measures being taken to maintain social distancing and provide regular updates on company guidance. Click here for an example sent to us from a member.

Public health advice: Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of Coronavirus

This includes people of all ages – even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions.

You can only leave your home:

  • to shop for basic essentials– only when you really need to
  • to do one form of exercise a day– such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
  • for any medical need– for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
  • to travel to and from work– but only where this is absolutely necessary

Coronavirus Business Toolbox

  • Letters and employee briefings
    • Travel to work pro-forma letter, word version template, click here.
    • Childcare Request pro-forma letter, word version template, click  here.
    • Employee social distancing briefing example, click here.
  • Guidance and tips
    • Social distancing best practice tips, click here.
    • Food Standards Scotland social distancing guidance click here
  • Business Support Measures
    • Overview, key links and application status update on food and drink relevant financial support measures can now be found here.

Business help

The findbusinesssupport.gov.scot website is the best way to find the information you need in relation to Coronavirus (24/7). 

Sign up for email updates from the Scottish Government on Coronavirus guidance and advice for businesses in Scotland here.        

If you can’t find the information you’re looking for on the site above, call the business helpline number on 0300 303 0660.  

Coronavirus update

A total of 19,522 cases of Coronavirus have been confirmed in the UK – but the actual number of cases is estimated to be much higher.

The number of deaths is now 1,228 according to the latest figures available.

A total of 14,624 Scottish tests have concluded. Of these:

  • 13,061 tests were confirmed negative
  • 1,563 tests were positive
  • 47 patients who tested positive have died

Health advice

For people showing symptoms suggestive of coronavirus the UK Government is stressing the importance of seeking help online by using the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.

What to do if you have coronavirus symptoms

Continue to stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.

If you have coronavirus symptoms and need help, from now on you should dial 111, not your GP. You only need to call 111 if your symptoms worsen and are unmanageable, or do not improve after 7 days.

27th March​

Many of you will have received an email from me today asking if your business has closed, intends to close today or remain open for operations next week. Thank you to everyone who got back to me.

The seafood sector has been hit very badly in this crisis, with the loss of export markets and food service markets it has caused a large number of businesses to temporarily close. All the leaders of the seafood and fisheries sector are working tirelessly to ensure that the businesses who can continue operations have the infrastructure to remain open. We are also supporting the supply chain to ensure they have real time information to react to any increase in market activity so businesses can increase production and indeed reopen as soon as possible. We really do appreciate all feedback we receive from you to allow informed decisions to be made. Food production and seafood is of essential importance to feeding the nation during this time and we are all essential workers in supporting the country during this crisis.

I would like to thank the team at Seafood Scotland, the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership, SFF, SSA, Scottish Government officials and countless others for all their hard work, many of it behind the scenes to work towards getting the correct information to you and looking at how we can best support the sector during this time.

26th March​

One of today’s priorities has been around clarifying guidance for within food and drink businesses on social distancing.

Food Standards Scotland has this morning issued guidance which mirrors that issued by Public Health England, so it is consistent across the UK. It addresses the two-metre, social distancing rule which has been the subject of many questions we’ve received. See below for the link.

The Scotland Food & Drink partnership has also moved to support our businesses who have workers for whom it’s absolutely essential to travel to work. We’ve had reports of police questioning some workers about their movements so the industry trade bodies have produced a template letter for companies to use and for workers to have with them when travelling (this has not happened in the seafood sector yet to my knowledge). There is also one developed to help with childcare requests. These are attached.

Enquiries have also came in regarding furlough letter template for employees and I have attached a template. We have been asked regarding availability of PPE such as facemasks etc, it is becoming increasing difficult for businesses to purchase these are the first priority for these goods are going to front line health care staff.

Help for Self Employed has been announced this evening of direct cash grant of 80% of their profits, up to £2,500 per month

  • The scheme will be open to those with a trading profit of less than £50,000 in 2018-19 or an average trading profit of less than £50,000 from 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19.
  • To qualify, more than half of their income in these periods must come from self-employment.
  • To minimise fraud, only those who are already in self-employment and meet the above conditions will be eligible to apply. HMRC will identify eligible taxpayers and contact them directly with guidance on how to apply.
  • The income support scheme, which is being designed by HMRC from scratch, will cover the three months to May. Grants will be paid in a single lump sum instalment covering all 3 months, and will start to be paid at the beginning of June.
  • Individuals should not contact HMRC now. HMRC will use existing information to check potential eligibility and invite applications once the scheme is operational.
  • Those who pay themselves a salary and dividends through their own company are not covered by the scheme but will be covered for their salary by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme if they are operating PAYE schemes.
  • For the self-employed who have yet to submit your tax return for this year have been given 4 weeks to file.

Just a reminder of the Corona virus fund for Seafood Fishing Industry that was announced

  • The seafood sector is to receive an initial package of more than £5 million in financial support to assist businesses during the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Funding will be offered to over 650 seafood fishing companies, many of whom have lost their livelihoods with the collapse of export and hospitality markets for Scottish delicacies like langoustine, prawns and crab.
  • An initial payment of 50% of two months’ average earnings will be made to owners of all full time Scottish registered fishing vessels of 12 metres length and under – the vast majority of which are in the creel and dive sectors, many of whom operate in remote and island communities.
  • Support is also being developed for the onshore processing industry – one of the largest employers in Scotland’s coastal communities – and others in the shellfish growing sector which is being affected by the loss of trade and markets.

Marine Scotland will be writing to all vessels and relevant representative Associations with more details. Queries can be emailed to: seafisheriesintervention@gov.scot. More details can be found at:

https://www.gov.scot/news/support-for-seafood-fishing-industry/   

We still await the funding announcement for support for the processing sector

 

Travel to work and childcare request pro-forma letters

The Scotland Food & Drink Partnership has worked to produce two pro-forma letters for food and drink businesses to issue to relevant employees.

The first of these is to help those for whom it is absolutely essential to travel to work – for example in the case of being stopped by the police.

The second letter template is to request childcare provision for those employees who are essential to the ongoing operation of manufacturing and supply.

Thanks to David Thomson of FDFS for co-ordinating this work.

Social distancing within food businesses

Food Standards Scotland has published a Q&A for consumers and businesses. You can find official guidance to many questions regarding social distancing and other safety measures.

https://www.foodstandards.gov.scot/consumers/food-safety/coronavirus/questions-and-answers-covid-19

On the two metre rules it says: “Food businesses need to minimise opportunities for the virus to spread by maintaining a distance of 2 metres between individuals wherever possible.” See the link above for the full guidance. 

 

Best practice and tips from industry on how to maintain social distancing measures in the workplace

The First Minister has advised essential businesses to maintain social distancing measures in the workplace. To support food and drink manufactures in protecting their workforce from Covid-19, Scotland Food & Drink has pulled together best practice tips being used by members of the food and drink business community.

 

This is not official guidance. This might not be relevant to all businesses but we hope that by building a community of practice it provides some support to businesses during this trying time.

We will continue to develop and expand these tips as we learn more. An update from today, 26 March can be found here.

We’d like to thank all the businesses and partners who contributed and shared their learnings. If you have created your own guidelines or have come across any helpful resources please share by sending to info@foodanddrink.scot 

 

Public health advice: Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of Coronavirus

This includes people of all ages – even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions.

You can only leave your home:

  • to shop for basic essentials– only when you really need to
  • to do one form of exercise a day– such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
  • for any medical need– for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
  • to travel to and from work– but only where this is absolutely necessary

 

Request for businesses involved in food supply – stay open if you can

Businesses involved in food supply should remain open if possible, subject to being able to adhere to two requirements:

  • safe social distancing practice
  • normal health and safety requirements.

If you cannot meet both these requirements, the Scottish Government guidance is to close.

Alongside this guidance we would reiterate our guidance to businesses to reduce staffing levels on site to the bare essentials required to operate.

 

Business Support Measures

Overview and application status update on key food and drink relevant financial support measures can now be found here.

This includes:

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • Scottish Government Coronavirus Business Support Fund £10k Grant
  • Deferring VAT payments
  • Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) rebate for SMEs
  • Non – domestic Rates Relief
  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
  • HMRC Time to Pay scheme

Specific support for:

  • Scotland’s seafood fishing industry
  • Retail, leisure and hospitality
  • The self-employed

Business help

The findbusinesssupport.gov.scot website is the best way to find the information you need in relation to Coronavirus (24/7). 

Sign up for email updates from the Scottish Government on coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance and advice for businesses in Scotland here.        

If you can’t find the information you’re looking for on the site above, call the business helpline number on 0300 303 0660

 

Coronavirus update

A total of 9,529 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the UK – but the actual number of cases is estimated to be much higher. The number of deaths is now 463, according to the latest figures available.

More than 87,490 people in the UK have been tested for the respiratory infection but were found not to have it.

As of 2pm on 26 March, a total of 11,487 Scottish tests have concluded. Of these:

  • 10,593 tests were confirmed negative
  • 894tests were positive
  • 25patients who tested positive for coronavirus (Covid-19) have died.

Health advice

For people showing symptoms suggestive of coronavirus the UK Government is stressing the importance of seeking help online by using the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.

What to do if you have coronavirus symptoms

Continue to stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.

If you have coronavirus symptoms and need help, from now on you should dial 111, not your GP. You only need to call 111 if your symptoms worsen and are unmanageable, or do not improve after 7 days.

25th March​

We welcome the £5m funding announcement from Scottish Government to support the 12metre and under fleet and further details of this can be found below.  We have spent a lot of time today answering calls and emails looking for further guidance for businesses regarding ongoing operations and social distancing. There is formal advice due out imminently from Food Standards Scotland for food and drink businesses and we are in dialogue with Scottish Government and Marine Scotland, however below you will find latest government advice which will provide a huge challenge for the seafood supply chain. 

It’s been a busy day working on other issues too. We are working on a pro-forma letter for businesses to issue to employees for whom it is absolutely essential to travel to work, we have had reports from the agricultural sector of the police questioning some staff heading to their workplace and challenging their movements outside of the home. FDF Scotland is co-ordinating that work amongst the industry partners. If anyone feels they need this urgently please contact me.

Coronavirus support for seafood fishing industry

Extra payments to help sector through outbreak.

  • The seafood sector is to receive an initial package of more than £5 million in financial support to assist businesses during the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Funding will be offered to over 650 seafood fishing companies, many of whom have lost their livelihoods with the collapse of export and hospitality markets for Scottish delicacies like langoustine, prawns and crab.
  • An initial payment of 50% of two months’ average earnings will be made to owners of all full time Scottish registered fishing vessels of 12 metres length and under – the vast majority of which are in the creel and dive sectors, many of whom operate in remote and island communities.
  • Support is also being developed for the onshore processing industry – one of the largest employers in Scotland’s coastal communities – and others in the shellfish growing sector which is being affected by the loss of trade and markets.

Marine Scotland will be writing to all vessels and relevant representative Associations with more details. Queries can be emailed to: seafisheriesintervention@gov.scot.

More details can be found here  

Request for businesses involved in food supply – stay open if you can

Businesses involved in food supply should remain open if possible, subject to being able to adhere to two requirements:

  • safe social distancing practice
  • normal health and safety requirements.

If you cannot meet both these requirements, the Scottish Government guidance is to close.

Alongside this guidance we would reiterate our guidance to businesses to reduce staffing levels on site to the bare essentials required to operate.

Further guidance to employers published by the Scottish Government

Points that employers should consider:

  • Working with unions and workers to identify only those staff absolutely necessary to deliver the COVID-19 response and to provide essential and safe services
  • Introducing new shift patterns, working from home, recruiting more staff or dropping non-essential tasks
  • Having discussions with staff to identify if they can access any appropriate alternative childcare. This may include another parent or carer who is not a key worker

More on this updated guidance can be found here

Best practice and tips from industry on how to maintain social distancing measures in the workplace

The First Minister has advised essential businesses to maintain social distancing measures in the workplace. To support food and drink manufactures in protecting their workforce from Covid-19, Scotland Food & Drink has pulled together best practice tips being used by members of the food and drink business community.

This is not official guidance. This might not be relevant to all businesses but we hope that by building a community of practice it provides some support to businesses during this trying time.

We will continue to develop and expand these tips as we learn more. Please read the daily bulletin to stay up to date. The tips can be found here.

We’d like to thank all the businesses and partners who contributed and shared their learnings.

If you have created your own guidelines or have come across any helpful resources please share by sending to info@foodanddrink.scot 

Public health advice: Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of Coronavirus

This includes people of all ages – even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions.

You can only leave your home:

  • to shop for basic essentials– only when you really need to
  • to do one form of exercise a day– such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
  • for any medical need– for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
  • to travel to and from work– but only where this is absolutely necessary

Vehicle MOT Extension

  • The Secretary of State for Transport announced today (25.03.20.) that he is granting an MOT temporary exemption. This means that if your MOT is due from 30th March 2020 you will automatically receive a Six-month However, you must still keep your vehicle in a roadworthy condition and garages will remain open if your vehicle need repairs.

 

Business Support Measures

Overview and application status update on key food and drink relevant financial support measures can now be found here.

This includes:

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • Scottish Government Coronavirus Business Support Fund £10k Grant
  • Deferring VAT payments
  • Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) rebate for SMEs
  • Non – domestic Rates Relief
  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
  • HMRC Time to Pay scheme

Specific support for retail, leisure and hospitality:

  • 100% rates relief
  • Scottish Government Coronavirus Business Support Fund £25,000 Grant

Support for the self-employed

  • Tax payment on account deferrals

Business help

The findbusinesssupport.gov.scot website is the best way to find the information you need in relation to Coronavirus (24/7). 

Sign up for email updates from the Scottish Government on coronavirus (Covid-19) guidance and advice for businesses in Scotland here.

If you can’t find the information you’re looking for on the site above, call the business helpline number on 0300 303 0660.

Coronavirus update

A total of 8,077 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the UK – but the actual number of cases is estimated to be much higher. The number of deaths is now 422, according to the latest figures available.

More than 82,300 people in the UK have been tested for the respiratory infection but were found not to have it.

As of 2pm on 25 March, a total of 10,676 Scottish tests have concluded. Of these:

  • 9, 957 tests were confirmed negative
  • 719tests were positive
  • 22patients who tested positive for coronavirus (Covid-19) have died.

In most western countries case numbers have been increasing by about 33% a day. More than 436,000 people infected globally. The number of people confirmed to have died as a result of the virus has now surpassed 19,600. 

Health advice

For people showing symptoms suggestive of coronavirus the UK Government is stressing the importance of seeking help online by using the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.

What to do if you have coronavirus symptoms

Continue to stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.

If you have coronavirus symptoms and need help, from now on you should dial 111, not your GP. You only need to call 111 if your symptoms worsen and are unmanageable, or do not improve after 7 days.

24th March​

Clearly, the announcement by the UK Government and Scottish Government of national ‘lockdown’ is the most significant development since yesterday’s update. The over-riding concern for both administrations is public Health. How this will impact the seafood sector will be significant.

New public health advice: Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of Coronavirus

This includes people of all ages – even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions.

You can only leave your home:

  • to shop for basic essentials – only when you really need to
  • to do one form of exercise a day – such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
  • for any medical need – for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
  • to travel to and from work – but only where this is absolutely necessary

Request for businesses involved in food supply – stay open if you can

Businesses involved in food supply should remain open if possible, subject to being able to adhere to two requirements:

  • safe social distancing practice
  • normal health and safety requirements.

If you cannot meet both these requirements, the Scottish Government guidance is to close.

Alongside this guidance we would reiterate our guidance to businesses to reduce staffing levels on site to the bare essentials required to operate

What this means is the fishing fleet, processing facilities and others within the supply chain, you MUST be able to ensure ALL workers are operating at a social distance of 2 metres. This will have serious implications for the sector in the coming weeks while this is still in place.

Key worker status. Originally clarification of food production staff being a key worker was being sought from individual local authorities as this was only referring to access to school childcare, whilst this is still the case for childcare there is also identification of key workers in the food production supply chain requirement to be able to leave their homes and attend their place of work.

At present under current guidelines if you are a food production company who is currently supplying the marketplace you will be allowed to continue in your operations. However you must adhere to the social distancing and normal H&S requirements. You must also ensure non-essential staff stay at home. Only staff that are critical to the production facility are to travel into the workplace. So for example all admin, marketing etc must stay at home. People will be stopped and asked to prove key worker status and their place of work and we are working with Scotland Food & Drink to pull together a pro forma letter that you can complete for your staff to carry with them if you don’t already have anything in place. This will come out tomorrow.

The current supply and demand situation is also proving very challenging with a tough day at markets today. Work is taking place with various organisations tirelessly to try and help manage the situation and understand the new demand with lockdown. Things are changing rapidly and with the formal guidance of the 2m social distancing this will have further impact on both the fishing fleet and processing sector’s ability to operate at present.

At Seafood Scotland we are still keeping abreast of the situation both in the UK and internationally to ensure that when markets start to open up we have the market intelligence to put in place marketing effort to rebuild trade and relationships. We are still keen to be putting any positive news out on social media and we have put together a plan to support local consumption of local product with recipe ideas, demonstrations etc.

Business Support Measures

Overview and status update on all financial measures here.

Scottish Government Coronavirus Business Support

Businesses can now apply for grants to help them deal with the impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

Small businesses in receipt of the small business bonus scheme or rural relief, as well as hospitality, leisure and retail business can benefit.

Two types of grant are now available to ratepayers:

  • a one-off £10,000 grant to ratepayers of small businesses
  • a one-off grant of £25,000 available to retail, hospitality and leisure business ratepayers with a rateable value between £18,001 and £50,999

The list is not exhaustive and if businesses think they may be eligible for one of these grants, they should contact their local authority, which are administering the scheme on behalf of the Scottish Government. Some Local Authorities may not have updated their websites yet, but will hopefully do so shortly.

Further details available here.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme:

The UK Government has pledged to cover 80 % of the wages of furloughed workers backdated to March 1.

Some information to note: 

  • Do companies have to pay the additional 20 per cent? No. Companies should pay 80% of workers’ wages up to £2,500 a month once they have been furloughed. They will retrospectively be able to claim for that amount.
  • They should pay workers using normal payroll systems, deducting tax and national insurance under the pay as you earn (PAYE) system. If employers want to top up pay levels, they can, but will not be able to claim for more than 80% of £2,500, equivalent to a gross salary of £2,000. 
  • The big outstanding issue is what happens to employers’ national insurance contributions, which amount to about 13.8 per cent of the majority of a worker’s salary. This has not been decided yet. 
  • HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement and are ‘aiming to get it done before the end of April.’

How can companies without cash flow pay their workers’ wages?

  • The main source of funds for this will be the deferral of value added tax payments for the quarter until June 2020 which do not have to be paid until March 2021. 
  • Officials told the Financial Times that there would be no interest payable on these VAT deferrals.If tax deferrals and other measures announced by the chancellor such as business rate relief in some sectors are inadequate, the Treasury wants companies to borrow in the short term. Officials said that to do this they should look at the business interruption loans (details in the summary).

Business help

The findbusinesssupport.gov.scot website is the best way to find the information you need in relation to Coronavirus (24/7). 

Sign up for email updates from the Scottish Government on coronavirus (Covid-19) guidance and advice for businesses in Scotland here.

If you can’t find the information you’re looking for on the site above, call the business helpline number on 0300 303 0660

We are aware that food and drink manufacturers are looking for guidance on how best to implement social distancing measures in the workplace. The Scotland Food & Drink team are pulling together guidelines as we speak and will issue shortly.

 

Coronavirus update

United Kingdom Cases 

Confirmed: 6,650
Deaths: 335
Recovered: 135 

A total of 9968 Scottish tests have concluded. Of these:

  • 9384 tests were confirmed negative
  • 584 tests were positive
  • 16 patients who tested positive for coronavirus (Covid-19) have died

The number of new cases in the UK and Scotland is expected to rise sharply in the next four weeks and then peak in June.

Health advice

For people showing symptoms suggestive of coronavirus the UK Government is stressing the importance of seeking help online by using the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do. 

If you have coronavirus symptoms and need help, from now on you should dial 111, not your GP. You only need to call 111 if your symptoms worsen and are unmanageable, or do not improve after 7 days.

Continue to stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.

23rd March​

Seafood Scotland Update

The weekend’s work has been dominated by the “key worker” issue, alongside digesting the significant funding announcement made by Chancellor on Friday night.  You will have seen that the status of “key worker” for food production will be decided on an individual local authority basis. With 32 local authorities this creates a confusing picture and many of the local authorities are still working through the categories only prioritising key health care workers at this moment in time. At present the “key worker” status is to determine childcare provision. We will inevitably move into a different “key worker” status if/when a lock down occurs and we are working hard to ensure critical workers to help feed the nation in the sector and supply chain are identified on this list. We are working with Scotland Food & Drink and other F&D trade bodies as one voice on this issue and you will find more detail below including the press release that went out today. We also need to reiterate calls that you need reduce staffing levels to the lowest possible number and that staff who can work from home do so. The more people we can keep out of the workplace and schools the quicker we can stop the virus from spreading.

On the funding announcement we are still trying to get as much clarity on up to 80% support for employee costs so we can to signpost everyone to the full details. Systems and processes need to be put in place and as soon as we have these details we will communicate these to you.

A question we have been asked a lot today is how social distance on the production line is undertaken, at present we cannot find any formal guidance on this but we are trying to gather this information for you and hopefully tomorrow we will get this out to you all.

A lot of discussions are taking place regarding fishing effort and assessing the daily market demand for seafood and we really appreciate everyone’s continual effort to ensure that this will work as best as it can. Difficult decisions have to be taken short term but lets hope we are on a path to recovery very quickly. We are assessing the international markets on a daily basis to stay ahead of the curve to ensure there is enough product on the marketplace as soon as demand increases again.

Thank you to everyone who is providing information, a lot of requests are happening from a lot of different organisations and we appreciate your patience and understanding. We are all working together to provide data required by industry, stakeholders and governments and to minimise requests.

 

Action for businesses to take now

The full statement issued by the industry this afternoon is available here:  https://foodanddrink.scot/news/covid-19-food-and-drink-businesses-asked-to-reduce-staffing-to-bare-essentials/

In summary, we are asking food and drink businesses to do the following, if they have not done so already:

  • Reduce staffing levels to the lowest possible number required to maintain the production of essential goods
  • DO NOT contact your local authority to make the case for key worker designation unless it is the measure of last resort. All other measures must be explored first (e.g. shift changes, halting some production lines, alternative childcare arrangements)
  • If you do contact your local authority, only seek designation for “business critical” roles.

 

Will key worker designation have relevance in a “lockdown” scenario

A so-called ‘lockdown’ situation, which has been introduced in a number of European countries, remains an imminent prospect in the UK.  In this scenario, it is expected that the movement of individuals across the country will be severely restricted for a period of time.  All but essential services would halt. 

The definition and role of ‘key workers’ in this situation is unclear. At present, we hope and expect that many businesses will be able to find innovative ways to manage staff absence resulting from the school closures, illness and current self-isolation advice.  Some will find real difficulty with that, hence our request for national guidance on prioritising essential food production and supply for childcare places, where there are absolutely no alternatives.  However, in a lockdown scenario, new mechanisms will be required to ensure we can safeguard the movement of the workforce required to safeguard the production and provision of essential food and drink products.  The industry bodies have begun thinking on this and are already discussing this scenario with Scottish Government.  We’ll update you as and when things develop.

 

Latest Business Feedback Summary

The key information provided to us by businesses for: 23.03.20.

  • Growing financial pressure on many food and drink businesses, with a resulting need for quick translation of the UK/Scottish Government funding announcements into action.
  • Businesses now taking tough decisions re shift patterns and shift reductions.
  • Companies adapting and setting up delivery of their products.
  • Some manufacturers trying alternative products (e.g. hand sanitiser)
  • Online or ecommerce food / drink businesses increasing awareness of their offering
  • Hospitality businesses adapting to home delivery

New Package of Support from UK Government

(For more details please see the Johnston Carmichael website) 

Key announcements:  

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme:

  • The UK Government will pay wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Access to the scheme

  • First step is to designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change. 
  • It is not clear whether directors and shareholders of owner-managed companies can put themselves ‘on furlough’, or how it affects zero hours workers.
  • Submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal.
  • NB (from Accountancy Daily): ‘There is limited information available and no technical guidance from HMRC as yet.  HMRC will have to create a new IT software system to run the scheme. This will take until April to complete.’

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) 

  • CBILS is available through the British Business Bank’s 40+ accredited lenders, which are listed on the British Business Bank website here.
  • In the first instance, businesses should approach their own provider – ideally via the lender’s website. They may also consider approaching other lenders if they are unable to access the finance they need.
  • Decision-making on whether you are eligible for CBILS is fully delegated to the 40+ accredited CBILS lenders. These lenders range from high-street banks, to challenger banks, asset-based lenders and smaller specialist local lenders. 
  • Bank letter templatehere to help you invoke the CBIL Scheme and request to freeze all payments of interest, capital and any fees

Bridging loan scheme

  •  Further to the Bridging Loan announcements earlier this week, the Government are reviewing an extension of the scheme to include larger and medium-sized businesses. We expect further announcements on the details next week.

VAT

  • The next quarterly VAT payment is to be deferred. Payments are deferred from now until end of June and companies will have until the end of the financial year to pay any deferred VAT.

Tax Payment on Account

  • To assist the self-employed the 31 July 2020 Income Tax Payment on Account is being deferred and is to be paid on 31 January 2021. 

Support for businesses paying tax

  • All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service.
  • These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to Covid-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.

Non-domestic rates in Scotland

The Scottish Government has proposed help for companies in Scotland with non-domestic rates during coronavirus (Covid-19).  It is working with Scotland’s 32 Councils and other stakeholders to agree a common approach to the application process.

Deferring payment of non-domestic rates

If you’re struggling to pay your non-domestic rates bill you should contact your local council and ask them about your payment options.

Business help

The findbusinesssupport.gov.scot website is the best way to find the information you need in relation to Coronavirus (24/7). 

Sign up for email updates from the Scottish Government on coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance and advice for businesses in Scotland here.        

If you can’t find the information you’re looking for on the site above, call the business helpline number on 0300 303 0660

The helpline is open Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm. Callers should select option one to speak to the Covid-19 team. Please be aware that the helpline experiences a very high volume of calls.  

Information and Tools

 

  • Information on Statutory Sick Pay here.
  • Company Cashflow Toolbox

 

Coronavirus COVID-19 Update

The virus’s proliferation has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, meaning it is spreading rapidly in different parts of the world. More than 150 countries have confirmed cases so far. 

A total of 5683 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the UK – but the actual number of cases is estimated to be between 35,000 and 50,000.

The number of deaths is now 289, according to the latest figures available.

United Kingdom Cases 

Confirmed: 5,683
Deaths: 289
Recovered: 135 

A total of 9364 Scottish tests have concluded. Of these:

  • 8865 tests were confirmed negative
  • 499 tests were positive
  • 14 patients who tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) have died

The number of new cases in the UK and Scotland is expected to rise sharply in the next four weeks and then peak in June.

 

Health Advice

For people showing symptoms suggestive of coronavirus the UK Government is stressing the importance of seeking help online by visiting NHS.UK/coronavirus to check your symptoms and follow the medical advice, rather than visiting your GP.

Also:

  • People showing symptoms suggestive of coronavirus should stay at home for seven days and only contact NHS 111 or their local GP if their symptoms worsen during that period.
  • Members of a household where someone has suspected symptoms should now stay at home for 14 days.
  • Those with underlying health conditions should be ‘’shielded’’ at home for 12 weeks.
  • Minimise social contact by avoiding crowded areas and large gatherings, including religious congregations and smaller gatherings such as restaurants, pubs, bars, clubs, cinemas and gyms
  • For those who are over 70, have an underlying health condition or are pregnant, they are strongly advised against these activities and to significantly limit face-to-face interaction with friends and family if possible.
  • Avoid using public transport as much as possible
  • Work from home when possible
  • British nationals should also avoid all non-essential foreign travel, the Foreign Office has advised.
  • Follow basic hygiene precautions, such as washing hands frequently, not touching your face and covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.

19th March​

Seafood Update

 

  • Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing is working on a package of support for the seafood sector to be announced soon. A number of support mechanisms are being considered – as soon as this is announced I will put out an update. (Apologies for putting wrong timelines in previous email)
  • Skippers and crew are being advised to continue fishing during this period of uncertainty.
  • Half landings, where possible, with fresher product to the market and less volume hoping to find the balance of ‘supply to demand’.
  • Days at sea also under consideration to again maintain balance of supply to demand
  • It’s vital we keep continuity of raw material to the market putting effort on species most in demand.
  • The onshore infrastructure needs support to ensure a healthy future.
  • Minimal disruption to the food supply chain – a target to hopefully achieve.
  • Recognition across the piece that we need to move from ‘react’ phase to response and action, and that applies across the piece – gov’t and all parts of industry.
  • Supporting SF&D case for seafood companies and key supply chain staff to be officially designated as ‘key workers’ and trying to get a better understanding of what a potential lockdown could look like for the sector.
  • Rumours are abound that Boulogne Sur Mer will close on Monday – this is not the case. This will remain open.
  • Independent Fishmongers reporting trebling of sales.
  • Social media campaign to buy and eat local with recipe ideas, cookery demonstrations etc to launch. If anyone has content they wish to provide or to highlight please pass on to enquiries@seafoodscotland.org

 SF&D action being taken, together with our partners

 

  • Making the case for food and/or drink manufacturing workers – and key supply chain staff – to be officially designated as ‘key workers’. This is essential for safeguarding ongoing food supplies to the public. Both Scottish and UK Governments are currently weighing the options for this and we hope to have a clearer picture on Fri 20th and we will let you know as soon as we can. 
  • Pushing for rates relief to be extended beyond hospitality and retail and into the food and drink supply chain. Also pushing for additional Government support – the primary action needs to be taken at UK level.  For example, a wholesale break on business tax for at least three months (VAT, employers NI etc.).
  • We are still highlighting the impact on food and drink businesses of unprecedented disruption in the supply chain (recognising the effective closure of the hospitality market and major disruption to export markets). We’re working closely with our industry partners to reflect the pressure across all sectors and working hand-in-hand with Scottish Government and its agencies
  • Exploring new routes to the UK market/consumers to pick up the sales drop in foodservice/export.

Non-domestic rates in Scotland during Coronavirus

 

The Scottish Government has provided new information regarding help with non-domestic rates in Scotland during coronavirus (Covid-19). Details can be found here.

Applying for a grant and getting paid

The Scottish Government is working with Scotland’s 32 Councils and other stakeholders to agree a common approach to the application process. This should help make sure there’s an effective and timely processing of grants as soon as possible.

Deferring payment of non-domestic rates

If you’re struggling to pay your non-domestic rates bill you should contact your local council and ask them about your payment options.

Business interruption insurance

 

  • SF&D spoke to 70 of our Scottish food and drink manufacturers yesterday. 97% do not have cover for Covid-19 within business interruption insurance. This is either because pandemics are not covered or that Covid-19 – a novel strain – is not on the list of recognised diseases.
  • The First Minister has committed to meet the insurance sector, UK Government too, and we will be feeding in the need for the insurance sector to play its part in supporting their customers. UK Government could explore under-writing the sector to pay out on interruption policies.

Scottish Government funding announcement

 

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop has confirmed (Wed 18 March) that Scottish businesses will get £2.2 billion of support

Support includes:

  • 6% relief for all properties, effectively freezing the poundage rate next year.
  • £10,000 grants for small businesses in receipt of the Small Business Bonus Scheme or Rural Relief.
  • A full year’s 100% non-domestic rates relief for retail, hospitality and tourism
  • £25,000 grants for hospitality, leisure and retail properties with a rateable value between £18,000 and £51,000.
  • Urging local authorities to relax planning rules to allow pubs and restaurants to operate temporarily as takeaways.

In addition, it has been announced that Scottish schools will close at the end of this week. 

Latest general business feedback summary

The key information provided to SF&D by businesses for: 19.03.20

  • Smaller food and drink manufacturers, who are more reliant on foodservice customers, are facing immediate business challenges.
  • Some businesses who supply multiple retailers have seen a surge in demand.
  • One or two companies who sell online, direct to consumers, are reporting a sharp rise in orders. 
  • Reports from retail orientated companies of supply chain challenges in raw materials, especially if imported.
  • We are continuing to use the media to raise awareness on issues facing the Scottish food and drink supply chain. We want to highlight real business impact. If your business is willing to speak to the media, please get in touch with SF&D who are co-ordinating at info@foodanddrink.scot

 

Business help

The findbusinesssupport.gov.scot website is the best way to find the information you need in relation to Coronavirus (24/7). 

This is a fast-moving situation and the Scottish Government are working hard to expand the information available on the website so that businesses can get the answers they need.

If you can’t find the information you’re looking for on the site above, call the business helpline number on 0300 303 0660

The helpline is open Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm. Callers should select option one to speak to the Covid-19 team. Please be aware that the helpline is experiencing a very high volume of calls.  

Please do not call to request more information on the range of measures announced by the Scottish Government on 18 March and by the Chancellor on 17 March. The call handling team have no further information at present.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

According to the UK Government website, here’s what you need to know:

  • If someone becomes unwell in the workplace with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, they should be sent home and advised to follow the advice to stay at home.
  • Employees will need your support to adhere to the recommendation to stay at home to reduce the spread of Covid-19 to others.
  • Those who follow advice to stay at home will be eligible for statutory sick pay (SSP) from the first day of their absence from work.
  • Employers should use their discretion concerning the need for medical evidence for certification for employees who are unwell. This will allow GPs to focus on their patients.
  • Employees from defined vulnerable groupsshould be strongly advised and supported to stay at home and work from there if possible

Support for businesses who are paying sick pay to employees

Legislation is being brought forward to allow small and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim SSP paid for sickness absence due to Covid-19. The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:

  • This refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of Covid-19.
  • Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible – the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020.
  • Employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of Covid-19.
  • Employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note.
  • Eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of Statutory Sick Pay to those staying at home comes into force.
  • The UK government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible.

The Scotland Food & Drink team are keeping a close eye on the development of the SSP refund mechanism and will provide updates as soon as they become available.

Support for businesses paying tax

All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service. 

These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to Covid-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.

For Tourism businesses, VisitScotland has set-up an advice page which can be accessed here

For Hospitality businesses, the insight supplier CGA is supporting the market by publishing weekly trading data from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker, backed up by the results of regular snap consumer surveys. For more click here

Coronavirus Covid-19 update

 

A total of 2,626 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in the UK – but the actual number of cases is estimated to be between 35,000 and 50,000.

The number of UK deaths is now 104, according to the latest UK figures available (18 March).

53,595 people in the UK have been tested for the respiratory infection and 65 people are said to have recovered.

As of 2pm on 19 March, there were 266 positive cases of Covid-19 in Scotland. So far, six patients in Scotland have died.

Health advice

 

For people showing symptoms suggestive of coronavirus the UK Government is stressing the importance of seeking help online by visiting NHS.UK/coronavirus to check your symptoms and follow the medical advice, rather than visiting your GP.

People showing symptoms suggestive of coronavirus should stay at home for seven days and only contact NHS 111 or their local GP if their symptoms worsen during that period.

Information required by Seafood Scotland

 

The situation is fast-moving and in order to successfully deliver the work above we need business impact information – as much as we can. We had many emails and messages yesterday, thank you. Please send all information including loss of sales, business fragility, cashflow problems, workforce absence and disruption in supply chain. Also, any other potential solutions or opportunities are welcome. Send all information to enquiries@seafoodscotland.org

18th March​

Seafood Sector action being taken

  • After the announcement of the closure of supermarket fish counters to start tomorrow we are putting pressure on Scottish Government to urge retailers to reverse this decision. The Cabinet Secretary has a meeting with retailers tomorrow morning.
  • Pushing home the impact on Seafood sector within catching, processing and supply chain and how fragile this sector currently is and that it cannot withstand a period without support from government.
  • Working with processing sector to understand immediate requirement for landings to inform catching sector or volumes and species that will be require for current market demands.
  • Looking at different logistic options for exporting due to freight options being limited or very expensive for example dedicated air freight routes to US.
  • Dialogue undertaken to encourage secondary processors to switch some of requirement to locally landed species.
  • dialogue with retailers to look at how other species can be sold in UK retail.
  • Developing social media plan and potential platform to promote new ways of promoting and selling of Scottish seafood locally

Latest Seafood Business Feedback Summary

  1. Sectors of the fleet are facing very serious situation, but Government is listening and understands the need for urgent action – we are in regular contact.
  2. Fishing and seafood industries, working together, can make sure we will have a reliable supply of healthy, safe and nutritious food in the UK – modern, efficient fleet able to keep fishing, with processors delivering product that the market wants – so yes these are very difficult times, but we should have confidence in our ability to be an important part of keeping the UK fed.
  3. Export demand has continued to plummet especially within Europe with only a very small amount of product getting out of the country as orders continue to cancel. Product going unsold on French seafood markets. Markets in Middle East falling only supermarkets and pharmacies open here too.
  4. Real worry that Italian customers will not pay Scottish companies as they will go bankrupt with crisis.
  5. Sector needs information supplied by government to be user friendly.
  6. Catching and Processing sector continuing to lay off staff and this will become more prevalent in the coming days with the end of the week becoming a critical point.
  7. Sector need support from government of at least 50% of wage costs to support companies of all sizes to keep employing their trained staff.
  8. Sector needs financial aid package that does not include loans but puts cashflow into businesses to survive.
  9. A need to maintain supply chain for both inbound and outbound food and food production materials. 
  10. Cold storage is becoming scarce.

 

What did the Chancellor announce on Tuesday?

Key message: this is an economic crisis. The UK Government will do “whatever it takes”. There is more support to be announced. Crucially, we will hear later today (Wed 18th) from Scottish Government how this will fully translate to support in Scotland. The main elements of the Chancellor’s announcement are:

  • A series of government loans; £350 billion guarantees of economic support.
  • For SMEs, extending the business interruption loan scheme, which will offer loans of up to £5m, from next week.
  • A specific focus on hospitality: a cash grant of £25,000 per business (with a rateable value of less than £51,000) to support them during this period.
  • For the UK’s 700,000 smallest companies, cash grants of £10,000.
  • Additionally, the business rates holiday would be extended to all businesses in “most affected sectors” for 12 months. Currently that is only defined as leisure, retail and hospitality.
  • Mortgages providers will offer a mortgage holiday for three months 
  • Insurers to pay out business interruption insurance cover where it includes pandemics.

 

Scottish Government funding announcement.

As of 3pm (Wednesday 18 March), the First Minister had indicated the following, in response to the UK Government response:

  • Replicating yesterday’s UK Government’s package which will result in over £1.9 billion to support Scottish businesses with a commitment to passing on all consequentials from the Chancellor and “every penny” going to support Scottish businesses and employers.
  • £10,000 for businesses in small business rates relief and the rural business scheme and a freeze to the poundage rate over the next financial year.
  • A 12-month business tax relief will be implemented for properties in retail, hospitality and leisure and grants of up to £25,000 for those sectors with a rateable value between £18,000 and £51,000. An additional ask to the UK Government to reduce cost pressures on businesses by implementing tax holidays, PAYE breaks and a suspension of the Apprenticeship levy.
  • The First Minister will chair an urgent meeting with insurance companies and FISAB to look at how banks could best support individuals through the outbreak.
  • Guidance for local authorities to ease restrictions on pubs and restaurants becoming takeaways will be issued by the Chief Planner. All local authorities will be contacted to secure rates deferrals until next year and PACE programme support will be given to those made redundant by the crisis.
  • A commitment to Fair Work Convention principles remaining at the forefront of Government response with discussions between trade unions and the private, public and third sector continuing.

A Q&A is attached regarding support for Non Domestic Rates

In addition, it has been announced that Scottish schools will close at the end of this week.

 

James Withers appeared on BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland today to outline the impact of the current crisis on our industry and what needs to happen now to support it. SF&D’s main points in response to the announcement are summarised below but if you’d like to listen to the full interview please click here.

  • Loans are not the best mechanism. Distressed businesses don’t need debt and interest payment, they need injections of cash.
  • The business rate holiday is welcome but must be broadened beyond hospitality to food and drink manufacturing.
  • Any tool that injects cash into companies, small or large, must be considered.
  • UK must think radically, exploring all options to make the business environment tax free for an emergency period of time, at least 12 weeks
  • In addition, the insurance industry must be approached immediately with regards to how they implement business interruption insurance, where many policies exclude
  • Public health is the top priority but in the long-term to protect lives Government must also protect livelihoods in order to drive the  recovery later in the year.

 

Business Help

Based at Scottish Enterprise’s call centre in Clydebank, advisers across Scotland will answer questions from businesses related to COVID-19.

The business helpline number is 0300 303 0660

The helpline will be open Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm.

Callers should select option one to speak to the COVID-19 team.

Please do not call to request more information on the range of measures announced by the Chancellor on 17 March. The call handling team have no further information at present.

To complement the helpline a new website has been created to keep businesses up to date with the latest guidance across a comprehensive range of important areas relating to COVID-19.  

More information on the Chancellor’s business support measures new will be added to this site shortly.

Click here  FindBusinessSupport.gov.scot. to access

Support for businesses paying tax

All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service. 

These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.

 

Coronavirus COVID-19 Update

The virus’s proliferation has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, meaning it is spreading rapidly in different parts of the world. More than 150 countries have confirmed cases so far. 

The epicentre of the coronavirus is now Europe, with the largest number of confirmed cases in Italy, and death tolls growing more quickly in Italy and Spain than they did in China at the same stage of the outbreak.

United Kingdom Cases 

Confirmed: 1,950
Deaths: 71
Recovered: 65 

As of 17 March, there were 195 positive cases of Covid-19 in Scotland following 4,895 tests, with 4,724 tests negative. So far, two patients in Scotland have died.

The number of new cases in the UK and Scotland is expected to rise sharply in the next four weeks and then peak in June.

This link https://www.foodstandards.gov.scot/consumers/food-safety/coronavirus  provides further information on Covid-19 and the risk management advice to the effect that:

The risk of contracting novel coronavirus (COVID-19) through the UK food chain is very low. There is currently no evidence to suggest transmission occurs through the foodborne route.  Therefore you are very unlikely to catch COVID-19 from food.

Health Advice

For people showing symptoms suggestive of coronavirus the UK Government is stressing the importance of seeking help online by visiting NHS.UK/coronavirus to check your symptoms and follow the medical advice, rather than visiting your GP.

Also:

  • People showing symptoms suggestive of coronavirus should stay at home for seven days and only contact NHS 111 or their local GP if their symptoms worsen during that period.
  • Members of a household where someone has suspected symptoms should now stay at home for 14 days.
  • Those with underlying health conditions should be ‘’shielded’’ at home for 12 weeks.
  • Minimise social contact by avoiding crowded areas and large gatherings, including religious congregations and smaller gatherings such as restaurants, pubs, bars, clubs, cinemas and gyms
  • For those who are over 70, have an underlying health condition or are pregnant, they are strongly advised against these activities and to significantly limit face-to-face interaction with friends and family if possible.
  • Avoid using public transport as much as possible
  • Work from home when possible
  • Follow basic hygiene precautions, such as washing hands frequently, not touching your face and covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing

Information required by Seafood Scotland

The situation is fast-moving.  The information businesses provide us fuels our effort in analysing impact and exploring mitigation options, financial or otherwise.  Please send Seafood Scotland all information including loss of sales, business fragility, cashflow problems, workforce absence and disruption in supply chain.  Also, any other potential solutions or opportunities are welcome. Send all information to enquiries@seafoodscotland.org  we will also feed this information directly into Scotland Food and Drink to allow this to feed into the wider food sector discussions.

17th March​

SF&D action being taken

  • Highlighting the impact on food and drink businesses of unprecedented disruption in the supply chain, recognising the effective closure of the hospitality market and major disruption to export markets.
  • Pressing for UK Government support. The level of support required is enormous, well beyond the means of Scottish Government (but also exploring options for support at Scottish level).  Avenues being explored include tax relief, including a suspension of PAYE obligations, a holiday on VAT payment, grants to cover payroll costs.
  • Working with media to raise awareness of the impact on the Scottish food and drink supply chain.
  • Collating industry impact information to share with Government.

Seafood Sector action being taken

  • Highlighting the impact on Seafood sector within catching, processing and supply chain and how fragile this sector currently is and that it cannot withstand a period without support from government.
  • Pressing for UK government support to not only include what SF&D are highlighting but to include support for State Aid exemptions to allow support out with fisheries deminimis and to support large organisations, capital and interest loan holidays, support to allow fishermen to apply for recently announced grant aid of £3000, support for cashflow.
  • Looking at different logistic options for exporting due to freight options being limited or very expensive.
  • Developing up to date information on access to markets.
  • dialogue with retailers to look at how other species can be sold in UK retail.
  • collating what support is being offered to seafood sectors in other countries.
  • With the cancellation of major tradeshows including Boston Seafood show and Seafood Expo Global in Brussels we are working on plans to get market activity started as soon as it is possible.

Information required by Seafood Scotland

The situation is fast-moving.  The information businesses provide us fuels our effort in analysing impact and exploring mitigation options, financial or otherwise.  Please send Seafood Scotland all information including loss of sales, business fragility, cashflow problems, workforce absence and disruption in supply chain.  Also, any other potential solutions or opportunities are welcome. Send all information to enquiry@seafoodscotland.org  we will also feed this information directly into Scotland Food and Drink to allow this to feed into the wider food sector discussions.

Latest Business Feedback Summary

The key information provided to us by businesses will be summarised here daily.

  1. Export demand has plummeted with only a very small amount of product getting out of the country, either because of the closure of hospitality outlets or major disruption to traditional routes to market (airlines, haulage etc).
  2. Large parts of the foodservice market in UK will become affected with current government guidelines across hotel, bars, restaurants etc. 
  3. Shellfish sector are the most vulnerable sector with immediate action needed.
  4. Prawn prices are dropping and soon becoming unviable to fish for them and cold stores are filling up.
  5. We all need to work together to ensure that all decisions taken, are taken collectively to ensure there is a market and processing capability to match the catch being landed.
  6. Catching and Processing sector starting to lay off staff and this will become more prevalent in the coming days and weeks.
  7. Without the Easter trade internationally many companies will suffer as this is their busiest time out with Christmas.

 

Business Help

Based at Scottish Enterprise’s call centre in Clydebank, advisers across Scotland will answer questions from businesses related to the Coronavirus outbreak.

The business helpline number is 0300 303 0660

The helpline will be open Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm.

Callers should select option one to speak to the COVID-19 team.

To complement the helpline a new website has been created to keep businesses up-to-date with the latest guidance across a comprehensive range of important areas relating to COVID-19.  

Click here  FindBusinessSupport.gov.scot. to access

Support for businesses paying tax

All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service. 

These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.

 

Update on virus spread

The virus’s proliferation has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, meaning it is spreading rapidly in different parts of the world. More than 150 countries have confirmed cases so far. 

The epicentre of the coronavirus is now Europe, with the largest number of confirmed cases in Italy, and death tolls growing more quickly in Italy and Spain than they did in China at the same stage of the outbreak.

United Kingdom Cases  (as at 16/3/20)

Tested: 44,105

Confirmed: 1,544
Deaths: 55
Recovered: 52 

 

There are 171 positive cases of Covid-19 in Scotland following 4,240 tests. So far, one patient in Scotland has died.

The number of new cases in the UK and Scotland is expected to rise sharply in the next four weeks and then peak in June.

Health Advice

For people showing symptoms suggestive of coronavirus the UK Government is stressing the importance of seeking help online by visiting NHS.UK/coronavirus to check your symptoms and follow the medical advice, rather than visiting your GP.

Also:

  • People showing symptoms suggestive of coronavirus should stay at home for seven days and only contact NHS 111 or their local GP if their symptoms worsen during that period.
  • Members of a household where someone has suspected symptoms should now stay at home for 14 days.
  • Those with underlying health conditions should be ‘’shielded’’ at home for 12 weeks.
  • Minimise social contact by avoiding crowded areas and large gatherings, including religious congregations and smaller gatherings such as restaurants, pubs, bars, clubs, cinemas and gyms
  • For those who are over 70, have an underlying health condition or are pregnant, they are strongly advised against these activities and to significantly limit face-to-face interaction with friends and family if possible.
  • Avoid using public transport as much as possible
  • Work from home when possible
  • Follow basic hygiene precautions, such as washing hands frequently, not touching your face and covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing

Please pass this email on to anyone who would be interested in this update and they can email enquiries@seafoodscotland.org to register to be added on to the distribution list.









Enquiries





Seafood Scotland, 1f1 Ratho Park One, 88 Glasgow Road, Newbridge, EH28 8PP, UK +44 (0)131 557 9344