EDA COVID-19 Bulletins

Quick access to our library of regular COVID-19 email bulletins in date order.

If you cannot find the information you’re looking for below, call the EDA on 020 3141 7340

Take me to the EDA's COVID-19 Hub Home Page

Sent on Friday 17 July 2020:Updated Practical Guidance ready to download, have your say in our latest survey, and a free service to find talented people for your business

  1. Latest EDA Monthly Member Survey open for your feedback: thank you to all who have completed it so far but if you haven’t there is still time and it will take just 3 minutes. This is our 4th Monthly Member survey and we really appreciate the time you give to complete it each month.  Your feedback is extremely important to us because we use it to identify which actions to take to support you through the Covid-19 crisis. Every month your needs and concerns are different, that’s why we need you to keep on filling in this survey.

Follow this link to complete the 3 minute EDA Monthly Survey.

2.Updated version (3) of Practical Guidance for Electrical Wholesale Branches is available to download: this latest version reflects changes in version 5 of the Construction Leadership Council’s (CLC’s) Site Operating Procedures (SOP). This latest version does not yet, however, reflect the incoming rule on face coverings but we will update the Guidance as soon as possible after the 24 July when the rule comes into place. It is our (the EDA’s) understanding that this rule also applies to branches and that customers coming in to branches need to wear a face covering (unless exempt as per government guidance) when interacting with staff. Currently, it is not compulsory for staff to wear face coverings/masks. You can download version 3 of the Guidance here.

3.Talent Retention Scheme for all sectors of the construction industry: thousands of businesses have already registered in advance for this free online service. The online platform (due for launch later this month) will mean your company could search for and recruit talented individuals and promote vacancies. You can find out more here.

Sent on Thursday 9 July 2020: Details of the Construction Talent Retention Scheme, plus the latest on reintroducing MOTs

  1. Launch of the Construction Talent Retention Scheme: The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has announced (Wed 8 July) the launch of the Construction Talent Retention Scheme, a partnership between the Government and industry to secure essential talent in the UK construction sector.The Construction Talent Retention Scheme, to formally launch later this month, will be an online portal that supports redeployment of staff at risk of redundancy across the sector, while also enabling temporary employee loans between businesses. The Scheme gives displaced  workers from other sectors a route to find new employment in construction.
    If your business is interested in finding out more you can register your interest via this link.
  2. Watch a video about flexible furloughing: HM Revenue & Customs are also running webinars until Friday 17 July about the extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and flexible furloughing and you can find out more and register here.
  3. Trade Credit Insurance guidance: if your business uses TCI consult the guidance here.
  4. Mandatory MOT testing to be reintroduced from 1 August: you’ll find more information here.
  5. Reopening businesses in England: employers wanting to reopen their businesses have a legal responsibility to protect their employees and other people on site. This government guidance will help you undertake a risk assessment.
  6. Exporting PPE: guidance has been updated and you no longer need to apply for an export licence to export PPE. You can find out more here.
  7. £200 million package to help innovative businesses bounce back:
    1. Sustainable Innovation Fund
    2. Future Fund – for innovative firms and start ups.
  8. Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is asking for feedback on how the outbreak is affecting your business: you can send business intelligence, information, and feedback on safer workplace guidance to intel@beis.gov.uk This is an inbox only and they do not provide advice via this channel.

Sent Wed 17 June 2020: Please complete this month’s EDA survey, review the results of last month’s survey, plus Growth Hubs and Business Rate Relief

Here are the results of the previous EDA Monthly Survey which looked back at how wholesalers fared in April. The results reveal the 3 biggest business challenges facing EDA wholesalers, how turnover was affected, and much more. Review the results in our COVID-19 Hub here.

Other news:

  1. Growth Hubs: there is a network of 38 Growth Hubs across England. They are led by the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and their job is to join up national and local business support to help businesses find the help they need. You may find their resources useful and you can find your local Growth Hub here.
  2. Business Rate Relief and unlocking business support grant funds: We are hearing that many EDA members have gained rate relief on their premises via their local authority. At the request of EDA board members, the EDA has prepared a template to help you claim rate relief if you wish to apply, with supporting documents. However, this comes with a strong note of caution as you must be aware that we cannot predict changes to future rateable values and there may be long-term impacts to your business by re-designating as retail premises.  If you do decide to reclassify your business as retail it unlocks further grant opportunities up to £25,000 depending upon your rateable value. You can find out more on our website here, including a template letter and supporting documents.

Sent Monday 15 June 2020: Trade Credit Insurance boosted by £10 bn deal and what your business needs to do, plus latest from the EDA and the wider construction sector

As we move through June, we are hopeful that the very worst of Covid-19 crisis is behind us, with the lowest point for our sector occurring in April, and that we can turn our collective attention towards recovery.  If you took part in the recent zooms dialogues with the EDA Board of Management, we will be announcing further “virtual” opportunities as soon as possible

  1. New £10 billion deal to bolster the Trade Credit Insurance (TCI) Sector and information that insurance underwriters will need from your business:  EDA Board Member and MD of LEW Electrical, Andy Johnson, is our representative on the Construction Leadership Council’s (CLC) subgroup helping to shape this TCI support. If your business uses Trade Credit Insurance you’ll be aware of the potential problems caused by the current crisis and the possible “domino effect” along our sector’s supply chain caused by insolvency. This new government initiative will mitigate the impact on the insurance companies to ensure that business like yours can still access TCI cover. You don’t access the scheme, the insurer does, but the CLC’s latest guidance gives advice on the information insurance brokers will be asking for. You can find this guidance here.
  2. EDA Monthly Surveys: You can read about how wholesalers fared in April in our May survey results which you can view here. This was answered by the MDs of more than 70 of our member businesses.
  3. “Roadmap to Recovery” for UK Construction published by the CLC: We would like to draw your attention to a very important document about the future of the construction industry in the UK. You’ll find a copy ‘Roadmap to Recovery’ was published recently by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) and is result of months of work by key companies in the sector that are working with BEIS to move the industry forward.  It divides our recovery plan into 3 phases:
    • Restart     (1 – 3 months)
    • Reset       (3 – 12 months)
    • Reinvent   (12+ months)

You can read and download a copy in the Resources section of our COVID-19 Hub. It provides hard facts about the impact of COVID-19 on the broader construction industry and suggests how the industry must now work together to emerge from the crisis.

  1. Have your opening times changed?:  Don’t forget to review and update your details here. Call Rose on 020 3141 7355.
  2. PPE are you buying or stocking?:  Plenty of useful information here including a list of suppliers. If your details need to change, or you’d like to be listed, please call Rose on the number above.

Sent Tuesday 2 June 2020: Sector performance in April, why 10 June is a key furlough date, EDA’s 3 minute June survey is out now, plus return to work guidance

As we enter the month of June we are hopeful that the very worst of Covid-19 crisis is behind us with the lowest point for our sector occurring in April.  Our indicator shows us that we performed at 45% of normal activity in that month.  The situation was even worse in Scotland where construction was effectively ‘closed for business’.

May figures will not be available for a few weeks but we are hearing that sales are picking up and we are now on a slow upward climb.   Many members believe that our recovery will not be the ‘V’ shaped curve we hoped for but it will be slow and lengthy taking well over a year.  The media is describing it as the ‘NIKE swoosh-shaped curve’.

You can read about how your colleagues in the sector fared in April in our May survey results which you can view here. This was answered by the MDs of more than 70 of our member businesses.

We would like to draw your attention to a very important document about the future of the construction industry in the UK.  ‘Roadmap to Recovery’ was published yesterday by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) and is result of months of work by key companies in the sector that are working with BEIS to move the industry forward.  It divides our recovery plan into 3 phases:

  • Restart     (1 – 3 months)
  • Reset       (3 – 12 months)
  • Reinvent   (12+ months)

It provides hard facts about the impact of COVID-19 on the broader construction industry and suggests how the industry must now work together to emerge from the crisis.

There are some other important items you should be aware of, especially relating to the furlough scheme.

  1. Key CJRS dates: There are some important dates coming up for the government’s Job Retention Scheme, including Wed 10 June which will be the last date that employers will be able to furlough an employee for the first time. To help you navigate the latest dates you’ll find a summary here in our COVID-19 Hub.
  2. Return to work guidance:
    1. Croner’s pdf ‘Return to Work Options for Employers’ – remember, the Croner service is available to all EDA members as part of your benefits
    2. Dealing with flexible working requests – you may find these five top tips helpful.
  3. Croner webinar on Thursday 4 June at 12.30pm: register here.

Also, don’t forget to tell us if your opening times have changed. Call Rose on 020 3141 7355.

On a final note, we are working on an updated version of the ‘Practical Guidance for Electrical Wholesale Branches’ and we hope to release it later this week so please look out for the news.

Sent Thursday 21 May 2020: Holiday entitlement/pay factsheet, plus free webinars

The EDA’s online COVID-19 Hub is updated daily and we wanted to draw your attention to two recent additions:

  1. A two-page fact sheet explaining how holiday entitlement and pay differs during COVID-19
  2. Register for free weekly webinars from Croner covering the latest announcements, development and implications for your business.

Also, don’t forget to tell us if your opening times have changed. Call Rose on 020 3141 7355.

Sent Monday 11 May 2020: Please spare 3 minutes of your time to complete our survey, plus short animation for your contractor customers

  1. EDA 3 minute survey: if you haven’t already done so, please complete this short EDA survey – which is completely anonymous – and takes just 3 minutes of your time. Your input will help us to represent your interests to Government and to other trade associations in the supply chain.  We also need to hear your concerns so that we can concentrate our efforts on helping your businesses as best we can. To help us do this, we need your feedback on how your business has fared during April and your thoughts on the future.
  2. Video for your contractor customers: you may wish to make your customers aware of this short animation explaining how to stay safe during emergency domestic work. You can view this video, and others, in our Webinars and Videos section of our online Hub.

Sent Wednesday 29 April 2020: the latest on virus testing, loans, manufacturers open and webinars

  1. Coronavirus testing: The Government has extended the criteria under which people in England can receive testing for Coronavirus to include those who cannot work from home but are showing symptoms. This widening will now mean that anyone who can’t work from home, for example delivery drivers, who show symptoms can be tested. Details of how to apply for testing can be found here.
  2. EDA manufacturers open for business: to complement the listing of wholesalers open, there is now one for affiliated manufacturers. You’ll find more details here.
  3. Bounce Back Loan Scheme for small businesses: launched on Monday 27 April, this new scheme will open for applications on Monday 4 May. Businesses can borrow between £2,000 – £50,000 interest free for the first 12 months. You’ll find more details here.
  4. New webinars from Croner announced: today at 12noon there is a Facebook Q & A on Staff Furlough, then a weekly webinar throughout May on COVID-19 and HR issues. You’ll find all the links for registration in our COVID-19 Hub.
  5. Furloughed workers – parental leave: Furloughed workers planning to take paid parental or adoption leave will be entitled to pay based on their usual earnings rather than a furloughed pay rate. Find out more here.

Sent Wednesday 22 April 2020: your online hub; wholesalers open, partially open or closed; Job Retention Scheme latest: Scottish Govt announces extra financial support for business

  1. EDA online COVID-19 Hub: created for EDA members and affiliates this hub offers access to information, downloads and resources to support you and your business.
  2. EDA online searchable business status list: In response to several requests we have received from allied trade associations in our supply chain on behalf of their members: Lighting Industry Association (LIA), British Cable Manufacturers Association (BCA), the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA), Scottish Electrical Contractors (SELECT) and Civil Engineering Contractors’ Association (CECA), we have developed a searchable list of information about wholesaler branch openings and closures. This list is updated regularly and if you would like us to change your details please contact Rose on 020 3141 7355 or by email.
  3. Job Retention Scheme latest:
    1. The UK Government has published a step-by-step guide to the use of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The guide can be found here.
    2. The portal through which to make a claim for furloughed workers is now open.
  4. The Scottish Government announced a second package of business support including:
    1. £120m to extend the Small Business Grant scheme to ensure that, in addition to a 100% grant on the first property, small business ratepayers will be eligible to a 75% grant on all subsequent properties.
    2. A further £100m fund is also being made available to protect self-employed people and viable micro and SME businesses in distress due to COVID.
  5. This fund will be channelled through local authorities and enterprise agencies to target newly self-employed people and businesses who are ineligible for other Scottish Government or UK Government schemes.
  6. Applications for the £100 million fund will be open by the end of the month and the new arrangements for the Small Business Grant will be in place to receive applications on 5 May.

Sent Friday 17 April 2020: road user charging; Job Retention latest; HSE and lifting equipment; Recovery Survey reminder

  1. Road user charging suspended: London’s Congestion Charge, Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) and Low Emission Zone (LEZ) have been temporarily suspended. The Clean Air Zones (CAZs), which were due to be implemented in Birmingham, Leeds and Bath this year have been delayed until at least January 2021, in Oxford until summer 2021, and consultation on Manchester’s CAZ has been halted.
  2. Job Retention Scheme latest: Originally workers had to be employed on 28 February 2020 to qualify for the Scheme, but new guidance has confirmed that employers can claim for furloughed employees who were on their PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020. Find out more here.
    1. The system for applying is due to open on Monday 20 April and you will need a Government Gateway ID and Password – if you don’t have one you can register here.
    2. If you have fewer than 100 furloughed staff you will need to input the information directly into the system for each employee.
    3. If you have more than 100 furloughed staff you will be able to upload a file -.xis  .xisx  .csv .ods are acceptable.
    4. If you want an agent to act for you they need to be authorized to act for you on PAYE matters  and claim using their own ID and password. You will need to tell your agent which UK bank account you want the grant paid into if you are to get the money quickly.
  3. Health & Safety Executive (HSE): guidance on examination and testing of lifting and pressure equipment during COVID-19.
  4. Reminder about the Construction Recovery Survey: the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) is canvassing opinion across the sector on what you feel the biggest issues will be following the end of the Coronavirus lockdown. Once the economy is turned back on again, some people fear that there may be a number of issues that delay or at least hamper a quick return to productivity. If you haven’t already completed this 2 minute survey, you can do so here.

Sent Wednesday 15 April 2020

  1. New Site Operating Procedures: version 3 (issued 14/4/20) has been released by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) and is attached (version 2 was not circulated as it was withdrawn by the CLC shortly after release.) You can also download a copy from our website. This is a very important document as it is outlines the practices that should be followed on all sites and has been extended to other uses too.  You may wish to share this document with your contractor customers.
  2. Guidance for working in people’s homes: again your customers may be interested in this information from Government.
  3. New Govt hub for businesses: A new UK Government Coronavirus Business Support Hub has been launched, bringing together key information for businesses including on funding and support, business closures, your responsibilities as an employer and managing your business during coronavirus. The hub also includes information for self-employed people and sole traders, which your contractor customers may find useful.
  4. Information gathering for Job Retention Scheme submissions: we’ve updated this page with the latest list of information that you’ll need to hand when making the submission. The latest information we have seen is that the system for furlough applications will go live on Monday 20 April, although we have had no further news this week.
  5. Construction Recovery Survey: the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) is canvassing opinion across the sector on what you feel the biggest issues will be following the end of the Coronavirus lockdown. Once the economy is turned back on again, some people fear that there may be a number of issues that delay or at least hamper a quick return to productivity. You’ll find the survey here, and it will only take c2 mins to complete.

Sent Wednesday 4 April 2020

  1. Croner, providers of telephone advice for EDA members, has announced a new webinar at 10am on Thursday 9 April 2020. You can register and ask your questions ahead of time here.
  2. Clarification on training for employees on the Job Retention Scheme: The Government confirms that “furloughed employees should be encouraged to undertake training”. If your business has already ordered the EDA modules but your teams are very busy as part of a skeleton crew, or perhaps they are on furlough but still keen to carry on their studies, you may need to arrange extra time for them to complete their modules. Please get in touch so that we can discuss your individual needs – call Rose on 020 3141 7355.
  3. If you are planning to use the Job Retention Scheme, you may find this ACAS template letter useful.
  4. Useful webinar video from the ECA: somewhat technical in parts, but very useful nonetheless, this YouTube link will take you to a recording of yesterday’s live ECA webinar providing expert advice on furloughing and more. It’s well worth a view and you may also wish to share with your contractor customers.

Sent Wednesday 1 April 2020

In response to calls we’ve had from a number of our members, we attach the following communications which you may find useful if you need to provide evidence that your business is involved in critical UK infrastructure projects:

  1. Letter from the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to the UK’s construction sector, dated 31 March 2020.
  2. EDA letter confirming your status as a member. This letter makes reference to the communication from the Secretary of State so you may wish to issue them together.
  3. Essential Driver & Delivery Authentication: a template letter, on EDA letterhead, (call 020 3141 7350 if you’d like a copy in Word) so you can tailor it with the details of your business, project and employee for them to present if challenged by the Police or other authority. As you’ll read, this letter makes reference to the communication from the Secretary of State (see above) so you may wish to issue these letters together, and to other identification that the individual may need such as Driving Licence.

On a final note, thank you if you have already taken part in our COVID-19 survey, but to those of you who have yet to do so please spare a few minutes of your time if you can. Your insights as a business leader will help us to present your point of view accurately during our work with other trade associations, with industry leaders along the supply chain, and with Government departments.

Sent Monday 30 March 2020

  1. Have your say: We urgently need your help with insights into how business leaders in this sector are faring, and whether the various financial packages unveiled by Government are useful to you. A few minutes of your time would be appreciated to complete this short survey
  2. Call for PPE, logistics and other help: Please go to the Government’s online portal where you can log your offers of support If you are able to offer help, and that offer is picked up, please keep the EDA’s Anne Vessey, Head of Marketing & Communications, informed so that we can help share the news of how this sector is stepping up to the challenge – anne.vessey@eda.org.uk or 020 3141 7354.
  3. Share the good news: we’ve been sharing some of the good news you’re posting on social media – particularly our LinkedIn channel If you have news you’d like to share about how your business is contributing to the UK’s effort, please email Anne (details above).

I’ll end with a reminder of the information we shared on our website last week, which is regularly updated, giving details about the Government’s financial support for business.

Sent Friday 17 March 2020

You may find the information on our website useful where we have summarised government help in these areas:

  • Deferring VAT payment
  • Job Retention Scheme (or furloughed workers)
  • Business Interruption Loan for SMEs
  • SMEs paying Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) – reclaim

We will be issuing further bulletins as information becomes available, but if you have a question please call the EDA on 020 3141 7350.

Tuesday 24 March 2020

I attach the document which puts in writing what the Prime Minister said in his address at 8.30pm on 23rd March.

We have had many calls and emails this morning about whether or not electrical wholesalers can or should remain open.

This is not clear and we are trying to seek clarity.

In the first instance, we are working with many other trade associations in the building sector and using our contacts in Government (BEIS – Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) to find the answer. The EDA is not alone, all Associations, especially contractors and wholesalers/merchants, are unclear about the announcement.  As soon as we have clarity we will let you know.

In the meantime, EDA members are taking different approaches:

  • The vast majority of companies are remaining open based on the fact that their business is not covered in the attached document.
  • Others are remaining open based on the fact that they are similar to Retail / Hardware (mentioned in the document) and therefore are excluded from closure.
  • Some have decided to close on ethical grounds to support the plea of the Prime Minister last night for everyone to stay at home.
  • Some are operating a ‘Click & Collect’ style service – no trade counter – so as to maintain social distancing.

In the Builders Merchanting sector:

  • Travis Perkins has closed for 24 hours until the situation becomes clear
  • Other merchants are remaining open for the next 24 hours until the situation is clarified.

Many of you are supplying essential services to critical installations and projects so, for now, it will be up to each EDA member to make their own decision whether to open or close until we have feedback from BEIS.  Hopefully by tomorrow or Thursday.

I am sorry I can’t be clearer at the moment.

Thursday 19 March 2020

Message from Margaret Fitzsimons, CEO