COVID-19 advice and support for businesses

There are a variety of sources of support and advice for businesses in light of the situation created by coronavirus or COVID-19 – we will be regularly updating this page with links and information on help available.

Last updated: Friday 26 June 2020

Government financial support measures for the UK seafood industry

We’ve developed an easy to use tool to help seafood businesses identify UK Government and devolved administration Covid-19 financial support schemes. By selecting your business type and location you can see which packages may be available to your business, including those specific to the sector and those open to businesses more generally. Alternatively you can download a pdf summary of all the available support. 

Note:  On Tuesday 26 May, the Northern Ireland Executive announced that financial support will be available for shellfish growers and trout farmers in Northern Ireland that have experienced a significant drop in sales as a result of COVID-19. DAERA will inform business owners about the full details of the scheme and how to apply in due course. We will add this information to the support tool when it is available.

Guidance for seafood businesses on working safely during Covid-19

Access our advice and guidance page.

Advice and support from UK Government, HMRC and Public Health England

As the situation evolves, it’s important that everyone is aware of the latest advice from the UK Government and the health information from the NHS. 

The UK Government has published updated guidance for businesses, employers and employees.

An online service to apply for a coronavirus test is available on the UK Government website

Access information on test and trace systems in England and Scotland.

Schools and childcare provision is available for key workers in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery – read guidance on the Government website.

Benefits: Visit the government's website to find out more about, benefits, eligibility and how to apply.

Information and support for businesses in Scotland

The Scottish Government is providing information on coronavirus in Scotland and relevant updates for businesses including advice and guidance, news and publications on their website.

Skills Development Scotland launched a Job Hub where businesses in need of immediate staff as a result of the COVID-19 situation can post vacancies. 

Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) is providing free confidential support to assist individuals and employers in Scotland facing a redundancy situation. Visit the My World of Work website or call the helpline 0800 917 8000.

Scotland Food & Drink has a coronavirus information hub on their website

Scottish Enterprise has information on their website and the Find Business Support website has on updates and advice on funding, business disruption, tax rates, employee support and more.

NHS Scotland provides public health advice on COVID-19, information on personal support and guidance on engaging with the NHS in the event of symptoms or illness. Visit the NHS Scotland website

Information and support for businesses in Wales

The Welsh Government is providing guidance and updates on coronavirus on their website.

Business Wales has advice on its website for Welsh businesses, including information on financial support and grants. The phone number for further advice is 0300 060 3000.

Public Health Wales provides guidance and resources on coronavirus on their website

Information and support for businesses in Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland Executive has information and updates on their website

Northern Ireland Business Info and has advice for Norther Ireland businesses.

Other sources of support and advice

We have announced new funding to support online learning opportunities while Covid-19 social distancing requirements prevent the delivery of face to face taught training courses.

ACAS has published information for employees and employers, including information on simple steps to help protect the health and safety of staff, sick pay and absence from work.

Business loans: A number of private lenders are also making funds available to small businesses impacted by COVID-19, including £2 billion from Lloyds Banking Group and £5 billion from NatWest.

The British Retail Consortium is sharing the latest retailer announcements on their website.

Safety In Action has shared coronavirus advice relating to deliveries on their website.

The British Chamber of Commerce has advice for Chambers and members on their website.

Support for fish and chip businesses

While we have had to cancel the 2021 National Fish & Chip Awards, we are still working to support fish and chip businesses. Contact the team on fishandchips@seafish.co.uk.

Other support available for dish and chip businesses includes a Just Eat £10m support package for restaurant partners and information released information on COVID-19 support for takeaways and restaurants from the British Takeaway Campaign.

Businesses can also apply for a listing on the Local Food COVID-19 map for businesses open for delivery.

Support for fishermen

We have produced guidance and marketing materials to support direct selling to consumers while usual routes to market are unavailable. 

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has issued guidance on the relaxation of requirements on fishermen's training and certification during COVID-19 restrictions.

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has produced a guide detailing the assistance which they can offer and collating links to other sources of support for their stakeholders in EnglandThey have also shared guidance on how to sell your catch direct.

Self-employed fishermen who need support immediately should apply for universal credit as the government self-employed grant will not be paid until June. This needs to be applied for online, find out more on the Government website. The Fishermen's Mission has created an easy to follow guide for applying for Universal Credit. If you need further support with this contact SAIL (details below).

The Fishermen’s Mission provides financial, practical and pastoral support to retired or active fishermen and their families. Support can be requested for a variety of factors and financial support is provided when payments can no longer be made and they are in arrears - proof and documentation is required. Visit their website, call 01489 566 910 or email enquiries@fishermensmission.org.uk.

Seafarer’s Advice and Information Line (SAIL) provides independent financial advice for seafarers on benefit entitlement, HMRC issues, bankruptcy, debt, charity grants, employment, housing and pensions, as well as advice on consumer issues and immigration. They also offer practical support to assist with filling in forms and negotiating with other agencies. Visit their website, call 0800 160 1842 or email advice@sailline.org.uk.

Seafarer’s Advice and Information Line (SAIL) provides independent financial advice for seafarers on benefit entitlement, HMRC issues, bankruptcy, debt, charity grants, employment, housing and pensions, as well as advice on consumer issues and immigration. They also offer practical support to assist with filling in forms and negotiating with other agencies. Visit their website, call 0800 160 1842 or email advice@sailline.org.uk.

Shipwrecked Mariners Society provides financial and practical assistance to merchant seafarers, fishermen and their dependents. They can support in instances that include debt, illness, disability, unemployment or retirement. To find out more visit their website, call 01243 789 329 or email general@shipwreckedmariners.org.uk.

Seafarers Hospital Society offer health, welfare and advice to merchant seafarers and fishermen families. Visit their website, call 0800 160 1842 or email admin@seahospital.org.uk. Big White Wall is a confidential 24/7 online mental health and wellbeing service provided by the Seafarers Hospital Society.

Seafarer Support guides serving and former UK seafarers and their families towards relevant help. Their online tool allows users to input basic details then searches their database of over 150 maritime charities to identify those which may be able to provide help. Visit their website or call the free helpline on 0800 121 4765. 

Fishing Animateur has collated various sources of advice and support for fishermen and their families in the form of a poster.

Mental health support

If you feel you need additional support you can also contact the following charities: 

The Samaritans: Visit their website or call 116 123.

Silverline: A free confidential helpline providing information, friendship and advice to older people, open 24 hours a day call 0800 470 8090.

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