Working in partnership across the industry

At the start of the year, the UK economy approached the year positively. The refreshed optimism saw long held budgets being unlocked and order books filling. A few short months later and we find ourselves facing a very different period ahead.

The situation around the UK and the rest of the world is changing daily, and as we operate our businesses in unprecedented times, making sure every base is covered is imperative. With the news from China that the COVID-19 outbreak was to affect supplier’s ability to fulfil orders earlier this year, all parts of the supply chain reacted with understanding and reverted to a critical plan to address the unfolding challenges. 

Working together 

We have taken many calls and emails about the state of business particularly in the last month. Our Chair Angela Wagstaff has shared her view and advice: “We are all in this together and anxiously awaiting an upturn in positive news. With many events being cancelled, many of our members are already experiencing a drop in expected orders, which coupled with stock issues means we are all facing challenging times. Encouraging clients to stick with their placed orders but change branding to non-date or event specific messaging has saved the day for us at Allwag Promotions a few times this week’.

Angela also urges fellow members to work with their end-user clients when placing orders to make clear the financial commitment that comes with placing confirmed orders, so no party suffers from short notice cancellation and the potential for serious financial repercussions in the supply chain.

We recommend that all orders have a clear audit trail with each party fully understanding their financial exposure and commitment, what happens if supply chain is affected and what contingency can be put in place. The BPMA can support you with best practice guidelines and our team is on hand to ensure you receive the advice you need. Building in extra contingency on lead times over the coming weeks, where possible, will also allow for any future logistical problems.

Chinese factories re-open 

As the situation changes, we are also hearing from supplier members that factories in China are beginning to re-open with staff having temperature checks 3 times a day with close monitoring to enable them to run production.

Keeping up to date

There is no doubt there is a tough period ahead for the whole UK and global economy. The BPMA is committed to ensuring as soon as updates are available for any Government support that might be made available to UK SMEs, we will issue a notification to all members. We recommend staying up to date with the latest news on the outbreak.

Today’s budget news 

With the interest rate cut declared this morning from 0.75% to 0.25% the Bank of England said it would also free up billions of pounds of extra lending power to help banks support firms. For those with mortgages on variable and tracker rates, this equates to roughly £30 saving per £100k of mortgage so helpful for many on a household level. 

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has today delivered his first budget and put together some relief measures for SME’s and employers. With a predicted growth of 1.1% for the UK, this sounded promising however this didn’t take into account the impact of the virus on the economy. Inflation is set to increase from 1.4% to 1.8% and with the clear stance from the Government that we are in for a difficult trading period, all our members should be aware and taking advantage of budget measures put in place from today: 

  • Statutory sick pay will be paid to all those who choose to self-isolate, where advised by a medical professional 
  • For companies of fewer than 250 employees, they will be refunded statutory sick payments for 14 days
  • National Insurance Contributions threshold to rise from £8,632 to £9,500 – saving people just over £100 a year
  • Self-employed workers who are not eligible for sick pay will be able to claim contributory Employment Support Allowance
  • HMRC have pledged ‘time to pay’ for those businesses who need flexibility
  • The Chancellor announced a new fund of £2bn for small firms to access for a ‘Business Interruption Loan’ for loans of up to £1.2m which will be 80% backed by Government
  • Firms eligible for small business rates relief will be able to access a £3,000 cash grant

In addition, please read the Government’s Covid-19 Support Budget FactSheet which contains further detail on the various measures announced today, how to claim and what eligibility you may need to claim some of the measures noted here. 

Benefits to support BPMA members 

We know every organisation is facing an unprecedented time and accurate, clear advice is essential. Please make sure you take advantage of helplines and support with the experts waiting to advise you. 

As a part of your membership, you have a number of helplines available to access for advice including: 

Legal, Tax and HR advice via Croner

Benefit: free access to legal and business support helpline on 0844 561 8133

Make sure you provide your member number when you call to access advice 

Credit Management via Account Assyst 

Benefit: 100 free credit reports plus credit management support, best practice 

Debt Recovery via Direct Route 

Benefit: Free debt recovery for accounts ranging from £1-£3000 and additional discounts

Here to support you

As an industry, it is critical we stand together and the BPMA is here to support your business at every step. We will be issuing a COVID-19 update in the coming week as the UK Government updates or changes guidelines. We encourage any member experiencing challenges in the current situation to contact either Carey Trevill, Interim CEO or Chair Angela Wagstaff to speak in confidence.


Carey Trevill 

Direct +44 1372 371 185 

Angela Wagstaff

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