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6 Apr 2020

The new data collection platform was started on the 2nd of April, whereby users are taken through a short process to register for our new data collection platform when logging into Gabriel....

3 Apr 2020

The Business Secretary has called on high street lenders to ease access to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme (CBILS) for small independent retailers during the crisis.

2 Apr 2020

The National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates increased yesterday, following recommendations made to the Government by the Low Pay Commission

1 Apr 2020

If you are an NHS or Key Worker get in touch with Freewheel for a free care package worth £100!

1 Apr 2020

Decarbonising transport: setting the challenge states the current challenges and steps to be taken when developing the transport decarbonisation plan.

31 Mar 2020

As Local Bike Shop Day is a day encompassing the whole trade, the final judgement was given to the bike shops that had signup to take part. Out of all the respondents the overwhelming majority -...

31 Mar 2020

The Treasury Select Committee led by Mel Stride MP, has challenged the Association of British Insurers regarding the support offered to business via their members, with specific regard to...

30 Mar 2020

According to the Northern Ireland Executive Office, bicycle shops are included on the list of essential shops that "can continue to operate but are under a legal duty to adopt social...

27 Mar 2020

eBay has today pledged to support small business owners by offering a 30day payment holiday for existing sellers and is waiving fees for all new businesses registering to list or sell until...

27 Mar 2020

UK VAT registered business with VAT payments due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 have the option to defer the payment until a later date or pay the VAT due as normal

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The latest Covid-19 information from the ACT

Posted on in Cycles News

The ACT will be providing regular news updates on the latest information and advice tailored for the cycle sector.

The following information has been published as of today's date. To read the full list of updates visit the ACT website here.

The ACT have been working with partner members of the Independent Retailers Confederation (IRC) to bring you the most up to date retail focussed advice, particular credit is due to the Association of Convenience Stores, our leading IRC political advocacy partner, for their input.


Prime Minister's Press Conference

Published 20th March 2020

  • The PM has said we can turn the tide within the next 12 weeks, but only if we all take the steps we have outlined to reduce the peak of the virus.
  • The PM asked for businesses to stand by your employees and workers because we will stand by you.
  • Government is in negotiations to buy a so-called antibody test to tell you if individuals have had the disease.
  • There will be a further announcement from the Chancellor tomorrow on support for workers.


School Closures and ‘Key Worker' Definition

Published 20th March 2020

The Cabinet Office is expected to confirm that the definition of "Key Workers" in relation to school closures is a public sector or private sector employee who is considered to provide an essential service, bike shops are not included on the list Government issued list. It will be the responsibility of schools to validate and implement the measure with the support of government guidance. Further information is expected soon.


Single Use Carrier Bag Charge

Published 20th March 2020

The Department for Food Environment and Rural Affairs is announcing that from Saturday 21 March, for six months, large retailers (over 250 employees) will no longer be obliged to charge 5p for each single-use carrier bag (SUCB) supplied with online deliveries. It is optional for smaller retailers to charge for single use plastic bags, but you may wish to review your existing policy in response to this change of policy. This temporary measure has been taken to help protect the health and safety of customers and delivery drivers. The use of SUCBs will reduce the need for drivers and householders to come into close contact with each other reducing the risk that infection will be passed on and support customers already in self-isolation as the bags will be easier and quicker to collect from the front door.


Coronavirus Bill

Published 20th March 2020

The Government are introducing emergency legislation in parliament today in the form of the Coronavirus Bill, the explanatory notes are available here. The Bill provides general powers to the Secretary of State to require information to issue directions relating to events, gatherings and premises. The legislation allows the Secretary of State to use discretion in enforcing these powers in relation to "preventing, protecting against, delaying or otherwise controlling the incidence or transmission of coronavirus".


Guidance and Support

ACS has provided the latest information on compensatory measures for business and support for employers and colleague safety


Government slashes interest rates again

Published 19th March 2020

To support the UK economy during these challenging times the Bank of England has once again cut interest rates.

This is the second cut in just over a week, which sees them brought down to 0.1% from 0.25%.


Home Delivery for Retailers

Published 19th March 2020

More retailers are looking at home delivery as an option to reach local customers that are self-isolating or otherwise unable to travel to their local shop. This new guidance details what retailers should consider when starting a home delivery service.

The guidance covers the following areas:

  • How to take an order
  • How to take payment
  • How to operate a collection service
  • How to manage data security
  • Age restricted products

The guidance has been designed in consultation with Surrey/Bucks Trading Standards and Woking Borough Council, who work with ACS on its existing Assured Advice scheme.



Latest updates

Published 19th March 2020

Yesterday, the government announced that schools will close until further notice from after Friday this week, except for children of key workers. Key workers are yet to be identified.

Lobbying action

Published: 18th March 2020

The ACT, along with fellow members of Independent Retailers Confederation (IRC), are currently lobbying the Government to aid independent retail as a whole - one of the most heavily affected sectors of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). 

Key areas the IRC are lobbying the Government:

  1. A Government fund to be provided to compensate businesses impacted by Coronavirus. Many business insurance policies will not pay out on business interruption and other claims because these policies list notifiable diseases at the time the policy was taken out.
  2. An automatic deferral of payment of VAT, employers NICs, business rates, PAYE and corporation tax for at least six months. During this time the Government should explore the fairest ways to reduce businesses' liabilities for the period before, during and immediately after the outbreak.
  3. Wages to be subsidised by the Government for people laid off as a direct result of the outbreak. This will allow businesses that can no longer trade viably to cut their costs without unduly exposing colleagues who will lose their jobs as a result. 


The latest updates from Government

Published: 18th March 2020

The Government's official guidance is available here. It includes information on the following areas:

  • How to help prevent spread of all respiratory infections including COVID-19
  • What to do if someone with suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 has been in a workplace setting
  • What advice to give to individuals who have travelled to specific areas, as outlined by the Chief Medical Officer (full list is available here)
  • Advice for the certification of absence from work resulting from Covid-19

Stay At Home Guidance: Stay at home guidance has been issued by the Government and is available here.

Action Plan: The Government has also published its coronavirus action plan which provides information on what further action can be expected from the Government in response to coronavirus.


How Government is helping businesses

Published: 17th March 2020

On March 17th, the Chancellor announced a package of measures for businesses affected by Covid-19, building on previous commitments made in the Spring Budget.

To ensure the impact on businesses is minimised, the following measures were announced:

  • The Government is providing Government backed and guaranteed loans totalling up to £330bn, equivalent to 15% of GDP. Any business that needs access to funding can get Government backed loans or credit at attractive terms.
  • For SMEs, there will be an extension of the Business Interruption Loan Scheme. Instead of loans of £1.2m, loans will be offered for up to £5m with no interest due for the first six months. This scheme is due to be in place by the end of next week. These are to be available through your bank as loans, overdrafts or other forms of financing.
  • There will be a cash grant of up to £25,000 for all local shops who have a rateable value of less than £51,000 but are not eligible for Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief.
  • The Government is extending the business rates holiday to all businesses in the retail and hospitality sector, irrespective of their rateable value, for 12 months.
  • The £3,000 cash grant for businesses that are currently eligible for Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief will be increased to £10,000.
  • Mortgage lenders will offer a three month mortgage holiday for those individuals affected by coronavirus.
  • The Chancellor will go much further in the coming days to develop new forms of employment support to help protect people's jobs and their incomes.
  • The Chancellor confirmed that he has agreed with insurance companies that all businesses with an insurance policy relating to the current situation will be able to claim against their policies.
    Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary, Robert Jenrick, also announced that he was relaxing planning rules to allow all pubs, restaurants and cafes the ability to offer takeaway and delivery services if they wish
  • The Chancellor announced that he intends to take further legal action to allow the Government to outline further support where needed
You can read the Chancellor's full speech here.

The Bank of England have also announced a package of measures to help UK businesses and households bridge across the economic disruption that is likely to be associated with COVID-19. Interest rates have been reduced from 0.75% to 0.25% and additional funding will be available for banks to increase lending, especially to SMEs.

Devolved Administrations

The Welsh Government has announced a package of support worth more than £200m for small businesses to help them during the coronavirus outbreak.

Retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or less will receive 100% business rate relief and pubs with a rateable value of between £51,000 and £100,000 will receive a £5,000 reduction on their bill. This follows the UK Government taking similar action to support businesses in England in the Budget.

The Chancellor also clarified on 17th March that as part of the additional measures, devolved administrations will receive at least £3.5bn in funding to support businesses in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.


Sick Pay and Employment

Employees are entitled to statutory sick pay (SSP) for up to 28 weeks of work absence, if they earn an average of £118 per week or more. SSP is paid at £94.25 per week on a pro-rata basis.

The following changes are in place on SSP:

  • Self-Isolation - SSP will be payable to people who are staying at home on government advice, not just those who are infected, from 13 March 2020. Regulations were laid on 12 March 2020 to bring this into effect. Retailers can use their discretion about what evidence, if any, to ask for.
  • Commencement - Employees claiming SSP due to coronavirus will now be eligible from day one of absence, rather than the fourth day of their illness. The Government intends to legislate so this applies retrospectively from 13 March 2020.
  • Evidence - Employers are advised to use their discretion around the need for medical evidence for a period of absence where an employee is advised to stay at home due to suspected COVID-19, in accordance with the public health advice being issued by the government.
  • Funding - The Government is bringing forward legislation to allow retailers with up to 250 employees to reclaim up to 14 days of statutory sick pay paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19.

Colleagues not Eligible for SSP

Employees not entitled to SSP (earning under £118 per week) may be eligible for Employment Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit. You can advise the following changes to employees due to coronavirus:

  • Evidence - People claiming for either ESA or Universal Credit are no longer required to produce a fit note.
  • Universal Credit - People affected by coronavirus can now apply for Universal Credit and receive up to a month's advance up front without physically attending a jobcentre.
  • ESA - ESA will now be payable from day one for new claimants who are either suffering from coronavirus or required to stay at home.

ACAS (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) has published guidance for employers and employees which states that it is good practice for employers to treat self-isolation as sick leave and follow their usual sick pay policy or agree for the time to be taken as holiday.


Hygiene and Safety In Store

ACS has Assured Advice is available for retailers on food hygiene standards and practices in store, and the things that should be considered when offering a water refills service. These guides are available below:

Assured Advice - Food Safety and Hygiene

Assured Advice - Water Refills


Pricing Advice

Retailers are experiencing some increased cost prices due to scarcity of some products in the supply chain. As a retailer you are then faced with a choice of passing this cost on, but possibly being perceived as profiteering from the current situation. Clear communication is your best approach in tackling this, for example:

  • Putting up a poster explaining that some supply prices have gone up and that these may be reflected in your prices to customers.
  • Adding the supply price of certain affected products next to the retail price.
  • Responding to customer complaints in person or on social media by explaining the relevant facts.

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