News Updates - 30.04.20

30th April, 2020


Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) have launched a survey to determine the impact of coronavirus on local businesses.

This has been designed to be relevant to local charities (and even small community groups) as well as to organisations that would normally consider themselves to be businesses, so please take a look and complete it, as it will help to give us a full picture of the effects of Coronavirus on Cumbria’s economy. It shouldn’t take more than 10-15 minutes to complete.  


Cumbrian firm lobbies government for more support for SMEs as survey reveals more than 30 per cent face permanent closure

Chamber Member Cartmell Shepherd, a leading Cumbria legal firm is backing calls for the government to do more to help small and medium sized businesses with more than 30 per cent at risk of going out of business if the COVID-19 lockdown continues.

New research conducted by the UK200Group, an organisation which represents the country’s leading law and accountancy firms, shows that more than 500,000 people in the North West are at risk of unemployment. 

Of the 1,793 SME businesses who took part in the survey, conducted during three weeks in April,  31 per cent believe they could close permanently if the lockdown continues beyond June. 

The research shows that 42 per cent of the SMEs who took part in the survey have closed temporarily and 88 per cent have had to scale down or close.

Cartmell Shepherd Solicitors, the only law firm member of the UK200Group in Cumbria and Northumberland, has written to all four MPs where its offices are based to highlight to government the following three key areas where SMEs say they need more help:  

  • accessing bank funding to preserve their business;

  • rebuilding their business once the pandemic eases;

  • supporting the self-employed to tide them over.

 Cartmell Shepherd Solicitors, along with the other UK200Group partners, is calling on the government to prioritise support for SMEs by implementing the following measures:

  • removing some of the administrative hurdles of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme;

  • continuing support for furloughed employees, rather than a hard end to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme;

  • refining the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme to ensure it is well targeted.

New Bounce Back Loans announced by the government this week, will potentially help the smaller SME businesses. The borrowing limit is from £2,000 to £50,000.

But it does not stop the call for change to the main Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme for those businesses which need financial help above those limits.

As a business, you can only have one of these types of loans.

Peter Stafford, managing director of Cartmell Shepherd Solicitors, said: “The government has taken major steps to try to help businesses to survive but this research shows that much more needs to be done.

“The UK200Group is using its size and reach to push the government to make more changes to support SMEs.  Not just because all the members are SMEs but also because nearly all of our clients are as well.

“Whilst efforts are being made to protect our NHS and key workers, we must also make sure that people’s jobs and livelihoods are protected as well.” 

Cartmell Shepherd Solicitors has 100 staff, most of whom are working from home throughout the lockdown to ensure they can give continuous professional and personal  service and support to clients, individuals, businesses, and the wider community, throughout the coronavirus outbreak and lockdown. 

The firm has six offices based in Carlisle, Penrith, Brampton, Dovenby and Haltwhistle.

The UK200Group, the UK’s leading professional services group of independent quality assured Chartered Accountancy and Law firms, has more than 500 partners, representing about 150,000 SMEs, owner operators and family businesses across the country.  


Do you have properties and workspaces that have been shut? THINK - Legionnaire’s Disease

 Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic many business and their premises are temporarily closed. There is a real risk of legionella developing in water systems that remain dormant. Business owners, landlords and any property managers must be aware of this and put into place procedures to control that risk. In order to manage the risk you must implement a suitable flushing regime which is recommended to take place on a weekly basis.

For further advice speak to the Environmental Health team at your local district council. More information on Legionnaire’s Disease can be found on the HSE website here


COVID 19 testing arrangements take shape in Cumbria

 Testing for Covid-19 is now available to people in Cumbria at a range of locations. Four sites can be accessed by anyone who is an essential worker, with a further four sites currently testing health and social care staff only (including the independent and voluntary sectors).

Testing is available for all eligible essential workers at sites in Penrith, Kendal, Preston and Gateshead. Eligible health and social care staff can also access testing in Barrow, Carlisle, Lancaster and Whitehaven.

To be eligible for testing people must be:

  • Currently self-isolating for five days or less due to suspected COVID-19 infection, or;
  • A member of an essential worker’s household who has suspected COVID-19 infection and has been self-isolating for five days or less (which has resulted in the member of staff self-isolating as well).

Testing is most effective in the first three days of COVID-19 symptoms appearing. Testing is considered effective up until day five. No testing should be undertaken after day five, unless for a specific reason.

Importantly, while the people can make their own bookings for Penrith, Kendal, Preston and Gateshead via the national Government website, to access the Barrow, Carlisle, Lancaster and Whitehaven sites health and social care staff must be referred for testing by their employer.

Full details of how to access all testing available to people across the whole of Cumbria can be found at

People should check the specific advice on how the particular test centre will work, the age range eligible for testing and ensure they have an appointment. People will not be tested without an appointment. Those tested will receive their results by text within a few days.

In addition to the testing sites explained above, there is also a range of other testing activity underway. This includes:

  • Locally agreed arrangements to test residents of Cumbrian residential or nursing homes that have been developed between Public Health England, Cumbria’s Director of Public Health and the local health and care system.  Community health teams perform the swabbing, and the laboratory testing is done locally.
  • NHS Trust staff are able to access testing through their own organisation.
  • Other additional temporary testing facilities may also be offered to meet demand – these include mobile testing units operated by the Ministry of Defence which are available to the local area to increase capacity where needed.