A message from Tom McCormack, CEO of the Marine Management Organisation

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is working to continue to provide its services during the unfolding events around the Covid-19 pandemic.

Our main aim in these unprecedented times is to continue to support the industry and help it to keep fishing and trading, and to be ready to recover when the time comes.

In line with the government’s instructions, MMO staff are now working from home – but we can be contacted for all MMO services, including the handling of applications to the Maritime and Fisheries Fund, in several ways: online, by email, by phone, through social media or via our website.

Like all parts of UK life, we know that fishing has already been disrupted. To assist our industry stakeholders, we have put together this ‘one-stop shop’ guide to signpost the support that has been announced so far to assist businesses and individuals. I hope that this will be of help for now.

I encourage our fishing industry to stay in touch with the MMO – we need to continue to work together to understand the impact on your businesses, and to help reflect and share key information with government.

We will keep you updated on new developments over the coming days and weeks.

For all MMO contact details, visit: www.marinemanagement.org.uk

Welfare support available to fishermen
Fishermen’s Mission Offering emergency financial support for fishermen for the maintenance of the basics of life, and providing pastoral care. fishermensmission.org.uk
Seafarers’ Advice and Information Line (SAIL) Part of Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB), offering specialised advice for fishermen, including independent financial advice on benefit entitlement, HMRC issues, debt, charity grants and housing. sailine.org.uk

Freephone 0800 160 1842 (weekdays 10am-4pm)

Email: advice@sailine.org.uk

Hospital Society
Offering health, welfare and advice to merchant seafarers and fishermen and their families. seahospital.org.uk

Telephone: 020 8858 3696

Email: admin@seahospital.org.uk

Big White Wall A confidential 24/7 online mental health and wellbeing advice and support service provided by the Seafarers’ Hospital Society. bit.ly/2xntPF8

Telephone: 0208 858 3696

Seafarer Support Guides serving and former UK seafarers and their families towards relevant help in times of need. bit.ly/2Jdpsz4

Freephone helpline: 0800 121 4765


KEY WORKERS Food production workers are on the list of ‘key workers’ whose children will be prioritised for education provision. gov.uk/dfe


Telephone: 0800 046 8687

CORONAVIRUS JOBS RETENTION SCHEME Under the coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers with a PAYE scheme will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those who would otherwise have been laid off. Pays 80% of salary up to £2,500 a month for workers who have been designated as ‘furloughed’. bit.ly/33TmWYj

Telephone: 0300 456 3565

STATUTORY SICK PAY REBATE Small and medium-sized businesses will be able to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for staff sickness absence due to coronavirus. bit.ly/2UFXcKD

Telephone: 0300 456 3565

VAT VAT payments deferred from end March 2020 to end June 2020. This is an automatic offer with no applications required. UK-registered businesses will not need to make VAT payments normally due with VAT returns during this period. bit.ly/2WGDv8p

Telephone: 0300 456 3565

INCOME TAX Self-assessment income tax payments have been deferred from end July 2020 to end January 2021. This is an automatic offer with no applications required. No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period. bit.ly/2Ukqobh


Telephone: 0300 456 3565

Businesses with outstanding tax liabilities and in financial distress can receive extra support through HMRC’s Time to Pay service. Contact HMRC support and ask to defer VAT/PAYE and Corporation Tax. gov.uk/HMRC

Telephone: 0800 0159 559

CORONAVIRUS BUSINESS INTERRUPTION LOAN SCHEME This scheme will help businesses affected by coronavirus to access bank lending and overdrafts if they need to. This will help those who have immediate cashflow issues. The scheme will be delivered through commercial lenders, backed by the government-owned British Business Bank. bit.ly/2QP2DpL

Telephone: 0300 456 3565

SMALL BUSINESS GRANT FUNDING IN ENGLAND This funding is aimed at small businesses, eligible if your business occupies a property. This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs. Local authorities will write to eligible businesses. bit.ly/3dwbs1h

Telephone: 0300 456 3565

BUSINESS RATES RELIEF Business Rates Relief for small businesses. bit.ly/3dss9Lf
UNIVERSAL CREDIT Universal Credit has removed the Minimum Income Floor, which makes it easier for self-employed people to access welfare. Self-employed earners may be eligible for either new-style Job Seekers’ Allowance (JSA) or Universal Credit or both. People can apply for either or both of these benefits online at: gov.uk bit.ly/2QMxJOI


Telephone: 0800 328 5644

MORTGAGE HOLIDAY Lenders have agreed with the government to offer a three-month mortgage payment holiday to those struggling as a result of coronavirus. You should contact your lender if you think you may potentially experience payment difficulties as a result of the coronavirus situation.
INTERNATIONAL SUPPLY CHAINS If your supply chain has been affected by coronavirus, DIT may be able to help you to find alternative suppliers. bit.ly/3bmroRQ

Fishermen’s charities ‘there to help’

As the coronavirus crisis escalates, the Fishermen’s Mission and the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society have reiterated that they stand ready to help fishermen in time of need, reports John Periam.

Ali Godfrey, director of business development for the Mission, said: “The message to our fishermen is that the Fishermen’s Mission is open for business as usual – but due to the very difficult circumstances we find ourselves in, we are working mostly via our email, phones, text and WhatsApp. We will be booking people in for telephone appointments and doing all we can to help. We have drafted in extra pairs of hands, so all requests will be dealt with as soon as we can.

“As well as the virus, we know that fishermen are finding that there are very limited markets for their catch, especially for shellfish. This, added to the impact of the large number of storms from Christmas to March, means that life is tough for fishermen, and the industry as a whole. We are doing all we can to support you all by providing as much assistance as we are able to, along with port help directly from our superintendents and volunteers around the UK coastline.

“It is important that we promote the sale of fresh British fish, and we are keeping in touch with the government and government agencies to continue dialogue with others around what the fishing fleets and their communities need.

“As always, our message to our fishermen and their families is: if you need us, call us. Look on our website to find your nearest Fishermen’s Mission member of staff, at: fishermensmission.org.uk

Justin Osmond, chief executive of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, said: “During this unprecedented coronavirus crisis, the society is there to help to support the fishing community – as it has done for over 180 years.

“Depending on your circumstances, we provide a range of financial grants to support both working-age and retired fishermen, and their dependents, who are facing hardship.”

The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society works alongside other charities and organisations associated with the fishing industry to help those in need. It is important to ask for that support. These charities will only find out about fishermen in need if they get in touch – or if Fishing News readers point them in the right direction.

For more information about the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society go to: shipwreckedmariners.org.uk or call: 01243 787761.



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