21 March 2020
COVID-19 - Business Impact

As of this morning, Public Health England had recorded 3,269 total UK cases of Coivd-19, with sadly 144 confirmed deaths. In the Local Authority of Gloucestershire there are a total of 15 confirmed cases.

On a local level I have been working closely with NHS Gloucestershire CCG, the Cotswolds District Council, Gloucestershire County Council, and Gloucestershire Constabulary. The dedication and efficiency of those working on the frontline to combat Covid-19 is heroic and we are all exceptionally grateful for the work they are doing.

The best way to support our NHS and help protect lives is to follow the Government guidelines in social distancing and if you have any of the coronavirus symptoms, stay at home for at least 7 days and use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what you can do.

It will be a collective effort to combat coronavirus, protect those most vulnerable to it, and ensure we can get back to our normal lives as quickly as possible.  We will all have to live differently and make some scarifies over the coming months, but the Government is working tirelessly to ensure as many people as possible are protected.

From the end of today schools will be closing for all children, with the exception of the children of key workers and vulnerable children.  Key workers include those working in– health and social care, education and childcare, key public services, local and national government, food and other necessary goods, public safety and national security, transport, and utilities, communication and financial services. For more information visit the Gov.uk for all the latest information and publications.

Department of Education Coronavirus Helpline – 0800 046 8687

Further announcements are expected in regards to nurseries, as it stands parents will have to keep paying for nurseries even if they are closed. It may be the case that as nurseries are businesses the Government will announce some financial relief to cover the outbreak period.

This Q&A will be an opportunity for us to discuss the range of measures that have been introduced to support businesses and individuals during this challenging time in more detail. I will not have all the answers, as the Government will be making further announcements today and on Monday, but I will be listening to your concerns, compiling detailed notes and taking what we have discussed back to Government for answers or consideration.   

Government announcements today include –

·        HMT: Employment support

The Government have already announced expansions in eligibility for welfare support and a £500 million hardship fund to support the most vulnerable, as well as support to businesses to help with cash  flow and paying wage bills.

Work is urgently underway to announce further measures to support individuals facing financial difficulty. Yesterday, the Chancellor met with representatives of business groups and the unions for an emergency roundtable on coronavirus to discuss the most effective and practical methods of supporting workers through this period.

Supporting Businesses

At the Budget last week, the Chancellor set out the first stage of our response to tackle Coronavirus with a £30 billion package of support for people and businesses.  The Chancellor later announced a £330 billion package of loans and guarantees.

  • £330bn of loan guarantees to businesses, with more to be made available if needed.
  • Interest-free business interruption loans will be increased to £5m, up from £1.2m announced at last week's budget. No interest will be due for the first six months.
  • A 12-month business rates holiday for all shops, pubs, theatres, music venues, restaurants and any other hospitality or leisure business.
  • A cash grant up to £25,000 for businesses with a rateable value less than £51,000.
  • Cash grants of £10,000 to 700,000 of the smallest businesses.
  • A potential support package for airlines and airports in the face of worldwide travel bans

Further details and how to apply will be available from next week – stay up to date thorough the HM Treasury, Gov.UK website.