FSB Friday newsletter: August 07

News 7 Aug 2020

Covid-19: The latest

England

Face coverings are still mandatory in shops - the two-metre social distancing rule must be followed wherever possible.

Local restrictions are in place in various locations across the country, including Luton, Leicester and parts of the north.

In all other parts of the country, bowling alleys, facial treatments in beauty salons, spas and mobile or home-based beauty businesses are due to resume on Saturday 15 August at the earliest.

Scotland
Live outdoor events, funfairs, amusement parks, pool halls, driving lessons and organised outdoor contact sports can resume from Friday 14 August.

From 14 September, gyms, indoor pools, soft play areas, live event and other outdoor entertainment will resume.

Please note these dates are tentative and subject to change depending on the R-rate.

Wales
Pubs, restaurants and coffee shops will reopened last Monday 3 August, as did the retail sector, beauty salons, cinemas, tattoo shops, museums and driving schools.

However, there is no set date yet for indoor gyms, swimming pools and theatres to reopen.

Northern Ireland
Indoor sports courts, skating rinks, leisure centres and soft play areas can reopen from today.

The Government has published a full list of businesses which must remain shut.

LATEST ADVICE AND OPPORTUNITIES

Cashflow protection

Organisations in the insurance industry want to understand how a new cashflow protection product might help UK small firms mitigate against the impacts of future lockdowns. They're asking business owners to fill out this survey, which will help shape potential responses to future Covid-19 restructions.

Supporting veterans
After FSB lobbying efforts with X-Forces, the Government is consulting on how to deliver its promise to scrap employer national insurance rates on new hires from the veteran community.

Eat Out to Help Out
The Government's Eat Out to Help Out scheme went live on Monday, allowing people up to £10 off the cost of a meal. To be eligible, restaurants must register on the Government's website.

NEWS AND HIGHLIGHTS

Hand firms unspent grants
FSB National Chair Mike Cherry has told The Times that any unallocated business support funding should be repurposed to help left out businesses in need. His comments come after news that councils are sitting on £1.6billion of unspent grants, despite the fact that thousands of companies have not been helped by existing support measures. To find out if you're eligible for support, visit the Government's website.

Call for world-beating test and trace system
FSB stressed this week that a world-beating track and trace system is "integral to getting businesses firing at all cylinders again," giving small firms and their staff the confidence that the infrastructure is there to tackle the coronavirus.

Bounce Back Loans delay
As concern that Bounce Back Loans are taking too long to process claims mount, FSB National Chair Mike Cherry told the Telegraph that "banks should be doing everything they can to fast-track applications." This comes as almost 250,000 of the 1.4million applications for Government-supported bounce-back loans were either still being processed or declined as of 2 August.

Planning consultation paves way for small business construction boom
The government is launching a major new consultation on reforming planning law. FSB Policy & Advocacy Chair Martin McTague welcomed the news, calling the current process "slow but cumbersome."

Getting back to work
Following the latest forecasts from the Bank of England, FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry has warned policymakers not to "pull up the business support drawbridge too quickly" as doing so could decimate the economy for years to come. He praised the job retention scheme but says its future needs to be considered carefully, particularly with local lockdowns and a slow economic recovery on the cards.

POLITICS, PARLIAMENT AND FSB

-       We are keeping a close eye on local lockdowns and will be pushing for funding in other areas where restrictions are put into place

-       We continue to monitor how reopening is going and which sectors remain disproportionately affected

-       Parliament is in recess and will return on 1 September, we continue to lobby the Government, engage with MPs and prepare for digital party conference season

JOIN BIG VOICE AND MAKE YOUR BUSINESS HEARD

Big Voice is FSB's unique online research community for members. By responding to one of our surveys, members give us the evidence we need to engage with politicians around the world on the subjects that matter to you.