FSB weekly newsletter: 21 August

News 21 Aug 2020

Covid-19: The latest

In England, Casinos, bowling alleys, ice rinks, soft play centres, music venues, comedy clubs, theatres, close contact beauty treatment and weddings of up to 30 guests resumed last weekend.

These rules do not apply in the areas where local lockdown measures are in place, including Preston and other parts of the north.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that from August 24, bingo halls and amusement arcades alongside other operators can reopen. Gyms, swimming pools and indoor sports courts will likely now reopen from August 31. Find out all the detail and the steps Scottish small businesses need to take to re-open safely. New rules for the hospitality sector in Scotland have also been published.

Meanwhile there is a limited local lockdown continues in Aberdeen though following FSB campaigning, a local small business grant support scheme is now available.

Leisure centres, gyms and indoor pools have now reopened.

Contract tracing in the hospitality industry is now mandatory.

Northern Ireland
Many sections of the economy are now permitted to open, provided social distancing and other measures which minimise risk are applied, though certain activities are still forbidden. Bars and private members clubs which do not serve food, or have outdoor space available, as well as concert venues and theatres, are still mandated to close, an indicative date of 1 September has been set for them to open, though this is subject to review regarding the control of transmission of coronavirus.  Soft-play areas are still required to close, with no indicative date set for their re-opening currently.


Small business grant fund
There is still more than £1billion of grant money available for small businesses from local authorities across England, but the fund application period ends on 28 August. If you are in doubt over your eligibility, check with your local authority.

Self-employed income support scheme
Applications for the second grant from the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme are now open. Claims must be made on or before 19 October.

Guidance for veterans
X-Forces Enterprise is hosting a Military in Business virtual networking event on August 27 with XFE ambassador James Wilthew, FSB member and owner of the Afghan Rug Shop. FSB’s regional sales manager Nick Bradley will also be on hand to provide advice. Registration is free.

New bank lenders approved
The British Business Bank has approved four new lenders for accreditation under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. These are BLG Development Finance, Conister, RM Funds and Western Union Business Solutions.

Free skills event
Business leaders and skills professionals are invited to a free online event to discuss the role of skills in London's recovery from Covid-19 on 14 September. It will be held by the London Progression Collaboration & Institute for Public Policy Research.

Loan repayments webinar
FSB Vice Chair (Policy & Advocacy) Martin McTague will be taking part in a webinar organised by TheCityUK to discuss ways the Government could make repayments more affordable. It will take place on September 4 and registration is essential.

FSB is supporting the #loveyourarches campaign, which runs throughout August and ends with an Arch Day on 29 August. The aim of the initiative is to increase the visibility of small businesses operating from railway arches within their communities in order to increase footfall. Free marketing packs are available for FSB members.

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


Economy shows green shoots despite recession
FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry responded to figures showing that retail sales volumes have increased by 3.6% sales are rising across Great Britain, and are 3% above pre-pandemic levels in February 2020. He said: “It’s promising to see that people are indeed confident enough to shop and go out once again.”

Call for flexible season ticket
FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry has called for a flexible season ticket to accommodate the new work from home climate. This comes after news that rail fares are set to increase by 1.6 per cent in 2021. He said: “If rail companies do not consider alternative options, they will simply be punishing hardworking employees who have had to survive on reduced income over the last few months.”



  • We continue to monitor reopening and assess which sectors remain disproportionately affected, with a particular focus on the Eat Out to Help Out scheme and what support needs to be extended in the coming winter months
  • Parliament is in recess and returns on 1 September, however, FSB engagement with MPs is continuing throughout August
  • Party conference plans have been finalised seeing FSB play a frontline role at all three major UK political party conferences in autumn
  • We hosted a meeting between DCMS and FSB members who own soft play areas to discuss urgent updates that are needed in the reopening guidance
  • FSB is speaking to DHSC to set up a webinar on Test and Trace with Dido Harding, chair of the New National Institute for Health Protection



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