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UK Government COVID-19 update, 1 May 2020

01 May 2020
Issue 5, 1 May 2020: All of the key government coronavirus news and guidance in a weekly legal update

Please find below all of the important government coronavirus developments you need to know.

UK Government announces "Bounce Back Loans" for small and medium sized businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
Read our legal insight into the government's new public funded initiative, "Bounce Back Loans". The new loan scheme was announced a day before the European Commission released a new "package" of measures to create flexibility within the EU financial sector and ensure that lenders can continue to lend to businesses and individuals.

For advice on all support now available in the UK, please see the Government's business support finder here.

Government confirms allocations of £1.6 billion funding for councils
The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP has confirmed the allocation of the £1.6 billion in additional funding announced on 18 April. England's 188 district councils will receive £214m, an increase of 2,097% compared to the last round of funding. In a letter to all who serve on Parish and Town Councils, Robert Jenrick advised that questions regarding funding should be directed to their principal council.

Councils need another £12.8bn to cope with COVID-19
This week the chairman of the LGA Cllr James Jamieson told Parliament that Councils may need up to another £12.8bn to get through the COVID-19 crisis. The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee will take evidence from Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP on Monday 4 May in a session examining his department’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.

LGA releases guidance for councils in supporting leisure providers
The advice gives options and examples of how councils are providing practical support to leisure providers following the closure of facilities during COVID-19 and ensuring facilities are ready to reopen when social distancing measures are relaxed.

Furlough and the Local Government Pensions Scheme
John Hanratty, Chair of the BSA Pensions Group, has produced a summary of how furloughing employees affects admission status in the Local Government Pensions Scheme.

New guidance for social landlords on essential moves
The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has released new guidance confirming that councils and housing associations should continue to support vulnerable people– such as those fleeing domestic abuse – to move home.

Updated Guidance Note: can business tenants stop paying rents?
Our Real Estate team explains the implications of COVID-19 on payment of rent, lease provisions and other considerations.

Guidance Note: Building Regulations – application during COVID-19
Read the latest from our Real Estate team as they discuss building regulations, with some practical guidance to follow during the pandemic.

COVID-19: How to comply with the 2m rule on construction sites
Our Real Estate team discuss the 2-metre rule, how it can be applied, what to do when you can't apply it and risk assessment considerations on construction sites.

COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme: Latest amendments
As the online portal enters its second week, our Employment team explain the amendments which have been made to the COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme.

Expansion of COVID-19 testing for key workers and over 65s
The categories of individuals who can now get tested, are: everyone in England aged 65 and over with COVID-19 symptoms, symptomatic members of their household, and asymptomatic NHS and social care staff and care home residents.
This announcement applies to England only and the Devolved Administrations continue to apply their own eligibility criteria found at the below links:

- Wales / Scotland / Northern Ireland


First Economic Resilience Fund grants to be paid to businesses
Businesses and organisations which have successfully applied to Welsh Government’s £500 million Economic Resilience Fund will start receiving grant payments by the end of next week, Economy, Transport and North Wales Minister Ken Skates has announced.

A Framework to Lead Wales out of the COVID-19 Pandemic
First Minister Mark Drakeford published, on 24 April, a framework and seven key questions to help lead Wales out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Wales Union Learning Fund (WULF)
WULF, with support from Wales TUC, has been identified by Welsh Government as a vehicle for trade unions to deliver immediate skills solutions and support to workers during the COVID-19 crisis.

Revised COVID-19 rules for Wales unveiled
The stay-at-home regulations have been revised in Wales to continue to prevent the spread of COVID-19.


Primary care opening hours
Primary care services will remain open during the May public holidays, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has confirmed.

£100m funding to help businesses
A £100 million package of additional grant support for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) and newly self-employed people opened for applications on 30 April 2020.

Northern Ireland

Economy Minister announces details of free online courses for furloughed workers
On 24 April 2020, Economy Minister Diane Dodds launched a new learning resource for furloughed workers and others who have lost their job as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

View the government's latest guidance for local councils >

View more insights on our COVID-19 Hub > 

To view previous editions of the Public Sector COVID-19 Bulletin, please choose a date below:

Further Reading