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UK Government COVID-19 update, 26 June 2020

26 June 2020

Issue 13, 26 June 2020: All of the key government coronavirus news and guidance in a weekly legal update.

Project Birch: UK Government set to announce rescue deal with Tata Steel 
It is reported that the UK Government is close to agreeing a deal with Tata Steel to help preserve up to 8,000 jobs.  If confirmed, then this would be Government's first "Project Birch", which aims to support strategically important, large UK companies to ensure they survive the financial damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Business and Planning Bill is introduced in the House of Commons
The new bill is intended to introduce measures to support the transition from lockdown into recovery. It proposes more pedestrianised areas under the direction of local councils and will allow outdoor markets, pop-up car-boot sales and summer fairs to go ahead without any planning applications. The legislation will also bring in temporary changes to licensing laws and will introduce a temporary fast-track process for businesses to obtain permission from the local council for the placement of tables and chairs on the pavement outside their premises. MPs will next consider all stages of the Bill in one day on Monday 29 June 2020.

Local outbreaks in Anglesey and Germany spark calls for local lockdown clarity
Speaking in the Commons on Tuesday, Matt Hancock said that while the local outbreaks to date have been clusters in very small areas, the government does hold the powers to have wider local lockdowns. Any local lockdown will be based on advice from the joint biosecurity centre. On Wednesday, the Prime Minister said that government support for local councils has not ended, and that the government will do "everything it takes" to get the country through the crisis. He went on to say that local councils will be "fortified" in implementing local lockdowns by central Government and the joint biosecurity centre. Wherever outbreaks take place, he said, the government will use "local cluster-busting techniques" to stamp them out.

Government publishes guidance on opening certain businesses and venues in England from 4 July 2020
Guidance is now available on the further easing of coronavirus restrictions from 4 July 2020. The government portal has guidance for businesses on reopening safely during the COVID-19 pandemic, including Construction, Factories, Offices and Contact Centres, and others.

£105 million to keep rough sleepers safe and off the streets during coronavirus pandemic
An additional £105 million will be used to support rough sleepers and those at risk of homelessness into tenancies of their own, including through help with deposits for accommodation, and securing thousands of alternative rooms already available and ready for use.

25 June 2020: Code of Practice for commercial property relationships during the COVID-19 pandemic
Read the latest update from our real estate experts on the Code of Practice and the challenges COVID-19 has created.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): reducing risk in adult social care
The government has published a framework for how adult social care employers should assess and reduce risk to their workforce during the coronavirus pandemic.
   
New plans to get Britain building in coronavirus recovery
Measures to help the construction industry boost building and return to work safely will be introduced this week. Planning permission deadlines will be extended, planning appeals will be sped up and builders will be allowed more flexible working hours following agreement with their local council. 

Scotland

Scotland's route map: Indicative Dates Published
The Scottish Government has published indicative dates for the amendment to current restrictions planned for the remainder of "Phase 2" and early "Phase 3", to assist businesses, individuals and organisations to prepare for emergence from the crisis. 
      
Welsh Government

First Minister announces further steps to unlock Wales
All non-essential shops in Wales were able to re-open from Monday (22 June) following the cabinet's statement on the Review of Lockdown Measures and The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) Regulations 2020.

Anglesey local lockdown 'possibility' for Llangefni factory outbreak
A local lockdown could be enforced to get the coronavirus outbreak at a food factory in Anglesey under control, Public Health Wales has said. Control measures are in place to bring the outbreak to a "rapid conclusion". First Minister Mark Drakeford said if there was a need to impose a lockdown on Anglesey he would do so, but his approach would be "proportionate" and based on evidence.

Northern Ireland Executive

Executive agrees changes to help families and most vulnerable
The Executive has agreed to publish a Childcare Sector Recovery Plan, to restore the sector to pre-Covid-19 levels as quickly and safely as possible to enable working parents to return to their places of employment.

Executive daily update provides clarity on supplier relief and green recovery
Finance Minister Conor Murphy has announced the extension of measures to ensure Government departments continue paying suppliers impacted by the COVID-19 health emergency. Furthermore, a roadmap promoting a Green Growth recovery from lockdown that develops Northern Ireland’s natural assets was announced by the Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Edwin Poots. 

View the government's latest guidance for local councils >

View more insights on our COVID-19 Hub >

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Further Reading