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UK Government COVID-19 update, 29 May 2020

29 May 2020
Issue 9, 29 May 2020: All of the key government coronavirus news and guidance in a weekly legal update.

£6.5m boost to support recovery of North West’s high streets: A new £6.5m fund for councils in the North West to support their local high streets to get safely back to business was announced on 24 May 2020 by High Streets Minister Simon Clarke.

£50m Reopening High Streets Safely Fund: The Reopening High Streets Safely Fund is providing £50 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to councils across England to support the safe reopening of high streets and other commercial areas. This guidance provides details of the activities that can be supported through the Fund and an overview of how it will be administered, as well as key ERDF contractual requirements.

Project Birch: Treasury plans to use State aid to bail out some of the UK's largest companies as the COVID-19 pandemic bites: UK Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has authorised a bold rescue plan named “Project Birch” to provide State assistance to strategically important companies whose failure would "disproportionately harm the UK economy". Reports state that the Government is planning to offer preferential loans or take equity in strategically important companies, but only as a last resort. This marks a significant change in approach for the UK Government, which has previously been focused on supporting companies through grants and loans.

£300m additional funding for local authorities to support new test and trace service: Local authorities will be central to supporting the new test and trace service in England, with the government providing a new funding package of £300 million.

Updated guidance for local authorities on COVID-19 business support grant funding: Version 2 of Local Authority Discretionary Fund guidance published on 23 May 2020. Businesses who are eligible for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) are now eligible to apply for the scheme.

Government launches new £40 million Clean Growth Fund to supercharge green start-ups: Clean Growth Fund launched as a venture capital vehicle to accelerate early-stage green businesses.

Reallocating road space in response to COVID-19: statutory guidance for local authorities: Guidance for local authorities on managing their road networks in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Further Treasury Direction issued: The Chancellor has made a further Treasury Direction providing clarity on the legal framework to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ("CJRS") and addressing some of the inconsistencies with HMRC's guidance.

Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19): Guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic.


Substantial investment to improve public transport and support economic growth: £30 million is set to be invested in improving public transport and encouraging economic growth, Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, Ken Skates has announced.

£640 million reaches businesses in £2.4 billion Welsh Government COVID-19 response:The Finance Minister Rebecca Evans sets out the steps the Welsh Government has taken to dedicate more than £2.4 billion to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.


Coronavirus shielding guidance for local authorities and local resilience partnerships:Guidance for local authorities and resilience partnerships on delivering support services for those who are clinically at the highest risk from COVID-19.

Northern Ireland

Murphy announces further £213m business rates support: Finance Minister, Conor Murphy has announced a £213m rates support package for businesses. This builds on the £100m scheme announced in March which gave all businesses a three month rates holiday

Latest legislation

DWF review of the UK Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill: Our review suggests that the Bill, whilst containing significant changes to the insolvency legislation framework, will provide a new tool-kit for the profession to enable struggling companies to react and adapt to the devastating effects of COVID-19 to the businesses and the economy. Whilst certain provisions do not match up to what the UK government proposed a few weeks ago, we are pleased to see that the key measures are bringing the insolvency legislation into line with a much needed rescue culture - in terms of dealing with creditors.

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