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UK Government COVID-19 update, 15 May 2020

20 May 2020
Issue 7, 15 May 2020: All of the key government coronavirus news and guidance in a weekly legal update.

European Commission amends COVID-19 Temporary Framework to faciltate recapitalisation aid and subordinated debt awards: This latest amendment is made with the aim of supporting economic recovery from the pandemic lockdown, in particular, by allowing State funded equity and part-equity (hybrid) investments into large businesses facing difficulties because ofthe crisis, but which were fundamentally sound as at 31 December 2019. This significant development will be welcomed by struggling businesses in the sectors most severely affected by COVID-19, including the aviation industry and those in sports, leisure and hospitality.

Challenges ahead for State aid to airports and airlines: A perfect storm is developing in the aviation sector with Ryanair's CEO Michael O'Leary pledging to use State aid law to challenge many of the rescue measures provided to rival carriers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this article we explore the likely impact of such litigation and look at recent State aid approvals relating to airlines and airports.

£2 billion package to create new era for cycling and walking: The Government will fund and work with local authorities across the country to help make it easier for people to use bikes to get around. This includes Greater Manchester, which wants to create 150 miles of protected cycle track,and Transport for London, which plans a “bike Tube” network above Underground lines. This announcement is part of the £5 billion in new funding announced for cycling and buses in February.

Coronavirus response presents great opportunity for climate change action: Jonathan Branton, Head of Public sector at DWF discusses how our coronavirus response presents great opportunity for climate change action.

Government issues guidance urging parties to contracts impacted by COVID-19 to act responsibly and fairly in order to protect the UK economy: The UK Government has released guidance setting out recommendations for parties to contracts materially affected by COVID-19 to act responsibly and fairly to protect jobs and the economy.

Procurement Policy Notice (PPN) 02/20: Supplier relief due to COVID-19 - additional sector guidance for state funded schools : This guidance is aimed at helping maintained schools and academy trusts understand how PPN 02/20 - the guidance that applies across the public sector on how publicly funded bodies should support suppliers through the COVID-19 outbreak - applies to them.

Back to work: an overview of the practical implications for employers: A key part of the Government's plan to get the UK's workforce safely back to work is the newly published COVID-19 Secure guidance. In this article, DWF's employment team explore the key considerations for employers.Please also see: Returning your workforce: Checklist of employment considerations and our "Managing your workplace post-lockdown" hub.

The role of "Spot Checks" in ensuring workplace safety: Following comments that the safety of the nation's workforce will be enforced through "spot checks" of workplaces, DWF's Regulatory team look at what this might entail and how businesses can prepare for them. Please also see: Returning your workforce: Checklist of regulatory considerations.

Returning your workforce: Checklist of data protection considerations: COVID-19 cuts across a large number of data protection issues in the employment context. It may also involve the processing of highly sensitive information about your staff and people connected to your staff (such as their household and family members).

New £600m 'infection control' fund for care homes: Speaking at prime minister’s questions on 13 May 2020, Boris Johnson pledged a “further £600m for infection control in care homes”. The Infection Control Fund is intended to help providers pay for additional staff and /or maintain the normal wages of staff who, in order to reduce the spread of infection need to reduce the number of establishments in which they work, reduce the number of hours they work, or self-isolate.

Furlough scheme to be extended for four months, to October: Employees will continue to receive 80% of their monthly wages up to £2,500 until October 2020. However, from August onwards the Government will ask employers to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff.Also from August, there will be greater flexibility to support the transition back to work: employers currently using the scheme will be able to bring furloughed employees back part-time.

The UK Government’s Recovery Strategy document ‘Our Plan to Rebuild’: The Government’s roadmap for how and when the UK will adjust its response to the COVID-19 crisis.

UK Government FAQs and what you can and cannot do: Frequently asked questions on what you can and cannot do during the coronavirus outbreak.

Wales

Making best use of procurement resource during the Covid-19 pandemic: Procurement advice note (PAN) for the Welsh public sector: Explains how public bodies in Wales can make the best use of procurement resource during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Scotland

Coronavirus (COVID-19): support for businesses (updated summary): Updated summary of information available on support for businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scottish Government announces £100m fund for SME housebuilders: Scottish Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the house building sector will be able to apply for a short-term loan of up to £1m from the Scottish Government.

Northern Ireland

Dodds announces two skills initiatives in response to the pandemic: Economy Minister Diane Dodds has announced a free skills programme for small businesses and a free post-graduate certificate in software development for people whose career has been impacted by Covid-19.

Murphy announces over £700m of investment: Finance Minister Conor Murphy has announced over £700m of new funding for infrastructure, regeneration, and tourism projects across the north.

Latest legislation

Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (Amendment) (No.2)Regulations 2020: On 13 May 2020, the UK government laid the most recent amendment to the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020, which originally came into force from 26 March 2020 to address the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The latest amendments broaden Regulation 6 (restrictions on movement) by providing wider examples of what constitutes a“reasonable excuse” for leaving your home. The Welsh amendment can also be found here: The HealthProtection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) Regulations 2020, as amended.

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

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