Government publishes plans for a risk-based reopening of international travel potentially from 17th May onwards. Follows CBI lobbying for a clear framework for a restart and submission to the Global Travel Taskforce, setting out business’ ambitions for UK leadership on restarting routes.
Government published updated Work From Home (WFH) guidance - Follows CBI calls for an evidence response, plus wider engagement with BEIS, the Cabinet Office and others, BEIS updated the guidance and published further clarification on what WFH if you can actually means in practice
With the 31 March deadline for businesses to apply for testing fast approaching, the CBI called for an extension to the deadline to increase the number of firms work place testing. As well as announcing new home testing, the government extended the application deadline until 12th April, giving businesses more time to apply for funding for workplace testing
Through continued engagement with BEIS and DHSC, the CBI was able to advocate for rapid home testing where it was not possible for firms to set up testing on-site, due to a lack of space or operation across multiple sites. From 6 April, businesses with over 10 employees who cannot offer on-site testing, will be eligible to order the home test kits online to distribute to their employees. These self-test kits will be picked up by staff from their employer with clear instructions about how to take the test. Staff will then complete the home test in the normal way, before reporting their results to the NHS using the provided gov.uk address.
As called for by the CBI, the government announced extra, targeted £1.5bn business rates relief for businesses who have been unable to benefit from the existing business rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses. This will particularly help firms in the supply chains of these sectors.
Following continued engagement with the Scottish Government, businesses welcomed steer and cautious optimism offered by the First Minister setting out indicative dates for reopening some of Scotland’s hardest-hit.
Following CBI Wales engaging with the Welsh government, it was confirmed that there would be a relaxation of the commitment to Working From Home in Wales to allow people who wish to return to work for their Mental Health and Wellbeing.
As called for by businesses the Scottish Budge included the extension of business rates reliefs for the retail, leisure, hospitality and aviation sectors.
Following extensive CBI engagement, the government announced workplace testing will now be available to all businesses, including those with fewer than 50 employees. Businesses are encouraged to register interest by 31 March to access free workplace testing.
As called for by the CBI, the Chancellor announced an extension of the Job Retention Scheme until September, further business rates holidays and £5bn Restart grants. The Chancellor also extended 5% VAT cut for hospitality and tourism, announced a new Recovery Loan Schemeand loss carry-backs for Corporation Tax.
As called for by the CBI, the Northern Ireland Budget included business rates support extended for 12 months, and business grants acting as a lifeline for many small businesses, especially those that are only partially opened and experiencing low volumes of trade.
Business confidence has been bolstered with the confirmation that COVID-19 support and economic recovery is at the centre of the Welsh Budget with investment in long term priorities like infrastructure and business rates relief extended for 12 months.
Monday 22 February: Following the CBI setting out six elements to help firms plan and prepare in advance of a lifting of restrictions, the Prime Minister set out a standardised approach to lifting lockdowns in England and notes risk economic activity as part of roadmap.
Monday 8 February: With over 1.4m businesses having taken bounce back loans, flexible repayment terms are critical to help firms manage their debt. The CBI called for an improved Pay As You Grow scheme in our Budget submission, working to extend repayment holidays and ensure SMEs were supported. Pay As You Grow was launched, including capital and interest repayment holidays for 6 months, and increased repayment terms from 6 to 10 years.
Friday 29 January: Following CBI calls to provide further business support especially to those in harder hit sectors, the government announces aviation funding support.
Tuesday 5 January: Following CBI calls, the Chancellor announced £4.6bn in new lockdown grants to support businesses and protect jobs. Firms in retail, hospitality and leisure are to receive a one-off grant worth up to £9,000.
Thursday 17 December: Businesses struggling will have now until the end of March to access government generous loan schemes.
25 November: The CBI’s recovery work has long called for job support and creation. As part of the Spending Review, the Chancellor set out his plans on job support and creation, announcing a new three-year £2.9 billion Restart scheme to help one million unemployed people in their job search – alongside £1.4 billion of new funding to increase Job Centre Plus capacity. The Chancellor also announced tens of billions of pounds of investment in infrastructure will support jobs and spur Britain’s recovery from coronavirus.
25 November: Following strong engagement and calls for business support to match restrictions, the Northern Ireland Executive announced a package of £213m of financial support for businesses.
24 November: Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, announced that from 15 December 2020, passengers arriving into England from countries not featured on the government’s travel corridor list will have the option to take a test after 5 days of self-isolation. A negative result will release them from the need to isolate. This comes after effective lobbying from the CBI.
23 November: Following the CBI urging the government to set out exit plans to enable businesses to hit the ground running when measures are eased, the Prime Minister announced plans for England to operate under a three-tier system of COVID-19 restrictions a week prior to the second lockdown ending on 2 December.
23 November: With the CBI continuing to call for the government to work with business to establish an effective mass-testing regime, the government announced a six-week mass, rapid testing surge.
3 November: Following continued calls from the CBI to deliver further mass testing, the government’s announcement was the first chink of light that rapid mass testing could move from warm words to action. Since the roll-out of rapid mass testing in the Liverpool City Region, it has been extended across 67 more areas across England - with anyone living or working in these areas offered repeated tests regardless of whether they have symptoms.
29 October: The WRC, CBI Wales and ACS presented the Welsh government with recommendations to resolve the confusion over non-essential items. This has since led to a row back in policy by the Welsh government.
22 October: With the financial impact of the new restrictions are being felt by firms beyond those instructed to close by government, the Chancellor responded to CBI calls for additional support. The announcement included extra help to retain staff with business contributions dropping to 5%, expanded business grants - channeled through local authorities – to target those most in need of support and for the self-employed, grants doubled to 40% of previous earnings.
12 October: Following CBI calls for a simplification of the local lockdown rules, the Prime Minster laid out government’s three-tiered approach to local lockdowns for England.
9 October: Prior to the Prime Minister announcing a three tier system for COVID-19 restrictions, the Chancellor announced an extension to the new Job Support Scheme (JSS) for businesses impacted by further local or national coronavirus restrictions. The CBI has long called for the government to announce financial support in lockstep with restrictions.
7 October: With the business community highlighting the vital role effective airport testing could play in jumpstarting international travel and trade, the government set up a Global Travel Taskforce. This has since led to the introduction of testing at some UK airports.
24 Sept: Following CBI calls for a successor to the Job Retention Scheme and extensive engagement with the Chancellor and the Treasury team, the government announced further business support to help firms through the autumn and winter via the Winter Economic Plan.
21 Sept: Members faced great uncertainty about the future of the railways after the expiry of the Emergency Measures Agreement. This has been allayed for a further 18 months following the announcement of the Emergency Recovery Measures Agreements. Not only was this critical for businesses involved in this sector, but it will ensure that businesses that rely on the railways for access to their workforces and clients will continue to be served by a consistent rail service.
21 Sept: Dido Harding, the Head of NHS Test and Trace, joined a CBI @10 webinar. Prior to the Test and Trace app being launched on 24 September, Dido Harding discussed the app and how businesses should engage with it.
9 Sept: Following CBI calls for additional business support, the government announced new direct cash grants to help small businesses if their area falls under new restrictions to protect public health. The government will need to look at more targeted support in the coming months, including a successor to the furlough scheme and allowing businesses to defer VAT payments from July to September.
9 Sept: CBI’s Chief Economist, Rain Newton-Smith, confirmed to sit on COVID Recovery Commission. The Commission will consider the role of business and government in delivering the kind of jobs and opportunities that will boost peoples’ life chances. The aim of the new group is to produce practical policy ideas to support higher productivity levels, encourage business investment across the UK and promote a culture of innovation.
3 Sept: Following CBI President, Lord Bilimoria calling for widespread testing to help boost economic recovery and build confidence, the Health Secretary announced £500 million funding for instant tests.
28 August: The CBI set an agenda ahead of September with calls to build the right environment for enabling a ‘new normal’ when it comes to the return to offices and workplaces. Following the CBI’s intervention, the government published their back to work campaign.
25 August: The government has announced improvements to its local lockdown planning, committing to communicating changes and actions during business hours, enabling firms to better prepare. Government will also publish a weekly watchlist of local authorities of greatest concern, as part of a no surprises approach to local lockdowns that enable businesses to plan effectively.
31 July: The extension, from 31 December 2020 to 28 February 2021, recognises the significant halt in progress experienced by housebuilders and construction supply chains during the early months of the pandemic. The announcement followed calls for an extension from the CBI to provide more certainty to the housebuilder market in the short-term and create a higher number of first time buyer homes available under the Help to Buy scheme, allowing builders to catch up on the several weeks of activity lost during coronavirus-enforced shutdowns.
30 July: Changes to state aid rules mean that more small businesses can now benefit from loans of up to £5m under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). Government expects lenders to make changes in the approvals process. The CBI worked closely with UK officials and industry groups including BVCA, UKF, UK Hospitality and BRC to lobby through Business Europe for the state aid rules to be amended.
The CBI’s clear messaging on the business impact of the 14 day Quarantine policy in public and privately to senior officials and cabinet ministers about policy led to major new exemptions. With quarantining policy now being led by Foreign Office on a country-by-country approach, business and leisure traffic has reopened.
The CBI actively influenced policies which were announced during the Chancellor’s statement. In a letter to the Chancellor, we called for a jobs package, a stamp duty ‘cut’ and the need for an under 25 jobs scheme – all of which were announced in the statement.
The CBI also called for a targeted VAT reduction, which has been reflected in the VAT reduction applied on tourism and hospitality related activities from 20% to 5%. After conversations with the government referencing similar schemes in Austria and Japan, the Eat out to Help out discount scheme was also announced.
£3bn of new investment in green projects is a welcome development, and the CBI called for such investment several weeks ago.
22 June: The government has announced that all planning permissions expiring between the start of lockdown and the end of this year will automatically be extended until 1 April 2021. This will be welcome news for many businesses, who have had to urgently review their spending plans due to COVID-19, in order to safeguard their employees and the future of their business. The announcement followed calls from the CBI for an extension to expiring planning permission consent, to give businesses more time to responsibly manage their cashflow and therefore enable investment in projects.
Also, though engagement across government departments and presenting health and economic evidence, the CBI played its part in the government reducing social distancing measures to help business reopen. With the two-metre social distancing rule in place many smaller businesses especially those in retail and hospitality could not reopen, as a result of our lobbying, more businesses can reopen helping the economic recovery of the UK.
16 June: FCA and Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) agree to work with industry on a sustainable model of accessing cash. Cash usage has decreased in the last few years and the COVID-19 crisis has accelerated this. Preserving access to cash is an essential element of Financial Services infrastructure. The CBI has discussed the importance of access to cash with regulators, government, and members and has pushed for a collaborative approach with industry. This announcement will ensure the framework for access to cash is discussed with industry and local communities.
4 June: With businesses keen to support the government COVID-19 response and the economic recovery efforts, the CBI called for the Business Secretary to set up business groups for consultation. Following this, Alok Sharma, announced the creation of five new business-focused groups to unleash Britain’s growth potential and create jobs to help the economy bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic. The CBI has been invited to sit on the taskforce on how to accelerate business innovation and adoption across the country.
29 May: Future of the Job Retention Scheme (JRS): through strong engagement with HM Treasury, the CBI was able secure two of business' asks for the future of the JRS - flexibility starting in July (earlier than expected) and that the business contribution builds up gradually to make it easier for businesses to pay. Read our latest update about the scheme.
25 May: Prior to the government publishing guidance for the re-opening of non essential shops, the CBI fed into a consultation which helped shaped the guidance for retailers.
19 May: Large business loan scheme: the CBI lobbied HM Treasury directly to create a new loan scheme for all firms above £45m turnover. Firms below £250m can access £25m in loans, firms above £250m can access £50m. Following additional concerns from business, this has since been extended to maximum loans of £200m. Find out more about the financial support available for business.
13 May: BEIS workplace safety guidance: the CBI consulted on the workplace safety guidance to ensure the measures worked practically for business.
13 May: Trade Credit Insurance (TCI) Guarantee: following the CBI lobbying HM Treasury and BEIS to support industry proposals for a reinsurance backstop for TCI, the government confirms the Trade Credit Insurance Guarantee. This means the TCI will be at affordable levels, supporting the restart for business. Find out more here.
27 April: 'Bounce back' loans for small businesses: the CBI called for an acceleration in support to distressed firms and outlined a comprehensive range of measures aimed to stave off firm closures and job losses. This led to the 100% government guaranteed 'bounce back' loans for under £50k for small businesses. Read more about the measures here.
17 April: Coronavirus Large Business Interruption loan scheme: the CBI lobbied and consulted extensively on the design of the scheme to ensure the medium-sized businesses had access to loans.
15 April: Job Retention Scheme extension: the CBI successfully persuaded HM Treasury to extend the Job Retention Scheme to the end of June to avoid a cliff-edge ending of the support and protect millions of jobs.
Following the Prime Minister setting out the roadmap out of lockdown and the Chancellor delivering the Budget, the CBI’s main focus continues to be to support members in the interim with an eye to the future by:
For the latest CBI responses to government announcements and reviews, visit our media centre.