Government’s Covid-19 landing page
Covid-19 recovery strategy
Working safely during Covid-19
Working safely during Covid-19: construction and other outdoor work
Working safely during Covid-19: factories, plants and warehouses
Working safely during Covid-19: labs and research facilities
Working safely during Covid-19: offices and contact centres
Working safely during Covid-19: other people’s homes
Working safely during Covid-19: restaurants offering takeaway or delivery
Working safely during Covid-19: shops and branches
Working safely during Covid-19: vehicles
Business support: loans, tax relief and grants for businesses, employees and self-employed people
Education and childcare
Housing and accommodation: renting: guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities
Housing and accommodation: moving home
Housing and accommodation: planning inspections
Healthcare workers, carers and care settings: NHS guidance for people working in healthcare
Healthcare workers, carers and care settings: PPE hub
Healthcare workers, carers and care settings: adult social care guidance
Healthcare workers, carers and care settings: shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable
Healthcare workers, carers and care settings: adult social care guidance
Healthcare workers, carers and care settings: health, care and volunteer workers parking pass and concessions
International travel and immigration: travel advice for British citizens travelling abroad
International travel and immigration: foreign travel advice for each country
International travel and immigration: waiting to return to the UK
International travel and immigration: essential international travel guidance
International travel and immigration: advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents
Government’s financial support for businesses
This page help businesses find out how to access the support that has been made available, who is eligible, when the schemes open and how to apply.
The Twitter feed of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, where he has published various responses to some FAQs from the public.
To respond to the crisis businesses might need to exchange information to a greater extent than they would usually. They might need to discuss capacity and to coordinate supply chains (both upstream and downstream). They might need to purchase or sell jointly to ensure vital supplies are maintained. In general agreements or collaboration which:
- Avoid a shortage, or ensure security, of supply
- Ensure a fair distribution of scarce products
- Continue essential services
- Provide new services such as food delivery to vulnerable consumers
Employers will need to be flexible with employees who are unable to return to work at present due to childcare difficulties. While schools have reopened, a period of isolation may result in employees having to keep children off school/nursery and therefore have childcare issues. Some employees will be able to manage this with their partner and extended family, whereas others will not. Where an employee simply cannot make any other arrangements to care for their children in the short term then they will be unable to return to work until that situation changes. Any dismissals on the basis that someone is unable to return to work as a result of lack of childcare are likely to be unfair, at least in the short term where such employees may well be able to demonstrate that they had no options available to them.
The formal Government position relating to construction sites is that construction work should continue on site if it can be conducted safely, and the Business Secretary, Alok Sharma, has written an open letter to the UK Construction Industry thanking it for all its help in the current crisis. The letter also confirms the Government’s current official policy of keeping construction sites open. The full text of the letter can be downloaded.
This also remains the formal position of the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) with the qualification that sites should operate in accordance with Public Health England instructions; without compromising health and safety; and in accordance with the Site Operating Procedures issued last week by the CLC.
In practice, many construction sites have been closed by national developers and house builders due to difficulties with staffing and supply chain, and practical issues with compliance with the social distancing and site operating procedures.
The Scottish Government has recently issued guidance that all non-essential construction sites, which includes housing, office, leisure, schools and retail sites, must close to reduce the risk of the spread of Covid-19.
Almost two thirds of hearings conducted in the Civil Court will occur in person over the next few months as the Civil Court sees an influx in cases.
In the Business & Property Courts, cases have been dealt with consistently since the start of the pandemic, except for trials that run for longer than 10 days in the Commercial & Admiralty Court. The Queen’s Bench Division and Administrative Court are also running as normal. If your case is listed for one of these courts, you do not need to be concerned that your case may take longer than anticipated, with conclusions still being reach at the normal rate.
Since the start of the pandemic, most hearings have been conducted online through various platforms such as Skype for Business and Cloud Video Platform. The courts are of the view that remote hearings tend to take longer than those that are held in person. As a result, if your case is due to be held in person, the case may be heard in less time. HM Courts and Tribunals Service stated that:
“Wherever possible we will look to facilitate face-to-face hearings, but our expectation is that remote hearings will continue to play an important role for the foreseeable future, given that social distancing will continue to limit courtroom capacity compared to pre-Covid levels.”
More courtrooms have become available since the start of the pandemic, resulting in more facilities for cases to be heard in person, which will have the aim of helping to rid of the backlog of cases, along with remote hearings being conducted too, which is a welcome step forward.
Approximately 300 additional support staff will be employed for remote hearings before the end of 2020, enabling better service with remote hearings. The Government has decided that some civil judges will have the option to extend operating hours for cases to be held in the evenings and on weekends too, which may be most suitable for small and fast-track claims, resulting in a potentially faster outcome. The efficiency of all the new measures are being monitored and changes are being implemented, such as increasing the capacity of the Small Claims Mediation Service.
Small Claims Mediation Service
With claims of a lower value, a high proportion of cases successfully settle outside of court, therefore, if you have a small claim, the mediation service may be suitable for your case. Mediation involves a trained impartial third party, with the parties to the case discuss the dispute with the assistance of the third party, aiming to reach a settlement. Now with the increased capacity, it may make the mediation service more accessible, meaning that an agreement can be reached more swiftly rather than waiting for the matter proceed to a hearing.
The courts have stated that:
“We aim to increase capacity to accommodate 90% of parties who want mediation, rather than the current 40%. We are recruiting additional mediators and restructuring ways of working to achieve this.”
This is a positive shift for those with small and fast-track claims where legal costs ought to be kept to a minimum. Settling by mediation removes the need for trial costs, amongst other costs, and has additional benefits such as the matter being dealt with more amicably.
On 7 May the Government published guidance on how contracting parties can act responsibly in order to assist the effort to deal with Covid-19. The guidance seeks to persuade contracting parties to act reasonably and recognise the impact of Covid-19 on contractual counterparties. This will continue to be relevant as business begins to emerge from lockdown.