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Coronavirus (COVID-19): Business briefing – 27 November 2020

Essex placed in tier two and Kent and Medway in tier three by government

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has expressed his ‘heartache and frustration’ on behalf of businesses affected by COVID-19 restrictions, as the government announced Essex would be in tier two and Kent and Medway in tier three from 2 December.

Speaking at last night’s Downing Street press conference, the Prime Minister said: “I know this will bring a great deal of heartache and frustration, especially for our vital hospitality sector – our pubs, our restaurants, our hotels, in so many ways the soul of our communities – which continue to bear a disproportionate share of the burden.”

Yesterday, government announced what tiers each area would be in. The tier allocation will be reviewed every 14 days, starting on 16 December.

Speaking at last night’s Downing Street press conference, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “If we ease off now, we risk losing control of this virus all over again, casting aside our hard-won gains, and forcing us back into a New Year national lockdown with all the damage that would mean.”

Mr Johnson said the placing of each area in their respective tier was based on five indicators; cases across all ages and especially those over 60, the rate of which cases are rising and falling, the percentage of those tested in an area with coronavirus, and the pressure on the NHS.

He added: “I really wish it were otherwise, but if we are to keep schools open – as we must – then our options in bearing down on the disease are necessarily limited.”

Mr Johnson reiterated government’s commitment to protects jobs and livelihoods, and the Prime Minister said if people could work from home that they could continue to do so.

Mr Johnson said: “Your tier is not your destiny. Every area has the means of escape and I have no doubt that together we can get through this Winter, suppress the virus until vaccines come to our aid and then reclaim our lives and all the things that we love.”Follow the links below for more information on:

LEPs reaction to Chancellor’s Spending review

The Chancellor delivered his Comprehensive Spending Review yesterday (November 25) with more details on investment in skills and green innovation, the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, a new National Infrastructure Strategy and a new ‘Levelling Up Fund.

Mark Bretton, Chair of The LEP Network, said: “We’re pleased to hear the Chancellor stress the importance of a “place based approach to local areas to help build back greener, this mirrors our proposals to government that we set out in our own Comprehensive Spending Review paper.

“Local Enterprise Partnerships are at the heart of place, investing in those priority areas the Chancellor has outlined. We are already investing in the infrastructure so vitally needed in local areas including in broadband, transport, green innovation, and research and development. As leaders of place, we look forward to working with the government on helping to bring a business mindset to prioritising investments from the Levelling Up Fund and the future UKSPF.

“LEPs remain very well positioned to contribute to recovery and growth plans in the years ahead, underpinned by the fact our LEP and Growth Hub capacity funding is assured for the year ahead, and we are now working with government on the detail.”

Additional updates and guidance

UK-wide Christmas arrangements agreed by the government Devolved Administrations
The joint arrangements for an easing of social restrictions that will allow friends and loved ones to reunite over the Christmas period are available.

Check if you can claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
If you are self-employed or a member of a partnership and have been impacted by coronavirus, find out if you can use this scheme to claim a grant.

Claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
You must make your claim between 30 November 2020 and 29 January 2021. If you are eligible to claim for the third grant of the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, check for updated information.

How HMRC works out trading profits and non-trading income for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
Find out how HMRC will work out your trading profits and non-trading income if you are self-employed or a member of a partnership and have been impacted by coronavirus.

Working safely during Coronavirus
Find out how to make your workplace COVID-secure: updated guidance is available here.