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Coronavirus (COVID-19): Business briefing – 16 October 2020

Published on in Coronavirus

Rapid COVID-19 test kits pathway to reopening more of the UK economy

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced the UK’s future plans to re-open more of the economy thanks to the development of faster, simpler Coronavirus test kits.

Speaking at today’s Downing Street press conference, the Prime Minister said that scientists across Britain and the rest of the world were developing new 15-minute tests which were already being used in hospitals and which would soon be trialled in tests across the country.

“In time we want to use these tests to keep open more parts of the economy that have sadly been closed,” said the Prime Minister, adding that the UK had already “started building the domestic infrastructure” to provide more of the rapid tests.

These tests would be used for NHS and care home staff, students in universities with big outbreaks, children at school and made available to local directors of public health in coronavirus high alert areas so they could better control outbreaks.

“We are now testing more people than any other country in Europe but we want to go further,” he said.

“One of most dangerous aspects is that people without any symptoms can infect many others without realising it. If we can catch more asymptomatic people before they pass on the disease unknowingly we can help to stop the virus’ vicious spread. By testing more frequently and faster than ever before we can prevent spread of virus.

“In time, we want to use tests to open, and keep open, more parts of the economy that have sadly been closed. But it is crucial that we make sure such systems work safely and I must level with you that it will take time to get this right before many organisations can buy and operate these tests themselves.”

Read the Prime Minister’s statement in full here.

£500m Film and TV Production Restart Scheme officially opens

Screen productions struggling to restart due to a lack of coronavirus-related insurance will now get the go-ahead, the Culture Secretary and Chancellor have announced.

From today, productions can receive compensation from the £500 million scheme for future coronavirus-related losses including filming delays from illness amongst the cast and crew.

In the UK, the film and television production industry supports more than 180,000 jobs and contributes more than £12 billion to the economy annually however many productions have been paused due to the unavailability of coronavirus-related insurance.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, said: “Our film and TV production sector is respected the world over, and filled with talented people. I am delighted that this half a billion pound scheme will get cast and crews back to doing what they do best. This move will help support tens of thousands of jobs, provide work for creative freelancers and get cameras rolling across the country.”

HMG launches Export Growth Plan to help businesses

package of measures to help businesses in England build back better following the pandemic has been announced by the government today.

The Department for International Trade’s (DIT) Export Growth Plan provides additional financial support and expertise, some of which is targeted towards specific regions that are most in need.

The plan includes a £38 million Internationalisation Fund for small businesses, which will help up to 7,600 SMEs in England grow their overseas trading and strengthen their business. A new pilot Export Academy will also be introduced to support smaller businesses in the same areas. The Academy will deliver a series of activities to build the capabilities of smaller companies, creating a new cohort of confident businesses ready to trade.

Additional updates and guidance

Information for Help to Buy: Equity Loan customers during coronavirus
Updated frequently asked questions about how coronavirus affects Help to Buy: Equity Loan customers.

New measures to support roll-out of vaccines in the UK
New laws will allow more healthcare workers to administer flu and potential COVID-19 vaccines safely to the public.

Tax relief for home workers
If you’ve asked your employees to work from home, and you’ve not reimbursed them already, your employees may be entitled to claim tax relief on additional household expenses they’ve incurred, such as heating and lighting.

Making a claim is easy, tell your employees to go to GOV.UK and search ‘claim tax relief for your job expenses’.

The prioritisation of future innovations
Research describing an evidence-based approach to identifying and prioritising areas of emerging innovations.

Find out how to make your workplace COVID-secure
Added guidance for event organisers and local authorities on outdoor events.

PM statement on negotiations with the EU: 16 October 2020
Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a statement on negotiations with the EU.

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