UK Government Update – 2 November

Prime Minister announces 4 week England lockdown

On Saturday evening (31 October) the Prime Minister gave a press conference alongside the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Adviser. The Prime Minister announced that England will enter a period of national lockdown restrictions from 00:01 Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 2 December. The key elements of these new lockdown restrictions are:

  • People must stay at home – you can only leave home for education and work, for exercise and recreation outdoors, for medical reasons and to shop for food and essentials.
  • People should work from home wherever that is practical and possible.
  • You should avoid travelling in or out of your local area (except as detailed above), and you should look to reduce the number of journeys you make.
  • Overnight stays and holidays away from primary residences will not be allowed. This includes holidays abroad and in the UK. It also means you cannot stay in a second home, if you own one, or staying with anyone you do not live with or are in a support bubble with.
  • Alongside schools and universities, manufacturing and construction can remain open.
  • Non-essential retail (this includes car showrooms and dealerships), leisure and entertainment will close.
  • Pubs, bars and restaurants must close other than providing takeaway services.
  • For non-essential retail, ‘Click and Collect’ and deliveries are still permitted.
  • Government will extend the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) through November to December. The Job Support Scheme has been paused and will not start in November, as was planned.

The CJRS will operate as thus:

  • Starting from 5 November and ending on Wednesday 2 December.
  • The extended CJRS will allow employers to bring furloughed employees back to work on a part time basis or furlough them full-time.
  • Employers will only be asked to cover National Insurance and employer pension contributions.
  • Employers will be able to claim 80% of an employee’s salary, up to a maximum of £2,500.
  • To be eligible for this extension, employees must have been on the payroll by 30 October 2020, but they do not need to have been furloughed before.
  • While the government updates the system, employers will submit their wage claim to the government, and be refunded afterwards. After that, they will be paid upfront to cover the cost.

In addition to access to the Extended CJRS, the government will make the following support available to firms:

  • Up to £3,000 per month under the Local Restrictions Support Grant if their premises are forced to close.
  • £1,000 for every furloughed employee kept on until at least the end of January.
  • £1,500 for every out-of-work 16-24 year-old given a ”high quality” six-month work placement.
  • £2,000 for every under-25 apprentice taken on until the end of January, or £1,500 for over-25s
  • A grant available to self-employed people affected by coronavirus has also been doubled to 40% of profits, with a maximum grant of £3,750 over a three-month period (this is for November to January, and a further three-month grant will be made for February to April – details TBA).

Next Steps

  • The Government will set out these plans in Parliament later today (Monday 2 November), with a vote on Tuesday or Wednesday, and the new rules coming into force at 00:01 on Thursday 5 November.
  • It is expected that the Government’s three-tiered Covid alert levels will come back into effect once the new national lockdown measures conclude in early December.

The Devolved Administrations