Restart - rebuild - renew

The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy:
Summary of Government Guidance for business The UK Government timetable has published a three-step plan for lifting restrictions. If the Government sees a rise in the infection rate, they may seek to re-impose restrictions in some form. You can download the summary document here

“This is a time to be bold”: Chamber network including Suffolk sets out principles for safe restart of UK economy

Open letter to Prime Minister published as government mulls plan to lift lockdown.

British Chambers of Commerce President, Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith, has written an open letter to the Prime Minister setting out principles for a phased restart of the UK economy.

The leading business group set out its integrated approach, the first step in a three-stage process, as the government prepares to ease initial lockdown restrictions.

The letter reads: “The fight against the virus must remain the top priority, but the planning and communication of a carefully phased approach to lifting lockdown must begin immediately if we are to harness the public health and economic benefits, both now and in the future.”

Chief Executive of the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, John Dugmore added “Chambers are often the first responders of the business world and Government need to answer key questions before safely reopening the economy. Businesses need clarity and scenarios from Government, as they will need time to plan accordingly so that they can open in a safe manner and one which will swiftly aid their own and the UK’s economic recovery, and not lead to a second spike of the virus”.

The letter is accompanied by detailed policy proposals for safely reopening the economy, comprising steps to:

  • Safely reopen public spaces and restore services (including schools and public transport)

  • Safely reopen workplaces and commercial spaces

  • Minimise job losses and business failures

  • Rebuild supply chains and customer bases; and

  • Put the UK economy on a high-growth, high-wage and low unemployment trajectory as soon as possible

The letter continues: “This is a time to be bold. Government should not shy away from sustaining high levels of public spending in order to restart and renew our communities and the economy in the short and medium-term, while not tying the hands of future generations.

“An expansionary fiscal policy, including a commitment to transformative infrastructure investment, will be needed in order to generate the returns that will help to pay down the national debt in the longer-term.

“We see the journey ahead as having three phases: 

  • Restart: a phased reopening of the economy

  • Rebuild: building resilience for firms and households

  • Renew: returning to prosperity and growth

“We plan to share some principles for each of these three phases over the coming weeks, beginning today with ‘Restart’.

“Fundamental prerequisites to beginning this journey include mass testing and contact tracing; clear decisions and guidance on what PPE is needed in workplaces; and proactive steps to ensure adequate supply of PPE to both the health service and to businesses where necessary.”

The letter welcomes the “speed and scale’ of existing government support schemes and indicates that they will need to “continue to evolve to support a phased restart of the economy, enabling businesses to survive through this crisis and thrive in the future.”

The letter concludes: “We commit to working with you and your colleagues across Government on exploring these phases in detail as we plan our path forward. We owe nothing less to our businesses, and the communities and people they support, who have been battered by this storm.”

You can view the letter here and the recovery plan here.