Exciting News!

Exciting News!

ACTION REQUIRED

We are really excited to be taking Support Wealden on to the next phase.

We are meeting up in person on 28th July. Hopefully this will be the first of regular networking meetings. Also, we are revamping the website listing so that everyone will have a whole page which will include business address and an image.  This means that visitors to the site can use a search function making it much easier find what they are looking for.

You will notice that we now feature a business at random on the home page, rather than asking subscribers to pay for an enhanced listing. Those already listed on the site will continue to have a free listing until 1st June 2022. After that date we will ask you if you would like to continue to be listed for a nominal fee to help cover our costs.

New subscribers from 1st June will be charged a nominal annual fee for a listing.

Everyone listed on the site will receive invitations to our Support Wealden networking events and will have the opportunity to appear as a guest on our Midweek Wealden show.

Make sure you send us your update listing info by 26th May 2021 using this form

Read our latest newsletter here: MAILCHIMP

 

Queen’s Speech 2021

Source – https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/queens-speech-2021

Her Majesty’s most gracious speech to both Houses of Parliament.

 

My lords and members of the House of Commons.

My Government’s priority is to deliver a national recovery from the pandemic that makes the United Kingdom stronger, healthier and more prosperous than before.

To achieve this, my Government will level up opportunities across all parts of the United Kingdom, supporting jobs, businesses and economic growth and addressing the impact of the pandemic on public services.

My Government will protect the health of the nation, continuing the vaccination programme and providing additional funding to support the NHS. My Ministers will bring forward legislation to empower the NHS to innovate and embrace technology. Patients will receive more tailored and preventative care, closer to home [Health and Care Bill]. Measures will be brought forward to support the health and wellbeing of the nation, including to tackle obesity and improve mental health. Proposals on social care reform will be brought forward.

My Government will build on the success of the vaccination programme to lead the world in life sciences, pioneering new treatments against diseases like cancer and securing jobs and investment across the country.

My Ministers will oversee the fastest ever increase in public funding for research and development and pass legislation to establish an advanced research agency [Advanced Research and Invention Agency Bill].

Following the unprecedented support provided to businesses during the pandemic, proposals will be brought forward to create and support jobs and improve regulation.

My Government will strengthen the economic ties across the union, investing in and improving national infrastructure. Proposals will be taken forward to transform connectivity by rail and bus [High Speed Rail (Crewe – Manchester) Bill] and to extend 5G mobile coverage and gigabit capable broadband [Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill].

Legislation will support a lifetime skills guarantee to enable flexible access to high quality education and training throughout people’s lives [Skills and Post-16 Education Bill].

Measures will be introduced to ensure that support for businesses reflects the United Kingdom’s strategic interests and drives economic growth [Subsidy Control Bill]. Laws will simplify procurement in the public sector [Procurement Bill]. Eight new Freeports will create hubs for trade and help regenerate communities [National Insurance Contributions Bill].

My Government will ensure that the public finances are returned to a sustainable path once the economic recovery is secure.

Measures will be brought forward to ensure that children have the best start in life, prioritising their early years. My Ministers will address lost learning during the pandemic and ensure every child has a high quality education and is able to fulfil their potential.

My Government will help more people to own their own home whilst enhancing the rights of those who rent. Laws to modernise the planning system, so that more homes can be built, will be brought forward, along with measures to end the practice of ground rents for new leasehold properties [Planning Bill, Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill]. My Ministers will establish in law a new Building Safety Regulator to ensure that the tragedies of the past are never repeated [Building Safety Bill].

Measures will be brought forward to address racial and ethnic disparities and ban conversion therapy.

Legislation will support the voluntary sector by reducing unnecessary bureaucracy and releasing additional funds for good causes [Dormant Assets Bill, Charities Bill].

My Government will invest in new green industries to create jobs, while protecting the environment. The United Kingdom is committed to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and will continue to lead the way internationally by hosting the COP26 Summit in Glasgow. Legislation will set binding environmental targets [Environment Bill]. Legislation will also be brought forward to ensure the United Kingdom has, and promotes, the highest standards of animal welfare [Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill, Kept Animals Bill, Animals Abroad Bill].

My Government will strengthen and renew democracy and the constitution. Legislation will be introduced to ensure the integrity of elections, protect freedom of speech and restore the balance of power between the executive, legislature and the courts [Electoral Integrity Bill, Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill, Judicial Review Bill, Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Bill]. My Ministers will promote the strength and integrity of the union. Measures will be brought forward to strengthen devolved Government in Northern Ireland and address the legacy of the past [Northern Ireland (Ministers, Elections and Petitions of Concerns) Bill, Legacy Legislation].

My Government will introduce measures to increase the safety and security of its citizens.

Legislation will increase sentences for the most serious and violent offenders and ensure the timely administration of justice [Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill]. Proposals will be brought forward to address violence, including against women and girls, and to support victims [Draft Victims Bill]. Measures will be brought forward to establish a fairer immigration system that strengthens the United Kingdom’s borders and deters criminals who facilitate dangerous and illegal journeys [New Plan for Immigration Legislation].

My Government will lead the way in ensuring internet safety for all, especially for children [Draft Online Safety Bill] whilst harnessing the benefits of a free, open and secure internet.

My Ministers will provide our gallant Armed Services with the biggest spending increase in thirty years, taking forward their programme of modernisation and reinforcing the United Kingdom’s commitment to NATO. My Ministers will honour and strengthen the Armed Forces Covenant, placing it in law [Armed Forces Bill]. Measures will be introduced to provide National Insurance contribution relief for employers of veterans [National Insurance Contributions Bill].

Legislation will be introduced to counter hostile activity by foreign states [Counter-State Threats Bill, Telecommunications (Security) Bill]. My Ministers will implement the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy.

The United Kingdom will host the G7 Summit and lead the global effort to secure a robust economic recovery from the pandemic. My Ministers will deepen trade ties in the Gulf, Africa and the Indo-Pacific.

My Government will continue to provide aid where it has the greatest impact on reducing poverty and alleviating human suffering. My Government will uphold human rights and democracy across the world. It will take forward a global effort to get 40 million girls across the world into school.

Members of the House of Commons.

Estimates for the public services will be laid before you.

My lords and members of the House of Commons.

Other measures will be laid before you.

I pray that the blessing of Almighty God may rest upon your counsels.

Latest Newsletter

Latest Newsletter

You can now read our latest Support Wealden Newsletter on the Mailchimp website. If you have an article you’d like featured in the next Newsletter, email us details by 9th April.

 

Budget 2021: What you need to know

Measures announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in the Budget.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

1. Covid-19

  • An extra £1.65 billion cash injection to ensure the Covid-19 vaccination roll-out in England continues to be a success.
  • £28 million to increase the UK’s capacity for vaccine testing, support for clinical trials and improve the UK’s ability to rapidly acquire samples of new variants of COVID-19.
  • £22 million for a world-leading study to test the effectiveness of combinations of different Covid-19 vaccines. This will also fund the world’s first study assessing the effectiveness of a third dose of vaccine to improve the response against current and future variants of COVID-19.
  • A further £5 million on top of a previous £9 million investment in clinical-scale mRNA manufacturing, to create a ‘library’ of vaccines that will work against Covid-19 variants for possible rapid response deployment.
  • Extending £500 Test and Trace support payments in England until the summer.

2. Protecting jobs and livelihoods

  • An extension of the Coronavirus Job Support Scheme to September 2021 across the UK.
  • An extension of the UK-wide Self Employment Income Support scheme to September 2021, with 600,000 more people who filed a tax return in 2019-20 now able to claim for the first time.
  • An extension to the temporary cut in Stamp Duty Land Tax in England and Northern Ireland until September will support the housing market and protect and create jobs.
  • A new mortgage guarantee scheme will enable all UK homebuyers secure a mortgage up to £600,000 with a 5% deposit.
  • £5 billion for new Restart Grants – a one off cash grant of up to £18,000 for hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym businesses in England.
  • A new UK-wide Recovery Loan Scheme to make available loans between £25,001 and £10 million, and asset and invoice finance between £1,000 and £10 million, to help businesses of all sizes through the next stage of recovery.
  • Extension of the Film & TV Production Restart scheme in the UK, with an additional £300 million to support theatres, museums and other cultural organisations in England through the Culture Recovery Fund.
  • Six-month extension of the £20 per week Universal Credit uplift in Great Britain, with the Northern Ireland Executive receiving additional funding to match the increase. A one-off payment of £500 to eligible Working Tax Credit claimants across the UK.
  • Extension to the VAT cut to 5% for hospitality, accommodation and attractions across the UK until the end of September, followed by a 12.5% rate for a further six months until 31 March 2022.
  • 750,000 eligible businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England will benefit from business rates relief.
  • Extension of the apprenticeship hiring incentive in England to September 2021 and an increase of payment to £3,000.
  • £7 million for a new “flexi-job” apprenticeship programme in England, that will enable apprentices to work with a number of employers in one sector.
  • Additional £126 million for 40,000 more traineeships in England, funding high quality work placements and training for 16-24 year olds in 2021/22 academic year.
  • More than doubling the legal limit for single contactless payments, from £45 to £100

  • £10 million to support veterans with mental health needs across the UK.
  • £19 million to tackle domestic abuse in England and Wales, with funding for a network of ‘Respite Rooms’ to support homeless women and a programme to prevent reoffending.
  • £90 million funding to support our government-sponsored national museums in England due to the financial impact of Covid-19.
  • £300 million for major spectator sports, supporting clubs and governing bodies in England as fans begin to return to stadia.
  • Small and medium-sized employers in the UK will continue to be able to reclaim up to two weeks of eligible Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) costs per employee from the Government.
  • To further support the cashflow of businesses, the government is extending the loss carry back rules worth up to £760,000 per company.
  • £100 million for a new Taxpayer Protection Taskforce to crack-down on COVID fraudsters who have exploited UK Government support schemes.

3. Strengthening the public finances

  • Maintaining the income tax Personal Allowance and higher rate threshold from April 2022 until April 2026.
  • To balance the need to raise revenue with the objective of having an internationally competitive tax system, the rate of Corporation Tax will increase to 25%, which will remain the lowest rate in the G7. In order to support the recovery, the increase will not take effect until 2023. Businesses with profits of £50,000 or less, around 70% of actively trading companies, will continue to be taxed at 19% and a taper above £50,000 will be introduced so that only businesses with profits greater than £250,000 will be taxed at the full 25% rate.
  • Maintaining inheritance tax thresholds at their current levels until April 2026.
  • Fuel duty will be frozen for the 11th consecutive year.
  • Alcohol duties will be frozen across the board for the second year running saving drinkers £1.7 billion.
  • Capping the amount of SME payable R&D tax credit that a business can receive in any one year at £20,000 (plus three times the company’s total PAYE and NICs liability).
  • Maintaining the Lifetime Allowance at its current level of £1,073,100 until April 2026.
  • The adult ISA annual subscription limit for 2021-22 will remain unchanged at £20,000.

4. An investment-led recovery

  • Beginning April 2021, the new super-deduction will cut companies’ tax bill by 25p for every pound they invest in new equipment. This is worth around £25 billion to UK companies over the two-year period the super-deduction will be in full effect.
  • Eight new English Freeports will be based in East Midlands Airport, Felixstowe & Harwich, Humber, Liverpool City Region, Plymouth, Solent, Thames and Teesside.
  • The £375 million UK-wide ‘Future Fund: Breakthrough’ will invest in highly innovative companies such as those working in life sciences, quantum computing, or clean tech, that are aiming to raise at least £20 million of funding.
  • Reforms to the immigration system will help ambitious UK businesses attract the brightest and best international talent.
  • A new Help to Grow scheme to offer up to 130,000 companies across the UK a digital and management boost.
  • £2.8 million to support a UK and Ireland bid to host the 2030 World Cup and £25 million investment in UK grassroots sports, enough for around 700 new pitches.
  • Launching a review of Research & Development tax reliefs to make sure the UK remains a competitive location for cutting-edge research.
  • £20 million to fund a UK-wide competition to develop floating offshore wind demonstrators and help support the government’s aim to generate enough electricity from offshore wind to power every home by 2030.
  • £68 million to fund a UK-wide competition to deliver first-of-a-kind long-duration energy storage prototypes that will reduce the cost of net zero by storing excess low carbon energy over longer periods.
  • £4 million for a biomass feedstocks programme in the UK to identify ways to increase the production of green energy crops and forest products that can be used for energy.
  • Publication of the the government’s ‘Build Back Better: our plan for growth’.
  • Over £1 billion funding for a further 45 towns in England through the Towns Fund, supporting their long-term economic and social regeneration as well as their immediate recovery from the impacts of COVID-19.
  • £135 million to progress A66 Trans-Pennine upgrade.
  • £28 million to fund the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in 2022, delivering a major celebration for the UK.
  • Plans for at least £15 billion of green gilt issuance in the coming financial year, to help finance critical projects to tackle climate change and other environmental challenges, fund important infrastructure investment, and create green jobs across the UK.
  • £150 million Community Ownership Fund will allow communities across the UK to invest to protect the assets that matter most to them such as pubs, theatres, shops, or local sports clubs.
  • £18.8 million to transform local cultural projects in Hartlepool, Carlisle, Wakefield and Yeovil.
  • Publication of the prospectus for the £4.8 billion UK-wide Levelling Up Fund, providing guidance for local areas on how to submit bids for the first round of funding starting in 21-22.

5. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

  • Individuals and businesses in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland continue to be supported by the UK Government through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, self-employment grants, loan schemes and VAT cuts. Devolved administrations have received Barnett funding to provide support in areas of devolved responsibility.
  • The Budget confirms an additional £2.4 billion for the devolved administrations for 2021-22 through the Barnett formula. This is an additional £1.2 billion for the Scottish Government, £740 million for the Welsh Government, £410 million for the Northern Ireland Executive.
  • The devolved administrations will also receive £1.4 billion of funding in 2021-22 outside the Barnett formula.
  • £27 million in the Aberdeen Energy Transition Zone and £5 million in the Global Underwater Hub in Scotland, the first stage in delivering the North Sea Transition Deal.
  • Three Growth Deals in Scotland – Ayrshire, Argyll & Bute, and Falkirk – will receive funding more quickly.
  • £4.8 million to support the development of a demonstration hydrogen hub in Holyhead, Anglesey.
  • Up to £30 million for the Global Centre for Rail Excellence in Wales.
  • Three City and Growth Deals – in North-Wales, Mid-Wales and Swansea Bay – will receive funding more quickly.
  • Northern Ireland will benefit from the Corporation Tax exemption for the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, Northern Ireland’s biggest landlord.
  • Almost half of the £400 million New Deal for Northern Ireland funding has been allocated, subject to business cases, to: new systems for supermarkets and small traders to manage new trading arrangements; building greater resilience in medicine supply chains; promoting Northern Ireland’s goods and services overseas; and supporting skills development.
  • £5 million to extend the Tackling Paramilitary Programme in 2021-22.

NOW IS THE TIME FOR BUSINESS OWNERS TO PREPARE FOR THE COST OF REDUNDANCIES’

‘NOW IS THE TIME FOR BUSINESS OWNERS TO PREPARE FOR THE COST OF REDUNDANCIES’

Press release. For immediate release.
23 February 2021

Smaller businesses looking to reduce their workforces should urgently prepare for the costs of redundancies, following changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme made late last year.

That’s the warning from human resources experts The HR Dept, which provides human resources advice and support for more than 6,500 small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) across the UK and Ireland.

Rule changes last December mean that furlough grants can no longer contribute towards notice pay, a fact of which The HR Dept believes many smaller businesses are unaware.

Its experts believe this will prove a major challenge for some small businesses, many of which are struggling to survive this crisis, once the furlough period comes to an end in April.

Serena May, director at The HR Dept Eastbourne, Brighton and Hove, said: “Last year, employers could use the furlough grant to cover the redundancy notice period, topping up the remaining 20 per cent to full pay. Employers might not realise that this 80 per cent contribution towards notice can’t happen again.

“As things stand, changes in furlough rules mean that the employer will not be able to use the furlough grant and will need to pay the notice in full, without Government support.

“Other employers may not understand employees’ statutory rights to notice periods, or age factoring when considering redundancy pay.

“In any case, employers need to be aware of these issues and start preparing now, as time for consultation processes and time and cost for statutory notice need to be factored in.

“Particularly where the employees facing redundancy have long service – this is likely, as they are the most experienced and will have been the most expensive to make redundant last year and remain on furlough – the coming costs could well push businesses under.”

Having continually welcomed the Government’s efforts to support the UK’s small business network through this crisis, The HR Dept has played an important role in lobbying for change to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) since it was rolled out last spring.

The company successfully campaigned for the introduction of a flexible element to the scheme, as well as helping ensure that the changes happened in July, rather than August as originally planned.

Now it is recommending a further change to the rules to allow the furlough grant to contribute towards notice pay again, as was the situation last year.

Serena May said: “If the furlough grants could be put towards notice pay again, employers could potentially start the redundancy process now. Then, if the situation proves less dire than expected, they simply retain the employee and stop the notice period – at no additional cost to the business or the taxpayer. If the redundancy still needs to take place, much of the notice pay cost has already been absorbed.

“It wouldn’t cost the Government any extra – the Exchequer is already contributing furlough periods during this time anyway.  However, with the reality of redundancies rapidly approaching, this measure would let small business take those decisions now, so we can avoid a mass of insolvencies further down the line.

“Otherwise, there is a serious risk that businesses which delay the redundancy process until the end of the furlough period will face significant costs, especially regarding long-serving employees.

“These could sink the whole business, with the Government picking up all the redundancy costs, through the National Insurance Fund. It’s not a winning situation for anyone involved – the business or the employees most importantly, as well as the taxpayer and the Government itself.”

 

For more information about The HR Dept click here hrdept.co.uk.

Issued by:

Rupert Janisch, Turn the Tables PR + Comms

m: 07929 660 586   |   t: 01174 033543   |   e: rupert@turnthetablespr.com

Roadmap to lockdown easing

Roadmap out of lockdown

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

Guidance

COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021 (Summary)

Published 22 February 2021

From 8 March, people in England will see restrictions start to lift and the government’s four-step roadmap offer a route back to a more normal life.

The success of the vaccination programme is one factor – so far over 17 million people have had their jabs – but by no means the whole story. The public have also risen to the challenge of suppressing COVID-19: by obeying the law; staying at home; getting tested when needed; isolating when required, and following the ‘hands, face, space’ and ‘letting fresh air in’ guidance.

Taken together, this means that even though absolute case numbers remain relatively high, we will be able to begin relaxing the current strict lockdown. While we must all remain vigilant – in particular against the threat from new COVID-19 variants – and continue to protect the NHS, a safe exit from lockdown can begin. It will take place in four steps; and at each step, we plan to lift restrictions across the whole of England at the same time.

In implementing this plan we will be guided by data, not dates, so that we do not risk a surge in infections that would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS. For that reason, all the dates in the roadmap are indicative and subject to change. There will be a minimum of five weeks between each step: four weeks for the scientific data to reflect the changes in restrictions and to be analysed; followed by one week’s advance notice of the restrictions that will be eased.

Only when the government is sure that it is safe to move from one step to the next will the final decision be made. The decision will be based on four tests:

  • the vaccine deployment programme continues successfully
  • evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated
  • infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS
  • our assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern

The government will continue to protect the public by ensuring local outbreaks are managed quickly and effectively and that we combat new dangerous variants, both within the UK and at the border. The government will also continue to support families and businesses throughout the steps set out in the roadmap – details of which will be set out by the Chancellor in the Budget on 3 March.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021/covid-19-response-spring-2021-summary

Step 1 – 8 and 29 March

Changes on 8 March

Education

In Step 1, our priority is to ensure that all children and students return safely to face-to-face education in schools and colleges from 8 March. Childcare and children’s supervised activities can also resume where necessary to enable parents to work or engage in similar activities. We are introducing twice-weekly rapid testing for secondary and college pupils – in addition to regular testing for all teachers – to reduce the chance of the virus spreading in schools.

Higher Education students at English universities on practical courses can also return from 8 March.

Social contact

People will be allowed to leave home for recreation and exercise outdoors with their household or support bubble, if they are eligible for one, or with one person from outside their household. Care home residents will also be allowed one regular visitor.

 

Changes on 29 March

Social contact

The evidence shows that it is safer for people to meet outdoors rather than indoors. And this is why from 29 March, when most schools start to break up for the Easter holidays, outdoor gatherings (including in private gardens) of either 6 people (the Rule of 6) or 2 households will also be allowed, making it easier for friends and families to meet outside.

Business and activities

Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts, and open-air swimming pools, will also be allowed to reopen, and people will be able to take part in formally organised outdoor sports.

Travel

The ‘stay at home’ rule will end on 29 March but many restrictions will remain in place. People should continue to work from home where they can and minimise the number of journeys they make where possible, avoiding travel at the busiest times and routes. Travel abroad will continue to be prohibited, other than for a small number of permitted reasons. Holidays abroad will not be allowed, given it will remain important to manage the risk of imported variants and protect the vaccination programme. The government has launched a new taskforce to review global travel which will report on 12 April.

Step 2 – not before 12 April

 

Business and activities

Step 2, which will be no earlier than 12 April, will see the opening of non-essential retail; personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons; and public buildings, including libraries and community centres. Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms will also reopen (but only for use by people on their own or in household groups); as will most outdoor attractions and settings including outdoor hospitality venues, zoos, theme parks, and drive-in cinemas. Self-contained accommodation such as campsites and holiday lets, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households, can also reopen.

 

Hospitality venues will be allowed to serve people outdoors at Step 2 and there will be no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks and no curfew, although customers must order, eat and drink while seated (‘table service’). Wider social contact rules will apply in all these settings to prevent indoor mixing between different households.

Events

While funerals can continue with up to 30 mourners, the number of people able to attend weddings, receptions and commemorative events such as wakes will rise to 15.

Step 3 – not before 17 May

 

Social contact

As part of Step 3, no earlier than 17 May, the government will look to continue easing limits on seeing friends and family wherever possible, allowing people to decide on the appropriate level of risk for their circumstances.

This means that most legal restrictions on meeting others outdoors will be lifted – although gatherings of over 30 people will remain illegal. Indoors, the Rule of 6 or 2 households will apply – we will keep under review whether it is safe to increase this.

As soon as possible and by no later than Step 3, we will also update the advice on social distancing between friends and family, including hugging. But until this point, people should continue to keep their distance from anyone not in their household or support bubble.

Business and activities

Most businesses in all but the highest risk sectors will be able to reopen. In all sectors, COVID-Secure guidance will remain in place and businesses may not cater for groups bigger than the legal limits. Indoor hospitality will reopen – and as in Step 2, venues will not have to serve a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks; nor will there be a curfew. Customers will, however, have to order, eat and drink while seated.

 

Other indoor locations to open up in Step 3 include indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas and children’s play areas; the rest of the accommodation sector, including hotels, hostels and B&Bs; and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes. The government will also allow some larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full (whichever is a lower number), and in outdoor venues with a capacity of 4,000 people or half-full (whichever is a lower number). In the largest outdoor seated venues, where crowds can be spread out, up to 10,000 people will be able to attend (or a quarter-full, whichever is lower).

Events

Up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions and wakes, as well as funerals. This limit will also apply to other types of significant life events including bar mitzvahs and christenings.

Review of social distancing

Finally, before Step 4 begins, the government will complete a review of social distancing and other long-term measures that have been put in place to cut transmission. This will inform decisions on the timing and circumstances under which the rules on 1 metre plus, the wearing of face coverings and other measures may be lifted. This will also inform guidance on working from home – which should continue wherever possible until this review is complete.

Step 4 – not before 21 June

 

Social contact

By Step 4 which will take place no earlier than 21 June, the government hopes to be in a position to remove all legal limits on social contact.

Business, activities and events

We hope to reopen remaining premises, including nightclubs, and ease the restrictions on large events and performances that apply in Step 3. This will be subject to the results of a scientific Events Research Programme to test the outcome of certain pilot events through the spring and summer, where we will trial the use of testing and other techniques to cut the risk of infection. The same Events Research Programme will guide decisions on whether all limits can be removed on weddings and other life events.

As we move through each of these phases in the roadmap, we must all remember that COVID-19 remains a part of our lives. We are going to have to keep living our lives differently to keep ourselves and others safe. We must carry on with ‘hands, face, space’. Comply with the COVID-Secure measures that remain in place. Meet outdoors when we can and keep letting fresh air in. Get tested when needed. Get vaccinated when offered. If we all continue to play our part, we will be that bit closer to a future that is more familiar.