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Impact of coronavirus on business and workers examined

15 June 2020

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee looks at issues facing the workforce, including the self-employed, across a range of sectors, such as retail, engineering and manufacturing, energy, and the creative industries.


 Thursday 18th June, virtual meeting

At 10.30am

  • Gary Smith, Secretary, GMB Scotland
  • Steve Turner, Assistant General Secretary, Unite
  • Christine Payne, General Secretary, Equity
  • Mike Clancy, General Secretary, Prospect
  • Tony Dale, Head of Research, Usdaw

Darren Jones, Chair of the BEIS Committee, has also written to Alok Sharma, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to raise a series of concerns regarding support for the manufacturing sector.

The session on Thursday morning is likely explore issues around the support available to industries and workers, including the Government's job retention scheme, to examine concerns around workplace safety.

The hearing will also examine questions around the measures Government might take to safeguard jobs, issues around the medium-and-long term support necessary to support sectors across the UK economy, and explore the prospect of further government intervention in strategically important industries (the HM Treasury's ‘Project Birch'). The session is also likely to examine issues around skills and retraining.

Impact of coronavirus on businesses and workers – terms of reference

The BEIS Committee's inquiry initially focussed on the immediate impact and support offered to workers and businesses during the coronavirus crisis. Over the coming months, the inquiry will continue to keep a close eye on Government policy and its impact on businesses and workers, including the following key areas:

  • How different sectors and those in different forms of employment are affected by coronavirus;
  • The impact of support schemes and policies announced by the Government, including the Business Interruption Loan Scheme, Bounce Back Loan Scheme and Job Retention Scheme;
  • The likely needs of different sectors over the coming weeks and months, and at each alert level of the pandemic.

The Committee has held sessions for this inquiry on 4 June, focusing on the impact on the manufacturing and energy (specifically, electricity and gas supply) sectors, Thursday 14 May with Which?, TUC, and IoD, and a panel of international experts, and also with business representatives (on 17 March) and on the impact on small businesses and the retail sector (30 April). The Committee took evidence from the Secretary of State on 23 April on the Department's response to coronavirus.

On 18th May, Darren Jones Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee  wrote to Alok Sharma, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to press the Government to respond to a series of concerns around safety in shops and workplaces and to outline the powers it intends to introduce to stop profiteering during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Further information

Image: PA