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Chair urges clarity on Covid-19 rules to help protect jobs

20 November 2020

Following an evidence hearing with businesses, unions and representative business groups from sectors including retail, leisure and hospitality earlier this week, Darren Jones, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee has written to Alok Sharma, Secretary of State, to call for the Government to provide urgent clarity over Covid-19 restrictions and the rules so businesses can prepare for when England’s lockdown is expected to end on December 2nd.


The correspondence to the Secretary of State raises a series of questions regarding the support and guidance available to businesses and workers at the end of this lockdown period.

The letter also asks questions:

  • around the targeting of taxpayer support (including on business rates)
  • on rent obligations and landlords
  • on consultation with businesses in relation to curfews and local tiered lockdowns
  • and on the question of access to Government support schemes.

Chair's Comments

Darren Jones, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee said:

“On Tuesday, business leaders in retail, leisure and hospitality warned of devastated high streets and even higher job losses unless urgent action was taken by Ministers to confirm what will happen after the second lockdown. Businesses need urgent clarity on the rules they will be required to follow under any new tiered system of restrictions so that they can make plans for their staff, sites and suppliers. 

 “Christmas trading is a crucial period and the Government needs to target support - alongside required public health measures - to help, especially for retailers who have been deemed non-essential during the second lockdown. Specifically, Ministers need to better target support and bring stakeholders together to find a solution to commercial rent debts. Ministers also need to take steps to ensure that businesses and unions are more involved on issues relating to local lockdowns, such as the system of curfews, so that safe and responsible trading can take place.”

17 November Evidence Session

On Tuesday morning, the BEIS Select Committee held an evidence hearing on the impact of coronavirus and the support measures available to businesses and workers and questioned witnesses from:

  • Marston's PLC
  • PureGym
  • ExcludedUK
  • UKHospitality
  • Equity
  • British Retail Consortium
  • Federation of Small Businesses
  • Usdaw
  • the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain

The session is available to watch on Parliament TV.