Closed petition End lockdown to prevent further economic damage to the UK’s economy.

The current lockdown needs to be lifted in order for our economy to get moving again. We’re already facing financial hardship due to the lockdown that is in place and by this continuing, more people will lose their jobs, more companies will close and more people will be left destitute.

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The government can reopen businesses and allow the people of the UK to return to work by reopening schools and allowing employers and employees to resume their daily required working practices. Employers can take measures to allow for social distancing and employees can wear masks if desired and maintain good levels of hygiene by washing their hands regularly. Staff may also be encouraged to complete their work days over differing periods of the day.

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Government responded

This response was given on 1 December 2020

The Government has announced the Covid 19 Winter Plan, which sets out how we will continue to support the economy whilst limiting the spread of the virus.

Read the response in full

On 31 October, the Prime Minister announced new national measures in England to tackle the spread of coronavirus, to get R decisively below 1 and to protect the NHS. We will return to a tiered approach on 2 December. On Monday, the UK Government published its Winter Plan, setting out the approach for the period after national restrictions end. This includes the new tiering system for England as well as plans to mitigate the virus, including the roll out of vaccine and further testing programmes. The House of Commons will debate and vote on this new approach on Tuesday 1 December, before the current regulations expire.

The November measures were for England only. Public health is a devolved matter and it is right that the devolved administrations make their own public health assessments. However, the UK Government has engaged extensively with the devolved administrations throughout the response to Coronavirus. We have confronted this virus as one United Kingdom, and will continue to coordinate and cooperate as much as possible in our response and seek alignment in policy and approach wherever it is appropriate and possible to do so.

Throughout this crisis, the government has sought to protect people’s jobs and livelihoods, and support businesses and public services across the UK. The government has spent over £280 billion to do so this year. The government has put in place an economic package of support which will provide businesses and individuals with certainty over the Winter months, even as measures to prevent further spread of the virus change.

Firstly, the Government is extending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) - or the so-called furlough scheme - until the end of March 2021. The government will cover the cost of 80 per cent of the wages of furloughed employees for hours not worked – employers will only be asked to cover NICs and pension contributions and we have added flexibility so it can be used to cover reduced hours. We will review the policy in January.

Secondly, the Government is continuing to provide support to the self-employed through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). Building on the two grants we have already provided since the start of the pandemic, the government is now providing a third grant, covering 80 per cent of average trading profits between November and January 2021, capped at £7,500 in total. We will also introduce a fourth grant, to cover February to April, in due course.

Businesses forced to close can claim grants of up to £3,000 per month. Any business in England forced to close due to national or local restrictions can claim grants, via their local authority, of up to £3,000 per month, per business. In addition, businesses in the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sectors not forced to close but severely impacted by restrictions, can claim grants of up to £2,100 per month. Any business in England not forced to close but are impacted by restrictions in Tiers 2 and 3 and therefore face less demand, can claim grants, via their local authority, of up to £2,100 per month, per business.

Alongside this we have also announced that we plan to extend our loan schemes – the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Future Fund – to the end of January.

In addition, all local authorities in England will receive funding to help with their public health response. The Contain Outbreak Management Fund, which has been extended to April 2021, will provide £4 per head per month to local authorities in Tier 3, and £2 per head per month for local authorities in Tier 2. This will be used for local authorities to fund activities such as contact tracing, test and trace, and public health communications, and is worth over £200 million per month.

The government will continue to do whatever it takes to protect lives and livelihoods. Over time, once restrictions are lifted and the economic and fiscal outlook becomes clearer, the Government will set out further details on its plans for the recovery, including for a sustainable and balanced fiscal policy, supported by a revised fiscal framework as set out in the Spending Review.

On 23 November, the Prime Minister set out our COVID-19 Winter Plan in Parliament. Our COVID-19 Winter Plan puts forward the UK Government’s programme for suppressing the virus, protecting the NHS and the vulnerable, keeping education and the economy going, and providing a route back to normality. It may be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-winter-plan

Cabinet Office