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Business groups need more guidance and financial support for return to work

11 May 2020

Business groups are asking for more guidance and continued financial support after Prime Minister Boris Johnson began easing the coronavirus lockdown.

The Prime Minister encouraged those who cannot work from home to return to work this week, although workers should avoid public transport due to social distancing requirements.

Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director General, said: 'This announcement marks the start of a long process. While stopping work was necessarily fast and immediate, restarting will be slower and more complex. It must go hand-in-hand with plans for schools, transport, testing and access to PPE. Firms will want to see a roadmap, with dates they can plan for.

'Success will rest on flexibility within a framework: clear guidance which firms can adapt for their particular circumstances. Financial support will also need to evolve for sectors moving at different speeds – some remaining in hibernation, while others get ready to open safely.'

Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: 'For small employers, there should be a way of partially furloughing staff, so that a small business which is only able to get up and running again steadily can bring back workers some of the time, but retain them via the Job Retention Scheme the rest of the time.'

Adam Marshall , Director General at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: 'Firms will also need to know that government support schemes, which have helped save millions of jobs in recent weeks, will continue for as long as they are needed so that they can plan ahead with confidence.'

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