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Mini-Budget: Plan for Jobs

On 8th July the Chancellor delivered a "Plan for Jobs" aimed at stimulating the British economy, in particular the flagging hospitality sector and lacklustre housing market.

Industry cooperation & competition after lockdown

Exiting lockdown: beware the antitrust risks

In response to the COVID-19 lockdown, certain limited forms of cooperation which would normally infringe competition law have been permitted for businesses such as supermarkets. But these are typically very narrow exceptions and as we come out of lockdown, businesses should not assume that they are now free to cooperate on a much wider scale than before the onset of the pandemic – or that antitrust regulators will turn a blind eye.

CJRS changes and flexible furlough - how will it work? (last updated 1 July)

This briefing was updated on 1 July 2020.

On 1 July 2020, changes were made to the Government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the "Scheme") . As of 1 July 2020, employers are now able to bring furloughed workers back part-time and, from 1 August 2020, employers will be required to contribute to the wage subsidy on a phased basis. The Government has issued guidance on how these changes operate, which is supported by an updated version of the Treasury Direction containing the legal provisions underpinning the Scheme.

A shift to a more permanent working from home arrangement? Key Health & Safety considerations

Following the implementation of the UK Government's COVID-19 Recovery Strategy and COVID-19 Secure Guidelines, measures concerning the health and safety ("H&S") and welfare of workers should be at the fore of employer risk mitigation strategies. With Government guidance stating that "for the foreseeable future, workers should continue to work from home rather than their normal physical workplace, wherever possible", employers should be considering separate H&S concerns and procedures required to protect employees or workers carrying out activities in the homeworking environment.

Taxation of Covid-19 support payments

This briefing was updated on 8 June 2020.

HMRC announced on 29 May 2020 that it will be consulting on draft legislation to tax certain of the Covid-19 support measures provided to businesses. 

Furlough – further details announced

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has today announced further details of how the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will change in the coming months. From 1 July 2020, employers will be able to bring furloughed workers back part-time and, from 1 August 2020, employers will be required to contribute to the wage subsidy on a phased basis (albeit at a lower contribution that previously anticipated).

Cabinet Office guidance calls for responsible contractual behaviour in light of Covid-19

In response to the unique disruption the COVID-19 emergency presents to the economy, the Cabinet Office has issued non-statutory guidance on responsible contractual behaviour in the context of the emergency. Released on 7 May 2020 and titled "Guidance on responsible contractual behaviour in the performance and enforcement of contracts impacted by the Covid-19 emergency", this guidance calls for parties to contracts, including parties from both the private and public sectors, to act responsibly and fairly.

COVID-19: a checklist of ways to dig yourself out of a contractual hole

Two former Supreme Court judges have recently suggested that, given the exceptional nature of the current crisis, a "more creative" approach may be needed in assessing contractual disputes. With that in mind, we've put together a checklist of potential issues to consider if you are looking to dig yourself out of a contractual hole created by COVID-19.

COVID-19: returning to work - Health & Safety considerations - UK Government's COVID-19 'Recovery Strategy' and 'Secure' Guidelines

Following the announcement made by the Prime Minister on 10 May 2020, the UK Government published on 11 May 2020 its COVID-19 Recovery Strategy ("Recovery Strategy") and ‘COVID-19 Secure’ Guidelines ("Secure Guidelines").  These official guidance documents seek to aid the general public and businesses on navigating their way out of the current lockdown over the coming weeks and months. These are conditional steps and remain subject to meeting the UK Government's five key tests.  

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