Covid-19 update 04.06.2020
Face coverings on public transport will be compulsory in England from 15 June to help stop the transmission of coronavirus as more people go back to work, transport secretary Grant Shapps announced at today’s Downing Street press conference.
The government will require people to wear face coverings on buses, trams, trains, tubes and other modes of public transport on the same day non-essential shops re-open.
Mr Shapps said “every precaution” must be taken as passenger numbers are expected to increase when lockdown measures are further eased.
The public will have to provide their own face coverings and fines may be imposed for anyone who flouts the new rules.
Airlines among businesses given Bank of England bailouts
Airlines, transport and travel companies are among the largest recipients of emergency funding under a Bank of England scheme to assist larger companies facing acute short-term cash flow problems as a result of the outbreak.
British Airways, easyjet, Ryanair and have all received hundreds of millions of pounds from the Bank’s Coronavirus Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF).
Under the CCFF, the Bank buys commercial paper from the companies in exchange for a short-term loan repayable at rates of between 0.2 and 0.6%. To be eligible, firms have to be investment-grade rated, make a “material contribution” to the UK, and in sound financial health prior to the outbreak.
The CCFF has paid £16.18bn to 53 companies to date and is in a position to lend £67.7bn in total if required.
Government steps in with £10bn scheme to back trade credit insurance
The government is to guarantee trade credit insurance to ensure the market does not seize up because of the coronavirus crisis.
Trade credit insurance safeguards companies against the risk that their customers go bust before paying for goods they have ordered, helping businesses to trade with confidence. It covers about £171bn of business activity in the UK, between 13,000 suppliers and 650,000 customers.
But insurers have warned they face huge claims because of the COVID-19 crisis as companies under stress fail to pay their bills.
The government has now said it will provide guarantees of up to £10bn to Trade Credit Insurance schemes for business-to-business transactions. The Trade Credit Reinsurance scheme will support supply chains and help businesses during the coronavirus pandemic to trade with confidence, safe in the knowledge that they will be protected if a customer defaults or delays on payment.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “Trade Credit Insurance is a daily necessity for hundreds of thousands of businesses across the UK – particularly those in non-service sectors such as the manufacturing and construction sectors.
“Our £10bn guarantee gives peace of mind to businesses, allowing them to continue to trade and maintaining liquidity in supply chains. This reinsurance scheme is an important step as we carefully set about firing up our economy as we emerge from the pandemic.”
The scheme is available on a temporary basis for nine months, backdated to 1 April 2020, and running until 31 December 2020, with the potential for extension if required.
Dairy response fund set to open for applications
Eligible English dairy farmers will be able to apply for up to £10,000 to overcome the impact of coronavirus thanks to a new dairy response fund due to open for applications on 18 June.
With some dairy farmers facing financial difficulties and excess milk due to the coronavirus outbreak, the new fund will provide up to £10,000 each to help those dairy farmers most in need of support to sustain their business.
This funding, which will be paid out from 6 July, will help farmers maintain production capacity without impacts on animal welfare, following reduced demand for milk products as restaurants, bars and cafes have closed.
Qualifying farmers can apply for support to cover up to 70% of their losses due to coronavirus disruption across April and May, up to a total amount of £10,000 each.