UK manufacturing reacts to second lockdown in England

Boris Johnson announced second UK lockdown 02112020
Boris Johnson announced second UK lockdown 02112020

Prime minister Boris Johnson has announced tougher national restrictions in England from Thursday, affecting workplaces across the country.

Prime minister Boris Johnson's announcement of a second lockdown in England from Thursday will affect businesses across the country.

The government says the NHS is weeks from being overwhelmed, and a higher death toll than the first wave is predicted without new restrictions.

Saturday's announcement was made after Boris Johnson, the chief medical officer, chief scientific advisor, and government ministers agreed there was no alternative to tougher national measures.

The latest rules say people should work from home wherever possible. Workplaces should stay open where people cannot work from home – for example, in the manufacturing industry.

Find information on the latest January 2021 lockdown here


The furlough scheme will remain open until December, with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500. The cost for employers of retaining workers will be reduced compared to the original scheme, which has now ended.

Commenting on the announcement by the prime minister, Stephen Phipson, chief executive of Make UK, said: “Industry will accept this decision and carry on supporting the national effort as it has done since the very start of the crisis. The fact we now have more ventilators and medicines in hospitals, PPE in care homes and food on supermarket shelves is down to their great efforts.

“However, this Halloween is far from a treat for manufacturers and there will be further consequences for some industries that have already been severely impacted and which may still require sector specific support.

“Given this could not have come at a worse time for jobs, Make UK welcomes the decision to extend the job retention scheme at 80% of salaries which has played such a key role so far in protecting as many jobs in our sector. Given this crisis has some time to run government is going to have to continue to adopt a flexible and fast paced approach to policy for all sectors of the economy, not just those forced to close.”

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI director-general, commented: “Lockdown is a decision for government, not business, and firms share the Prime Minister’s ambition to defeat the virus, But for many businesses, a second national lockdown marks the start of a bleak midwinter

“With the right support firms will do everything possible to minimise the damage. Across the country they have already shown how resilient they can be in the face of tighter restrictions. And thanks to huge efforts by businesses to make workplaces Covid secure, more of the economy can now stay open.

“Extending furlough is a vital step. It will bring instant relief and protect jobs. It’s also a breakthrough to hear government support for rapid mass testing. Affordable fast tests are a game-changer for business, enabling more firms to stay open and operate normally. We must use this lockdown month to prepare and roll-out mass testing as a matter of national urgency.

“However, some sectors may need more tailored support in the coming weeks.

“It’s also clear that communication needs to improve. Firms can’t plan on the basis of speculation. Formal business involvement in lockdown planning is now urgently needed, matched by coordination with devolved nations to minimise confusion and build confidence.”

Make UK www.makeuk.org

CBI www.cbi.org.uk

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CBI [**]

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