Two-metre distancing may be eased for work

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Employers will not be required to maintain social distancing of two metres between workers under government proposals to reopen the UK's workplaces.

In one of the draft government strategy papers, seen by the BBC, employers are encouraged to do so where possible but where it's not, additional measures should be considered, it suggests.

These should include additional hygiene procedures, physical screens and the use of protective equipment.

However, the section of the documents marked PPE is currently empty, apart from a promise that "more detail" will follow.

Union leaders have expressed concerns, saying few firms currently have this equipment and efforts to acquire it could see them competing with the NHS for scarce and essential supplies.

Worker safety

Read full article Two-metre distancing may be eased for work

How the government plans to get the UK back to work

A man walks past the window display of a clothing store, closed-down due to the coronavirus lockdown Image copyright AFP

The government will release a series of papers next week outlining its approach on how to safely and gradually restart the economy.

It invited submissions by Thursday from businesses, trade bodies, unions and other workers representatives on how best to slowly restart the UK economy.

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P&O owners say government 'slow' over threat to supply routes

  • 28 April 2020
  • From the section Business
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Media captionSultan Ahmed bin Sulayem rejects criticism of its request for aid.

The owner of P&O ferries has said the government has been "slow" to react to the crisis facing vital supply routes.

The ferry company, which transports 15% of all goods in and out of the UK, has applied for financial support to see it through the coronavirus lockdown.

Read full article P&O owners say government 'slow' over threat to supply routes

Why oil is still most important price in the world

  • 22 April 2020
  • From the section Business
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Whether you like it or not, oil is still the most important commodity in the world.

Its price can tell us not only what's really going on in the world economy right now, but has a great influence on what could happen in the future. Right now it is telling us that the world economy is in big trouble - a crisis not yet revealed in backward-looking economic growth figures.

Read full article Why oil is still most important price in the world

Pressure mounts on Chancellor to guarantee 100% of loans to firms

  • 17 April 2020
  • From the section Business
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Image caption Struggling firms could access money faster if the government guaranteed 100% of emergency loans, not just 80%, Andrew Bailey has said

The Governor of the Bank of England has told the BBC that an extension of government guarantees to lenders from 80% to 100% of the loans extended could speed up the delivery of financial assistance to cash strapped firms.

The banks, perhaps unsurprisingly, agree.

Read full article Pressure mounts on Chancellor to guarantee 100% of loans to firms

Coronavirus: GSK and Sanofi join forces to create vaccine

  • 14 April 2020
  • From the section Business
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Media captionVirus vaccine research 'enormously accelerated'

GSK and Sanofi, two of the world's biggest pharmaceutical giants, are joining forces to try and create a vaccine to stop the spread of Covid-19.

The bad news is that the vaccine - even if it is successful - will not be ready till the second half of next year.

Read full article Coronavirus: GSK and Sanofi join forces to create vaccine

Natwest struggling with calls for emergency loans

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Media captionChief Executive of Natwest Group Alison Rose said her bank is doing its best to make loans

Britain's biggest business lender has told the BBC that it is receiving nearly 10 times as many calls as usual from firms wanting to take out emergency loans.

Despite the Chancellor's announcement of an unprecedented package of £330bn in 80%-government-backed loans, there is little evidence that the support is hitting the target yet.

Read full article Natwest struggling with calls for emergency loans

Three ways to save the UK economy

  • 6 April 2020
  • From the section Business
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It has become increasingly clear that businesses are unwilling or unable to take on additional debt during what threatens to be the gravest economic crisis since the 1930s.

The government has moved quickly to introduce and then overhaul measures to supply hundreds of billions of pounds in credit to the UK economy.

Read full article Three ways to save the UK economy

Coronavirus: Why is it taking so long to help the self-employed?

  • 24 March 2020
  • From the section Business
A textile designer in a studio Image copyright Getty Images

There are five million self-employed people in the UK, generating about £300bn for the economy.

But while the government moved last week to subsidise the wages of direct employees, there is still no support package in place for this significant part of the workforce.

Read full article Coronavirus: Why is it taking so long to help the self-employed?

Virus: Will government rescue package be enough for firms?

  • 23 March 2020
  • From the section Business
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak speaks during a daily press conference at 10 Downing Street. Image copyright Getty Images

The government has announced the biggest intervention in private sector business since the Second World War to help fight the economic impact of coronavirus.

The questions it will try to answer later on Monday are: "How will it work? How do I get the money? What will it mean for my business and my staff?"

Read full article Virus: Will government rescue package be enough for firms?