FOB Chief Executive’s Weekly News for 3rd August 2020

Dear All,

Detailed below is the Weekly News/Covid 19 Update for 3rd August.

It includes a CBI Update, a wide ranging Defra Update and an HSE Update.

Have a good week.

Gordon Polson

Chief Executive – Federation of Bakers Ltd

CBI Update: The coronavirus pandemic has dominated every aspect of our lives for many months now. Despite overwhelming pressure, it has been humbling to see the exceptional steps firms have taken to protect their employees, customers and communities. As Parliament begins recess, I wanted share a few reflections on where we are and look ahead to the autumn.

Firstly, I want to say thank you. The support we have received from members has made a material difference. The government has been actively seeking business insight and the CBI has been their first port of call. This means that together we have secured much-needed measures to protect UK firms and address the serious challenges presented by the pandemic, including:

  • The creation of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (JRS), which has consistently been updated to include feedback from business – including increased flexibility and an extension to October
  • Amendments and extensions to the CBILs schemes to support distressed firms, including 100% government-backed loans
  • Government guidance for businesses across the four nations that were forced to close during the height of the crisis, providing a clear steer but with vital flexibility
  • A comprehensive jobs package including an under 25s jobs scheme, £3bn of investment in green projects and a VAT reduction from 20% to 5% for tourism and hospitality – all announced in the Chancellor’s speech following calls from the CBI.

Explore the full range of policy impact we have secured on behalf of business here.

Through all of this, the CBI’s focus has been on supporting UK firms through the crisis. Our dedicated coronavirus hub is full of guidance and information to help firms like yours make decisions in the toughest of times. Through regular webinars and events bringing business together with key political figures and influencers, such as Rishi Sunak, Alok Sharma, Matt Hancock and Frances O’Grady, we’ve helped maintain a strong dialogue and build a new spirit of collaboration. Through online forums, firms have shared best practice and learnt from each other. And through our dedicated coronavirus mailbox, we’ve gathered and shared your feedback with government, engaging regularly with the Chancellor, Business Secretary and Number 10 to ensure government action is in step with business needs.

But we know there is still a long road ahead. From speaking to many of you over recent weeks, and from our survey data, we know that nearly 70% of firms are running low on cash, and three in four report lack of demand. Liquidity pressures, concerns around local lockdowns and uncertainty around the second half of the year are all areas we’ll be focusing on over the summer. The CBI has called for more immediate direct support for firms, from grants to further business rates relief, and is working closely with members to develop policy solutions ahead of the Budget and the Comprehensive Spending Review in the autumn. All members can get involved in shaping our Budget priorities.

We also know that confidence is key – for employees and customers, for tourism and investment, for cities, towns and rural areas. That’s why we’re doing everything we can to promote and shape a safe return to work, for everyone.

But the business bounce back goes beyond a coronavirus response.
Going into the autumn, we will continue to make your voice heard on the critical challenges for a successful rebuild.

On challenging geopolitical issues like the UK’s relationship with China, we will present the evidence from business so that government can make informed decisions rooted in economic facts.

On Brexit, we will continue to engage with ministers and officials on both sides of the Channel, pressing the need to get a deal and support business preparedness for the changes to come. We know the prospect of no agreement between the UK and EU on an FTA remains a real possibility, which is why we are refreshing our No deal preparations hub.

In addition to this, the CBI will respond to the government’s plans on the UK internal market; please do get involved in shaping our response.

The crisis has shown beyond doubt that when business, government and unions work together, communities benefit. It’s a philosophy we will follow throughout the autumn as we continue to champion and represent your business, however the situation evolves.
DEFRA Update On All Major Issues:

Prime Minister’s statement on coronavirus (COVID-19)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave a statement on the increase of daily infections. You can find the link to his statement here.

He announced that a number of higher risk settings that were planned to reopen on 1 August will be postponed until 15 August at the earliest.

The government planned to give employers more discretion over how employees can work safely from 1 August – whether by continuing to work from home or attending a Covid Secure workplace. This guidance remains unchanged.

The government also said there would be a pause on shielding nationally from 1 August – based on clinical advice, and that will also proceed as planned.

Updated guidance on shielding

The guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable has today been updated to include information related to the pausing of shielding. Guidance on accessing food and essential supplies will be updated by 0001 on Saturday 1 August.

New rules on gatherings in some parts of Northern England

Government announces changes to rules on gatherings in Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and East Lancashire after increase in COVID-19 cases.

Weekly COVID-19 surveillance report published

PHE publishes a weekly COVID-19 epidemiology surveillance summary. You can find this here.

Department for Transport: guidance for travelling abroad

The Department for Transport have updated their extranet page, setting out a checklist for Brits travelling abroad, an updated public facing Q&A, and updated links to port information assets for passengers. You can find the link here.

Major new campaign encourages millions to lose weight and cut COVID-19 risk

A new national campaign is under way to encourage millions of adults to kick start their health and reduce their risk of serious illness, including COVID-19.

£20 million in new grants to boost recovery of small businesses

£20 million new funding to help smaller businesses recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Further details of the Job Retention Bonus announced

Further details of how jobs will be protected through the government’s new Job Retention Bonus were unveiled by HMRC.

NHS Test and Trace campaign

NHS Test and Trace this week launched a new campaign to encourage everyone to get a free test as soon as they get symptoms, alongside a new business plan to expand testing capacity and prepare the nation for winter.

Statement from the UK Chief Medical Officers on extension of self-isolation period

The self-isolation period has been extended to 10 days for those in the community who have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or a positive test result.

Other Agri-Food Chain updates

National Food Strategy announcement

You will be aware that part 1 of the National Food Strategy independent review, led by Henry Dimbleby, has been published today at  The Government welcomes the publication of this independent report and will respond to the recommendations in due course. The final Part 2 report will be published in 2021.

UK Transition communications resources

Download images, branding and other communication resources for the UK Transition campaign in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland from

UK Internal Market

The UK government is consulting on new measures to protect internal trade within the UK when powers return from the EU in January 2021. Measures will protect the UK’s economy by preventing new burdens on cross-UK business and provide certainty to support coronavirus recovery. The proposals aim to ensure that devolution can continue to work for everyone; that all devolved policy areas stay devolved, while maintaining certainty for business by ensuring that rules and standards across the UK are mutually recognised, so that trade is as easy for business as possible. A 4 week consultation has opened today, sourcing views from businesses across all 4 nations of the UK. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy are consulting on the options set out in the white paper. Please respond by close of play on 13 August. Find the paper here.

Reminders and useful links

Eat Out to Help Out – look for the logo

Diners who eat-in will benefit from a 50% discount, up to a maximum of £10 per person, on food and non-alcoholic drinks, any Monday to Wednesday in August. You can still register your restaurant or establishment until 31 August.

Booking process for Covid-19 Tests

DHSC has now digitised the process for booking Covid-19 tests. The portal enables individuals to book a test themselves, accessible via

Alternatively, employers can refer staff using an employer portal. Accounts for this portal can be requested by emailing

How business can help respond to coronavirus

Business which can provide products and services, such as medical equipment, hotel rooms, transport and logistics, and expertise, can offer their assistance to government through

Number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and risk in the UK

Find out the latest statistics, risk level, what to do if you have symptoms, and what the government is doing about the virus here.

Latest guidance from Public Health England can be found here.

Prime Minister launches updated obesity strategy for England

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has launched a new obesity strategy for England, which aims to tackle adult as well as childhood obesity.  This new plan implements some of the proposals announced in 2018 on which it consulted last year, including a pre-9pm “watershed” ban on advertising online and on television of foods high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS foods); and a ban on promotions of HFSS foods, such as “buy one, get one free” (BOGOF) offers and product placement intended to encourage purchasing of HFSS foods, both online and in stores. The Government will also legislate to require large out-of-home food businesses (with more than 250 employees) to introduce calorie labelling on menus.  It will also consult on calorie labelling on alcoholic drinks before the end of 2020; and there will be a UK-wide consultation to gather views and evidence on the current “traffic light” food labelling scheme (see below). It will also consult on proposals to help parents of young children to make healthier choices through “more honest marketing and labelling of infant foods”. Alongside these new policies, the Government commits to continue working with the food industry on reformulation programmes for sugar, calories and salt, warning of “further action if results are not seen”. The Government also plans to expand weight management services available through the NHS.  This new obesity strategy clearly associates the need for people to reduce excess weight with both the risk to their personal health of links between Covid-19 and obesity; and with the impact of obesity on the NHS, urging people to lose excess weight in order to “play their part in protecting the NHS and saving lives”. It highlights the fact that from 2018-19 there were nearly 900,000 obesity-related hospital admissions and obesity is estimated to cost health services more than £6 billion a year.  The obesity strategy will be supported by a new “Better Health” campaign, to be led by Public Health England (PHE), which will encourage people to embrace a healthier lifestyle and to lose excess weight supported by a range of evidence-based tools and apps, such as the free, NHS 12 week weight loss plan.  In a related development, the Prime Minister also launched new Government proposals to boost cycling and walking.

UK consultation on front of pack traffic light nutrition labelling scheme

The UK Government and Devolved Administrations are consulting jointly on the UK’s front-of-pack (FOP) traffic light nutrition labelling scheme. The authorities regard FOP nutrition labels as a crucial intervention to support healthy choices and reduce obesity rates by communicating complex nutritional information to shoppers in a way that is quick and easy to understand.  Traffic light labelling schemes may also incentivise food reformulation. The authorities would particularly welcome views and evidence on: the UK’s recommended “multiple traffic light label”; alternative international schemes such as the nutri-score label and Chile’s health warning label; and whether FOP nutrition labelling should reflect the latest dietary advice on sugar and fibre. The deadline responses to this consultation is 21 October 2020.

National Food Strategy – interim report published

Henry Dimbleby, who is leading work on a new National Food Strategy, has published an interim report with “urgent recommendations” to help address the challenges created by Covid-19 and prepare for the end of the Brexit transition period and the UK’s new freedom to set its own standards as an independent trading nation.  He notes that diet-related illness is one of the top 3 risk factors for dying of Covid-19 and argues that this means we can no longer afford to ignore the “slow-motion disaster of the British diet”. Among other measures, he recommends a significant extension of free school meal (FSM) provision – to all children up to the age of 16 with a parent eligible for Universal Credit –  in order to prevent hungry children failing to reach their potential in school.  He also recommends extending the Holiday Activity and Food Programme to all areas in England, so that it is available to all children in receipt of FSM; increasing the value of Healthy Start vouchers to £4.25 per week, and expand the scheme to every pregnant woman and to all households with children under 4 where a parent or guardian is in receipt of Universal Credit or equivalent benefits; and extending the work of the Food to the Vulnerable Ministerial Task Force until July 2021.  On trading standards, the report recommends that the UK should The Government should only agree to cut tariffs in new trade deals on products which meet our core standards (creating a “dual tariff regime”), with the core standards being defined by the independent Trade and Agriculture Commission. He also recommends that the Government should commission and publish an independent report on any proposed trade agreements and it should adopt a statutory duty to give Parliament the time and opportunity to scrutinise any new trade deal properly.   [Source: National Food Strategy


Weekly Digest eBulletin

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Stakeholder Bulletin

You were chosen to receive this bulletin because of the influence you have on others in your industry.


Please share it with your networks; you can help to save lives.


For the latest news visit our website.

Spot inspections: ensure your workplace is COVID-secure

HSE is committed to making sure employers are managing the coronavirus risks that apply to their workplaces.

HSE inspectors are carrying out spot inspections in cities and towns where there is a coronavirus outbreak to check that businesses are COVID-secure.


This guide to working safely during the coronavirus outbreak will help you to manage the risk associated with restarting or running your business during the pandemic.

Additional local action to tackle coronavirus in Blackburn, Bradford, Barnsley and Kirklees

HSE has inspectors out and about across the North West of England, putting employers on the spot and checking that they are complying with the latest guidance to manage risk during the coronavirus outbreak. This builds upon recent work carried out in Yorkshire.


As part of targeted, local measures to contain coronavirus in Yorkshire, HSE is working alongside Bradford, Barnsley and Kirklees Councils in the regulation of workplace health and safety.


Further information on local measures is available on the council websites for Blackburn, Bradford and Kirklees.


HSE inspectors are also conducting spot inspections to check that businesses are aware and advising where necessary on improvements needed to ensure the workplace is COVID-secure. In such a fast-moving situation, we wanted to provide the right information to the right people at this time to help businesses ensure they are doing what they can to be COVID-secure.

Guidance on NHS Test and Trace service in the workplace

The NHS Test and Trace service provides protection for family, friends, colleagues and communities. Its success relies on everyone playing their part. Everyone needs to stay alert, get tested if they have symptoms, and self-isolate if asked to do so.


The NHS Test and Trace Service news bulletin includes the latest developments, announcements and  information.


Sign up to receive the bulletin


Guidance is also available outlining the COVID-19 contact tracing arrangements for workplaces in Scotland and Wales.

Making your business COVID-secure

We’ve had feedback that businesses are not aware of the guidance on becoming COVID-secure, we wanted to share this information with you.


To be COVID-secure means businesses need to put in place workplace adjustments, keep up to date with the latest guidance and put measures in place to manage the risk and protect workers and visitors.


There are 5 practical steps that businesses can take to do that:

  • Step 1. carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment
  • Step 2. develop increased cleaning, hand washing and hygiene procedures
  • Step 3. take all reasonable steps to help people work from home
  • Step 4. maintain 2m social distancing where possible
  • Step 5. where people cannot be 2m apart, manage transmission risk

BEIS has published guidance on how to make a range of workplaces COVID-secure.


Guidance is available for different industries and sectors in Scotland and Wales.

Travelling to and from work

If you or your employees are using public transport to return to the workplace, it is vital you continue to follow the latest UK government guidance on travelling safely for England, Scotland and Wales.


This includes avoiding peak times where possible, wearing a face covering unless exempt for age, health or equality reasons, and maintaining a safe social distance.

Managing the risk of coronavirus in your business – guidance tools

HSE has guidance to help businesses manage the risks from coronavirus, including guidance to help employers carry out a risk assessment and make sensible adjustments to the site and workforce.


We have also produced tools to help businesses during the coronavirus outbreak and for use with employees to consult them on what their workplace needs to do to keep people safe.

Share your feedback with us

We hope you find this information useful.


You can feedback to us on this bulletin by emailing:

Enjoy the rest of summer safely

If you are able to enjoy things you’ve missed this summer, be sure to follow COVID secure guidelines wherever you are.


Help our economy begin to recover and help the livelihoods of many business owners around the country who are opening up for the first time in more than 3 months. Help your workers and others by ensuring your business is COVID-secure so that everyone can enjoy summer safely.


Find out more information here.