Government unveils £200 million package to help innovative businesses bounce back

Source: Gov UK

  • Almost £200 million boost to help businesses across the UK drive forward cutting-edge new tech and recover from the impacts of coronavirus
  • government investment to support innovations ranging from AI systems managing city traffic flows to the latest reusable packaging materials
  • research and development (R&D) intensive businesses urged to apply for funding to turn ingenious ideas into new technologies

Innovative ideas and projects led by companies recovering from the impact of coronavirus will not be lost, thanks to a new £200 million fund launched today (Saturday 27 June).

The government’s Sustainable Innovation Fund will be open to companies across all parts of the UK who need urgent financial support to keep their cutting-edge projects and ideas alive.

Funding totalling almost £200 million could go towards developing new technologies focused on making homes and offices more energy efficient to cut bills, creating ground-breaking medical technologies to treat infections and diseases, or reducing the carbon footprint of public transport in our towns and cities.

In a move to support people across the country to establish more ‘climate-positive’ behaviours, businesses and start-ups could also make use of the fund to develop smart sustainability-focused projects – from apps encouraging people to cut down their food waste to sustainable biodegradable packaging.

The Sustainable Innovation Fund will help power the UK’s economic recovery and develop new sustainable opportunities for businesses in any sector following the coronavirus pandemic, while helping the UK meet its ambitions to cut carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said:

Our country is home to some of the world’s most cutting-edge businesses that turn ingenious ideas into new technologies every day. That’s why we’re backing our innovators and risk-takers with new investment so they can recover and grow out of the coronavirus pandemic.

Today I am urging businesses in all parts of the UK to come forward and pitch their state-of-the-art ideas to us, so we can work together to power the UK’s economic recovery.

Kemi Badenoch, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, said:

Our ability to innovate will be key to tackling this crisis, driving economic growth and supporting jobs.

This funding, on top of our existing support for innovation, will back businesses in a wide range of sectors including technology, health, transport and clean growth.

Dr Ian Campbell, Executive Chair, Innovate UK said:

Many businesses have successfully, and innovatively, responded to the challenges posed by the coronavirus. Organisations will recover from the pandemic, and as the situation stabilises, we will help businesses build an innovative economy that is viable and resilient. Today we issue the call for more innovators to put forward proposals to help the UK build a sustainable and productive future.

This funding, delivered through Innovate UK, forms part of a wider £750 million package of grants and loans announced in April to support innovative firms. This sits alongside the new £500 million Future Fund, which provides match-funding to private investors, and has already received over 500 applications since its launch on 20 May.

Businesses can apply for support through the Sustainable Innovation Fund by visiting the Innovate UK website from Monday 29 June.


Food and Drink (restaurants, bars, pubs) incl. Eat Out to Help Out

Eat out to Help out

The temporary pavement licences process introduces a streamlined consent route to allow businesses to obtain a licence to place temporary furniture, such as tables and chairs outside of cafes, bars and restaurants quickly, and for no more than £100.

PM announces easing of lockdown restrictions: 23 June 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has today (Tuesday 23 June) set out further changes to lockdown measures in England to enable people to see more of their friends and family, help businesses get back on their feet and get people back in their jobs.

From Saturday 4th July, the Prime Minister has announced that pubs, restaurants and hairdressers will be able to reopen, providing they adhere to COVID Secure guidelines.

From the same date, he has set out that two households will be able to meet up in any setting with social distancing measures, and that people can now enjoy staycations in England with the reopening of accommodation sites.

In order to begin restoring the arts and cultural sector, some leisure facilities and tourist attractions may also reopen, if they can do so safely – this includes outdoor gyms and playgrounds, cinemas, museums, galleries, theme parks and arcades, as well as libraries, social clubs, places of worship and community centres.

Following a review, the Prime Minister has also set out that where it is not possible to stay two metres apart, guidance will allow people to keep a social distance of ‘one metre plus’. This means staying one metre apart, plus mitigations which reduce the risk of transmission.

As we begin to reopen the economy, it’s important that we do not increase the risk of transmission which is why “close proximity” venues such as nightclubs, soft-play areas, indoor gyms, swimming pools, water parks, bowling alleys and spas will need to remain closed for now. The Government is continuing to work with these sectors to establish taskforces to help them to become COVID Secure and reopen as soon as possible.

While the infection rate continues to fall, the Prime Minister has been clear that the public must continue to follow social distancing guidelines to keep coronavirus under control. The Government will keep all measures under constant review and will not hesitate to apply the handbrake, or reverse measures, should the virus begin to run out of control.

These changes apply in England only.

Commentary from Moore Kingston Smith on code of practice for commercial property relationships during the Coronavirus pandemic

Our content partners, Moore Kingston Smith, have released analysis on the new code of practice for commercial tenants.

The impact of Coronavirus has been huge on both landlords and tenants due to the majority of commercial tenants’ inability to meet their rental deadline, which has been seriously diminished by the lockdown with forced closure of their properties and the resulting loss of income. Although the government has begun to gradually ease lockdown with the opening of non-essential shops from 15 June, income remains limited and with the next quarter’s rent due on 24 June, both landlords and tenants are worried.

The overriding message from the government throughout the crisis has been that we are all in this together, so with this in mind on 19 June they released a code of practice to assist both sides during negotiations. The code is voluntary and does not override UK property law, but does apply to the whole of the UK and ALL commercial property (including agricultural land). The code of practice sets out a range of behaviours and conduct which both parties should bear in mind during uncomfortable conversations or future negotiations. However, it may be sensible to assume that conduct in relation to the code will be considered in any future legal disputes by the courts.

The code aims to encourage tenants and landlords to work together to support each other as the country continues to emerge from the pandemic and the substantial government support packages are withdrawn. The code acknowledges that the full economic impact is still yet to be felt, so the basis of it is being reasonable and supportive. Yet the code is clear that tenants that are able should still try and meet their rental commitments. Much of the code is common sense, but the sections headed “new arrangements” and “service and insurance charges” do provide some good examples of ways in which tenants and landlords can support each other. The code will apply until 24 June 2021, which the government hopes will be long enough to take us through the move out of lockdown and the return to more “normal” trading conditions.

While the code has no bearing on lease obligations, it is likely to encourage people to be more wary of behaviours and perhaps encourage better co-operation between the two parties. It is also important to note that if the two parties agree either a temporary rent concession, or lease arrangement to see them through the current crisis and its aftermath, they must properly document the discussions and legal advice should always be obtained before any such terms are agreed.