Darren leads evidence session on impact of COVID-19 on business.

Darren lead his first BEIS Committee evidence session last week. The committee spoke to experts about how the Coronavirus as affected different businesses, including SMEs, over the last months and the effectiveness of the Government’s response, including the lockdown strategy and business support strategy.

Darren summarised the first evidence session here:

Speaking ahead of the evidence session, Darren commented:

“The Chancellor’s extension of the furlough scheme is welcome but it’s vital we kick-start the thinking now about what comes next for support for workers and businesses.

“It’s crucial the recovery from this crisis has at its heart investment in both infrastructure and people, examining options such as Government-backed work placements for those workers who may find themselves unemployed. More immediately, I hope the Government will soon set out how they will help small-and-medium sized businesses access the protection kit they need and take the steps to ensure workers can return with the confidence their workplaces are safe.

“Following the Prime Minister’s setting out of a strategy to emerge from lockdown and the publication of plans for safe working, it’s important in our evidence session on Thursday that we hear the voices of businesses, workers and consumers and that we work to ensure that the support is available for them to move forward and help the nation emerge from the lockdown.

“Our evidence hearing on Thursday also gives us an opportunity to gain an insight into some of the experiences and practices of other countries and their lifting of the lockdown, and whether we can learn from the measures they have employed to keep workers safe, protect livelihoods and businesses, and restore consumer confidence.”

On Thursday May 14th, two sets of experts spoke with the committee about the Governments support packages and international approaches to supporting businesses and workers as the Coronavirus lockdown is lifted.

Panel One

  • Sue Davies – Head of Consumer Protection and Food Policy, Which?
  • Paul Nowak, Deputy General Secretary, TUC
  • Tej Parikh, Chief Economist, Institute of Directors

Panel Two

  • Professor David Heymann, distinguished fellow, Chatham House;
  • Dr Adam Kucharski, associate professor, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine