Before Brexit and the Coronavirus pandemic brought disruption to many of our key business sectors, Guildford Borough Council was already looking to the future with a new approach to economic growth built on innovation. We published our first Innovation Strategy in 2019, with an action plan based on four key principles through which the Council will support:
- Invention, production and development of new goods and/or services
- Improvements to an existing product or service
- Lateral thinking in decision-making to solve an established problem or challenge
- Positive and proactive attitudes to external challenges, including assessment of potential risk and readiness to embrace change
Since the UK left the EU, progress in negotiating a new trade deal was slow and key sticking points (e.g. fishing rights, State Aid) remained throughout the summer. In the absence of a trade deal possible contingency measures to safeguard areas like medicine safety could be introduced.
Although the first non-EU trade agreement was signed with Japan in early September, the failure to reach agreement with EU partners raised fears of queues of up to 7,000 lorries from 1 January 2021 on roads around the port of Dover and Channel Tunnel. That could lead to introduction of a new permit system designed to prevent lorries from entering Kent and attempting to ferry goods to the EU if they do not have the right paperwork.
This underlines the importance of UK business exporters being fully prepared for the consequences of a no-deal Brexit - many are not. For up-to-date information on the latest Brexit developments as they affect Surrey businesses please visit the Surrey Chambers of Commerce Export Surrey website: https://www.surrey-chambers.co.uk/export-surrey/. The latest general information published by Government can be found at www.gov.uk/transition.
As the post-lockdown summer holiday period drew to a close and schools reopened it was already clear that Covid-19 infections were on the increase, with hospital admissions of Covid patients at a higher level by mid-October than at the start of lockdown in March.
Following the November national lockdown and the re-introduction of tougher regional tier restrictions the most up-to-date and easily accessible information can be downloaded using the NHS COVID-19 App. Features include Venue check-in, Check symptoms and Read latest advice. This last feature leads directly to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) information at the Government website www.gov.uk, which has helpful features relevant to the tier in which Guildford is located (Tier 2 at time of writing) as well as guidance about making family Christmas arrangements.
By law, you must self-isolate if asked to by NHS Test and Trace. If self-isolation is currently stopping you from working during this period, you may be able to claim a £500 support payment.
Claim a Test and Trace Support Payment You will need to provide Test and Trace ID number, a copy of your latest bank statement and proof of employment or self-employment. Please note that the Test and Trace Support closes on 31 January 2021.