Could social distance be reduced to one metre? Reaction to Rishi Sunak's press briefing

29 May 2020, 18:29 | Updated: 15 June 2020, 15:26

By Seán Hickey

After this afternoon's press briefing, some interesting questions of how businesses may operate as lockdown is eased were raised.

Eddie Mair was joined by LBC's Westminster correspondent Ben Kentish straight after the government's coronavirus press briefing to discuss the news that the government will begin to taper off furlough payments from August.

Ben pointed out the comment of some of the journalists after the announcements, including the point made that "we're not at level three yet they are relaxing restrictions" which some journalists flagged but there was not any comment from the Chancellor.

The most notable suggestion of the press conference was when Rishi Sunak "left open the possibility that the two meter rule will be looked at at some stage." Ben went on to tell Eddie that he "seemed to simply echo what the Prime Minister said" about the matter, as many businesses rely on the two metre rule being revised.

"We know the government has asked its science advisers to look into this" Ben stated, as it has been known that the SAGE committee has come up with evidence that it may be safe for a one metre distance may be effective in an easing of lockdown.

Rishi Sunak announced plans to continue the furlough scheme until October
Rishi Sunak announced plans to continue the furlough scheme until October. Picture: PA

Eddie was told that this "will come as a huge boost to those businesses that say unless that rule is changed it will be very difficult to go back to business."

Ben began the conversation by telling Eddie that there was "good news for self-employed people that the scheme for them will be extended" with a "second three month payment in August for average profits up to £6,700."

He went on by adding that "furlough payments will be tapered off from July" with the government contribution reducing to 70% in August and 60% in September.

"How this will be payed for" is still unknown Ben stated, telling Eddie that the Chancellor stopped short of explaining that. "Rishi Sunak said this would be announced in due course" leaving time for the new furlough rules to sink in first.

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