The national conversation is focused on how we can transition from lockdown to an incremental easing of restrictions for business and society. The government appears to be following the rationale that we are at least three weeks behind other European countries that have started this unlocking process. Which means that we are likely to see some changes towards the end of May.

It is important that MRS continues to champion the particular needs of this sector, especially SMEs and agencies that deploy face-to-face (F2F) interviewers. We also need to look ahead to prepare the entire sector for this transition and make sure that when easing arrives the appropriate guidance and support is available. Social distancing rules will remain indefinitely and MRS is reviewing its interviewing guidelines to factor this in.

We are keen that F2F is allowed to resume operating as soon as it is deemed safe to do so. Together with government we must develop a safe and effective way to operate our businesses in these restricted circumstances.  

Last week we sent a joint letter along with 17 other associations to the Chancellor asking for more far-reaching government support for SMEs and the self-employed. We have also added new FAQs relating to the Bounce Back Loan Scheme and how it differs from other loans in that the government will guarantee 100% of the loan, and there will not be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months.  

Government is moving in the right direction in supporting the types of business that operate in the research sector but there is more than can be done. Time is of the essence, and we’re doing whatever we can to keep up the pace.

Just a reminder that furloughed staff can still train, so it is a great time to learn new skills or just improve old ones. Accredited Company Partners' staff who are not members can join the Access scheme for free, which will allow  them to access MRS content and some discounted training whilst they are furloughed. MRS training and development staff and external trainers have done a magnificent job re-engineering their programmes into this suite of virtual courses.

There are two further resources I'd like to draw your attention to:

As ever, please contact me if you think there is something else that MRS should be doing in terms of support, guidance and lobbying.

I hope that you and your families stay in good health.

Regards,

Jane 

Coronavirus: help and support

Find FAQs, research guidance and links to third party advice on business resilience.

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