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  • 12 weeks to turn the tide was Boris Johnson's message of today's Downing Street press conference.

  • But he said that device would only be sent packing in his words, if the public followed medical advice on social distancing.

  • Despite images showing that was not happening on some busy two trains and streets in London, there were no extra restrictions on travel or gatherings for the capital.

  • You promised.

  • Business is desperate for help in paying their workers that they would have more information tomorrow and appeal to them to stand by their employees.

  • The Bank of England took its own action, cutting interest rates to a record low 0.1%.

  • Our political editor, Gary Gibbons, isn't Westminster Gary, as you say, we've got some pretty big moments today.

  • The Bank of England decision extraordinary stuff.

  • We got 350 pages worth of emergency legislation, which gives extraordinary powers to the government to detain people with symptoms of covert 19 for up to six weeks to ban events toe compel different organizations within the food chain to behave in certain ways.

  • We got all of that, but in some ways, what people were focusing on was what we didn't get there was an expectation that maybe we'd find out what you might call the sort of reserve occupations where the people who'd be entitled to a place in especially kept open schools for their Children.

  • We didn't get what was much hope for, not least by quite a lot of Tory MPs, but also people in business and employees, which was what's gonna happen to try and keep people in their jobs when employers feel they have no option but to shed them.

  • Right now, that news is promised tomorrow.

  • And we didn't get what was also expected.

  • Maybe some sort of ratcheting up of how life is lived in London, which is, you see from those images and images in this report that doesn't look as though it has actually dramatically changed.

  • And then we had a press conference with Boris Johnson, the regular daily one now in which this a man who in some ways has a duty now to create a bit of anxiety in the population because that's the way to get people to change their behavior slightly reverted to the Mr Feel good politician.

  • He described himself as someone who believes in boosterism who likes to put out an optimistic message, and there will be a question in some people's minds as to whether that was quite the right message for this moment.

  • It might change tomorrow, but this is how this extraordinary day in the all engulfing crisis went south London lunchtime today.

  • Business pretty much as usual exactly what the government didn't want.

  • The prime minister today emphasized how the country might get through this if people obey the instructions to keep their distance from each other and change their habits, he said he would use tougher powers if necessary, but the time was not yet.

  • It's vital that people follow that advice and huge evidence that they are in the takings in the retail sector, the hospitality sector TfL inner London, down about 80% in outer London, down about 60%.

  • But some evidence that in some parts of the capital, it's it's very patchy and some some areas where people aren't perhaps following it in quite the way that we need them to do.

  • Although some at the top of the N hs despair of scenes like these on the London Tube network this morning ripe environment for transmission of the disease.

  • The prime minister, after two days of extraordinary announcements on economic policy and closing schools, seem to feel this was the moment for a more upbeat message.

  • I believe that a combination off, uh, the measures that we're asking the public to take on dhe better testing scientific progress will enable us to get on top of it within the next 12 weeks and turn the tide that I I don't want to sign them.

  • I'm often accused of being unnecessarily boosterish about things on.

  • I certainly don't want to strike that Notre today, but I genuinely think that we buy the combination of these two things.

  • We will turn the tide and we will get through it.

  • The government did unveil a bill giving it extraordinary.

  • Emergency powers, including the powder, detain those with symptoms of the virus for up to six weeks and other powers to ban events, compel food distribution and much more.

  • The Bank of England hit the emergency button for the second time in eight days, another interest rate cut toe 80.1% away for above zero, the lowest rate since the bank was founded in 16 94.

  • It also announced it would buy £200 billion of government debt.

  • The prime minister urged businesses not to lay off their workforces, knowing many are on the brink of doing just that.

  • My message toe Cos.

  • Is is really think very carefully before you start laying off your stuff, we do want to stand behind Good Cos we do want to make sure that people recognize that if they stand behind their staff, they should stand by in there.

  • Stop because we in the government are going to stand behind British firms.

  • In the common story, MP is lined up to demand the government go much further immediately, some calling on the government to pay troubled employers and a chunk of their workers salaries to keep them on the books.

  • On Tuesday, the chancellor promised that they would be employment support.

  • But as each day goes by, businesses are making decisions that will be irreversible.

  • If the government does not act immediately, large numbers of people would be unemployed.

  • Following yesterday's announcement of school closures is no official word yet about what will happen about exams do to be sat in England and Wales in May and June.

  • They will probably follow Scotland's announcement.

  • Their exams will be cancelled on pupils assessed on past performance.

  • Anticipate that this mortal will use coursework, teacher assessments of estimated grades and prior attainment as the basis of certification.

  • In order for such an approach to be effective, the Scottish Qualifications Authority will require relevant units to be completed on course working teacher estimates of grades to be submitted by the agreed deadlines, or indeed sooner where that is possible.

  • The queen, following government advice to the over seventies to avoid non essential contact, left Buckingham Palace for Windsor.

  • Staffing numbers have been reduced.

  • In a statement, she said.

  • Many of us will need to find new ways of staying in touch with each other and making sure that loved ones are safe.

  • I'm certain we're up to that challenge.

  • You can be assured that my family and I stand ready to play our part.

  • Testy year.

  • Michelle Barnier, you Brexit negotiator, announced he had covert 19 virus has infected or distracted some Brexit officials on both sides of the channel.

  • It's not known when they will be able to meet again like this for if the end of the year talks deadline will have to be extended.

  • Those working in the N HS will be hoping that the prime minister's optimistic turning the tide message reinforces rather than weakens, the stay home and social distancing message is vital to limiting the covert 19 death toll Gary Given.

  • Now the Bank of England has cut interest rates to their lowest ever and is pumping more money into the economy to try to stop the panic on the financial markets.

  • But will that be enough to save businesses?

  • Our chief correspondent, Alex Thompson, has been speaking to retails about how they are handling the impact of the virus on their businesses.

  • This morning, just as business leaders were calling for an immediate emergency postponement of tax and national insurance payments, Hacker San's north London publishing business was coming to terms with losing 90% of its income in just the past week.

  • Glossy brochures are gone and virus information flies don't fill the void we print for a lot of hotels at West End with schools, and we print for corporate clients as soon as the prime minister's announcement came out last week.

  • In regards to avoiding bars, fine start nearby on the seven Sisters Road.

  • Walk into any non food retailer and you'll get the same UK story.

  • 12 o'clock is local and customer isn't anyone 30 Didn't see the customer on Should be.

  • It is like that.

  • We close it.

  • Mohammed's family business has been here almost a decade.

  • Nobody saw anything, anything like this coming.

  • 80% smart gone, 80% sales are going down.

  • I don't know what happened, so how is a return?

  • You cope without 80% of your customers gone?

  • It's very difficult.

  • We can't say anything.

  • Let's see.

  • It's gonna be close.

  • Appearances can, of course, be deceptive.

  • But I suspect what is happening here today on the Seven Sisters Road in north London is happening on High Street right across the UK.

  • On the face of it, things are busy.

  • There are a lot of people about, but they're pretty much all doing one thing going to the food shops.

  • They line up outside supermarkets, limiting numbers inside because of the panic buying ominously, market traders told us wholesale shortages are happening and price hikes on fruit and veg.

  • As a result, we're asking something that you don't Michel for £2 tow 3 50 that have got the money but finding the money because older pressure's kind on the panic and all around mixed messages on public health for the public shelters Charity shop is open next door.

  • The British Heart Foundation charity shop closed on public health grounds.

  • Alex Thompson reporting what we ask the government for an interview.

  • But unfortunately, no ministers were available.

  • But joining me now from Westminster is the conservative MP and former business secretary Greg Clarke.

  • Record.

  • Thanks for coming on the program.

  • The prime minister trying to sound upbeat and optimistic today, and he said that businesses I have to stand by their employees.

  • But how can businesses do that if banks don't stand by the businesses?

  • Well, it's a very serious situation for businesses, as your report showed.

  • If they're losing 80% of their sales and in some cases Maur, they have a really decision to make which they're making now as to whether to to get rid of their employees.

  • Thes are people who will need when we recover from this crisis.

  • It's no fault of theirs that the crisis has happened on my view is that the government, not the bank's not just the banks, but the government needs to act to make sure that we hang on to the to the businesses and the employees within them.

  • How did they do that?

  • Well, it's It's necessary for the absence of revenues for people to have money to pay their employees, and the government should provide that, and it needs to provide it.

  • Now.

  • Now is the getting towards the end of the month when the payroll happens now is when people are being lost.

  • They will have to go on Social Security, and that will be terrible for them and on and be a big burden in administrative terms to be processed by far the simplest way to proceed, in my view, is to use the tax system that every employer has.

  • They have pays you weren't they?

  • They take money in taxes from their employees and send it to the government.

  • In these weeks, they should reverse the flow on dhe.

  • They should have support from the government going in the reverse direction to employees, pay packets on the condition that those people continue to be employed.

  • Many businesses, small and medium sized, indeed large on his own, rely on loans from banks to keep going to keep paying their employees.

  • The government has said it wants the banks to, you know, to keep the taps open, but it's not in telling them to do so.

  • So what should the government do to force the banks to do what they're supposed to be doing in the well, The bank should be under a requirement, too, to continue to toe lend and to extend overdraft on lending facilities.

  • That is something that they need collectively to agree.

  • But that, in my view, is not sufficient wth e lending scheme that was proposed earlier in the week.

  • I know from talking to businesses in my constituency on beyond is not gonna keep people employed because business owners and managers of businesses will ask themselves the question.

  • If I take out a alone, then that is gonna have to be repaid.

  • How come I know that that's going to be gonna be able to repair it since this crisis is open ended?

  • How can I How can I do that?

  • And in fact, the if I keep on my stuff, the loan that I'll have to take out is bigger than if I let them go on.

  • So the incentives are completely in the wrong direction, which is why it is a matter of urgency for the government to two step in.

  • This is a once in 100 year crisis it requires, once in 100 year response indeed.

  • I mean, can you as a former business secretary, envisage what the business landscape will look like once this is all over when this is all over?

  • Yes, it's This is a crisis that has that has come about suddenly it's going to take some time to resolve.

  • But unlike other types of economic crises and financial crises, the fundamentals off these businesses that are now under pressure I'm gonna have to close.

  • We're gonna have to let people go.

  • There's no question that they won't be needed, let alone viable.

  • So what we need to do tow have is a bridge, too, to resume a prosperous future on that that has to be provided collectively.

  • This isn't a sometimes in previous financial crises, governments of and acted as a as a lender of last resort.

  • The nature of this crisis it's more like something that an insurer Woods provides cover against.

  • Now it's not possible to do it for the event by the insurance companies.

  • But the state should be an insurer of last resort and allow the equivalent of business continuity insurance to kick in so that these viable businesses are not needlessly lost.

  • Lost forever lost permanently.

  • 11 more great, Clark.

  • I mean, the priority at the moment is safety trying to flatten that curve, making sure that you know a CZ few people as possible.

  • Get the infection, etcetera, etcetera.

  • Do you think it's right for the government still not to call for a comprehensive shut down or call it locked down off the capital city?

  • Especially?

  • Most of the most important thing is that the decisions that the government takes are informed by the evidence of experts on dhe I have seen, and we've all seen that you have every press conference the prime minister gives.

  • He is flanked by the chief medical officer on the government chief scientific adviser, both of whom drawn the best possible advice.

  • And so as long as that advice is being followed, that's the best that we can do and everything that I've seen that tells me that that advice is being followed thes men that appear with him.

  • Substantial figures of authority on dhe a k R.

  • Advice.

  • We're not being followed by the prime minister.

  • I'm certain that they would draw it to the country's attention.

  • Okay, Greg Cox, thank you very much need for joining us.

  • Thank you.

  • For some Children, it's a cause for celebration.

  • But for those ready to sickly CFC's and A level exams, the plan to close all schools from tomorrow spells uncertainty and turmoil, and HS workers and other key employees will be allowed to send their Children to school.

  • But it's not yet known how long schools remain closed.

  • As I shuttle, how's this report?

  • Preparing lessons and getting ready for a day ahead?

  • All that's missing kids, even though school's officially closed from tomorrow.

  • There are fewer kids here today, and these year 11 is still reeling from the news.

  • I feel like this amuse you right now like I never fought This would ever happen in this lifetime, and obviously this is supposed to be like our main go to parcel Jesuses.

  • And now it's all gone down to waste five years, basically for nothing at the moment.

  • Honestly, no, I'm kind of stuck mine bamboozled.

  • I don't know what to do like my whole goal was the folks and Jesus sees past them going six former college folks and a levels well, some people quite relieved because they like school, give the address.

  • But on the downside, being up, who's quite stressful concept city in more independent learning them before a big concern from kids here on across the country is what will happen now.

  • The exams are canceled.

  • How will they know their true great?

  • I did try my best at the time, but my monitored per meter learn my mistakes and not repeat them to do better.

  • My final exam Seven Children came to breakfast Club here this morning when they were usually 30.

  • They also have empty classrooms in the normal course of the day, this would be buzzing with Children working hard in their classrooms.

  • And so it's very, very strange to think that this could be the last today and tomorrow could be the last days for the remainder of this school year.

  • Just a couple of miles away in Enfield, this school for special educational needs say they can't even think of closing their doors.

  • We are school that pupils have social emotional, mental health.

  • They have an educational health care plan, so that means they're the most vulnerable s.

  • Oh, yes, we're clear that way.

  • Have to stay open.

  • But also, I've got to be sure that myself are safe.

  • They're worried they're coming, you know, Coming to me, Miss.

  • You know I'm really worried this morning.

  • I don't know what to do.

  • What are we doing there?

  • Looking to me for answers.

  • One big knock on effect for schools being shut is how the Children who get free school meals get fed.

  • You talked me through exactly what is here.

  • Ok, so we're going to be giving that some pockets of a long life milk.

  • I state my style found out about quarter to nine this morning.

  • It took about 2 2.5 hours for them.

  • Thio just get together.

  • You know some supplies on dhe.

  • They said to me Miss Perfect 11 shops on.

  • We have to queue in every single shop the government giving vouchers to use at supermarkets, which they say is more than what they pay for free school meals.

  • For the youngest in our society there's even more uncertainty.

  • Nursery say they'll struggle to stay open a cz most parents staying away.

  • But for kids thinking this is the start of a very long holiday, teachers want them to know it's not.

  • And there's a lot of homework on the way.

  • Joining me now is Isabel, right?

  • In an a level student who's had her.

  • Finally, your exam's cancelled after the announcement from the government.

  • Thanks for coming on the program.

  • Isabel.

  • I see you're not doing your homework at the moment because I guess you've got a leisure time.

  • What, you got it, or were you relieved when you heard the news?

  • I was absolutely gutted.

  • I've spent three years doing my A levels cause I repeated a year on dive.

  • Put so much time on so much planning into that.

  • So what you gonna do now?

  • I say, no.

  • It's really hard to have something that you've been focusing on for so long taken away from you and to just not have any answers to be completely left in the dark.

  • Um, I hope I'm gonna keep working because whatever happens, I'm sure having good pieces of work will help me.

  • But I have no idea what's gonna happen on.

  • Did you feel very lost in all I can imagine?

  • Absolutely.

  • And because this is what you've been working for for so many years, has the school given you any indication of how they might assess your performance so far?

  • What kind of grade you might get an hour?

  • No, Because of Boris's statement being so vague and wishy washy on, we don't know.

  • We've been given the different ways it could happen so we could get it to assessment, are predicted grades or maybe sit the exams in August or September even.

  • But we have no idea what will actually happen.

  • What do you think would be the fair way of assessing your grade?

  • I think it's really hard, because students, you know students have their different moments.

  • Some students work hard all throughout the year.

  • Other students step up at the last moment.

  • I think the exam's going ahead would be the most ideal thing, whether that be August or September when it is you.

  • You prefer to do that to basically spend the next few months, including the summer working and then taking exams at the beginning of the next academic year.

  • Yeah, I went because of predicted grade.