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Influenza: Business

Volume 496: debated on Thursday 16 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health which public bodies are responsible for (a) informing and (b) assisting businesses in planning and handling of an influenza pandemic. (286676)

Government Departments are responsible for ensuring that their sponsored sectors are aware of the challenges posed by pandemic influenza. They do this through regular exchanges with, for example, representative bodies and the dissemination of relevant information to assist with planning. As part of this two-way process, they also identify emerging policy issues that need to be addressed.

Under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, local authorities are required to provide advice and assistance to businesses within their area on business continuity planning. In addition, many operators of critical national infrastructure are designated as category 2 responders under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, and are therefore closely engaged in resilience planning at various levels within the United Kingdom.

In response to the swine flu outbreak, the Government have established a Business Advisory Network for Flu to help co-ordinate advice to employers. Additional guidance and information is available through the Business Link website.