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Additional Restrictions Grant Discretionary grant scheme – Applications are now closed: Funds for the Additional Restrictions Grant Discretionary grant scheme have been allocated and applications for the scheme are now closed.
UK NEWS UPDATES:
A £1.9bn scheme launched during the pandemic to help young people into work is helping far fewer than hoped, a committee of MPs warns. Early delivery of the Kickstart scheme was “chaotic”, according to the Public Accounts Committee. The government says the policy has helped 130,000 16-to-24-year-olds into work, although forecasts have been revised to suggest it will eventually have supported 168,000 people – rather than the intended 250,000.
Retailer to continue to pay staff to isolate, despite restrictions end
Cosmetics giant Lush has said it will continue to pay staff to self-isolate if they test positive for Covid following the lifting of restrictions in England. People who test positive for the virus are no longer legally required to isolate. Lush, which is headquartered in Poole in Dorset, said it was encouraging all its UK and Ireland staff in customer-facing roles to continue using lateral flow tests while they were available. It said it would also encourage retail staff who test positive to self isolate for 10 days, unless they have negative tests for two consecutive days from days five and six of isolation.
Pandemic property sales drive huge profits for online estate company
Rightmove has announced an operating profit of £226.1m, up 6 per cent on 2019 (2019: £213.7m) and up 67 per cent on 2020 (2020: £135.1m).
In addition, the property giant’s revenue is up £15.6m/5 per cent on 2019 reflecting the growth in both customer spending and ARPA, partially offset by a decline in New Homes revenues. Relative to 2020, revenues grew by 48 per cent, as similarly strong product usage and package upgrades combined with an absence of 2020’s Covid customer discounts to drive strong revenue growth.
As the housing market normalises, Rightmove expects the number of transactions to return to pre-pandemic levels.
On The Beach sees post-Covid recovery as restrictions ease
Consumer confidence is returning to the travel industry, Manchester-based online holidays group On The Beach said today. In a trading update ahead of its annual general meeting, it said, after 18 months of COVID-affected trading, On the Beach experienced green shoots of recovery at the start of the current financial year. Group sales for October 2021 exceeded the comparative month in 2019, carrying forward the positive momentum from September 2021, driven by the easing of international travel restrictions and the success of the group’s free COVID test promotion.
John Lewis to drop ‘Never Knowingly Undersold’ promise
John Lewis has said it is retiring its Never Knowingly Undersold pledge as it commits to a £500 million investment in “great value prices” over the year. The investment comes as the department store learns that customers have changed how they shop. The Never Knowingly Undersold pledge is set to be scrapped his summer.
John Lewis said Never Knowingly Undersold is no longer enough to assure trust because it applies to fewer sales as shopping moves increasingly online, and isn’t applicable to online-only retailers. The retailer is replacing it with a new approach. The £500 million investment into value is 25% higher than the amount it spent on keeping prices affordable last year.
REGIONAL & LOCAL NEWS:
Cheadle lender sees loan book grow to £4.4 billion
Cheadle headquartered specialist lender, Together, has seen its loan book grow to £4.4 billion, the firm has revealed in financial results for the quarter ending December 31st, 2021. The lender reported that its loan book had grown by 13.8% on figures from the previous year and were up 4.6% on the previous quarter. Average monthly loan originations reached just shy £200 million, with November and December’s figures exceeding pre-pandemic levels.
Stockport Council agrees 2022/23 budget
Stockport Council has set its 2022/23 Revenue Budget following approval at the Budget Council meeting held on Thursday 24 February. Included within the 2022/23 budget is a 3.5% increase to Council Tax, one percentage-point less than the 4.5% allowable by government, which will include a rise to the Adult Social Care Precept, and an additional increase to ensure the council can continue to fund frontline services. Rises to mayoral precepts that pay for policing and fire and rescue services across Greater Manchester are beyond the council’s control but will also be collected through Council Tax bills.
1500 jobs saved at North West retailer Studio
Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group has snapped up online retailer Studio out administration in a £26.8 million deal. The acquisition protects the jobs of more than 1500 staff. Studio collapsed into administration on Thursday and appointed Teneo to handle its collapse after a request for a short-term bank loan was rejected. Studio counted Frasers Group as its biggest shareholder, with a 28.9% stake. The administrators said the transaction was in the best interests of the company’s creditors.
SECTOR SPECIFIC CORONAVIRUS-RELATED NEWS:
Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)
Shops, branches, and close contact services – People who test positive for COVID-19, and contacts who are not fully vaccinated, are no longer legally required to self-isolate. People who test positive for COVID-19 should continue to stay at home and avoid contact with other people. Fully vaccinated contacts of people who test positive for COVID-19 are no longer advised to test for 7 days. Businesses are no longer recommended to display NHS QR posters or collect contact details from customers.
Hotels and guest accommodation – Guidance updated to remove remaining legal regulations.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): providing home care
Information for those providing personal care to people living in their own home during the coronavirus outbreak – updated to reflect new government guidance – changes to self-isolation regulations.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): admission and care of people in care homes
How to protect care home residents and staff during the coronavirus outbreak – updated to reflect changes to self-isolation regulations.
What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges during COVID-19
Information for parents and carers about attending schools, nurseries and colleges – updated the guidance to reflect new public health guidance on tracing close contacts, isolation and when someone has symptoms or a positive test.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for children’s social care services
Advice about coronavirus (COVID-19) for local authorities and their partners to help support and protect vulnerable children – updated the guidance to reflect new public health guidance on tracing close contacts, isolation and when someone has symptoms or a positive test.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for people receiving direct payments
Advice for people who buy care and support through a direct payment, as well as local authorities, clinical commissioning groups and those who provide care and support – updated ‘Using direct payments: guidance for people receiving direct payments and personal assistants following the announcement of the living with COVID-19 plan’ to reflect new government guidance on self isolation policy if you test positive for COVID-19.
Responsibility for exams
Updated sections on testing positive or showing symptoms of COVID-19 and isolation in ‘Public health guidance to support exams for 2021 to 2022’ to reflect new public health guidance from 24 February.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): assessment processes for selective school admissions
Guidance on entry testing for admission to state-funded selective schools during the COVID-19 pandemic – test venues should follow UKHSA guidance when someone develops symptoms or has a positive test and around when test venues can refuse to permit a child to sit a test.
HEALTH & WELLBEING:
Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance
Find guidance about coronavirus (COVID-19) for health and social care settings, other non-clinical settings, and for the general public – added COVID-19: people with COVID-19 and their contacts
Local authority COVID-19 financial impact monitoring information
Summary of data collected from local authorities on the financial impact of COVID-19 – added Local authority COVID-19 financial impact monitoring information round 18.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): taxis and PHVs
Actions that drivers, operators and owners of taxis or private hire vehicles (PHVs) can take to protect against coronavirus and reduce the risk of catching and spreading COVID-19.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer travel guidance for passengers
Steps passengers can take to reduce the risk of catching and spreading COVID-19 while travelling in England.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer transport guidance for operators and people who work in or from vehicles
Steps transport operators can take to reduce the risk of their employees and passengers catching and spreading COVID-19.
GOV & BBC UK daily coronavirus data:
There have been 18.7 million confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK and more than 161,000 people have died, government figures show. Over 52.5 million people have now received a first dose of the vaccine, 91% of people in the UK aged 12 and over. More than 48 million, 85% have had their second and more than 37 million, 66% have had a booster.
Total UK Cases: 18,773,164 positive tests
Latest UK daily figure: 38,933 new cases
Number in UK hospital: 11,043 (76 less than on previous day)
New deaths across UK: 125
Total UK deaths: 161,104
England Cases per 100,000: 421
R number in UK: 0.8-1.0
Total 1st doses given: 52,598,276 – 91% of UK aged 12+
Total 2nd doses: 85%
Daily 1st doses: 8,985
Daily 2nd doses: 17,951
Daily Booster doses: 29,782
The R value and growth rate
The latest reproduction number (R) and growth rate of coronavirus (COVID-19).
The R range for England is 0.8 to 1.0; the growth rate for England is -3% to +0% per day as of 11 February
Latest Stockport coronavirus data:
Total Stockport cases: 90,776 to 24 February
Cases in the latest week: 845 (252 less compared with previous week)
Total deaths: 852 to February 11th
Cases per 100,000: 287 per 100,000 (14 to 20 Feb)
Stockport vaccine data:
1st dose: 86% of over 12s to 16 February
2nd dose: 82%
3rd / booster dose: 66%
Exporting: Actions you need to take now: An overview of the actions you need to take now before you export goods from Great Britain to the EU and move goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Key processes include – staged border controls, zero-rated VAT, customs declaration, using an intermediary as well as licences, certificates, and authorisations. Please register to take part if you’re planning to export.
Trader responsibilities when using an intermediary: You now need to complete import or export declarations to trade goods with the EU. These are complex and a lot of businesses choose to use an intermediary to do these for them. This webinar explains your responsibilities as a trader if you choose to use an intermediary. Please register to take part if you’re planning to import or export.
What are customs import declarations?: If you import goods, you now need to make customs import declarations on controlled goods and all goods by the end of June. This webinar will help you understand what they are in more detail. This includes what is needed for simplified declarations, supplementary declarations, how to make them, and delayed import declarations. Please register to take part if you’re planning to import.
Importing: Staged controls and how to prepare to use them: This webinar will walk you through the three stages of the new border controls introduced on 1?? ?January?? ?2021, and what actions you need to take for each stage. Please register to take part if you’re planning to import.
Home workers can claim £26 tax relief for job expenses
If you’ve asked your employees to work from home, and you’ve not reimbursed them already, your employees may be entitled to claim tax relief on additional household expenses they’ve incurred, such as heating and lighting.
New hotline launched to report COVID fraudsters
A new hotline has been launched to stop fraudsters illegally targeting COVID stimulus schemes.
If you would like to register your interest in creating one or more Kickstart Job, please complete the Kickstart Employer Enquiry Form and a member of the Council’s Kickstart Team will contact you to explain more.
Visit the Stockport Council website to report details of any outbreaks online.
Opening times for Stockport Council Coronavirus Helpline
The helpline for vulnerable people across Stockport can now be accessed through new opening times by calling 0161 217 6046:
• Monday – Thursday from 9am to 5pm
• Friday from 9am to 4.30pm
• Saturdays from 10am to 1pm
At busy times, residents are automatically offered a call-back from one of our call handlers.
Acas have also contributed to the development of a new return to work toolkit in partnership with SOM, CIPD, BITC and Mind.
Business Support in Stockport – a centre pool of information to support business owners in Stockport:
Government – Guidance on Returning to Work safely
Stockport Council’s FREE job matching website helps support employers with vacancies and individuals across the Stockport borough who are looking for work. The service, Stockport Jobs Match, will help to connect employers who have urgent temporary or permanent vacancies with applicants who are immediately available and in need of employment. The website also helps signpost individuals to available support services and information. www.stockport-jobsmatch.co.uk
Stockport Council – Health & Mental Well-being https://www.stockport.gov.uk/showcase/coronavirus
Government – Financial Support
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – online claims portal open
Government – Business Support:
Government launches new coronavirus business support finder tool
Government – Business Support Hub:
Government – IT safety support:
Government Warnings Over Coronavirus Scams – Here’s How to Protect Yourself
Government – Financial Support:
HMRC has published guidance on how it will work out income and profits for the self-employed or those in a partnership who have lost profits due to coronavirus.
Government – Business Support: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19
Government – Financial Support: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-business-support-grant-funding
Government – Business Support:
Gov.uk: Maintaining Educational Provision: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision
Business Growth Hub:
Employment – Useful information for the Self-Employed:
News and Guidance for the self-employed:
Concerned how Coronavirus might impact you and your business?
Please get in touch with Enterprising You and you will be connected to someone who can help.
You can also access information and guidance including the latest Government updates via www.businessgrowthhub.com/coronavirus
Can you claim back Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay in the Rebate Scheme
From Tuesday 26 May 2020, small and medium-sized employers, with fewer than 250 employees, will be able to apply to recover the costs of paying coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments they have made to their employees.
Health – updates from NHS
Health – Dedicated helpline to support vulnerable residents in Stockport:
Support can be accessed by calling 0161 217 6046 Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm and Saturdays from 10am to 4pm.
Health – Dedicated health & wellbeing services:
24/7 mental health helpline & safe haven for anyone over the age of 18 in Stockport (0800 138 7276).
Health – An Emotional Wellbeing Hub which provides information, advice, and guidance for anyone up to the age of 25 for emotional wellbeing and mental health concerns. 0161 217 6028 – 8.30am-5pm Mon – Thurs 8.30am-4.30pm on Friday.
Community – Guidance for businesses seeking to help voluntary, community, and social enterprise organisations during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
How businesses can offer services, funds and volunteers to civil society during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Find out more information here.