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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
Covid: Farewell Downing St briefings (for now, at least)
“Next slide please…” It became an everyday phrase. The official experts – Sir Chris Whitty, the UK government chief medical adviser, and Sir Patrick Vallance, chief scientific adviser – became household names because of the Downing Street media briefings. Deducing their thought processes was vital to an understanding of the evolution of Covid. What did we learn?
By 12 March 2020 some European countries were beginning to lock down, but the view in Downing Street was that this was not necessary.
This is how the coronavirus pandemic unfolded in England
High Street retailers announce price of Covid test from April 1st as free tests end
A Covid test price war is underway on the high street as retailers rush to add lateral flow kits to their inventory ahead of free government testing ending on 1 April.
With Covid tests in high demand – nearly five million tests were reported in the weeks to 24 February, according to official government data, with many more going unreported – it is unsurprising why retailers want to be the place shoppers go to buy their Covid tests. Boots was first to enter the market A single test costs £5.99 online, or £17 for a pack of four, while tests in stores will be available from early March, priced at £2.50 for a single test and £12 for a pack of five. Rival Superdrug was quick to undercut Boots and will sell a single lateral flow tests for £1.99 and a pack of five for £9.79.
Retail Week: Which pandemic trends will outlast Covid?
Consumer habits changed drastically over the pandemic. Nights out on the town were transformed into prime time for takeaways and shopping trips were limited to the aisles of the local supermarket, while exercise moved to the privacy of the living room or garden. Those lockdown days may now permanently fade into memory as prime minister Boris Johnson has set a date for scrapping all remaining restrictions – including the self-isolation requirement – as the war on Covid begins to wind down.
REGIONAL & LOCAL NEWS:
Lloyds: North West firms remain confident expecting to increase staff numbers
Business confidence in the North West remained unchanged in February at 44%, according to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking. Companies in the North-West reported lower confidence in their own business prospects month-on-month, down three points to 44%. When taken alongside their optimism in the economy, up two points to 44%, this gives a headline confidence reading of 44%. The Business Barometer, which questions 1,200 businesses monthly, provides early signals about UK economic trends both regionally and nationwide. This month’s survey captured responses between 1st and 15th February before the removal of various COVID restrictions across the UK’s nations.
£9m backing for Northern start-ups
NorthInvest facilitated a total of £9m in funding for start-ups across the Northern Powerhouse in 2021, in a record year for supporting female entrepreneurs.
The investment facilitator and angel network operate across the North of England and supported more than 200 start-ups in 2021, providing more than 212 free coaching and investor readiness sessions.
Orbit exceeds pre-pandemic levels for office leases
Commercial property landlord Orbit Developments has exceeded pre-pandemic levels of office leasing, reporting a “very strong” end to 2021, Insider can reveal.
The leasing giant said customers, including large organisations and corporates, were “actively” looking to return to their office space. It saw the number of lettings virtually halve in the height of the pandemic during 2020/21 but has since seen a remarkable recovery. Figures show office take-up for South Manchester in January to December 2019 was 208,303 sq ft, significantly more than the pandemic year of 2020 when it dropped to 123,340 sq ft. However, in 2021 lettings were back with 245,195 sq ft of office take up across the area.
SECTOR SPECIFIC CORONAVIRUS-RELATED NEWS:
Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for anyone working in adult social care who is not part of regular testing at work
How anyone working in adult social care in England who is not part of a regular testing regime at work can access daily COVID-19 testing – updated to reflect changes to rules around self-isolation.
Finding and choosing a private coronavirus (COVID-19) test provider
Lists of and information about private test providers, to help you get the private COVID-19 tests you need – updated the general list of providers.
COVID-19: guidance for the safe use of places of worship
Guidance for people attending a place of worship and those who are responsible for these venues – updated in line with the removal of self-isolation regulations on 24 February 2022.
Testing for coronavirus (COVID-19) before hospital
Sets out how and when to use a PCR home test kit to test for COVID-19 before a hospital procedure – updated age group information under ‘details’ section and added ‘How to test a child for COVID-19 (PCR Home Test)’ video.
Ofqual: rolling update
Information on qualifications which have been disrupted by coronavirus (COVID-19) – taking out information regarding the autumn series results days for GCSEs and A levels, which have now passed.
COVID-19 Schools Infection Survey, England: mental health and long COVID, November to December 2021
Analysis of COVID-19 findings on mental health and long covid from the Schools Infection Survey’s headteacher, parent and pupil questionnaires. The Schools Infection Survey is jointly led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK Health Security Agency and the Office for National Statistics.
HEALTH & WELLBEING:
COVID-19 variants: genomically confirmed case numbers
Genomically confirmed case numbers for SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and variants under investigation.
Deaths involving COVID-19 in the care sector, England and Wales: deaths registered between week ending 9 April 2021 and week ending 11 February 2022
Provisional figures on deaths involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) within the care sector, in England and Wales.
COVID-19 antibody and antiviral treatments
Collection of documents relating to COVID-19 treatments.
COVID-19: guidance on protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable
Information for protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable from coronavirus (COVID-19) – guidance updated and alternative formats, including translations, easy read, large print and BSL versions, temporarily removed.
Covid-19 – an excuse to bring in anti-buy-to-let rules?
Daryl McIntosh, policy manager at Propertymark, comments: “Yet again we see the exceptional circumstances brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic used to engineer a change to legislation that is neither based on robust evidence nor supported by the sector. “Whilst ensuring there is adequate security of tenure for tenants, there also has to be balance with appropriate and comprehensive methods for landlords to recover their property to ensure they are not deterred from investing in the private rented sector, not exemptions hastily introduced as an afterthought.
“The Private Tenancies Bill has the potential to improve much needed housing safety and standards but sustaining supply must also be an objective and the notice to quit arrangements have the real potential to constrain it if they are not reconsidered.”
Coronavirus (COVID-19): cruise ship travel
From 9am Monday 28 February, you can fill in your passenger locator form up to 3 days before boarding a cruise.
Travel to England from another country during coronavirus (COVID-19)
Check what COVID-19 tests you need to take and the self-isolation rules for travel to England – from 9am Monday 28 February, you can fill in the UK passenger locator form up to 3 days before you arrive in England.
Check if you qualify as fully vaccinated for travel to England: approved vaccines and proofs of vaccination
Approved vaccines and list of countries and territories with approved COVID-19 proof of vaccination for travel to England – updated list of countries / territories where EU Digital COVID Certificate equivalents are the only eligible proof of vaccination, and countries / territories where it is possible to upload vaccine certificates via the UK passenger locator form.
GOV & BBC UK daily coronavirus data:
There have been 18.8 million confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK and more than 161,000 people have died, government figures show. Over 52.6 million people have now received a first dose of the vaccine, 92% 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: 18,804,765 positive tests
Latest UK daily figure: 31,933 new cases
Number in UK hospital: 10,767 (316 less than on previous day)
New deaths across UK: 120
Total UK deaths: 161,224
England Cases per 100,000: 401
R number in UK: 0.7-1.0
Total 1st doses given: 52,606,239 – 92% of UK aged 12+
Total 2nd doses: 85%
Daily 1st doses: 7,963
Daily 2nd doses: 15,838
Daily Booster doses: 26,176
The R value and growth rate
The R range for England is 0.7 to 1.0 as of 25 February
Latest Stockport coronavirus data:
Total Stockport cases: 90,874 to 25 February
Cases in the latest week: 853 (153 less compared with previous week)
Total deaths: 852 to February 11th
Cases per 100,000: 290 per 100,000 (15 to 21 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.