Intelligence Bulletin - 28 September, 2020
- Cornwall has seen another rise in Covid-19 cases. More than 120 people tested positive from 21 to 27 September, raising the total number of cases in Cornwall above 1300 and the infection rate per 100,000 to around 230, with local outbreaks recorded in a number of locations, such as the Isles of Scilly, Exeter University, HMS Raleigh and a meat processing plant in Pool. The South West, however, still has the lowest infection rate per 100,000 population of all regions in England.
- The leader of Cornwall Council, Julian German, has criticised the government’s Track & Trace system. At the council meeting last Tuesday, the council leader said that after listening to the experiences of members of the public it was "clear from the sheer volume of responses that the system isn’t working, and I’m deeply concerned that people of Cornwall are suffering as a result". He added: “If we are to beat this virus, we need a testing system that is fit for purpose. I worry that at this present moment we don’t have one.”
- The RNLI has extended their lifeguard cover of major beaches in Cornwall by a month. A RNLI spokesperson said this year had been one of the busiest summers the region had ever seen, an effect of lockdown and restrictions on travel abroad.
- Four cities in Cornwall will benefit from the government’s Towns Fund. The funding, ranging from £500,000 up to £1m, will be used to kick start regeneration projects such as new green spaces, pop-up business spaces, or pedestrianizing streets. Among the Cornish cities being supported are Camborne, Penzance, St Ives and Truro.
- Prior to the recent changes in government’s guidance on working from home, the return to workplaces in Cornwall had been increasing slowly. Analysis of Google Mobility Data (undertaken by the Intelligence Network) shows how the number of people visiting workplaces had been rising but remained below pre-lockdown levels. As people are now again urged to work from home wherever possible, this upward trend is likely to be reverted, having likely knock-on effects for city centres.
- Cornwall’s millionaire property market seems to have benefited from the pandemic. Rightmove data indicates that the market for properties worth £1 million or more has seen an annual increase of 165%, making Cornwall the county with the third biggest rise in sales of properties with an asking price of £1 million or more, after Norfolk and Wiltshire. Industry experts say that lockdown has made £1million-plus buyers re-assess their work-life balance which in turn has led to an uptake in ‘lifestyle relocations’.
- For the first time in over decade, Cornwall is experiencing a negative net migration rate. New analysis of local area migration, based on the Long-Term International Migration data published by the Office for National Statistics, shows that between mid-2018 and mid-2019 more people were leaving Cornwall to take up residence in another country than the other way around. It is estimated that in 2019 only 2% of the people living in Cornwall were non-British. Local area migration plays an important role for employment, skills, and the provision of local services.
- The government has announced further national measures to address rising cases of coronavirus in England. The new rules see bars and restaurants close at 10pm, wedding ceremonies limited to 15 people, and office workers urged to work from home where possible. The new rules are expected to remain in place until March next year.
- Meanwhile, Coronavirus cases in England have risen by 60% over the past week, bringing the R-value to 1.2-1.5. On Friday, the daily number of positive cases in the UK rose to a new high of 6,874.
- According to a recent YouGov poll, the majority of people support the new lockdown measures announced by the Prime Minister last week. The main criticism of the package, however, is that it does not go far enough. 78% are in favour of the new measures, while those who oppose the latest raft of measures represent just 17% of the population. It is slightly higher among some groups, most notably the young, but it is a minority among all demographic groups.
- Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a replacement for the furlough scheme which will come to an end at the end of October. The new job support scheme is scheduled to begin on 1 November and is due to last six months. To be eligible for the scheme, employees must work at least a third of their normal hours. They will be paid two-thirds of their pay for the remaining hours. The government pays a third of the hours not worked, while the employers pay the other third.
- More people in Britain were returning to work prior to the change in government guidance on working from home. Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that over 6 in 10 (64%) working adults travelled to work, either exclusively or in combination with working from home. Only 6% said they were going to work all hours from home. With home working now being encouraged again, this trend is likely to change.
- Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced that renters affected by coronavirus will continue to be protected from evictions for another 4 weeks. The government also requires landlords to provide tenants with 6 months’ notice, unless they are dealing with serious cases of antisocial behaviour or domestic abuse. The homeless charity Shelter had previously warned more than 300,000 private renters had fallen into arrears since the pandemic started and were at risk of being evicted.