Policy and Intelligence Newsletter - 1 July 2021
Welcome to the new format Policy and Intelligence Newsletter, which will explore a different theme each month, giving you data insights, policy analysis and signposts for further reading. There will also be regular sections providing a news roundup and Parliamentary stories of interest. This month’s deep dive looks back at Cornwall’s successful hosting of the G7 summit and considers the event’s lasting legacy.
- As of 28 June a total of 16,596 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have tested positive for Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic. A total of 467 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have died within 28 days of a positive test for Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic (this figure has been revised downwards on the Government’s Covid-19 dashboard since the previous newsletter).
- The Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine has been approved for use in the UK, the first single-dose vaccine to gain approval.
- Research conducted by PHE and the University of Cambridge has found that the UK’s Covid-19 vaccination programme has prevented between 6.4 and 7.9 million infections and 26,000 and 28,000 deaths in England alone.
- The REACT-2 study by Imperial College has found that around two million people in the UK are likely to have experienced Long Covid lasting at least 12 weeks – a third of those infected with the virus. Fatigue, shortness of breath and muscle ache were the most common symptoms.
- The UK medicines regulatory authority, the MHRA, has concluded that the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is safe to give to children aged 12-15. The Joint Committee on Vaccine and Immunisation will now consider whether older children should be vaccinated as part of the vaccine rollout.
- Last week was Armed Forces Week and Cornwall Council, as part of its commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant, helped to mark the occasion. Chairman of the Council, Cllr Pauline Giles, led a flag raising ceremony at County Hall joined by Armed Forces Lead Member, Cllr Louis Gardner and armed forces colleagues from RNAS Culdrose, RAF St Mawgan, 165 Port and Maritime Regiment and the Royal British Legion. A range of social media posts also helped to promote Armed Forces Day and encourage communities to join with the Council in showing support and gratitude to Cornwall’s armed forces and their families.
- Analysis of the Government’s new planning targets suggests that 11,000 homes will need to be built on rural land in Cornwall in the next five years.
- A report by the Empty Homes Network has identified that 44.8% of housing stock in Cornwall is constituted of second homes, the highest volume of any area in England.
- The deepest pool in the world for sea and space research could be built in Cornwall, after plans for the £150 million “Blue Abyss” project were announced.
View from Westminster
The new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid MP, has announced that 19 July is still the Government’s target date for ending Covid-19 restrictions.
The Government has launched a new campaign, Together For Our Planet Business Climate Leaders, to encourage small and micro businesses to commit to cutting their greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, and to net zero by 2050 or sooner.
The Department for Education has indicated that children returning to school in September will not automatically be asked to self-isolate if they have contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19. The latest education attendance figures for England show that Covid-19-related pupil absence in state schools is rising, and is currently at its highest level since March 2021.
A new Government programme to help local people buy their first home has been launched, with a pilot project in the East Midlands. The First Homes Scheme will offer homes with a discount of at least 30% of market price, passed on if the property is sold. More sites will launch throughout the UK this year, with 1,500 homes on the market from the autumn, and plans for at least 10,000 homes per annum in future years.
The First Homes Scheme announcement comes as the House of Lords Built Environment Committee launches an inquiry into demand for new housing in the UK, and how obstacles to meeting demand can be surmounted.
Deep dive: G7 Legacy.
We look back on hosting a hugely successful G7. Not only did Cornwall prove itself to be a beautiful location, but also as an area able to competently run an event of international scale involving not only the world’s leaders but also three generations of monarchy. The event itself had a wide range of successful fringe events including Cornwall Schools' Eco Conference; the Sustainable Growth Conference; Co-creating Cornwall's Future, led by the Voluntary Sector Forum; and the Y7 event for young future leaders. The total economic benefit for Cornwall of hosting the G7 Summit is estimated at £50 million - £24 million during the event itself, and over £26 million from future growth in the international tourist market over the next five years.
To create a longer-term legacy for Cornwall, the Prime Minister announced investment in several of Cornwall’s towns and its natural landscape. These announcements have been framed by Government as the start, not the end, of a new relationship with Cornwall. The Government recognises that they can continue to work closely with Cornish leaders and institutions to deliver the levelling up agenda and make Cornwall the first carbon net zero region of the UK.
- Town Deals worth more than £65 million split between Penzance, St Ives and Camborne which will see the creation of new foot and cycle paths, the restoration of historic buildings and community hubs, and support for local businesses.
- £7.8 million funding provided ahead of the summit for upgrades to Newquay Airport.
- Cornwall’s selection for inclusion in ‘Project Gigabit’, which will bring high speed broadband to around 100,000 homes.
- A major land restoration and regeneration programme across 21,000 hectares of land, with work including restoring peat, making improvements to water quality, recreating scarce habitats and reintroducing lost and declining species.
- These plans will ensure the beauty and biodiversity of Cornwall’s landscape is safeguarded for future generations. They will establish the region as a role model both across the UK and around the world when it comes to looking after the natural environment and significantly support Cornwall’s efforts to become the first carbon net zero region in the UK.
- To further support our work to achieve net zero, up to £1 million of innovation funding has been earmarked for businesses in Cornwall to support their development of technologies, products and processes in energy efficiency, power generation and energy storage.
- Subject to full business case approval Cornwall will also receive up to £150,000 to design and build ‘Kernosat’, a small satellite which will be used to monitor the local environment, with the potential for it to be launched from a UK spaceport next year.
Information in the newsletter is correct at time of writing, 11am on Tuesday 29 June.