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Policy and Intelligence Newsletter - 2 March, 2021

The articles below have been drawn together by the policy and analytical community within the Council. Information is correct at the time of writing, 1000 on 1 March. 

Covid-19

  • As of 7 February, a total of 13,651 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have tested positive for Covid-19. A total of 452 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have died within 28 days of a positive test for Covid-19. (Statistics provided by Public Health England.)  
  • The UK’s Covid-19 alert level has been decreased from 5 to 4, indicating there is less risk of the NHS being overwhelmed. 
  • PHE monitoring shows South West Covid-19 case rates per 100,000 are the lowest in the country, at a rate of 68.1. 
  • Councils are reportedly to be given extra funding to provide food shopping and care support to those self-isolating with Covid-19, following growing concerns that people are not remaining in quarantine. 

Data

  • The Centre for Data Ethics Innovation (CDEI) has reported on changes to local authorities’ data use during the pandemic, including obstacles to using data to innovate and research on public attitudes to data-use. The CDEI is particularly keen to help rural and district councils maximise the benefits of data and data-driven technologies.

 Economy

  • The Local Restrictions Support Grant, for businesses required to close under the current lockdown, will be extended until the end of March.  
  • 700,000 shops, pubs and other businesses are reportedly to be offered Government grants of up to £18,000.  
  • Provisional Job Retention Scheme figures for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly show that 44,400 people were furloughed as of 31 January: this represents 19% of eligible employments, a higher proportion than for the UK as a whole. 
  • Provisional Self-Employment Income Support Scheme figures for Cornwall show that 24,400 claims were made up to 31 January: a 60% take-up rate, proportionally lower than in the UK as a whole. 

Education

  • School and college qualifications in 2021 will be determined primarily by teacher assessment, with no algorithmic standardisation. 
  • A £700 million plan to tackle lost learning due to the pandemic has been unveiled by the Government. Small group and one-to-one tutoring will be expanded, and provision over the summer will be made for pupils most in need.  

Elections

  • Planned legislation will allow anyone who is self-isolating due to Covid-19 to access an emergency proxy vote for the local elections, up to 17:00 on election day, 6 May. 
  • In-person political canvassing is reportedly to be permitted for the local elections. 

Equality and diversity

  • The Government has published a report on understanding and tackling Covid-19 disparities experienced by ethnic minority groups. Findings show some reduction in inequality between the first and second wave, but with very mixed results across different ethnic minority communities.  
  • People on low incomes are highly aware of healthy food choices, but cannot act on this information for economic reasons, according to new research by the University of York. This suggests educational interventions are unlikely to address inadequate nutrition in low-income groups. 

Housing

  • The Annual Rough Sleeping Snapshot, which estimates the number of people sleeping rough on a single night, suggests 29 people slept rough in Cornwall in autumn 2020, compared to 24 people in 2019 and 53 people in 2018. 
  • Research by the Social Market Foundation suggests nearly 800,000 homes could be repossessed if mortgage-holders suffer a loss of income. Over a quarter of those affected work in manufacturing or retail. A ban on home repossessions will expire on 1 April. 

Consultations  

  • The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is seeking views about their proposals to amend certain food legislation in England. The proposed changes reflect the UK’s new trading relationship with the EU and would ensure compliance with World Trade Organisation rules. Deadline 22 March 2021
  • The Department for Transport are consulting on draft environment objectives that they propose setting for the spaceflight regulator, and associated guidance on how the regulator should implement the objectives. Deadline 24 March 2021. 
  • The Department for Education is inviting comments on their review of the high needs national funding formula (NFF) to local authorities for children and young people in England with special educational needs and disability (SEND) or who require alternative provision (AP). Deadline 24 March 2021. 
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