Policy and Intelligence Newsletter - 5 January, 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, 9am on 5 January.
England entered a national lockdown in the early hours of 5 January, which will last until at least mid-February. Scotland has also entered a national lockdown; Wales and Northern Ireland are already in lockdowns.
- The whole country is under a stay at home order, apart from a small number of exceptions such as collecting essential food and medical supplies; attending medical appointments; providing care; a single session of exercise per day in one’s local area; or travelling to work when it is unreasonable to work at home.
- All schools and colleges are closed for in-person teaching, apart from for vulnerable children and the children of key workers. Summer exams will not take place as normal, with more details to come from the Department for Education.
- Students entitled to free school meals will continue to receive them.
- Household mixing is banned, apart from support and childcare bubbles, with the exception of exercising outdoors with one person not in the same household.
- Clinically extremely vulnerable people are advised to begin shielding again, and will be written to by the Government.
- As of 4 January, a total of 6,917 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have tested positive for Covid-19. A total of 191 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have sadly died within 28 days of a positive test for Covid-19. (Please note that fatality statistics are provided by Public Health England, and differ from those generated by the Office for National Statistics, which record all instances of Covid-19 being listed on the death certificate, even if there is no positive test result.)
- There is no Government Statistical Bulletin on NHS Test and Trace to report on this week: the Department of Health and Social Care will return to its normal release schedule from 7 January.
- The Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine has been approved for use in the UK, with the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation advising that the two doses can be given 12 weeks apart. The first and second doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will now also be given 12 weeks apart, in a change to the initial schedule. The first doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine were given to recipients on Monday 4 January.
- The UK has now left the European single market and customs union. The UK’s post-Brexit trade deal with the EU received a majority vote in favour by Members of Parliament on 30 December, and is now law after receiving Royal Assent.
- The Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick MP, has announced investments from the Future High Streets Fund totaling £830 million for 72 areas. The money will help towns and cities recover from the economic effects of the pandemic, while also promoting long-term growth. In Cornwall, Penzance has received a provisional funding offer of more than £10 million.
- A subcommittee of SAGE (the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, which provides advice to Government), the Children’s Task and Finish Group, has published an update to its 4 November paper on Children, Schools and Transmission. The paper finds that “increased transmission [is] occurring amongst school children when schools are open, particularly in children of secondary school age” although “it is not possible to quantify the extent of transmission taking place specifically within schools”.
- A nationwide poll conducted by the National Deaf Children’s Society has found that only one in two children with hearing impairments are currently receiving necessary specialist support during the second wave of the pandemic, predominantly due to social distancing requirements and the self-isolation of some teachers of the Deaf.
Equality and diversity
- The Parliamentary Women and Equalities Committee has published a report on the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on disabled people. Titled “Unequal Impact? Coronavirus, Disability and Access to Services”, the report finds that people with disabilities have “suffered…profoundly adverse effects” from the pandemic. These include a disproportionate number of deaths; unequal access to food; potentially discriminatory treatment in health and care settings; and worsening problems in education.
Consultations and campaigns
- The Home Office is seeking views on the aggregate amount of grants proposed for the police in England and Wales for 2021 to 2022. It also includes the proposed amount of grant for each local policing body. Deadline 15 January 2021.
- The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy seeks views on a proposed temporary easement to the 2021 Combined Heat and Power Quality Assurance (CHPQA) certification process to support CHP operators impacted by Covid-19. Deadline 29 January 2021.
- The Department for Transport asks if they should stop the longer semi-trailer (LST) trial ahead of schedule. The trial is testing whether using LSTs leads to journey reductions, with a consequent decrease in congestion and emissions. Deadline 01 February 2021.
- The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Companies House have opened three consultations on a new set of principles to limit corporate director appointments, how to improve the quality and value of financial information available on the UK companies register, and on new powers for Companies House to query, remove and amend information on the public register. Deadline for all three consultations is 03 February 2021.