The Cornwall We Know

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Welcome to The Cornwall We Know, where you will find a variety of intelligence and insight, selected from internal and external sources, to help our understanding of Cornwall and the impact of various data points/ information that has affected our residents and businesses.

Welcome to The Cornwall We Know, where you will find a variety of intelligence and insight, selected from internal and external sources, to help our understanding of Cornwall and the impact of various data points/ information that has affected our residents and businesses.

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  • Policy and Intelligence Newsletter - 1 June, 2021

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    Welcome to the new format Policy and Intelligence Newsletter, which explores a different theme each fortnight, giving you data insights and policy analysis. There are also regular sections providing a news roundup and Parliamentary stories of interest. As the incoming administration reorganises the Cabinet’s portfolios, moving from twelve to ten, we introduce the new portfolios and their areas of responsibility. 

    News roundup

    • As of 28 May a total of 14,307 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have tested positive for Covid-19. A total of 470 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have died within 28 days of a positive test for Covid-19. 
    • Step 3 of England’s Covid-19 roadmap is now in effect, with indoor hospitality and entertainment venues reopening. People can socialise indoors in a group of up to 6 people or 2 households, including overnight stays. Up to 30 people can meet outside. Government guidance is still to work from home if you can.
    • International travel restrictions have been lifted, but Government advice is not to travel to any countries on the red or amber list. 12 countries are on the green list, including Portugal, Israel and New Zealand. Covid-19 testing and quarantine on arrival in England are not required for travel to and from Ireland, the Channel Islands or Isle of Man.
    • Face coverings in the classroom or communal areas of schools are no longer recommended for pupils, but are still advised for staff everywhere physical distancing is not possible, with the exception of classrooms.
    • 4-month notice periods for renters will be in place until the end of September. For much of the pandemic, 6-month notice period were in force.
    • Cornwall has been ranked 203rd of 379 local authorities in the Legatum Institute's UK Prosperity Index, an improvement on the Duchy's ranking of 252nd in 2011. However, Cornwall is near the bottom in assessments of personal freedom (343rd), infrastructure (327th) and economic quality (313rd).
    • Rural crime rates are reportedly rising 3 times faster than in the rest of the country, with The Rural Services Network estimating that in 2018/19 rural areas received £167 per person in police funding compared to £206 in urban areas.
    • Analysis from the Office for National Statistics shows that the proportion of young people (aged 16-24) in full-time education reached a new high of 46.8% in July-September 2020. Young people are the most likely age group to be on zero hours contracts, and are the group who saw their employment rate decline the sharpest at the start of the pandemic.
    • Food bank charity The Trussell Trust has published a State of Hunger report, showing 95% of people using food banks in 2020 were destitute. 62% of working-age people referred to food banks were disabled and 18% of households were single parents (twice the rate of the general population).

    View from Westminster

    The Queen’s Speech on 11 May set out the Government’s agenda for the current session of Parliament. Highlights include: 

    • Reforms to the planning system to meet house-building goals. Councils will designate all areas as “growth”, “protection” or “renewal”, with planning permission granted automatically in growth zones.
    • A commitment to bring forward proposals to reform social care.
    • Closer integration of health and care services, as set out in the Health and Care White Paper earlier this year.
    • A requirement for voter ID for future elections, provided free by councils for people who do not have existing identification such as drivers’ licences.
    • Guarantee of a lifelong loan entitlement for adults to use on higher education or training at any point. Free A-level equivalents for 11 million adults.
    • Delivery of a national recovery from the pandemic via the Levelling Up agenda, supporting jobs and public services through a tailored regional approach.
    • Setting of legally binding environmental targets, including Net Zero Emissions by 2050, and investing in green industries through the Environment Bill.
    • Introducing a consistent recycling approach across all English councils, including powers to introduce charges for single-use plastic.

    As England moves into step 3 of the Covid-19 roadmap, the Government is launching a new scheme for businesses to show they are regularly testing their staff. The “We Offer Testing to Our Staff” initiative will let businesses download free posters and stickers to publicise that they are staff and the public safe. Although formal restrictions are gradually coming to an end in the UK, the Government is planning for possible further disruption next year, launching a consultation on non-exam assessment for some GCSE, AS and A-level subjects for 2022. It has been announced that an independent public inquiry into the handling of the pandemic will take place in spring 2022, with powers to call witnesses and compel them to give evidence. 

    Councils are to receive more Government funding to help rough sleepers into safe accommodation, with targeted support including mental health and addiction services, as well as money for extra bed spaces. Cornwall Council has been allocated over £3.5 million. Cornwall is also due to benefit from the Future High Streets fund, with Penzance named as one of 57 additional towns in a second tranche of funding announcements. Penzance will receive over £10 million to assist with projects such as improving transport links, building new homes and transforming underused spaces.

    Cornwall Council’s new portfolios.


    Leader - Cllr Linda Taylor

    • The Leadership of the Council.
    • Specific individual responsibilities:
    1. Strategy and place leader for Cornwall
    2. Regional policy and external relations 
    3. Relationship with HM Government
    4. Civic functions 
    5. Partnerships
    6. Levelling up and Equalities
    7. Communications and resident engagement
    • To lead on strategy formulation for the Council through Cabinet. 
    • To chair the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Leadership Board.


    Deputy Leader - Cllr David Harris

    • To lead on budget and policy formulation and implementation in relation to:
    1. Resources (including billing, collection and recovery of local taxation)
    2. Financial forward planning and budgeting
    3. The effective use of resources and value for money
    4. Treasury Management 
    5. Investment Programme 
    6. Risk management and insurance
    7. Human Resources
    8. Performance Management framework
    9. Fees and charges
    10. Property and Estate transformation 


    Customers - Cllr Richard Pears

    • To lead on budget and policy formulation and implementation in relation to: 
    1. Customer Services and Customer Experience
    2. Business Systems and digital strategy
    3. Social inclusion, digital inclusion, employability and welfare 
    4. Leisure Services
    5. Relationship with the voluntary and third sector
    6. Relationship with suppliers
    7. Corporate procurement and commercial services
    8. Facilities Management
    9. Governance and Assurance 
    • To act as the lead Executive Member with responsibility for the shareholder oversight of the Council’s Companies 


    Adults and Public Health - Cllr Andy Virr

    • To lead on budget and policy formulation and implementation in relation to adult social care and public health and wellbeing service in line with the Care Act 2014 and public health responsibilities as set out in the Health and Social Care Act 2012. This includes: 
    1. Adult Social Care Services for adults of working age
    2. Adult social care services for older adults
    3. Services for carers
    4. Vulnerable adult safeguarding functions
    5. Public Health and Health Protection (including drug and alcohol services)
    6. Health and Well-Being Strategy
    • Promoting the best possible adult social services and seamless care in the community by working with and optimising all opportunities offered by other providers to further these aims.
    • Working in partnership through the Health and Well Being Board to promote early intervention and prevention and integrated care.  
    • To act as the lead Executive Member for the Health and Well-Being Board. 
    • To provide executive member leadership on Health and Social Care integration.


    Children and Families - Cllr Barbara Ellenbroek

    • To undertake the responsibilities of the Lead Member for Children’s Services as set out in statutory guidance. 
    • To enhance the Council's corporate parenting role; to protect and champion children’s rights and to promote opportunity for all children in Cornwall.
    • To lead on budget and policy formulation and implementation in relation to:
    1. Children’s Rights and involvement of young people in decision making
    2. Children’s Social Care
    3. Children’s Safeguarding
    4. Early Intervention Services for vulnerable children
    5. Early Years provision including Health Visiting
    6. Schools
    7. Special Educational Needs Provision
    8. Transitions for disabled young people
    9. Youth Offending
    10. Universal Youth provision and post 16 employment and training
    11. Adult Education 
    12. Skills Agenda and relationships with FE and Universities.
    • Work in Partnership with the One Vision Board and Health and Well-Being Board to achieve better outcomes for children and families.
    • To lead on budget and policy development and implementation in relation to capital investment in educational infrastructure in schools.


    Planning and Housing - Cllr Olly Monk

    • To lead on budget and policy formulation and implementation in relation to planning and transport including: 
    1. The Local Plan and associated local planning guidance
    2. Neighbourhood Plans
    3. Development Control Service and Planning Enforcement 
    4. Land registry and street naming
    5. Housing Strategy 
    6. Housing delivery pipeline to deliver Local Plan housing targets
    7. Regeneration
    8. Direct Housing Development and investment
    9. Social Housing and Private Rented standards
    10. Homelessness Prevention and Housing Advice and Options Service 
    11. Housing Adaptations for disabled people. 
    12. Housing related support for vulnerable people
    • To act as the lead Executive Member with responsibility for working with the Strategic Housing Group. 


    Transport - Cllr Philip Desmonde

    • To lead on budget and policy formulation and implementation in relation to planning and transport including: 
    1. Highways 
    2. Street Lighting
    3. The Local Transport Strategy
    4. School Transport
    5. Public Transport 
    6. Ferries
    7. Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry 
    8. Parking Strategy 
    • To act as the lead Executive Member with responsibility for working with the Peninsula Subnational Transport Body. 


    Economy - Cllr Stephen Rushworth

    • To lead on budget and policy formulation and implementation in relation to:
    1. Economic development and economic strategy
    2. Relationships with business community 
    3. Town Vitality and Place Shaping
    4. Spaceport 
    5. Energy Policy
    6. Anti-poverty strategy
    7. Social inclusion, digital inclusion employability and welfare
    8. Cultural Services and Cornish Language 
    • To act as the lead Executive Member with responsibility for working with the Local Enterprise Partnership and The Great South West. 


    Neighbourhoods - Cllr Carol Mould

    • To lead on budget and policy formulation and implementation in relation to: 
    1. Waste – collection, disposal and waste minimisation. 
    2. Street cleaning
    3. Community safety 
    4. Registrars 
    5. Library and cultural services
    6. Community Networks and relationships with Town and Parish Councils
    7. Events and Licensing
    8. Parks and Open Spaces
    9. Public Rights of Way 
    • To deliver better outcomes for community safety with Partners through the Safer Cornwall Partnership providing executive member oversight of the Safer Communities Strategy.


    Environment and Climate Change - Cllr Martyn Alvey

    • To lead on budget and policy formulation and implementation in relation to the environment. This includes: 
    1. Waterways, beaches and flood resilience
    2. Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and World Heritage Site
    3. Cemeteries and Crematoria. 
    4. Archaeology Service
    5. Fisheries and Agricultural Policy
    6. Maritime Services (Ports and Harbours) 
    7. Climate Change
    8. Public Protection and Enforcement Services (Environmental Health, Trading Standards, Port Health, Parking Enforcement)
    9. Fire and Rescue Service
    10. Emergency Planning and business resilience
    11. Council Farms
    • To provide executive member leadership for the Environmental Growth Strategy and Climate Change Action Plan and to deliver better environmental outcomes through the Local Nature Partnership. 
    • To provide overall liaison with Devon and Cornwall Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner and to promote effective blue light collaboration within Cornwall. 

     

     

    Information in the newsletter is correct at time of writing, 11am on Friday 28 May. 

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  • Policy and Intelligence Newsletter - 11 May, 2021

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    Welcome to the new format Policy and Intelligence Newsletter, which will explore a different theme each fortnight, 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. As a new administration takes office in New County Hall, this fortnight’s deep dive is the State of Cornwall – we examine the current state of the Duchy using assessments from the Covid-19 Insights Dashboard, available here

    News roundup

    • The Cornwall Council elections took place on 6 May, for 87 electoral divisions. The Conservative Party won an overall majority, with 47 seats.
    • As of 9 May a total of 14,275 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have tested positive for Covid-19. A total of 469 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have died within 28 days of a positive test for Covid-19. 
    • The 30-person limit on the number of mourners at funerals will be lifted on 17 May, earlier than planned. The number of attendees will instead be determined by the venue’s capacity, allowing for physical distancing.
    • Residents of care homes are now permitted to leave for outdoor visits, accompanied by a member of staff or nominated visitor, without having to self-isolate for 14 days on their return.
    • Early results from a pilot scheme, the Events Research Programme, reportedly suggest that large events do not lead to a spike in Covid-19 cases, and that physical distancing for such events will not be needed from mid-June – provided there is good ventilation and staggered entry.
    • The Bank of England has reportedly forecast the UK's fastest growth in 70 years, with a 7.25% expansion of the economy expected in 2021. This follows a contraction of 9.9% in 2020.
    • The National Innovation Centre: Rural Enterprise, at Newcastle University, is conducting a survey of over 4,000 rural and farming businesses to understand rural resilience in the face of the pandemic.
    • 93% of off-grid rural households would not be able to afford the typical cost of a heat-pump system, according to a survey published in the Environment Journal. This could impact on the UK's ability to reduce carbon emissions, as 20% come from heating buildings.


    View from Westminster

    A White Paper - a precursor to legislation - on Levelling Up will be published by the Government later this year. Plans for raising living standards, increasing opportunities and expanding the private sector will sit alongside recovery initiatives for hospitals, schools and courts.

     

    In the year that the UK is hosting the UN Climate Change Conference, COP26, the Government has announced there will be a new legally-binding target of 78% less carbon emissions (compared to levels in 1990) by 2035. By 2030, Cornwall aims to have reached net carbon zero. Government plans to make English household recycling collections easier and more consistent, including weekly food waste collections from 2023, have been announced as part of a new consultation. Free garden waste collection is also being considered.

     

    Internet access has become an increasingly vital utility during the pandemic, with many people working from home and students accessing lessons online. According to Ofcom, 1.5 million homes are still not connected to the internet - but a new Government initiative aims to make inroads into that number. A new national £5 billion scheme to connect hard to reach places with gigabit broadband will benefit properties in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly in its first phase. 40,000-60,000 premises in East Cornwall and 30,000-50,000 premises in West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly will be included. Development will begin in the first half of 2022.

     

    As England moves towards Step 3 of the Covid-19 roadmap on 17 May, hopes for avoiding future lockdowns have been buoyed by the Health Secretary’s announcement that enough vaccine doses have been procured to begin a booster programme later this year, to help protect against new variants of Covid-19. Pubs and restaurants in Cornwall may welcome news that Government is reportedly to drop plans for compulsory vaccine certificates for the largest venues, such as theatres and sports arenas. In a boost for high streets across the Duchy, Cornwall will receive £609,639 from the Government’s £56 million “Welcome Back” fund, which will help councils support the reopening of high streets and coastal areas across the UK by promoting tourism, creating additional outdoor seating areas and installing signs to remind visitors about social distancing.

     

    A new debt respite scheme, Breathing Space, has been launched by the Treasury. After applying through a debt adviser, users of the scheme will be given legal protection from creditors for 60 days, with enforcement action suspended and most interest and penalty charges put on hold. It is estimated that 700,000 people in the UK will benefit each year. In Cornwall, over 5,700 people have consulted Citizens' Advice for debt advice since March 2020.

     

    Deep dive: The State of Cornwall

    The data story for Cornwall over the last year has been inextricably linked with the pandemic. Although Cornwall has one of the lowest rates of Covid-19 cases, in comparison with all English local authorities, the economic and social consequences have often had a greater impact here than in the rest of the UK, challenging the outcomes we are trying to achieve. We have had a higher rate of Self-Employment Income Support Scheme take-up than the national average and seen record numbers of people receiving Universal Credit. At the same time as many people in Cornwall are struggling to make ends meet, and concerned about their future employment, house prices in the Duchy have risen sharply over the last year, again higher than the national average. More people from urban areas may be seeing Cornwall as an attractive place to live, but this puts an already squeezed housing supply under greater pressure for local people, hindering our goal of ensuring a decent, secure and affordable home for everyone in Cornwall.

    The far lower volume of commuter traffic this year is contributing to our goal of reducing carbon emissions. However, post-pandemic journeys are unlikely to remain at these levels, requiring additional measures if our goal of a net carbon zero Cornwall is to be realised. As we work towards a safer Cornwall, we can see that reports of violent crimes have fallen compared to 2020, but this may be an artificial decline resulting from Covid-19 restrictions. Sadly, domestic abuse reports have risen, as have reports of anti-social behaviour. 

    Covid-19 rates

    New cases of Covid-19 continue to be comparatively low, but have spread across all age groups. Numbers of patients in hospital with Covid have dropped substantially from 154 on 2 February to 32 on 27 February. As of early March, over 216,000 people in Cornwall have had their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. Read more here.

    Adult social care and mental health

    Referrals for adult social care have steadily increased since October, and the Council continues to work to create extra capacity for independent living at home. There was a drop in safeguarding concerns expressed in November, similar to the first national lockdown. Demand for mental health services increased during last summer, and is likely to continue to remain high due to pressures on individual finances, housing and isolation.

    Benefits and labour market

    Just under 50,000 people in Cornwall received Universal Credit in January, the highest ever level, with slightly more women than men in receipt of the benefit. In February, there were over 2,600 job vacancies in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, higher than in February 2020. 36% of vacancies are in the health and social care sector. Read more here.

    Furlough and Self-Employed Income Support Scheme

    People in Cornwall claiming furlough in January 2021 rose by nearly 11,000, to 44,000: a rise of 32% since December 2020. St Ives, St Austell and Newquay have the highest furlough take-up rate in the Duchy, at 22%. The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme for November-January had a 60% take-up rate in Cornwall, compared to 65% in August-October. This is several percentage points higher than the national take-up rate. Read more here.

    House prices

    House prices in Cornwall have risen 11.5% since December 2019, compared to a national rise of 7.1%, with the average house price in Cornwall standing at £262,639 in December 2020, compared to the national average of £251,500. Affordability and availability of housing are likely to remain under pressure, as more people move away from urban to rural locations. Read more here.

    Traffic

    A30 traffic at the start of 2021 was at its lowest volume since May 2020. Commuter volumes in January and February 2021 were at 45% of pre-pandemic levels, with retail and recreational journeys rising slightly during February to 50% of the pre-pandemic baseline. New vehicle registrations in Cornwall between January-October 2020 were at their lowest rate for a decade, at just under 10,000. Read more here.

    Community feedback 

    Complaints from the public in Cornwall about non-Covid-secure business or business closures fell by 46% between January and February this year, to 335. 475 business closure compliance visits were carried out by the Covid enforcement team in February, identifying 230 non-compliant businesses. The top sectors not complying were accommodation providers, takeaway outlets and food retailers. 30 Covid street marshals assist with compliance across 15 towns. Read more here

    Crime 

    Domestic abuse reported to the police has risen between January 2020-January 21 but has plateaued since October 2020. An increasing proportion has been linked to alcohol since the start of the pandemic. Reported violent crimes decreased by 12% in January 2021 compared to January 2020, reflecting Covid-19 restrictions. Reported anti-social behaviour is much higher than before the pandemic: 26% of incidents in January 2021 were Covid breaches. Read more here

    Child welfare

    The number of child welfare referrals in Cornwall has substantially increased between June 2020 (31 referrals per 10,000 people) and February 2021 (45 referrals per 10,000 people), although February's rate is lower than the peak of 55.9 referrals per 10,000 people in December 2020. Requests for Early Help have followed the same pattern of a peak in December 2020 (1,100 requests) compared to a low of 590 in June 2020, with this February's numbers somewhat decreased at 807.

    Education: 16-18

    Overall participation in education of young people in year 12 and 13 remained consistent between February 2020 and February 2021, at just under 91% of the population. The number of apprenticeships for year 13 over the same period slightly declined, while the number of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) remained very similar over the same period, at just over 5%.

     

    Information in the newsletter is correct at time of writing, 9am on Monday 10 May. 

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  • Policy and Intelligence Newsletter - 4 May, 2021

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    The articles below have been drawn together by the policy and analytical community within the Council. Information is correct at the time of writing, 12:00 pm on 29 April. 

    Covid-19 

    • As of 28 April, a total of 14,208 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have tested positive for Covid-19. A total of 469 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 Government has announced that enough vaccine doses have been procured to begin a booster programme later this year, to help protect against new variants of Covid-19
    • 98% of people in the UK aged 70 to 84 now have Covid-19 antibodies.

    Digital

    • Research by Ofcom has found that the proportion of UK homes without internet access fell from 11% at the start of the pandemic to 6% in March 2021. 1.5 million homes are still not connected. 20% of children did not have access to a suitable device for home learning over the last year, with 3% unable to do any schoolwork due to not having a device.

    Economy

    • The UK economy is reportedly likely to see its strongest annual growth in several decades, with a predicted GDP expansion of 6.8%-7.8% this year.
    • The largest UK supporter of food banks, the Trussell Trust, has distributed a record 2.5 million food parcels over the last year: a 33% rise on the previous year and 128% higher than in 2015/16. Almost 1 million of the food parcels distributed over the last year went to children, a 36% rise on the previous year and 135% higher than in 2015/16.

    Education and children

    • A £200 million in-person summer schools programme for secondary schools will be rolled out across the UK this year, with a recommended focus on incoming year 7 pupils: although it will be up to individual schools who attends.
    • report from the Child Poverty Action Group has highlighted some of the persistent support gaps that exist for children and families affected by the pandemic. These include the loss of entitlement due to disability assessment delays; the treatment of earnings in universal credit; and problems experienced by families without a National Insurance number.  

    Environment

    • The Government has announced there will be a new legally-binding target of a 78% reduction in carbon emissions (compared to levels in 1990) by 2035. The new target incorporates the UK’s share of international aviation and shipping emissions.

    Housing

    • The charity Centrepoint has published a report on youth homelessness. Centrepoint received 33% more calls to its helpline since March 2020. In FY 2019/2020, 121,000 young people sought help because they were homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Just 40% had their homelessness successfully prevented or relieved.
    • The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government has reported on the condition of housing in England. The number of private renters living in overcrowded homes doubled in November and December 2020, compared to 2019. Over one in seven private renters experience overcrowding, in contrast with one in 50 homeowners.

    Tourism

    • A pilot project, using cloud-penetrating satellite systems to produce live updates on congestion at tourism hotspots, will launch in Cornwall, the Lake District and Northern Ireland next year.

    Consultations 

    • Ofqual is seeking views on proposed guidance relating to reviews and appeals for GCSEs, AS, A levels and some vocational/technical qualifications for 2021. Deadline: 5 May.
    • The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights is seeking views on the human rights implications of the new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. Deadline: 14 May.
    • The Department for Education is consulting on the operating framework for flexi-job apprenticeships as a way to increase the number of apprentices in sectors where short-term or project-based contracts are typical. Deadline: 1 June.
    • The Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee is holding an inquiry into a new UK Space Strategy and UK Satellite Infrastructure, and is asking for written evidence from interested parties. Deadline: 23 June.
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  • Policy and Intelligence Newsletter - 20 April, 2021

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    The articles below have been drawn together by the policy and analytical community within the Council. Information is correct at the time of writing, 10:00 am on 19 April.

    Covid-19

    • As of 18 February, a total of 14,126 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have tested positive for Covid-19. A total of 468 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.) 
    • Further lifting of Covid-19 restrictions in England came into effect on 12 April, with the reopening of non-essential retail, personal care services such as hairdressers, outdoor hospitality and public buildings such as libraries. Commemorative events can now take place with up to 15 guests.
    • The committee which advises the Government on vaccinations has said that pregnant women should be offered Covid-19 jabs at the same time as the rest of the population, based on their age and clinical risk group.
    • A TUC study has found that factory workers have the highest Covid-19 mortality rate by role, adjusted for age, at 34 per 100,000. People in insecure work, such as zero-hours contracts, are twice as likely to die from Covid-19.
    • Employers of seasonal agricultural workers in the edible horticulture sector can register for free Covid-19 workplace testing for their employees.

    Economy

    • The Department for Work and Pensions has released a report on the number and percentage of low-income households, based on disposable income. In 2019-20, after housing costs, 1.1 million people in the South West (19% of the population) were estimated to be living in households with less than 60% of the UK median household income. This compares to 20% of individuals in England.
    • The Covid Winter Grant Scheme will be extended until 20 June, and renamed the Covid Local Support Grant. £40 million of additional funding will be provided to local authorities to give targeted support to disadvantaged families.

    Education and children

    • Ofsted has announced that it will not return to a full programme of graded inspections until September, but will be carrying out visits in the summer term to provide assurance about how well students are catching up.
    • All university students who have not yet returned to in-person teaching will be able to do so in Step 3 of the Government’s roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions, no earlier than 17 May.
    • The Children’s Commissioner for England has launched The Big Ask, a listening exercise for children, which runs until 19 May. The Childhood Commission will use the survey results to inform its work on identifying and removing obstacles stopping children from reaching their full potential.

    Equality and diversity

    • Research by the Office for National Statistics shows the pandemic has different impacts on men and women. Women are significantly more likely to show Covid-19 symptoms after 5 weeks; are more likely to report their well-being was negatively impacted by homeschooling; and for younger women, are likely to have higher vaccine hesitancy.
    • Disabled people indicate more often than non-disabled people that the pandemic has impacted their health (35% compared to 12%), access to healthcare for non-Covid-19 issues (40% compared to 19%), well-being (65% compared to 50%) and access to essential items (27% compared to 12%), according to the latest Office for National Statistics analysis
    • Young black workers have reportedly been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, with the unemployment rate for this group rising by 64% between the beginning and end of 2020, compared to 17% for young white workers.

    Housing

    • As of January 2021, the average house price in Cornwall was £265,775 in comparison to the UK average of £249,309, according to the Land Registry House Price Index. House prices rose 1.4% compared to December 2020, despite falling 0.5% nationally in the same period.

    Consultations 

    • A Parliamentary committee has launched an inquiry into jobs, growth and productivity after the pandemic, and is calling for evidence from all interested parties. Deadline: 17 May.
    • The Department of Health and Social Care is seeking views on whether Covid-19 vaccination should be a condition of deployment for people working in older adult care homes. Deadline: 21 May.
    • The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport wants to know about consumers’ experiences with broadband connectivity in rural and remote parts of the UK. Deadline: 11 June.
    • The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is seeking views on the arrangements that have allowed local authorities to hold remote and hybrid meetings during the pandemic. Deadline: 17 June.
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  • Policy and Intelligence Newsletter - 6 April, 2021

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    The articles below have been drawn together by the policy and analytical community within the Council. Information is correct at the time of writing, 10:00am on 1 April.

    Covid-19

    • As of 31 March, a total of 14,052 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have tested positive for Covid-19. A total of 464 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.) 
    • England has moved to the next stage of the Covid-19 restriction “roadmap”. Outdoor gatherings of 6 people or 2 households are now permitted, including in private gardens. Formally organised outdoor sports can now take place, involving any number of people. 
    • Parents and carers of children who have been advised to self-isolate will now be eligible for a £500 Test and Trace Support Payment.
    • An Office for National Statistics survey shows that over 1 million people in the UK reported having symptoms of long Covid, in the 4 weeks to 6 March.
    • A survey for Public Health England has reportedly found that under 25% of people with Covid-19 symptoms get a test, and only around 50% of those with symptoms fully self-isolate.

    Economy

    • The Treasury has announced a series of proposed changes to the UK tax system, including legislation to prevent second home-owners from registering for business rates unless the property is a genuine holiday let.
    • New research led by Newcastle University has found that the welfare system does not deal equitably with the irregular and volatile nature of rural incomes, making residents in rural areas more vulnerable to poverty.
    • A Government-funded scoping study into Cornish lithium will assess if it is feasible to develop a sustainable UK supply chain by constructing an extraction plant to produce low-carbon lithium hydroxide from a hard rock source in St Austell.

    Education

    • As a snapshot, on 25 March, 99.8% of state-funded education settings in England were open, with 90% of students attending in-person education. 84% of pupils with an education, health and care plan (EHCP) attended in-person on the same day. 
    • report by the Local Government Association has found that existing educational inequalities and learning gaps have been worsened by the pandemic to the extent that they will not be remedied by a rapid “catch up” programme.

    Equality and diversity

    • The independent report of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities has found that racial inequities in education and jobs have narrowed in the UK, although inequalities remain at the highest levels of employment. 
    • Official statistics show 14.5 million people - a record number - were living in poverty in the UK in the year to March 2020. 4.3 million children - 31% of all children in the UK - were living in relative poverty (calculated against median income).

    Housing

    • A Parliamentary committee has recommended that multiple short-notice extensions to the ban on evictions during the pandemic are replaced with a “coherent exit plan”. The committee also suggested that Government should create a support system to deal with rent arrears that have built up over the last year.

    Justice

    • A Parliamentary committee has published a report on the impact of Covid-19 on the courts and tribunal system, finding that the shift to remote hearings was hardest for the most vulnerable people involved in the justice system. The pandemic has also exacerbated barriers to accessing legal representation.

    Consultations 

    • Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee is holding an inquiry into adult social care, including the way it is overseen, financial sustainability and the impact of Covid-19. Evidence can be submitted until 12 April 2021.
    • The Home Office is consulting on changes to the asylum system and policies on illegal migration. Deadline 6 May 2021.
    • The Treasury has issued 25 consultations, discussion documents and calls for evidence concerning its overhaul of the tax system. There are a range of deadlines between 1 June and 13 July.
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  • Policy and Intelligence newsletter - 23 March 2021

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    The articles below have been drawn together by the policy and analytical community within the Council. Information is correct at the time of writing, 0900 on 22 March. 

    Covid-19

    • As of 21 March, a total of 13,908 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have tested positive for Covid-19. A total of 465 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 medicines regulator has confirmed that available evidence does not suggest the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine causes blood clots.
    • Shielding advice for clinically extremely vulnerable people is to stop from 1 April.
    • Prominent health charities are calling for people with cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other health conditions to take up Covid-19 vaccination offers.

    Economy

    • The Covid-19 Insight Dashboard shows St. Ives, St. Austell and Newquay had the highest furlough take-up rate of 22% as of January 2021, with Truro and Falmouth seeing the greatest increase since December 2020 (to 19%).

    Education

    • 94% of primary school and 89% of secondary school children were having in-person teaching as of 15 March, the highest rate since the start of the pandemic.
    • Households of children attending nurseries, and nursery staff, can now access regular lateral flow tests.

    Environment

    • Forest for Cornwall and Defra have announced a new collaboration, the National Woodland Creation Partnership pilot, which aims to improve regional tree planting. 

    Equality and diversity

    • Research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation highlights the experiences of low-income families in the first six months of the pandemic, making recommendations on jobs, social security, housing, the digital divide, and access to information and support.  

    Housing

    • The Covid-19 Insight Dashboard shows that the average house price in Cornwall is around £11,000 higher than the UK average, with prices increasing by 11.5% since December 2019, compared to 7.1% for the UK. Pressures on the local housing market as a result of the pandemic are likely to be seen in some areas as demand exceeds supply.

    Transport 

    • Highways England has issued a call for smaller, local companies to participate in its Chiverton to Carland Cross upgrade, which will see 9 miles of dualling on the A30. So far, 65 businesses have expressed an interest, 60% of them from Cornwall.

    Consultations

    • The Home Office has reopened a consultation on crimes considered as violence against women and girls. This will inform the Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy. Deadline 26 March 2021.
    • The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is seeking views on possible changes to the bovine tuberculosis policy. Deadline 21 April 2021.        
    • The Treasury is consulting on raising the minimum pension age from 55 to 57 in 2028 and seeking views on the proposed protection regime. Deadline 22 April 2021.
    • The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is seeking views on changes to the “Flood Re” scheme. Deadline 26 April 2021.
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  • Policy and Intelligence Newsletter - 16 March, 2021

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    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 15 March. 

    Covid-19

    • As of 14 March, a total of 13,818 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have tested positive for Covid-19. A total of 461 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.)
    • New analysis of rapid lateral flow tests shows fewer than 1 in 1,000 tests give a false positive.
    • Homeless people and rough sleepers will now be included in vaccine priority group six, as they are more likely to have undiagnosed conditions and lack regular healthcare access. 
    • A cross-party Parliamentary committee has criticised the Government for failing to adequately explain data used to support crucial decisions during the pandemic.

    Census

    • Cornwall Council has launched the Let’s Tell Them We’re Cornish/Leveryn Dhedha Agan Bos Kernowyon campaign to encourage everyone who identifies as Cornish to say so on the 2021 Census. Respondents can tick the box marked ‘other’ under the nationality, ethnicity and language questions and then write ‘Cornish’.

    Economy

    • Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the UK’s GDP shrank by 2.9% in January following lockdown measures, 9% below GDP levels in February 2020.

    Elections

    • 25% of the population are reportedly less likely to vote at a polling station due to the pandemic, and 73% would like voting in May’s elections to be made easier, according to a survey by the National Education Union and campaigning group Hope Not Hate.

    Environment

    • Cornwall Council has been awarded nearly £300,000 from the Woodland Trust to contribute to Forest for Cornwall’s aim of planting 8,000 hectares of woodland in the coming years. Cornwall is one of eleven local authorities to benefit from the Emergency Tree Fund.
    • Drilling for a 3-mile geothermal well at the Eden Project, as the first step to providing  renewable energy, will reportedly begin in mid-May, following delays caused by the pandemic. Funded by Cornwall Council, the European Regional Development Fund and an institutional investor, the project aims to remove Eden’s carbon footprint by 2023.

    Equality and diversity

    • Social Mobility Foundation research shows 56% of the public believe the pandemic has increased social inequality.
    • ONS analysis shows women’s well-being was more negatively impacted during the first year of the pandemic than that of men. Women were more likely to be furloughed, work from home much less and spend more time on unpaid domestic work than men.
    • An Institute for Government and Social Security Advisory Committee joint report on lessons learned from the pandemic has recommended that changes are made to Universal Credit and re-training, with a wider reassessment of the aims of the benefits system. 
    • The Traveller Movement’s new report examines access to education for members of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. Recommendations cover educational provision at 14-16 years, vocational qualifications, traineeships and apprenticeships, A-levels and ethnicity-based bullying.

    Housing

    • The current ban on bailiff enforced evictions has been extended again, until 31 May. Landlords will continue to be required to give 6 months’ notice to tenants before starting possession proceedings, until the same date.

    Local authorities 

    • The National Audit Office has found that, despite making a “major contribution to the national response to the pandemic”, local authorities’ financial positions are a “cause for concern”, with budgets balanced by making cuts to services and using reserves.

    Consultations

    • The Environment Agency has completed its preliminary generic assessment of the environmental aspects of General Nuclear System Limited’s UK Hualong pressurised (water) reactor (UK HPR1000) and wants your views on this assessment. Deadline 04 April 2021.
    • The Ministry of Justice is consulting on the proposal to transfer most assessments of civil and family legal aid bills of costs, from HM Courts and Tribunals Service to the Legal Aid Agency. Deadline 10 April 2021.
    • The Department of Health and Social Care wants your views on reforms to the Mental Health Act to make decisions about care more patient-centred. Deadline 21 April 2021.      
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  • Policy and Intelligence Newsletter - 9 March, 2021

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    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 8 March. 

    Covid-19

    • As of 7 March, a total of 13,724 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have tested positive for Covid-19. A total of 458 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.) 
    • PHE monitoring shows South West Covid-19 case rates per 100,000 continue to be the lowest in the country, at a rate of 43.2

    Devolution

    • A cross-party group of MPs has been holding an inquiry into central government’s role in making English devolution a success, and will be launching their report today (Tuesday 9) via a free webinar.

    Democracy

    • LGA research on public definitions of “local” and attitudes to civic participation following Covid-19 has found that many people lack information about how to participate in change. Some do not trust local authorities, believing that any participation may not yield results.

    Economy

    • The Government's 2021 Budget was published on Wednesday. A special edition of this newsletter, available on our website, sets out the main points.
    • Analysis by The Observer reportedly shows that the 45 places given £1bn from the Towns Fund are in local authority areas which have experienced over £2.4bn worth of cuts since 2010.
    • Nearly two thirds of self-employed workers are worse off due to the pandemic, even when Government support is considered, according to new research from the LSE.
    • As of January, a total of 49,592 people were claiming Universal Credit in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, the highest since the beginning of the pandemic and an increase of 115.7% compared to January 2020. For more details, see Cornwall Council’s Covid-19 Insights Dashboard.

    Education

    • New PHE guidance (not legislation) recommends that face coverings are worn in the classroom by pupils in Year 7 and above, as well as staff teaching those age groups. Primary school staff are advised to wear face coverings when physical distancing between adults is not possible.
    • PHE research reportedly shows that school staff are at no greater risk of being infected with Covid-19 than other working-age adults.
    • An extra 350 mental health support teams in schools and colleges will be in place by 2023, helping 3 million children. Expanded community mental health services will support 22,500 more children by 2022.

    Environment

    • report by the Social Market Foundation suggests that the UK is unlikely to reach its target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 without equitable access to electric vehicle charging points. 35% of renters surveyed said it was impossible to install a charging point in their homes compared to 17% of homeowners.

    Equality and diversity

    • The Government has responded to the Women and Equalities Committee’s report, “Unequal Impact? Coronavirus and BAME people”, highlighting the creation of a new Equality Hub which brings together units working on disability policy, gender, LGBT rights, equality legislation, ethnic disparities and social mobility. 

    Transport

    • In January and February 2021, Cornwall's commuter volume was at around 45% of pre-pandemic levels, as shown in Cornwall Council’s Covid-19 Insights Dashboard. The number of people working on site rather than at home in the same period is higher than in April 2020.

    Consultations 

    • The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs want to know what you think about the plan to prohibit the release of common pheasants and red-legged partridges on European Protected Sites. Deadline 15 March 2021
    • The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is calling for evidence in their review of the Gambling Act 2005. Deadline 31 March 2021.
    • The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy invites views on the design of a new UK-wide trade subsidy control regime. Deadline 31 March 2021.
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  • Policy and Intelligence Newsletter - Budget 2021 Special Edition

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    Budget 2021 Special Edition 

    03 March 2021

    As an attempt “to level with people over Britain’s public finances”, today’s “Budget for Recovery” has set out the first steps towards reducing the biggest peacetime deficit in Britain’s history. Forecasts show the UK Government has borrowed £355bn this year; next year this is expected to be £234bn. Measures to reduce the gap between Government tax income and spending include an income tax freeze and a higher corporation tax from 2023.

    Previously the LGA estimated that a further £2.6bn was needed to cover Council cost pressures and non-tax income losses of 2020/21 in full. Under the new Budget, local authorities are expected to receive over £3bn of further support to address Covid-19 pressures. Local authorities will be "fully compensated" for income loss due to the extension of the 100% business rates relief programme, as well as receiving new burdens funding for administrative and IT costs. No additional local election funding was mentioned in the Budget and there will be no extension to the Hardship Fund, which enabled local authorities to provide an additional discount to Council Tax bills. 18% of Cornish Households have received council tax support.

    The pandemic has exposed the challenges facing our adult social care system, and the need for long-term reform. The budget does not address funding for adult or children’s social care specifically, and also omits preventative programmes.

    The Chancellor was expected to use the Budget to insist the Government has not lost sight of its election promise to ‘level up’ the UK. Cornwall receiving ‘priority 2’ status under the new levelling up fund indicates this Government does not consider Cornwall an area “most in need of levelling up in England”. The prioritisation is based on a combination of metrics including need for economic recovery and growth, need for improved transport connectivity and need for regeneration. Cornwall is identified as a priority for the UK Community Renewal Fund. All other opportunities for Cornwall are through competitive bids.

    With the Cornish economy still at a standstill and the impact of Brexit being felt, the extension of furlough until the end of September, an extension of the self-employment income support scheme, and extra funding announced for the hospitality and cultural sectors will provide vital support for Cornish businesses.

    Cornwall has seen a 114% increase in Universal Credit claimants since November 2019. The weekly £20 universal credit uplift until September will be a welcome respite. However, anticipating a further rise in unemployment when furlough does end, the Budget already includes a new flexi-apprenticeship scheme to allow people to work for more than one employer; cash incentives for firms taking on apprentices; and an extra £126m of funding for traineeships, funding 40,000 placements. 

    To underline the importance the UK places on reducing carbon emissions ahead of the G7 and COP26, the Budget includes details on the UK’s first ‘green gilt’ and funding opportunities to promote renewable energy production. Fuel duty will, however, be frozen for the 11th consecutive year.  

    Details on a new Spending Review later this year are to follow. The Budget did not include any further detail on a business rates review or the Fair Funding Review.

    Personal finances 

    On income tax, the threshold for paying the basic rate will rise to £12,570 next year. For higher-rate payers, the threshold will be £50,270. Both rates will stay the same until 2026.

    The National Living Wage will rise to £8.91 from April. 

    National Insurance rates will remain unchanged.

    The Lifetime Allowance will be maintained at its current level of £1,073,100 until April 2026.

    The adult ISA annual subscription limit for 2021-22 will remain unchanged at £20,000.

    Top up for universal credit (UC)

    The weekly £20 universal credit uplift will continue until September. 

    • The number of households in claiming UC in Cornwall has increased by 114%, and 400% in Isles of Scilly since November 2019 (StatXplore, 2020). 

    Stamp duty and mortgage guarantee scheme

    The Chancellor announced that the up-to-£500,000 "nil-rate band" for stamp duty will finish at the end of June, rather than the end of March. 

    The Budget also contains a mortgage guarantee scheme to help people with small deposits get on the property ladder, with incentives for lenders to offer more 95% loans.

    Covid-19 Recovery

    The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) expects the economy to be 3% smaller in 5 years’ time than it would have been without the pandemic. OBR projections see the economy growing by 4% this year, 7.3% in 2022 and 1.7%, 1.6% and 1.7% in subsequent years.

    Business 

    The total Covid-19 support package in 2021-2 will be worth £352bn.

    The furlough scheme will be extended until the end of September, at an 80% rate until the scheme ends. Firms will be asked to contribute 10% in July and 20% in August and September.

    • CIOS remains the third highest upper tier authority in furlough take-up rate at 19%, closely following Torbay UA and the Isle of Wight UA (HMRC, 2020) 

    There will be a £5bn restart grant scheme for businesses in the retail, hospitality, accommodation, leisure and personal care sectors. Grants of up to £6,000 will be available to non-essential retail that will be allowed to reopen from mid-April, while grants of up to £18,000 will be available to hospitality businesses that reopen later. 

    • In Cornwall, 6,615 businesses (27% of all local businesses) and 80 businesses (41%) in the Isles of Scilly could be applicable for these grants (ONS, 2020).

    The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will be extended for 4th (February-April) and 5th rounds (July-September), worth 80% of average trading profits, up to £7,500. The scheme has been expanded to include people who became self-employed in FY 2019-20, if a tax return had been filed by midnight on 2 March: this could benefit 600,000 people. 

    • Cornish residents have claimed £66.3m from the SEISS, as of January 2021 and £0.5m by IOS based residents. This grant would support 63,400 self-employed residents in Cornwall (Nomis, 2020b). 

    The Bounceback Loan Scheme and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Schemes will end, replaced with a new loan scheme to run until the end of the year. Businesses can apply for loans of £25,000-£10m, with a Government guarantee to lenders of 80%.

    The 100% business rates relief scheme for eligible hospitality, retail and leisure businesses will continue until the end of June, followed by a 66% discount until the end of the year. 750,000 businesses nationally are likely to benefit. 

    There will be an extension of the temporary VAT reduction from 20% to 5% for the hospitality sector until the end of September, then a 12.5% interim rate for next 6 months. VAT in general will not be increased.

    Corporation tax will rise to 25% from April 2023. A new small profits rate (at the current level of 19%) will be created for businesses making below £50,000 profit. A tapered rate will apply between £50,000-£250,000, meaning only 10% of firms will pay the full 25% rate. Our working assumption is that this rise is unlikely to affect many Cornish businesses, which are typically small or micro in size.

    A “super deduction” for 2 years, worth an estimated £25bn, will allow companies to reduce their tax bill by 130% of the value of their investment when they invest in their own businesses.

    Local authorities will distribute £425m in additional discretionary business grant funding, part of the £5bn Restart scheme.

    The Help to Grow Scheme will subsidise (at 90%) a 12-week national curriculum delivered by business schools for 30,000 small and medium-sized enterprises over 3 years. 100,000 small and medium-sized enterprises will receive a voucher for 50% of approved productivity-enhancing software costs, up to £5,000.

    There will be an extension to the programme which allows small and medium-sized businesses to claim back up to two weeks of eligible Statutory Sick Pay per employee from the Government.

    Culture, sport, leisure and tourism

    A £300m extension to the Culture Recovery Fund will support theatres, museums and galleries, including an extension of the Film and TV Restart Scheme. A £90m scheme will support Government-sponsored national museums in England. 

    • A Cornwall Council Cabinet report shows that 80% of respondents to a Creative Kernow survey said they had suffered direct financial losses, totalling £4.07m. 23.6% of respondents were not eligible for any Government support (Creative Kernow, 2020).

    A £300m sport recovery fund will support major spectator sports, including £2.8m for a bid for the 2030 Men’s football World Cup. £25m will be invested in grassroots sports and £1.2m will mitigate the financial effects of Covid-19 on the UEFA Women’s Euro football competition.

    A new £150m Community Ownership Fund will help grassroots groups take over local pubs, theatres and sports clubs at risk of closure. 

    A £100m National Leisure Recovery Fund will support publicly-owned leisure facilities in England during the pandemic.

    A specific tourism support package would have been welcomed, but was not included in the Budget.

    Apprenticeships 

    There will be greater incentives offered to firms taking on apprentices, doubled to £3,000 for each apprentice. £126m will be available for traineeships in England, funding 40,000 placements. 

    £7m will be provided for a new “flexi-job” apprenticeship programme in England, that will enable apprentices to work with a number of employers in one sector.

    Local Economy

    Duty and tax

    The VAT registration threshold will remain at £85,000 until 2024.

    Corporation tax will rise to 25% from April 2023. A new small profits rate (at the current level of 19%) will be created for businesses making below £50,000 profit. A tapered rate will apply between £50,000-£250,000, meaning only 10% of firms will pay the full 25% rate.

    • The tax rise for large corporations is unlikely to affect many Cornish businesses, which are typically small (10%) or micro (89%) in size (Nomis, 2020b).

    Levelling-up fund

    The Government has published the prospectus for the £4.8bn UK-wide Levelling Up Fund, providing guidance for local areas on how to submit bids for the first round of funding starting in 2021-22.

    Capacity funding will be allocated to local authorities most in need of levelling up in England, as identified in the index published alongside the prospectus. Cornwall has been given a ‘priority 2’ status of 3 levels. Bids from categories 2 and 3 will still be considered for funding on their merits of deliverability, value for money and strategic fit, and could still be successful if they are of exceptionally high quality.

    UKSPF / UK community renewal fund

    The Government has launched the prospectus for the £220m UK Community Renewal Fund alongside the Budget. This will support communities across the UK in 2021-22 to pilot programmes and new approaches as the Government moves away from the EU Structural Funds model and towards the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. Funding will be allocated competitively. The Government has identified 100 priority places, including Cornwall, based on an index of economic resilience to receive capacity funding to help them co-ordinate their applications.

    Freeports 

    Eight new English Freeports will be based in East Midlands Airport, Felixstowe & Harwich, Humber, Liverpool City Region, Plymouth, Solent, Thames and Teesside.

    UK infrastructure bank

    The UK Infrastructure Bank, located in Leeds, will co-invest alongside the private sector in infrastructure projects. It will have an initial capitalisation of £12bn. The bank will replace some of the activities of the European Investment Bank (EIB) but “will provide more targeted support than the EIB and will be better aligned with the UK Government’s objectives.” It is intended to be operational in an interim form from spring 2021.

    Build back better

    Publication of the Government’s ‘Build Back Better: Our Plan for Growth’.

    Net zero carbon economy

    £20m to fund a UK-wide competition to develop floating offshore wind demonstrators and help support the Government’s aim to generate enough electricity from offshore wind to power every home by 2030. 

    The Government will make an offer of support, in principle, to the Able Marine Energy Park on Humberside following the conclusion of the competition to upgrade ports infrastructure for the next generation of offshore wind. The Government will also sign a memorandum of understanding with Teesworks Offshore Manufacturing Centre on Teesside to support the development of another offshore wind port hub.

    £68 million to fund a UK-wide competition to deliver first-of-a-kind long-duration energy storage prototypes that will reduce the cost of net zero by storing excess low carbon energy over longer periods.

    £4m for a biomass feedstocks programme in the UK to identify ways to increase the production of green energy crops and forest products that can be used for energy.

    Plans for at least £15bn of green gilt issuance in the coming financial year, to help finance critical projects to tackle climate change and other environmental challenges, fund important infrastructure investment, and create green jobs across the UK.

    The £375m UK-wide ‘Future Fund: Breakthrough’ will invest in highly innovative companies such as those working in life sciences, quantum computing, or clean tech, that are aiming to raise at least £20m of funding.

    Towns funds

    Over £1bn funding for a further 45 towns in England through the Towns Fund, supporting their long-term economic and social regeneration as well as their immediate recovery from the impacts of Covid-19.

    Migration

    The Chancellor announced an elite points-based visa by March 2022. Within this visa there will be a ’scaleup’ stream, enabling those with a job offer from a recognised UK scale-up to qualify for a fast-track visa.

    Council finances and services 

    Council finances 

    Local authorities in England were given £6.5bn in 2020-21 to respond to the impacts of Covid-19, in addition to £1.6bn awarded in 2019-20. Total support to date is over £8bn. In 2021-22, local authorities are expected to receive over £3bn of further support to address Covid-19 pressures.

    No additional local election funding was mentioned in the Budget.

    No extension to the Hardship Fund, which enabled local authorities to provide an additional discount to Council Tax bills for 3 million working-age people, was announced for the next financial year. 

    • In December 2020, 18% of Cornish Households received council tax support (Cornwall We Know, Jan 2021) 

    Local authorities will be "fully compensated" for income loss due to the extension of the 100% business rates relief programme, as well as receiving new burdens funding for administrative and IT costs.

    Covid-19

    The UK's Covid-19 vaccination rollout will receive an extra £1.65bn to help it reach its target of offering a first dose to every adult by 31 July. 

    • 186,549 people in Cornwall have received a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. 98% of over 80s in the Duchy have received their first dose (Public Health Cornwall, 2021).

    An extra £50m will enhance the UK’s vaccine testing and research capability, provide support for clinical trials and fund acquisition of samples of new variants of Covid-19. The world’s first study into the efficacy of a third dose of vaccine will be supported.

    £500 Test and Trace support payments in England will be paid until the summer.

    The Government has previously announced a further £400m funding in England for the Contain Outbreak Management Fund (COMF) from 1 April, taking total COMF support across 2020-21 and 2021-22 to £2bn. The fund will cover additional public health activities in 2021-22, with more details to follow. 

    An updated Covid-19 contain outbreak management framework for local areas will be published in March, setting out how national and local partners will continue to work with the public at a local level to prevent, contain and manage outbreaks. An enhanced toolkit of measures to address Variants of Concern will be unveiled at this time.

    Supporting the most affected (tackling health inequalities)

    The Government will provide an additional £10m in 2021-22 to the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust, to deliver charitable projects and initiatives across the UK that support veterans with mental health needs, ensuring that veterans can access the services and support that they deserve.   

    The Government will provide an additional £19m towards tackling domestic abuse, including £15m in 2021-22 across England and Wales to increase funding for perpetrator programmes that work with offenders to reduce the risk of abuse continuing, and £4m between 2021-22 and 2022-23 to trial a network of ‘Respite Rooms’ across England to provide specialist support for homeless women facing severe disadvantage. This comes on top of the £125m announced at SR20 for local authorities to deliver the Domestic Abuse Bill’s new statutory duty to support victims.

    The budget includes a lifetime commitment to continue the Thalidomide Health Grant beyond 2022-23 in England when existing funding runs out.

    Following the £1bn education catch-up package announced last year, the government is making available £700m of further funding to help young people in England catch up on lost learning as a result of Covid-19.This new package includes a one-off £300m Recovery Premium for state primary and secondary schools, £200m to expand tutoring programmes and deliver early language support, and £200m for secondary schools to deliver face-to-face summer schools. This funding will help ensure children have the opportunity to make up for lost learning and are able to progress and fulfil their potential.

    Adult and Children’s Social Care is not addressed in the Budget.

    References

    Nomis, 2020a APS (Annual Population Survey)

    HMRC, 2020, COVID Job Retention Scheme (Feb, 2021)

    ONS, 2020 ‘UK Business: Activity, Size, Location’; Table 1

    StatXplore, 2020 ‘Universal Credit by Households, by Local Authority’

    Creative Kernow, 2020 Cornwall's Creative Manifesto 2021-2025

    Cornwall We Know, 2021 ‘COVID Insights Dashboard’

    Public Health Cornwall, 2021 ‘CIOS Weekly Dashboard Summary’

    Nomis, 2020b ‘UK Business Counts (2020)

     

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  • Policy and Intelligence Newsletter - 2 March, 2021

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    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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