The Cornwall We Know
Welcome to The Cornwall We Know, where you will find a variety of intelligence and insight, selected from internal and external sources, to help inform our understanding of Cornwall and the impact that COVID-19 has had on 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 inform our understanding of Cornwall and the impact that COVID-19 has had on our residents and businesses.
The articles below have been drawn together by the policy and analytical community within the Council. Information is correct at the time of writing, 0930 on 22 February.
- As of 21 February, a total of 13,504 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have tested positive for Covid-19. A total of 434 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 set out its “roadmap” for removing lockdown restrictions.
- Every UK adult will reportedly be offered a Covid-19 vaccine by the end of July.
- An extra 1.7 million people with multiple risk factors (including ethnicity) for Covid-19 have now been asked to shield.
- Eligibility for the Seafood Response Fund will be expanded to include fishing businesses facing decreased demand from UK and international hospitality sectors, in addition to businesses experiencing disruption to EU exports.
- Unitary authority capital expenditure per person is 44% higher in urban areas than rural areas, new research commissioned by Britain’s Leading Edge and other organisations shows. 36% more affordable homes per 100,000 people are built in urban places compared to rural ones.
- Resolution Foundation analysis shows that almost 2 million people aged 18-64 have not worked for at least 6 months, either due to full furlough or unemployment.
- The number of destitute UK households rose from 197,400 to 421,500 last year, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research has found. 2-adult households are destitute if they live on £100 or less per week after housing costs.
- The Chancellor will reportedly extend the furlough scheme until the summer, and prolong business rates relief for the retail, hospitality and leisure industries.
Education and children
- From September, the Government will ban vulnerable children under 16 from being housed in unregulated independent or semi-independent placements, intended to help older children develop autonomy before leaving care. Extra investment will be provided for local authorities to create more places in children’s homes.
- 50% of parents who had personally home-schooled said it was negatively affecting their well-being in January 2021, compared to 28% in April 2020, according to the ONS.
- Staff shortages and a lack of available venues could reportedly cause problems in May’s local elections, with some councils asking pandemic volunteers to help at poll stations.
Equality and diversity
- A new Mental Health and Income Commission report has found that people with common mental health problems, like anxiety and depression, earn on average 68% of the typical annual incomes of people without those conditions - a gap of £8,400 a year.
- Resolution Foundation research shows 9% of social renters were behind with housing payments in January 2021, compared to 6% of private renters and 2% of people with a mortgage. 24% of private renters have seen a fall in income since the start of the pandemic, compared to 16% of working-age mortgage holders.
- Museum of Homelessness research has found that deaths of homeless people rose by 37% in 2020 compared to 2019.
Events and workshops
- Cornwall Area of Outstanding National Beauty is hosting a Growing Greener virtual conference on 25 February, giving updates on Environmental Land Management Scheme trials. A Growing Greener interactive workshop on 4 March will enable residents to contribute to the Local Nature Recovery Strategy. Both events are free to attend.
Consultations and campaigns
- The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is seeking views on various aspects of the Clean Heat Grant scheme design. Deadline 05 March 2021.
- The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is consulting on a proposed approach to cluster sequencing for carbon capture, usage and storage. Deadline 10 March 2021.
- The Department for Education is seeking views on the Get Help Buying for Schools service delivery model for schools to buy goods and services. Deadline 11 March 2021.
- The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is inviting feedback on new requirements for organisations wanting to provide or use digital identity products. Deadline 11 March 2021.
- The House of Lords Select Committee on Public Services is calling for evidence as part of its inquiry into The Role of Public Services in Addressing Child Vulnerability. The committee is keen to hear from anyone working directly with children and families, or those with experience of collaboration between public service organisations focused on children. Deadline 19 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, 10am on 15 February.
- As of 14 February, a total of 13,290 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have tested positive for Covid-19. A total of 405 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 reporting shows that, between 1 - 7 February, Covid-19 activity continued to decrease nationally, including reductions in overall case rates and positivity rates.
- More than 15 million people in the UK have now received a first Covid-19 vaccination. Almost 128,000 first doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been given to people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. People over 70 who have not yet been vaccinated against Covid-19 have been encouraged to book an appointment via an online NHS portal, without receiving a letter. Covid-19 vaccine trials for children aged 5+ are reportedly due to begin this week.
- Free PPE will be given to unpaid carers who do not live with the people they care for.
- A new £20 million Brexit Support Fund will help small businesses understand changes to rules governing trade with the EU. Grants of up to £2,000 will be available to pay for practical support.
- Freight flows into and out of Europe from Kent have reportedly returned to February 2020 levels.
- Official figures show that the UK's yearly GDP decreased by 9.9% in 2020, the largest recorded annual fall.
- The Local Government Finance Bill for the next financial year has been debated in Parliament, with contributions from some of Cornwall’s MPs. The Settlement has been confirmed at £51.3 billion, an increase of £2.3 billion on the previous year.
- Research by the Financial Conduct Authority has found that the number of UK adults with low financial resilience increased from 10.7 million to 14.2 million during 2020.
- The Prime Minister has reportedly advised that it is “too early” for people to book summer holidays, domestically or internationally. Some holiday companies have seen a 300% increase in bookings compared to the same time last year.
- The Government has said that schools should not be used as polling stations for the May local elections if alternatives can be found.
- A report examining teacher assessment data from 6,000 primary schools has concluded that Year 1 pupils experienced the greatest drop in their learning during the pandemic. Younger children took longer to catch up when they returned to in-person teaching.
- 81 professional development hubs for teachers across the UK are to open later this year.
- The Rural Services Network (RSN) has responded to the Government’s recent Skills for Jobs White Paper, which proposes reforms to post-16 technical education. The RSN highlights that rural requirements and land-based colleges are not mentioned.
- A new £10 million Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund will provide grants of up to £100,000 to help charities, local authorities and businesses develop nature projects in England to attract private investment.
Equality and diversity
- ONS data shows almost 60% of people who died from Covid-19 in 2020 were disabled, despite comprising just over 17% of the study population. The risk of death tripled for people with severe disabilities.
- New analysis by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows one third of UK households with children under 5 live in poverty. 56% of lone parent families with young children are poor.
- A Parliamentary Select Committee has found that the pandemic has had an unequal economic effect on men and women due to existing inequalities; over-representation of women in some job fields and the Government overlooking caring inequalities that disproportionally fall on women.
Health and care
- The Government has published a White Paper on Health and Care, setting out proposals to reorganise the NHS. Planned changes include a legal duty for the NHS and local authorities to collaborate and an end to the requirement for NHS contracts to be tendered.
- A report by the County Councils Network has found that tens of thousands of adults with care and support needs could live more independently if social care continues to be delivered by councils, rather than the NHS or central government.
- Starting later in 2021, councils will have a duty to ensure survivors of domestic abuse and their children can access support in safe accommodation. £125 million Government funding will be provided.
- The current ban on bailiff evictions has been extended until 31 March. Landlords are still required to give 6 months’ notice to tenants before starting possession proceedings.
- The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is seeking views on potential measures to eradicate bovine tuberculosis in England. Deadline 24 March 2021.
- The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is consulting on draft revisions to the National Planning Policy Framework, implementing the recommendations of the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission. Deadline 27 March 2021.
- The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is seeking evidence on how to take local factors into account in the Government’s flood and coastal defence investment programme. Deadline 29 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, 0930 on 8 February.
- As of 7 February, a total of 12,904 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have tested positive for Covid-19. A total of 360 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.)
- In the week to 27 January, nearly 83% of in-person Covid-19 test results were received within 24 hours, the highest rate since July 2020.
- PHE reporting shows that, between 25 - 31 January, Covid-19 activity decreased nationally, including reductions in overall case rates and positivity rates. Covid-19 cases are falling much more slowly in the UK's poorest regions, according to figures reportedly verified by the House of Commons Library.
- 1 in 7 people in England would have tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies in the 28 days up to 18 January 2021, according to ONS analysis.
- Deaths involving Covid-19 accounted for 46.6% of all deaths in care homes in the week to 22 January, the highest proportion of such deaths since the start of the pandemic.
- The UK is on target to offer all over-50s and clinically vulnerable people a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine by May.
- Early results from a new study show that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine offers only limited protection from mild to moderate disease against the South African Covid-19 variant. No participants in the 2,000-strong trial were hospitalised or died, but it is not yet known how well the vaccine works against severe disease, since the subjects were young and healthy. Developers are likely to have a version of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine which protects against this variant by the autumn. Ministers say that the vaccines being used in the UK at the moment seem to work well against the dominant strains of Covid-19 currently in the country.
- A new partnership between the Government and vaccine manufacturer CureVac has been formed to rapidly respond to emerging Covid-19 variants, with 50 million additional vaccine doses to be provided if needed. An extra 40 million doses of the Valneva vaccine have been purchased, and will be manufactured in Scotland if regulatory approval is given.
- From 15 February, anyone coming to the UK from a country on the Government’s travel ban list will be subject to a 10-day mandatory “hotel quarantine”. Quarantine will have to take place in a Government-approved hotel and will be at travellers’ own expense.
- The Government has confirmed that May’s local elections will go ahead, with the Cabinet Office publishing a delivery plan. £92 million of Government grant funding will support making local elections Covid-19 secure. Masks will be compulsory, and voters will be asked to bring their own pen or pencil.
- Cornwall is one of 22 areas to have successfully bid for Government funding to support projects which involve a county-wide approach to developing or improving local heritage lists. Detailed proposals will now be worked up for approval, with funding paid via Cornwall Council through a section 31 grant.
- The Bank of England has forecast that the UK economy will strongly rebound in spring 2021 due to the Covid-19 vaccine programme, although the economy is likely to shrink by over 4% in the first quarter of the year.
- The Institute for Fiscal Studies has warned that local authorities face a £1.3 billion shortfall in expected council tax revenues in the current financial year, although Government grants will make up 75% of the deficit. Council tax revenues have not been affected equally around England throughout the pandemic: revenues in the most deprived fifth of local authority areas fell by 1.2% in the first half of 2020 - 21, but grew by 2.4% in the least deprived fifth.
- The Chancellor has announced that businesses will be given an additional 6-month extension on repaying Government support loans issued during the pandemic. Businesses now have a total of 18 months before repayments must start and can opt for a 10-year repayment term rather than the original 6 years.
Education and children
- The Education Secretary is reportedly to announce that universities will have a phased return to in-person teaching from 8 March. Ofsted has said that it will continue to carry out inspections remotely until at least March 8.
- An Education Recovery Commissioner has been appointed to oversee a comprehensive catch-up programme for children who have missed out on learning during the pandemic.
- A Department for Education survey shows 6% of local authorities have more than 10% of social workers unavailable due to Covid-19, lower than the peak of 13% in May 2020. The total number of children who started to be looked after since May 2020 is 28% lower than the same period in 2016 - 19, suggesting that there may be under-reporting of vulnerable children.
- PHE data shows a decline in childhood vaccinations. MMR vaccination counts were 8% lower at the end of January 2021 than in the same period in 2019. PHE warn that there may be further impact on primary immunisations as the pandemic continues.
- Funding for the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS) - which provides facilities for people without private parking to reliably charge their electric vehicles - will continue into 2021/22. The Transport Secretary has written to councils encouraging them to apply to the £20 million fund, including those who have already successfully bid for support.
- Less than 5% of the Government’s £1.5 billion Green Homes Grant Scheme has been paid out, after 5 months of the programme’s operation: the fund is due to close in March 2022. It aims to encourage the replacement of fossil fuel sources with renewable alternatives, as well as improving energy efficiency, in 600,000 homes, with grants of up to £10,000 available.
- Some of the most polluting businesses in the country – such as steel, pharmaceuticals, food and drink – will be able to apply for a share of £40 million Government funding to help cut their carbon emissions and reduce energy bills. The money could contribute to replacing gas with hydrogen fuel or using heat recovery technology to generate electricity.
- A new Resolution Foundation study suggests that the Government will not meet its target of ensuring that 300,000 homes a year are built by the middle of the decade. Slightly fewer than 96,000 homes were constructed in the first three quarters of 2020, with the pandemic having a significant impact on housing supply.
- The Office of Rail and Road is asking for comments on the proposed guidance document Principles for Managing Level Crossing Safety, which sets out safe level crossing practices. Deadline 25 February 2021.
- The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is consulting on a proposed cost recovery scheme to fund the new UK domestic nuclear safeguards regulatory regime from April 2022. Deadline 09 March 2021.
- The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is also seeking views on a new Supply Chain Plan questionnaire as part of the application process for low carbon electricity producers to enter a Contract for Difference allocation round. Deadline 11 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, 10am on 1 February.
- As of 31 January, a total of 12,408 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have tested positive for Covid-19. A total of 323 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.)
- The number of deaths recorded as associated with Covid-19 in the UK has now exceeded 100,000.
- The most recent Government Statistics on NHS Test and Trace (14 - 21 January) show that the number of people testing positive for Covid-19 decreased by 17% compared to the previous week. However, in the most recent week, twice as many people tested positive compared to the start of December. Turnaround times for in-person swab tests under Pillar 2 (for the general population) have substantially improved in comparison to the previous week, and are shorter than they were at the beginning of December. 71% of in-person test results were received the following day, compared to 54% in the previous week. 7% of the close contacts of people who have tested positive for Covid-19 were not reached by NHS contact tracers, the same as the previous week.
- New measures relating to international travel have been announced, with anyone wishing to travel out of the UK having to declare a valid reason for doing so. Reasons will be checked, and travelers may be sent home and fined if invalid reasons are given. A review of travel exemptions is currently underway. People arriving in the UK from countries subject to the travel ban, who have a right to enter the country (such as citizens or permanent residents), will have to quarantine in “isolation hotels” for 10 days. Travel corridors are currently temporarily closed and anyone coming to the UK must have had a negative Covid-19 test in the previous 72 hours.
- UK trials of a new Covid-19 vaccine, from US company Novavax, have shown 89% efficacy. The UK has bought 60m doses, to be manufactured in Teesside. MHRA approval will now be sought.
- On February 2, the Leader of Cornwall Council, Cllr Julian German, will give evidence to the House of Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee as part of their inquiry into The Evolution of Devolution: English Devolution. A transcript of the evidence session will be published subsequently.
- West Yorkshire’s £1 billion devolution deal has now been signed into law. A mayor and Mayoral Combined Authority will be created, overseeing new powers relating to transport, housing, regeneration and adult education.
- The University of Exeter's Environment and Sustainability Institute is hosting an online event titled "Banking on a Just Transition: Why Small is Beautiful and Money is Mutual". The CEO of South West Mutual, Tony Greenham, will ask what kind of bank is best suited to facilitate a socially just transition to a net zero society. Discussion points will include why money is a social relationship, not a commodity, and why smaller banks can serve the parts of the economy that big banks cannot reach. South West Mutual is seeking to establish the region’s first purpose-led mutual bank. Thursday 4 February 1 - 2 pm, registration is free.
- The unemployment rate during September - November 2020 was 5%, 1.2 percentage points higher than a year earlier and 0.6 percentage points higher than the previous quarter, according to the Office for National Statistics. In the three months to November 2020, the redundancy rate reached 14.2 per thousand, a record high.
- Provisional Job Retention Scheme figures for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly show that 33,300 employments were furloughed as of 31 December, representing 15% of eligible employments. This is proportionally higher than in the UK as a whole, where just over 3.8 million employments were furloughed as of 31 December, representing 13% of eligible employments.
- Provisional Self-Employment Income Support Scheme figures for Cornwall show that 20,500 claims were made up to 31 December, representing a 51% take-up rate. This is proportionally lower than in the UK as a whole, where just over 1.9 million claims were made, comprising a total take-up rate of 57% of the eligible population.
- HM Revenue and Customs figures on the Eat Out to Help Out scheme for Cornwall show that 863 restaurants made claims for a total of nearly 1.9 million meals. This is the second-highest total number of meals claimed by a Local Authority area in the UK, behind Birmingham. Cornish restaurants claimed just under £10.7 million, an average of £12,300 per outlet. The average discount per meal was £5.66. These figures only apply to businesses with 25 or fewer participating outlets nationally, which served 107 million meals of the 162 million meals claimed by restaurant chains of all sizes.
- A call has been issued for projects providing research and innovation support in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. £3 million of funding, with a minimum value of £500,000, is available from the European Regional Development Fund. The deadline for outline applications is 8 February 2021.
- The Prime Minister has announced that the Government hopes to begin allowing in-person teaching from 8 March. Current arrangements for free school meals will be extended for eligible pupils until they are able to return to classrooms. £300 million of new funding will be provided to schools to help with tutoring, with the Government planning to develop a summer schools programme.
- Key findings from the State of Nature: Cornwall 2020 report have been released, ahead of the full report’s launch in early spring: they show that much of our local wildlife is in decline. The report, resulting from a collaboration between Cornwall Council’s Environmental Growth Team, Cornwall Wildlife Trust and the University of Exeter, is based on huge volumes of local species and habitat data collected largely by volunteer ‘citizen scientists. Nearly half of terrestrial mammals are found in fewer places in Cornwall than in 1980 and nearly half of our breeding birds are in decline. Whilst the report paints a generally gloomy picture, it does include some good news, detailing where concentrated conservation efforts have brought species back from the brink of local extinction. These findings are key to Cornwall’s Local Nature Recovery pilot, one of only five national pilots testing a new approach for nature, as set out in the Environment Bill. You can have your say on what is needed for nature’s recovery by completing the Nature Recovery Plan survey before 14 February 2021.
Equality and diversity
- Citizens Advice has warned that one in six households are finding it hard to afford broadband during UK lockdowns, effectively shutting people out of access to online services such as applications for support. The organisation is calling on the Government to force broadband providers to offer affordable tariffs: currently, just 3 out of the 13 biggest providers offer affordable tariffs for people on low-income benefits.
- The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick MP, has announced plans for local communities to be given the authority to set design standards for every new development. Builders and developers will be required to ensure properties are in keeping with the character of the surrounding area, and planning applications which do not meet these criteria can be automatically rejected. A new Office for Place will support the implementation of a national design code, to be followed by councils when considering planning proposals.
Consultations and campaigns
- The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is calling for evidence on how the exemptions from the requirement for an electricity licence currently operate, and whether changes to the regime are needed to reflect Government aims and objectives. Deadline 01 March 2021.
- The Family Procedure Rule Committee is seeking views on proposed amendments to Part 6 (Service) and new rules in Part 7 (Procedure for Applications in Matrimonial and Civil Partnership Proceedings) of the Family Procedure Rules 2010. Deadline 02 March 2021.
- HM Treasury is seeking stakeholder views on the Government’s assessment of the VAT challenges created by the Sharing Economy, where businesses and individuals connect with customers directly through digital platforms. Deadline 03 March 2021.
- The Department for Education is seeking views on proposed changes to the statutory guidance on Keeping Children Safe In Education with a view to making changes for September 2021. Deadline 04 March 2021.
- HM Revenue and Customs is seeking opinions on the potential design of the Making Tax Digital system for incorporated businesses and other organisations within the charge to Corporation Tax. Deadline 05 March 2021.
- The Cabinet Office Disability Unit is seeking the views and experiences of people with disabilities, as well as carers and parents, or anyone with an interest in disability issues. Opinions will feed into the development of a new National Strategy for Disabled People, planned to be launched in Spring 2021. If you are unable to complete the survey yourself or need alternative formats, information to support this is available. Deadline 23 April 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, 11 am on 25 January.
- As of 24 January, a total of 11,477 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have tested positive for Covid-19. A total of 270 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.)
- The most recent Government Statistics on NHS England Test and Trace (7 - 13 January) show that positive Covid-19 test results decreased by 15% compared to the previous week, the first fall since the start of December. Turnaround times for in-person swab tests under Pillar 2 (for the general population) have improved in comparison to the previous week, but are still longer than they were at the beginning of December. 53.7% of in-person test results are now received within 24 hours, compared to 31.5% in the previous week. 7% of the close contacts of people who have tested positive for Covid-19 were not reached by NHS contact tracers, following substantial changes to the way that contacts in the same household are counted - as detailed in previous newsletters.
- The Department of Health and Social Care, Imperial College London and market research firm Ipsos MORI have published interim findings from the eighth REACT report examining the levels of Covid-19 infection in the general population. More than 142,900 volunteers were tested in England from 6 to 15 January. The findings show Covid-19 infections increased by 50% from early December, with 1 in 63 people infected.
- The Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, has warned that the new UK variant of Covid-19 is transmitting between 30% and 70% more easily than the initial strain, and may be as much as 30% more deadly. A new national advertising campaign has been launched urging people to stay at home.
- At the time of writing, more than 6.3 million people in the UK have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. The Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, has emphasised the importance of continuing to follow Covid-19 physical distancing guidelines, even after vaccination, as the effects of the vaccines on transmission rates are not yet known. In a recent statement, he highlighted that 25% of hospital admissions for Covid-19 are for people under 55.
- People in high-risk minority ethnic groups should be prioritised for coronavirus immunisations, alongside a targeted publicity campaign, say public health experts and MPs, amid growing concerns about vaccine scepticism. The Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has also raised concerns, after research from the latest annual UK Household Longitudinal Study suggested up to 72% of Black people were unlikely or very unlikely to have the jab.
- A Local Government Information Unit survey of English local authorities has found that more than two thirds of respondents suggest it would be more achievable to hold local elections in autumn, rather than May, as currently scheduled. 11% believe elections should take place as planned, with 14% preferring a summer poll. 66% of respondents were "very concerned" about elections taking place as planned, highlighting problems with making polling places Covid-19 secure, as well as recruiting and training workers.
- The Resolution Foundation’s third Living Standards Outlook assesses how the hoped-for post-pandemic economic recovery might translate into a recovery for living standards. The analysis focuses on working-age households, projecting household disposable income for different economic groups. The report suggests that the outlook for equitable living standards looks difficult, due to factors such as the planned withdrawal of additions to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credits; an expected increase in unemployment in 2021-22; stalled income growth following EU Exit and the financial crisis. The impact for those on lower incomes and those living in or close to poverty is likely to be particularly hard. The Foundation predicts that a further 1.2 million people, including 400,000 children, will fall into relative poverty, with 23% of the UK population living in relative poverty by 2024-25.
- A new report by the Centre for Cities think-tank has found that that the Covid-19 pandemic could make the Government’s levelling-up plans four times as difficult for some parts of the country, with a risk that the South will be levelled-down. Levelling-up is now contingent on 634,000 people outside London and the South East finding secure and well-paying jobs, compared to 170,000 in March 2020. The think-tank suggests making the temporary £20 Universal Credit boost permanent, and re-introducing the Eat Out to Help Out scheme when safe to do so.
Education and early years provision
- The Education Secretary will reportedly announce soon that children will not return to in-person teaching next month as planned, with education leaders expecting a mid-April or May return.
- A new £7.6m Health and Well-Being Fund, set up by the Department of Health and Social Care, will support projects aiming to reduce health inequalities experienced by new mothers and babies. The Fund's focus is on deprived areas and mothers in Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic communities. Trelya in Penzance is one of 19 projects to receive an award, which will help the early intervention charity expand to include specialist provision for children under 2.5 years old and pregnant women.
- The Insolvency Service is consulting on changes to the monetary eligibility criteria for Debt Relief Orders (DRO) for the most vulnerable with relatively low levels of unmanageable debt and no means with which to pay their creditors. At the end of the DRO period (usually 12 months) the debts included within the order are written off. Deadline 25 February 2021.
- The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is seeking views on bringing forward the deadline for phasing out unabated coal-fired generation in Great Britain to 1 October 2024. Deadline 26 February 2021.
- The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is seeking views on the proposal to allow low-income workers who are not able to secure the number of hours they would like from their current employer to seek additional work elsewhere. Deadline 26 February 2021.
- The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and HM Treasury are seeking evidence on greenhouse gas removal methods, and views on policy mechanisms that could incentivise and facilitate their development and deployment. Deadline 26 February 2021.
- The Department of Health and Social Care is asking for opinions on whether the temporary measure allowing both pills for an early medical abortion to be taken at home should be made permanent. Deadline 26 February 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, 11am on 18 January.
The Carbis Bay estate in Cornwall will be hosting the G7 Summit between the 11th and 13th of June 2021. The leaders of the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the USA and the EU will be joined by the by the leaders of Australia, India and South Korea to discuss plans for international economic recovery. International delegates will also be staying at the Tregenna Castle Resort and other locations in neighbouring St Ives and around Cornwall. Cornwall Airport Newquay and the National Maritime Museum Cornwall in Falmouth will play an official role in the Summit, with Falmouth hosting UK and international media. Julian German, leader of Cornwall Council said the Summit is an opportunity to show the "crucial role" that rural areas like Cornwall will play in the decarbonised, digitised world of tomorrow. Visit Cornwall estimates the total economic impact for the region will be £50 million.
· The case rate in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly remains below the national average and fell by 14.8% in the seven days to January 12 with 1703 people returning a positive test during this period. The positive test rate in Cornwall is 0.2% (297.8 per 100,000).
· From 4am today (18 January 2021), all UK travel corridors are closed to people without a legally permitted reason to travel. Any travellers returning to the UK must self-isolate after arriving in the UK, even with a negative test. Tests are required three days before travel.
· The Times reports that people over 70 years of age will begin receiving letters today (Monday 18 January 2021) inviting them to arrange their coronavirus jab appointments. It is expected that more than 5.5 million people will be eligible, joining the four million over-80s, care home residents and health service and social care staff that have already been vaccinated.
· The Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust is contributing to the National COVID-19 Chest Imaging Database (NCCID) which is combining over 40,000 CT scans, MRIs and X-rays from more than 10,000 patients across the UK to create a database that can speed up diagnosis of COVID-19, a quicker treatment plan and a greater understanding of whether the patient may end up in a critical condition.
· As of Thursday 14 January 2021, 35 confirmed and 12 probable cases of the South African variant of SARS-CoV-2 variant have been identified in the UK. There have also been eight confirmed cases of Brazilian variants of the virus identified in the UK. The spread and significance of these variations remains under investigation.
· The Minister for COVID Vaccine Deployment Nadhim Zahawi has said councils will have the granular vaccine take up data they need to understand how successful the vaccine rollout has been in their areas. Mr Zahawi is understood to have made a commitment that directors of public health will have the data they need to tailor efforts to reach those who have not yet taken up the offer of a vaccine, but no date has been given for sharing local or middle layer super output area data, which public health directors have been calling for.
· The Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak will chair a new Cabinet committee to identify EU-derived regulations that restrict business freedoms in the UK. The prime minister will meet with 30 senior business leaders today (Monday 21 January) to discuss regulatory freedoms and reforming EU rules, in a plan to turn the UK into the “Singapore of Europe” the Times reports.
· Devolution is to be part of one of five strands in a new curriculum being developed to overhaul training for civil servants improve Civil Service skills and expertise the Cabinet Office has announced.
· The budget deficit continues to rise very sharply with the pace of government borrowing picking up again in November 2020 to reach £32 billion, the highest monthly total since May. Year-to-date borrowing now stands at £241 billion, far exceeding the pre-virus annual record set at the peak of the financial crisis (£158 billion).The Office for Budget Responsibility’s November forecast reports the government response to the coronavirus has caused the UK economy to shrink by 11% in 2020, the deepest recession in over 300 years. The government will borrow almost £400 billion this year, generating the highest budget deficit since 1944 and generating public debt in excess of 100% of GDP for the first time since 1960. The Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Economic Update speech on 11 January 2021 reported the loss of over 800,000 jobs since February 2020 with the economy now 6.7% smaller than it was before the Covid crisis.
· The government intends to legislate to expand the Dormant Assets Scheme to include over £800 million in additional unclaimed assets from the insurance and pensions, investment and wealth management, and securities sectors for social and environmental causes.
· The bidding process for providers on Tier 1 of the Department for Work and Pensions’ Commercial Agreement for Employment and Health Related Services framework (CAEHRS) for contracts under the new Restart scheme has commenced. The scheme will give Universal Credit claimants who have been out of work for at least 12 months individually tailored support to find jobs in their local area. Bidders in Cornwall will need to show how they will tailor their offer to local conditions in the South West Contract Package Area (CPA) and work closely with employers, local government and other service providers to identify skills gaps and growth sectors and complement the wider landscape of support. The Restart programme has invited the Local Government Association, Core Cities Group, the LEP Network, and the Combined Authorities to help coordinate input from local partners into the design of the tender question for each CPA, and to provide nominees for involvement in bid assessment. DWP expects contracts to be awarded in Spring 2021, which go live in Summer 2021.
· The Education Secretary Gavin Williamson launched an independent review on Friday 15 January 2021 to investigate children’s social care. Over a third of children who have left care (39%) are not in education, employment or training, compared to 13% of all 19-21-year-olds and just 13% progressed to Higher Education by age 19 compared to 43% of all other pupils. The review will be chaired by Josh MacAlister, a teaching graduate of the government’s Teach First initiative in 2009 and founder of the charity Frontline in 2013. The Local Government Chronicle have questioned the independence of Mr MacAlister reporting that Frontline received £45 million in 2019 from the government for its programmes and is chaired by Camilla Cavendish, a former advisor to David Cameron who last year led a review of adult social care for the Department of Health & Social Care, adding that Mr MacAlister has “no relevant experience or background professionally or personally in children’s social care”.
· A map showing the river catchments polluted by abandoned metal mines in Cornwall and Devon, including where measures are in place to manage this pollution was published by the Coal Authority. This map shows the rivers in Cornwall and Devon that are polluted by at least one metal, which includes cadmium, lead, zinc, copper, nickel, arsenic and iron, due to abandoned metal mines. Black triangles show abandoned mine waste sites that are causing serious environmental harm.
· A Cambridge engineering firm CVE, specialising in clean energy, is part of a consortium of organisations that have won an InnovateUK grant worth £15 million to dramatically reduce the installation costs of the world’s largest offshore wind farm in the North Sea. CVE has adapted its latest high-tech welding technology to reduce the fabrication time and cost of the wind turbine foundations by up to 25%
Equality and diversity
· The Department of Health and Social Care have announced a major reform of the Mental Health Act in a white paper which aims to tackle the racial disparities in mental health services, better meet the needs of people with learning disabilities and autism and ensure appropriate care for people with serious mental illness within the criminal justice system”.
· A survey into the effects of the coronavirus on voluntary community sector organisations operating in Cornwall has found 88% of responding organisations had seen a drop in income, in conjunction with a 48% increase in outgoings and a 61% increase in demand for their services. Respondents reported that the most pressing needs in the community include mental health and isolation, poverty (food and fuel) and digital exclusion. 10% of responding organisations stated that their financial future was uncertain, or they were unlikely to survive the next financial quarter.
· The Government Equalities Office reports a 7% increase in the understanding of the gender pay gap regulations in 2019 with 89% of employers saying they had a good understanding. 23% of organisations report complying with gender pay gap regulations is a high priority.
· The Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick MP announced plans on Saturday 16 January 2021 to reform the ‘Right to Contest’ under the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980. The new proposals called the ‘Right to Regenerate’ would make the sale of unused Council-owned land the default position, unless there were compelling reasons not to and make it easier for members of the public to challenge councils and other public organisations to sell vacant plots of land and derelict buildings that had been kept too long without being used or had no clear plans for use in the near future. The proposals would also apply to unused publicly owned social housing and garages. The Secretary of State will act as an arbiter to ensure fairness and speedy outcomes in all cases. The proposals have the support of the National Community Land Trust Network and Civic Voice and are now open for consultation until the 13 March 2021.
· The Guardian reports Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rough Sleeping & Housing Kelly Tolhurst has resigned following ‘devasting’ family news.
Consultations and Campaigns
· The Home Office are seeking your views on enhanced security for particularly powerful rifles, introducing licensing controls on miniature rifle ranges, and tougher controls on ammunition. Deadline 16 February 2021.
· The Home Office are seeking your views to help inform the development of the government’s next Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy. They are particularly keen to hear from people who may feel underrepresented in previous strategies or who feel their circumstances were not supported by existing services. Deadline 19 February 2021.
· The HM Treasury are consulting on how the UK regulatory framework for financial services needs to adapt to our new position outside the EU. Deadline 19 February 2021.
· The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy are seeking views on how the industry is approaching the financing and deployment of renewable technologies, and how this may change in the future. Deadline 22 February 2021.
· The Department for Education are seeking views on the revised standards for boarding schools and residential special schools in England. Deadline 23 February 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, 11 am on 11 January.
- As of 10 January, a total of 8,748 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have tested positive for Covid-19. A total of 199 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.)
- As of 3 January, the most recent date for which figures are available, 1,296,432 people in the UK have been given the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
- 1,325 people in the UK died due to Covid-19 on Friday 9 January, the highest daily toll of UK Covid-19 deaths. More than 3 million people in the UK have now tested positive for the virus. A new “act like you’ve got it” Government advertising campaign has been launched, fronted by the Chief Medical Officer, to urge people to stay at home.
- The Office for National Statistics estimates that over 1.1 million people in the community in England had Covid-19 during 27 December - 2 January, equivalent to 1 in 50 of the population. In London, the rate is likely to be 1 in 30 of the population.
- The rate of hospital admissions in England for patients with Covid-19 increased to 27.8 per 100,000 people in the week ending 3 January, almost double the previous week’s rate of 14 per 100,000 people. In the week ending 25 December, deaths involving Covid-19 represented 24.6% of all deaths in England, compared to 22.5% in the previous week.
- MPs voted to approve the new national Covid-19 lockdown restrictions by a 524-16 majority, on Wednesday 6 January. The measures have been authorised for 12 weeks.
- The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock MP, has said that every UK adult will be offered a Covid-19 vaccine by autumn 2021. A third Covid-19 vaccine, Moderna, has been given emergency approval for use by the UK regulatory authority. The Government has ordered 7 million doses, but these are unlikely to arrive in the UK until spring.
- 7 new mass vaccination hubs have been announced for England, including Bristol in the South West. There are due to begin operation this week. Community testing for asymptomatic people is to be rolled out to every local authority area in England, using rapid lateral flow tests.
- The latest survey data from the Office for National Statistics shows that, between 22 December - 3 January, compliance with most measures to inhibit the spread of Covid-19 remained high. 90% of adults reported always or often washing their hands after returning home; 97% said they used a face covering and 89% avoided physical contact outside their home. 85% of people surveyed reported that they would be likely or highly likely to have a vaccine when available, compared to 78% during 10 - 13 December.
- The Office of National Statistics surveyed people about their Christmas activities compared to their plans for the holidays, finding that 44% of respondents said they had formed an exclusive Christmas bubble on Christmas Day: 50% of respondents said they had planned to do so when asked between 10 - 13 December. 18% of those who replied to the survey said it was difficult or very difficult to follow Government rules over the holiday period – 48% of these respondents said that this was because they had already made plans for Christmas before the rules changed.
- Trading Standards teams in some local authorities have warned that fraudsters are offering scam vaccine appointments by phone or via texts which are linked to a convincing-looking fake NHS website. Victims are encouraged to input their bank details. The Local Government Association has urged anyone contacted about a vaccine to remember that the NHS will never ask for payment or bank details; require you to send a text to confirm the booking; or ask you to press a button on your keypad when on the phone.
- Confusion continues about whether local elections in May will go ahead, despite Covid-19 concerns. Some newspapers report that elections are likely to take place as planned, while others cite Cabinet Office contingency preparations for polls to take place in June, July or September instead. The County Councils Network has said that clarity is needed due to the scale of the challenge presented by Covid-19.
- A Parliamentary committee has reportedly warned that rural areas could be without fast broadband for years, given a “litany” of Government failures in its high-speed coverage programme. The Conservative manifesto commitment of gigabit broadband by 2025 was deemed “unachievable” by the Public Accounts Committee, with concerns that peripheral areas could be left behind. Cornish constituencies comprise 4 of the 10 areas in Britain with the slowest broadband, according to Ofcom.
- The latest analysis from the Office for National Statistics shows that, between 30 November - 13 December, 84% of UK businesses were trading, up from 80% between the 16 - 29 November. Excluding businesses which have permanently ceased trading, 11% of the workforce were furloughed, a decrease from 16% between the 16 - 29 November.
- Head teachers’ unions have warned that schools cannot meet demand for in-person places while reducing social mixing, with some schools reporting a 50% attendance rate. Government advice now states that parents and carers who are critical workers should keep their children at home if they can, although school places are still available if this is not possible.
- The Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, has said that existing catch-up programmes need to be “rocket boosted” in light of new school closures, and that a commission should be launched to consider how disadvantaged children will make up education time that has been lost. The Commissioner added that every school should have a mental health counsellor.
- Cornwall Council has launched a nature recovery engagement hub. Whether it's wildflowers for pollinators, more trees to fight climate change, more green spaces in our towns, or a habitat or species someone is passionate about – residents can submit their views to help shape our Nature Recovery Plan.
- Awards to distilleries have been made from a £10 million Government fund to cut carbon emissions and support the creation of green jobs in the industry. The funding aims to enable carbon reductions equivalent to taking 200,000 cars off the road each year. Bennamann Ltd, in Cornwall, has been awarded over £46,000 to develop the use of fugitive methane as a fuel.
Equality and diversity
- The Institute for Fiscal Studies has published a summary of research from the evidence-gathering phase of the Deaton Review of Inequalities. The report has found that:
- Covid-19 has worsened inequalities between graduates and non-graduates, with a 17% reduction in non-graduates doing any hours of paid work in the 3rd quarter of 2020, compared with a 7% reduction for graduates – who are less likely to work in locked-down sectors.
- Between March - July 2020, Covid-19 mortality rates were twice as high in the most deprived areas compared to the least deprived.
- Students at private schools were twice as likely as those at state schools to have daily online lessons during lockdown.
- The pandemic has had very different impacts on people of different ethnicities, with some black groups experiencing Covid-19 mortality rates that are twice as high as some white groups. Some ethnic groups have also experienced an uneven economic effect, as they are more likely to work in locked-down sectors.
- Pensioners have reported becoming financially better off, on average, during 2020. Younger people have suffered the worst effects of income reduction and job losses.
- A report by the Resolution Foundation has highlighted the unequal impact of the pandemic during the first lockdown:
- 3% of 35- to 44-year olds in a household from the top third of income distribution lived in a damp home, compared to 9% of those from the bottom third.
- Children in lower income households were more likely to experience overcrowded households, poor internet access and a lack of garden.
- 16% of women reduced their work hours to care for children, compared to 9% of men. Mothers were also around 33% more likely than fathers to lose their jobs during the first lockdown. Among non-parents, job losses were balanced by gender.
- 50% of people with savings of under £1,000 reported that they had to draw down on these during lockdown, compared to only 19% of people with savings in excess of £20,000.
- The current ban on evictions will be extended until mid-February, amid reports that 70,000 households have been made homeless since the start of the pandemic. £10 million of additional funding has been announced for councils in England to help accommodate rough sleepers.
Consultations and campaigns
- The Environment Agency seeks views on proposed new guidance for regulated facilities with an environmental permit to mechanically treat metal waste in shredders. Deadline 08 February 2021.
- The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and UK Export Finance are consulting on how to further enable an accelerated growth in UK clean energy exports. Deadline 08 February 2021.
- The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is seeking views on how mortgage lenders can help householders improve the energy performance of their homes. Deadline 12 February 2021.
- The Department for Transport is seeking evidence from anyone with an interest in rural mobility and transport innovation, for their development of a rural strategy for the future of transport. Deadline 16 February 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 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.
- 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 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 21 December.
The new strain of Covid-19, recently identified in London and the South East, is now considered by Government to be spreading more rapidly and easily than previous strains. It may be up to 70% more transmittable. As a result of this increase in transmissibility, significant changes have been made to the tiered system of local restrictions as well as arrangements over Christmas:
- A new Tier 4 “stay-at-home” level has been announced, covering London and parts of the East and South East of England. It includes restrictions very similar to the national lockdown. People should not enter or leave Tier 4 areas.
- People in Tier 4 areas cannot meet other households indoors (apart from support bubbles) including for Christmas. Only one other person can be met outdoors.
- Planned relaxations to rules previously permitting indoor gatherings of up to 3 households over 23-27 December will now only be allowed on 25 December, with no overnight stays. This applies to all tiers, including Cornwall’s Tier 1. Everyone has been encouraged to “only form a Christmas bubble if you feel you absolutely need to”.
- As of 20 December, a total of 4,352 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have tested positive for Covid-19. A total of 180 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.)
- The most recent Government Statistics on NHS Test and Trace (3 - 9 December) show that positive Covid-19 test results have slightly increased compared to the previous week: 6.2% of those tested were positive, compared to 5.9% in the previous week. Rapid lateral flow test results are not counted in these statistics. Turnaround times for in-person swab tests under Pillar 2 (for the general population) have worsened in comparison to the previous week, and are longer than they were at the end of June. 60% of in-person test results are now received the following day, compared to 65% in the previous week. 7% of the close contacts of people who have tested positive for Covid-19 were not reached by NHS contact tracers, following substantial changes to the way that contacts in the same household are counted - as detailed in previous newsletters.
- 10 European countries have halted or have said they will halt flights from the UK. France closed its borders to UK passengers or accompanied freight for 48 hours from the evening of 20 December. Unaccompanied freight can still travel from the UK to France, and accompanied freight can travel from France to the UK, although haulage companies may not wish to send drivers into the UK if it is unclear when they will be able to return. Dover’s ferry terminal has also closed to “all accompanied traffic leaving the UK” as a result, with the Department for Transport asking the public and particularly hauliers not to travel to Kent ports or any routes to France for 48 hours. 5 mile tailbacks have been seen on motorways around Dover. Eurostar is not running services from London to Paris, Brussels, Lille or Amsterdam on Monday or Tuesday this week, although trains to London from Paris are continuing to travel. Medical supplies coming into the UK are reported to be unaffected by the transport bans, but some disruption is anticipated to supplies of food and other goods. Residents of Tier 4 areas are not permitted to travel abroad, except for limited work purposes.
- Clinical trials have begun of the Valneva Covid-19 vaccine, developed in Scotland. The UK has pre-ordered 60m doses.
- Special schools, secondary schools and colleges in England will be eligible for rapid Covid-19 lateral flow testing from January. All staff will have access to weekly tests. Students and staff will have access to daily testing if they are a close contact of a positive Covid-19 case. Pupils in the same bubble as a positive Covid-19 case will not have to self-isolate if they agree to daily testing.
- ONS analysis suggests one in five people who contract Covid-19 will have “long Covid” symptoms which persist for five weeks, with one in 10 having symptoms for 10 weeks. Symptoms can include fatigue, pain, breathlessness and brain fog.
- A survey by the Royal Society for Public Health has found that 76% of the UK population would agree to have a Covid-19 vaccine jab. People from BAME communities as well as those from low-income groups are less likely to want to take the vaccine.
- All of Wales is now under Tier 4 restrictions, with a “stay-at-home” order in place, and only two households will be allowed to meet on Christmas Day. Scotland will allow eight people from three households to mix on Christmas Day, and has restricted travel to and from England, unless travellers have a reasonable excuse, such as work, education, healthcare or childcare. The Northern Ireland executive is permitting Christmas bubbles to form on a single day between 23 - 27 December, to accommodate those working on Christmas Day, and has asked residents only to travel if absolutely necessary.
- The latest ONS Covid-19 Infection Survey has found that there is substantial variation in the presence of antibodies (suggesting that people have had the virus) in people living in different regions, with approximately 13% in London compared with around 4% in the South West.
- The Chief Medical Officer’s Annual Report highlights that Covid-19 is likely to have an impact on health in the UK for many years to come, due to the direct effects of the virus and the indirect effects of postponing the diagnosis and treatment of other conditions. The report also finds that people in deprived areas have higher levels of ill health and disease, and that more people are suffering from chronic health conditions - particularly in rural areas, due to higher elderly populations and less accessible health facilities.
- The EU has warned that time is running out to agree a trade deal, emphasising that there is now only a “narrow” path to an agreement, with sticking points remaining – particularly regarding fishing rights. Boris Johnson has warned that no deal is now “very likely” unless the EU changes its position “substantially”. Whether or not a deal is agreed, there will be a range of impacts on Cornish businesses and residents from the UK’s departure from the single market and customs union, some of which were recently were reported by Cornwall Council to the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Leadership Board.
- Trade deal talks continued over the weekend and more will take place this week, although a deadline for the European parliament to ratify any agreement before the end of the year was missed on Sunday.
- The Leader of the Opposition, Keir Starmer MP, has announced that he wants substantially increased decentralisation of powers from Westminster under a future Labour administration.
- The furlough scheme and Government-backed business loans will be extended until the end of April.
- Changes to Government procurement rules will allow councils to restrict contract bids to local companies only. The plans, mentioned in a new green paper, will allow limitations on public works contracts of up to £4.7m, as well as goods and service contracts up to £122k. The Government hopes that this will promote local growth and recruitment as part of its levelling up agenda.
- New economic analysis from EY (formerly Ernst Young) has found that since the start of the pandemic, the South West has had the largest regional contraction in employment (4%) and the largest regional increase in unemployment (2.6 to 4.1%). The South West is likely to lag behind the UK average for economic productivity and employment for the next four years. The region’s economy is predicted to contract by an average 0.2% per year while employment falls 0.4% per year. The research also finds that focusing investment on cities to assist nearby towns is unlikely to work in all parts of the UK: in order to genuinely level up, a place-based approach is required, recognising local difference. Local strengths need to be built on, such as regional specialisations in manufacturing. The report suggests that important lessons can be learned from the Covid-19 pandemic, such as the growth in effective homeworking and related positive impacts on well-being. A continued emphasis on homeworking in future could allow a geographical rebalancing of the economy, again helping to level up regions once seen as peripheral.
- Cornwall Council’s Economic Growth Service have produced an updated report on the ‘Economic Impact of Covid-19 on Cornwall’. The report is available on Let’s Talk Cornwall and highlights the known economic impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on Cornwall, including that it has been more severe (than for other parts of the UK) due to the importance of the visitor economy to the county, and the high levels of self-employment and small proportion of employment within large businesses.
- The Government has announced a £2.2bn funding increase for local authorities, including money for council tax reduction for vulnerable families; a local tax income guarantee to compensate councils for lost revenue from business rates and council tax; rewards for building new homes; additional support for rough sleepers and an increase to the Rural Services Delivery Grant. The provisional local government settlement funding assessment for Cornwall for 2021 - 22 shows that the Council will receive £157.3 million, £0.3 million more than in 2020 - 21.
- HMRC’s latest statistics on measures introduced to support the economy in response to the Covid-19 pandemic show that, as of 13 December, 9.9 million jobs were furloughed from 1.2 million employers, with the total value of claims made standing at £46.4 billion. Claims for the third tranche of the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme opened on 30 November, and as of 13 December there had been 1.7 million claims made, to a total value of £4.8 billion.
- A report by Citizens Advice has found that the pandemic has had a significant impact on household finances and debt levels, with 7.3 million people (14% of UK adults) reportedly behind on their bills. 45% of people with children have a lower income than before the pandemic, whilst 36% of those who have lost income have depleted their savings. The report also reinforces patterns identified in other recent studies, particularly the uneven effects of the pandemic. For example, 28% of people currently struggling to their bills are from BAME ethnicities, compared to 11% of people from White ethnicities. The report suggests that economic recovery will be hampered by current debt levels, with 75 - 80% of respondents saying they were likely to spend less on eating out, clothes, home improvements and entertainment.
- In the week to 10 December, 99.2% of state schools across the country were fully open, a slight drop from 99.5% in the previous week, while attendance in all state schools dropped slightly to 84.6%, from 85.5% in the previous week. The number of children attending early years settings dropped to 792,000, compared to 795,000 in the previous week. As a snapshot, on 10 December, 60% of state-funded secondary schools and 21% of state-funded primary schools reported that they had one or more pupils self-isolating due to contact with a potential Covid-19 case within the school, both representing decreases on the previous week’s figures. Between 19 - 21% of schools had more than 30 pupils self-isolating due to contact with a potential Covid-19 case within the school, the same as the previous week.
- Secondary schools and colleges in England will operate a staggered return to in-person teaching in January, with classroom teaching restarting for all students on 11 January. Full-time online learning will be provided from the start of term.
- Ofsted’s third report into the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on children shows continuing harm, particularly for the most vulnerable. Multiple rounds of isolation have reversed progress students had made since September, while remote learning’s effectiveness varies and is hard to establish. Many children with special educational needs or disabilities are not attending school, are struggling with remote learning, and may be more susceptible to neglect or abuse. There has been an increase in homeschooling, with many parents stating that their children will not return to mainstream education until the pandemic has finished.
- The Office for National Statistics has started a new series of surveys estimating the prevalence of Covid-19 in schools in England. 103 schools participated in the survey, across a range of local authorities with both high and low prevalence of the virus. The report’s authors emphasise that information is not intended to be applicable to the whole country and that findings are not statistically significant. Of the schools surveyed, 44.8% had no infections, while 27.6% had one current infection and 27.6% had between two and five infections. Overall, 1.24% of pupils and 1.29% of staff were infected at the time of the survey.
- A greater proportion of people working in mainly urban areas have a qualification at NVQ four (equivalent to a Higher Education Certificate or BTEC) or higher, compared to those working in principally rural areas, according to statistics published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. In 2019, Workers in rural areas were slightly less likely than their urban counterparts to have received on-the-job training, with rates of 12.9% compared with 13.5%. The percentage of people with at least one qualification has risen in both rural and urban areas since 2011.
- Two river restoration projects costing nearly half a million pounds have been completed on the River Camel and its tributaries, removing obstacles to the movement of migratory fish, preventing banks from eroding and reducing sewage discharge. The work has been carried out by the Environment Agency and Natural England, partnering with West Country Rivers trust.
- The Coastguard and RNLI have jointly launched a Winter Coastal Safety Campaign, reminding people of the dangers of the coast at this time of year. Everyone is reminded to stay well back from cliff edges, check tide times before setting off to visit the seaside and take a mobile phone for safety.
Equality and diversity
- The Office for National Statistics has found that Covid-19 mortality rates in people of Black African or Black Caribbean ethnicity was between 2 - 2.5 times higher than people of White ethnicity, in the first part of 2020. The researchers ascribe this to a range of factors, including a greater exposure of some ethnic groups at work. Working-age Black and Asian men are more likely to work in occupations with a higher risk of death involving Covid-19, such as taxi driving, security and cleaning. People of minority ethnic groups also comprise more than 25% of dental practitioners, medical practitioners and opticians. Large households have a higher Covid-19 risk, and the report finds that people aged 70 years and older, from a South Asian ethnic group, are more likely to live in a household with multiple generations.
- In research titled Coronavirus and the Social Impacts on Different Ethnic Groups in the UK: 2020, the Office for National Statistics has found that the mental health of people from an Indian ethnic group may have been particularly badly impacted by the pandemic, with higher scores than other ethnic groups on measures of mental health difficulties. The research also finds that around half of working-age adults from a White British and Other White background said that they were working fewer hours than normal in April 2020, compared to 33% of respondents from Indian, Black, African or Caribbean or Black British ethnicities. 27% of people from Black, African or Caribbean or Black British ethnicities were finding it very difficult or quite difficult to cope financially, compared to 7% of people from Other White ethnic groups and 8% of people from Indian ethnic groups.
- The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has published the initial findings from its rough sleeping questionnaire, based on interviews with 563 respondents. The report found endemic overlapping vulnerabilities among the people surveyed: 83% had a physical health need; 82% reported a mental health problem and 60% had a substance abuse issue. 15% of respondents had been in prison over the past year. 75% had previously approached a local authority for help with accommodation, with 48% contacting a local authority for assistance between 1 - 5 times over the last year.
- The latest Office for National Statistics data on the deaths of rough sleepers shows that 778 homeless people died in England and Wales in 2019 - the highest level since records began in 2013. 111 registered deaths in 2019 were in the South West, where the rate of death has more than doubled since 2013. In Cornwall, there were four deaths recorded in 2019, with a further two deaths estimated to have occurred in the period. 37% of total fatalities in England and Wales were caused by drug poisoning, while 14% were suicides. The mean age at death for rough sleepers is 46 years for men and 43 years for women.
- A planning application for 3,000 homes on 130 acres of land has been submitted for Langarth Garden Village near Truro. The Council-led development will include 200 care-assisted homes, 50 units for students or health workers, two primary schools as well as restaurants and offices. 48% of the development will be green spaces, and there will also be a community farm and renewable energy park.
- A report by Shelter, titled Homeless and Forgotten: Surviving Lockdown in Temporary Accommodation, shows that more than 250,000 adults and children were homeless, living in temporary accommodation during the first phase of the pandemic. This is the highest number in 14 years. The number of people in temporary accommodation in March, April and May this year rose by 6,000, and temporary accommodation often lacked basic facilities such as a kitchen. Almost everybody living in temporary accommodation interviewed by Shelter said it was impossible to maintain social distancing.
- Between 2019 - 20, just under 12,000 households were on the housing waiting list in Cornwall, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
Consultations and Campaigns
- The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is seeking evidence on the shark fin trade in the UK to assess whether action is needed to deal with unsustainable consequences of the trade. Deadline 04 January 2021.
- The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is seeking views on increasing the mutualisation threshold for the renewables obligation scheme supporting renewable energy generation. Deadline 19 January 2021.
- The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is seeking views on proposed updates to the existing eco-design and energy labelling requirements which currently apply to light sources and separate control gears. Deadline 27 January 2020.
- The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is calling for views on permitted development rights, change of use and speeding up planning permission for public service infrastructure. Deadline 28 January 2021.
- The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is seeking views on the design of the proposed Green Heat Network Fund (GHNF) scheme, a funding programme to help new and existing heat networks move to low and zero carbon technologies. Deadline 29 January 2021.
- The Environment Agency wants your comments on their proposed charges for the UK Emissions trading scheme. Deadline 29 January 2021.
- The Department for Education is calling for evidence on study and qualifications at level 2 and below for students aged 16 and above. Deadline 31 January 2021.
- There will not be a Policy and Intelligence Newsletter on 29 December, but we’ll be back on 5 January. Happy holidays!
- The new strain of Covid-19, recently identified in London and the South East, is now considered by Government to be spreading more rapidly and easily than previous strains. It may be up to 70% more transmittable. As a result of this increase in transmissibility, significant changes have been made to the tiered system of local restrictions as well as arrangements over Christmas:
The articles below have been drawn together by the policy and analytical community within the Council. This newsletter can also be found on our website.
- As of 13 December, a total of 3,995 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have tested positive for Covid-19. Over the last seven days, 104 people in the Duchy have tested positive, at a rate of 18 per 100,000 population: this contrasts with 166 positive tests per 100,000 people across the whole of England. A total of 173 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.)
- The Covid-19 self-isolation period changed on Monday 14 December from 14 days to 10 days in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, following a review of evidence by the Chief Medical Officers. The new procedure has already come into force in Wales.
- The most recent Government Statistics on NHS Test and Trace (26 November - 2 December) show that positive Covid-19 test results continue to decrease from their peak at the start of November. Turnaround times for in-person swab tests under Pillar 2 (for the general population) have improved in comparison to the previous week, but are longer than they were at the end of June. 65% of in-person test results are now received the following day, compared with 54% in the previous week. 14% of the close contacts of people who have tested positive for Covid-19 were not reached by NHS contact tracers.
- As mentioned last week, from 18 November NHS Test and Trace changed how it counts the close contacts of people testing positive for Covid-19. People under 18 are no longer individually contact traced: rather, the service tries to contact one parent or guardian in the household, regardless of the number of young people who may be affected. From 27 November, a further change was introduced: adults in the same household can now also be traced collectively by a single phone call, rather than each adult being contacted individually. This has led to a further apparent increase in the proportion of close contacts of people testing positive for Covid-19 reached by NHS Test and Trace.
- More deprived parts of the country have poorer national NHS Test and Trace success rates than less deprived areas, according to research by the Health Foundation. Nationally, an extra 9,000 positive cases and 43,000 of their close contacts would have been reached between May - November if tracing was as successful in the most deprived areas as in the least deprived. Cornwall is in the third quintile of deprivation, with 80% of positive Covid-19 cases and 66% of their close contacts reached.
- Research by the Nuffield Trust shows that Covid-19 has had a more severe impact on hospital waiting times in rural areas than in cities. In April 2020, there was a 66% drop in the number of patients in rural trusts receiving a first oncology appointment compared to April 2019. For urban areas over the same period, the decrease was 59%. NHS trusts in peripheral communities have had to spend more on temporary staffing costs during the pandemic: 8% of their personnel budget, compared with 6% for more central parts of the country. The researchers also found that rural areas do not receive their “fair share” of additional NHS funding.
- The Prime Minister and the President of the European Commission released a joint statement on Sunday 13 December saying that they would “go the extra mile” and extend discussions on a trade deal past a deadline which had been expected to be reached at the weekend. It is thought that issues still to be agreed upon include rights for EU fishing vessels to operate in British waters; a “level playing field” for businesses (similar rules on government subsidies and employment practices to minimise competitive advantages); and a dispute resolution method.
- Cornwall Council will maintain its Brussels office after the end of the transition period this year. The leader of the Council, Julian German, said "I think it is really important that we are continuing to reach out to our friends and partners in Europe, that we continue to have access for our businesses and that they have that intelligence, and that we can help to make trade and relationships as smooth as possible post-Brexit."
- The monthly ONS survey, Coronavirus and the Impact on Output in the UK Economy shows that GDP is 7.9% lower than in February 2020, but has risen by 0.4% compared to October 2020 - the sixth consecutive month of growth. The manufacturing sector expanded, led by a 6.8% rise in vehicle production. There has also been growth in health, wholesale, retail and motor trades, but a decline in hospitality.
- The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government has announced an extension to protection from eviction for businesses affected by Covid-19. The “final extension” will end in March 2021. A review of commercial landlord/tenant legislation has also been announced.
- The Economic Affairs Committee of the House of Lords has published a report titled Employment and Covid-19: Time for a New Deal. The committee calls for Government to focus on job creation schemes rather than wage subsidies, in order to head off a potential rise in unemployment in 2021. The Government is also urged to fix the UK’s social infrastructure, by creating more social care workers and increasing investment in childcare.
- In the week to 3 December, 99.5% of state schools in England were fully open, a slight increase from 99.2% in the previous week, while attendance in all state schools rose slightly to 85.5%, from 83.5% in the previous week. The number of children attending early years settings fell to 795,000. As a snapshot, on 3 December, 63% of state-funded secondary schools and 22% of state-funded primary schools reported that they had one or more pupils self-isolating due to contact with a potential Covid-19 case within the school, both representing decreases on the previous week’s figures. Between 19 - 21% of schools had more than 30 pupils self-isolating due to contact with potential Covid-19 case within the school, a slight decrease on the previous week.
- Colleges and secondary schools in Wales moved to online learning on Monday 14 December in order to try to halt the spread of Covid-19. The Welsh Government said that, although nearly 50% of schools in the principality have not had any Covid-19 cases since September, open education settings can contribute to wider social mixing. Wales will implement serial testing for all schools from January: pupils identified as close contacts of a Covid-19 case will be asked to self-isolate or take a rapid lateral flow test at the beginning of the school day. All school staff will be tested weekly.
- Pupils in Kent, Essex and London will undergo mass testing, using new rapid lateral flow tests, as Covid-19 infection rates in 11-18 year-olds rise.
- The leader of Greenwich Council has asked all schools in the borough to close from Monday 14 December (apart from for vulnerable children and for the children of key workers) due to the highest infection rates in Greenwich since March. Lessons will move online. This is in contravention of Department for Education direction, which has reportedly written to schools threatening legal action if they close early for Christmas due to Covid-19 concerns.
- A recent ONS pilot survey looking at Covid-19 and its effect on higher education students found that 57% of respondents reported a decrease in their mental health between September - November 2020. 29% reported being dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their academic experience in the autumn term. An estimated 56% of students will return home for Christmas.
- The Department for Education's Vulnerable Children and Young People Survey shows 3% of local authorities have more than 10% of social workers unavailable due to Covid-19, lower than the peak of 13% in May 2020. 23% of local authorities reported that 10% of their residential care workers were unavailable due to Covid-19. The total number of referrals in the first week of November was 12% lower than the usual number at that time of year, and the total number of children who started to be looked after since May 2020 is 29% lower than the same period over the past three years, suggesting that there may be under-reporting of vulnerable children.
- 100 children and young people from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities will receive additional support from a new £400k fund, providing tutoring and catch up programmes to make up for lost time in education due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Students from these communities are likely to have been disproportionately affected by disruption to schooling this year, principally due to digital exclusion and poor access to public services.
- The Local Government Association has published its Climate Change Survey 2020, which draws on insights from Directors of Environment or equivalent from councils in England – 29% of local authorities responded. Nine out of ten respondents had declared a climate emergency, and 80% of local authorities surveyed had officially set a goal of becoming carbon neutral. Eight out of ten councils who responded had been affected by a climate-related incident since 2015.
Equality and diversity
- New Office for National Statistics analysis shows considerable differences in the levels of unpaid work between men and women, exacerbated by the national lockdowns. In March - April 2020, women typically spent 55% more time on unpaid childcare than men, and 44% more time on unpaid household work. This disparity increased by September - October this year, by which time women spent 99% more time on unpaid childcare than men, and 64% more time on unpaid household work. When paid work is included, women continue to do more work than men in total.
- NHS trusts have received a share of £600m to address maintenance backlogs, such as improving ventilation systems, upgrading electrical infrastructure and replacing lifts, with projects completed by March 2021. Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has been allocated £102k for five projects, while Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust has received £1.7m for seven projects.
- 2,000 of England’s councillors - 10% of the total number - have written to the Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick MP, to express their concerns with the Government’s proposed reforms to the planning permission system. The councillors objected in particular to the new planning algorithm and the removal of the public’s right to be heard in person at local plan examinations.
- A new £46m fund to provide more coordinated support for people with overlapping vulnerabilities has been launched: the Changing Futures Scheme. The Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing has invited local organisations including councils, police and charities to form partnerships and bid for money to improve outcomes for multiply disadvantaged people with mental health needs and substance misuse issues, as well as those facing homelessness, domestic abuse and involvement with the criminal justice system.
- The Children’s Minister has announced £4.4m in funding for Covid-19 response programmes run by large-scale children’s charities. A new National Centre for Family Hubs will improve access to family services across the country.
- Applications for a new Local Connections Fund of £4 are now open. Community groups can apply for the money, aimed at reducing loneliness resulting from Covid-19 restrictions.
- The Treasury is seeking views on how to tailor the prudential regulatory regime to support the unique features of the insurance sector and regulatory approach in the UK. Deadline 19 January 2021.
- The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is asking for opinions on ending the export of live animals for slaughter and fattening in England and Wales, where the journeys begin in or transit through either region. Deadline 21 January 2021.
- The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is seeking views on proposals to strengthen the regulation system for UK-registered architects and improve professional competence. Deadline 22 January 2021.
- The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is asking for opinions on their plans to reduce ammonia emissions in England by regulating the use or sale of solid urea fertilisers. Deadline 26 Jan 2021.
- Cost of Living Report - March 2022 (1.85 MB) (pptx)
- Cornwall Council Town Economic Vitality Index March 2022 (2.48 MB) (pdf)
- Impact of COVID-19 on Cornwall - February 2021 (8.41 MB) (pdf)
- Financial Precarity May 2020 (1.05 MB) (pptx)
- COVID-19 Equalities impacts: October 2020 (330 KB) (docx)
- Community Safety Partnership: Peninsula Strategic Assessment 2020-21 (1.58 MB) (pdf)
- The Cornwall We Know: January 2020 snapshot with COVID updates (2.5 MB) (pdf)
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