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 specifically 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 specifically 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.
- As of 20 October, 1,892 people in Cornwall have tested positive for Covid-19, with 174 in the last seven days. This is a rate of 331 per 100,000 population and contrasts with a rate for the whole of England of 1,150 positive tests per 100,000 people. A total of 145 people in Cornwall have sadly died within 28 days of a positive test for Covid-19, with no fatalities in the last week.
- 17 regions are in Tier 2 (high) of the new three-tier alert system for England, according to the most recent Government information, updated 16 October. Two regions - Liverpool City and Lancashire - are in Tier 3 (very high), meaning that pubs, bars and indoor sports facilities are closed. Guidance has been issued for residents of those areas to avoid travelling outside the vicinity. Greater Manchester will move into Tier 3 from midnight on Thursday 22 October, following ten days of discussion between Government and local authorities, which did not end in agreement. Cornwall remains in Tier 1 (medium).
- Wales will implement a two-week “firebreak” lockdown from Friday 23 October. All non-essential businesses will close, including pubs, restaurants and hotels. Only the first two year-groups in secondary schools will return after half-term while the lockdown is in progress, although primary schools will have normal attendance requirements. Socialising with people outside one’s household - either indoors or outdoors - will also be prohibited.
- Police Services in England have been given access to the NHS Test and Trace data of people who have been instructed to self-isolate, as stated in the Department of Health and Social Care’s updated guidance on privacy information relating to testing for Covid-19. There have been media reports that the office of the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, has expressed “significant reservations” at the move, warning that it may discourage people from seeking testing.
- Longstanding health inequalities in the UK are likely to have amplified the impact of Covid-19. The Global Burden of Disease study, published last week in the medical journal The Lancet, shows how the UK has the lowest healthy life expectancy in western Europe due to preventable diseases such as obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. This, in turn, contributes to high Covid-19 mortality, according to The Lancet.
- The Cabinet Office Minister, Michael Gove MP, has said in an Oral Statement to Parliament that “as things stand” a free trade agreement with the EU “will not now happen” before the end of the transition period on 31 December. The Minister cited the EU’s refusal to intensify discussions, hold talks on all the days available and “engage on all the outstanding issues” as reasons for negotiations breaking down.
- The Government has launched a “time is running out” campaign to encourage businesses to prepare for a no-deal/Australia-style exit from EU transition arrangements.
- At the time of writing, the House of Lords is debating the UK Internal Market Bill, which seeks to ensure seamless trade between the nations of the UK and Northern Ireland. The debate will include a Motion to Regret some of the Bill’s contents.
- The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee has launched an inquiry into “The Evolution Of Devolution: English Devolution”, holding its first public evidence session on 20 October. The Committee will hear evidence on the key challenges that the Government’s White Paper on devolution will need to address. A transcript of the evidence session is likely to be available by the end of the month.
- The Governor of the Bank of England has said that the UK faces “an unprecedented level of economic uncertainty” and that growth may be lower than expected. The credit rating agency, Moody’s, has recently downgraded Britain’s credit status due to the effects of Covid-19 on the economy and uncertainty around Brexit.
- The Work and Pensions Select Committee has recommended that new applicants for Universal Credit are provided with a grant to cover food and heating costs during the five-week period before benefits start being paid. Although advances on future payments are available, the Committee concluded that this left claimants with insufficient funds to meet basic needs.
- Rural broadband coverage across the UK now stands at 80%, in comparison to 97% of urban regions, according to analysis by the National Audit Office. The Superfast Programme has been rolled out most successfully in “easier-to-reach” areas, meaning that “left behind” properties are predominantly in rural and remote parts of the UK. The report also finds that some residents in rural areas with poor broadband connections have felt a sharper impact during the pandemic.
Equality and Diversity
- The Education Policy Institute has recently published research showing that the proportion of male Black and Minority Ethnic teachers in England is now 17%, broadly representative of the population as a whole.
- The charity Carers UK has conducted a survey of nearly 6,000 unpaid family carers, with 74% of respondents saying they are exhausted due to their caring responsibilities throughout the pandemic. 64% of those who replied to the survey said that they had not been able to take any breaks since March, with 81% providing more care now than they were before the national lockdown.
- The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government are calling for expressions of interest for a funded project which aims to improve mental health through green social prescribing – linking people to nature-based activities such as community gardening. Deadline 23/10/20.
- The Department of Health and Social Care are seeking evidence to help inform a new review into improving the health and development outcomes of babies and young children in England. Deadline 23/10/2020.
- The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy are requesting information from coastal landowners or developers with an interest in supporting the UK’s offshore wind manufacturing sector. A new offshore wind manufacturing investment support scheme is offering potential support. Deadline 30/10/2020.
- The Geospatial Commission has partnered with Innovate UK to create a £2 million transport data location competition to support the future of mobility for the UK. Deadline 04/11/2020.
- The Education Select Committee is seeking written evidence to understand the extent to which current arrangements provide support for home educated children. Deadline 06/11/2020.
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- Cornwall has seen another rise in Covid-19 cases. More than 120 people tested positive from 21 to 27 September, raising the total number of cases in Cornwall above 1300 and the infection rate per 100,000 to around 230, with local outbreaks recorded in a number of locations, such as the Isles of Scilly, Exeter University, HMS Raleigh and a meat processing plant in Pool. The South West, however, still has the lowest infection rate per 100,000 population of all regions in England.
- The leader of Cornwall Council, Julian German, has criticised the government’s Track & Trace system. At the council meeting last Tuesday, the council leader said that after listening to the experiences of members of the public it was "clear from the sheer volume of responses that the system isn’t working, and I’m deeply concerned that people of Cornwall are suffering as a result". He added: “If we are to beat this virus, we need a testing system that is fit for purpose. I worry that at this present moment we don’t have one.”
- The RNLI has extended their lifeguard cover of major beaches in Cornwall by a month. A RNLI spokesperson said this year had been one of the busiest summers the region had ever seen, an effect of lockdown and restrictions on travel abroad.
- Four cities in Cornwall will benefit from the government’s Towns Fund. The funding, ranging from £500,000 up to £1m, will be used to kick start regeneration projects such as new green spaces, pop-up business spaces, or pedestrianizing streets. Among the Cornish cities being supported are Camborne, Penzance, St Ives and Truro.
- Prior to the recent changes in government’s guidance on working from home, the return to workplaces in Cornwall had been increasing slowly. Analysis of Google Mobility Data (undertaken by the Intelligence Network) shows how the number of people visiting workplaces had been rising but remained below pre-lockdown levels. As people are now again urged to work from home wherever possible, this upward trend is likely to be reverted, having likely knock-on effects for city centres.
- Cornwall’s millionaire property market seems to have benefited from the pandemic. Rightmove data indicates that the market for properties worth £1 million or more has seen an annual increase of 165%, making Cornwall the county with the third biggest rise in sales of properties with an asking price of £1 million or more, after Norfolk and Wiltshire. Industry experts say that lockdown has made £1million-plus buyers re-assess their work-life balance which in turn has led to an uptake in ‘lifestyle relocations’.
- For the first time in over decade, Cornwall is experiencing a negative net migration rate. New analysis of local area migration, based on the Long-Term International Migration data published by the Office for National Statistics, shows that between mid-2018 and mid-2019 more people were leaving Cornwall to take up residence in another country than the other way around. It is estimated that in 2019 only 2% of the people living in Cornwall were non-British. Local area migration plays an important role for employment, skills, and the provision of local services.
- The government has announced further national measures to address rising cases of coronavirus in England. The new rules see bars and restaurants close at 10pm, wedding ceremonies limited to 15 people, and office workers urged to work from home where possible. The new rules are expected to remain in place until March next year.
- Meanwhile, Coronavirus cases in England have risen by 60% over the past week, bringing the R-value to 1.2-1.5. On Friday, the daily number of positive cases in the UK rose to a new high of 6,874.
- According to a recent YouGov poll, the majority of people support the new lockdown measures announced by the Prime Minister last week. The main criticism of the package, however, is that it does not go far enough. 78% are in favour of the new measures, while those who oppose the latest raft of measures represent just 17% of the population. It is slightly higher among some groups, most notably the young, but it is a minority among all demographic groups.
- Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a replacement for the furlough scheme which will come to an end at the end of October. The new job support scheme is scheduled to begin on 1 November and is due to last six months. To be eligible for the scheme, employees must work at least a third of their normal hours. They will be paid two-thirds of their pay for the remaining hours. The government pays a third of the hours not worked, while the employers pay the other third.
- More people in Britain were returning to work prior to the change in government guidance on working from home. Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that over 6 in 10 (64%) working adults travelled to work, either exclusively or in combination with working from home. Only 6% said they were going to work all hours from home. With home working now being encouraged again, this trend is likely to change.
- Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced that renters affected by coronavirus will continue to be protected from evictions for another 4 weeks. The government also requires landlords to provide tenants with 6 months’ notice, unless they are dealing with serious cases of antisocial behaviour or domestic abuse. The homeless charity Shelter had previously warned more than 300,000 private renters had fallen into arrears since the pandemic started and were at risk of being evicted.
- The average number of people testing positive for Covid-19 in Cornwall has dropped for the first time since the beginning of September. While the total number of detected cases has risen to around 1500 cases since March, the 7-day average for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has declined to around 26 positive cases per day. The infection rate stands at 259 cases per 100,000 resident population. However, a number of clusters have recently been identified, such as the 170 positive cases that had been detected at a meat processing plant in Pool, with the majority of those who tested positive being asymptomatic.
- Since the easing of lockdown restrictions in July, around two million visitors came to Cornwall, according to Visit Cornwall. At a meeting of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) last week, Visit Cornwall Chairman Malcolm Bell called for more financial backing to avoid job losses, as lockdown deficits were still not being made up. However, Mr Bell said he expected visitor numbers for October and November to be higher than in previous years.
- Leisure Centres across Cornwall will reopen mid-October. Cornwall Council issued a £4million rescue package as well as additional support measures, allowing Greenwich Leisure Ltd (who run the centres) to reopen Saltash, Launceston, Wadebridge and St Ives leisure centres, Ships & Castles in Falmouth and the swimming pools at Bude, Liskeard and Helston.
- The latest technical fault in the government’s Covid-19 testing data system has led to nearly 16,000 unreported cases in England between 25 September and 2 October. Cases were added to Public Health England’s daily figures over the weekend, creating a spike in the number of detected cases. So far, more people tested positive than during the first peak of the pandemic in April/May. However, the number of processed tests has also risen. While during the first major outbreak in April/May on average there were only around 20,000 tests being processed in England each day, now the number has risen to more than 200,000 tests, leading to more cases being detected.
- The Office for National Statistics’ Covid-19 Infection Study shows that around 116,000 people (0.21% of the community population) in England had Covid-19 between 18 and 24 September 2020. The infection rate is highest among teenagers and young adults. Furthermore, almost half of all adults in Great Britain said their well-being was being affected by the pandemic.
Estimated percentage of the population testing positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) on nose and throat swabs, daily, by age group since 14 August 2020, England
- The chief economist of the Bank of England has criticised the media for their lack of acknowledgement of the UK’s economic recovery so far. Andy Haldane made headlines last week by saying that Britain’s rapid recovery from its Covid-19 slump was being put at risk by undue pessimism and a “Chicken Licken” fear that the sky was about to fall in. Prior to Mr Haldane’s comments, ONS figures demonstrated a fall in GDP by almost 20% between April and June, the largest quarterly contraction in the UK economy since records began in 1955.
- The ONS Opinion and Lifestyle Survey indicates that the new restrictions announced by the government on 22 September has led to a drop in people leaving home to socialise. Only 2 in 10 adults said they had visited friends and family at their home, a decline by around 10% to the previous week. A similar trend can be observed for eating out and travel within the UK for holidays.
- With the new 10pm curfew for pubs and restaurants causing concerns for the night time economy, the British public is divided on whether the re-opening of pubs was a good idea. According to a recent Yougov poll, half of the British public say the re-opening of pubs was a mistake, while over 40% think it was a good decision. A similar split can be observed when it comes to the question of whether students should be allowed to go back to university.
- A report by the National Audit Office reveals that local authorities in England have reduced spending on local transport by 40% over the past decade. At the same time, passenger numbers have fallen and the number of bus journeys outside London shrunk by 10%. The report claims that despite the Department for Transport’s aim to increase the use of public transport, there has not been any systemic improvement yet. The roll-out of Cornwall’s ‘Superbus network’ is scheduled for next year.
- The average number of people testing positive for Covid-19 in Cornwall has remained relatively stable over the past week. While the total number of detected cases has risen to above 1700 cases since March, the 7-day average for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly currently stands at 26 cases. That is an increase compared to the average of 4.1 cases on 1 September, but so far it is not a drastic spike as seen in the North of England. The infection rate in Cornwall stands at 294 cases per 100,000 resident population.
- Despite the Coronavirus pandemic, construction of the Spaceport Cornwall is to begin this month. The first satellites could be put into space via aircraft taking off from Newquay in early 2022. The project is estimated to create 150 new jobs and generate £200m worth of Gross Value Added.
- Cornish Cinema chain WTW has urged people to support the industry. The company which operates cinemas in Newquay, St Austell, Truro and Wadebridge tweeted it was understandable that not everyone was ready to go back to the movies, but suggested to “come in and buy a coffee, popcorn ... to take home, or buy a gift card”.
- Heritage attractions across the south west have been given financial aid to help them during the coronavirus pandemic. 433 organisations will receive a share of £67 million from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage. Among the Cornish sites receiving money from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport are the Lost Gardens of Heligan (£606,400), the Bodmin and Wenford Railway (£260,000), Truro Cathedral (£146,000) and the Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre (£53,200).
- The government is introducing a new three-tier alert system for England. Regions will be classified as being on ‘medium’, ‘high’ or ‘very high’ alert. Areas on the highest alert level will have to introduce temporary closures of, for example, gyms and certain hospitality venues. Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced last week that employees who work for UK firms forced to shut by law because of coronavirus restrictions are to get two-thirds of their wages paid for by the government.
- The Royal College of Surgeons in England has warned of a “tsunami of cancelled operations” over the winter. A survey run by the organisation shows that the vast majority of its members have not yet gotten back to pre-pandemic treatment levels for routine surgeries. The situation is expected to get worse as the virus is becoming more prevalent again and operations are likely to be cancelled to free up beds for Covid-19 patients.
- The number of people who tested positive for Covid-19 in the UK has reached a new high. The 7-day average climbed to more than 15,500 last week. The peak during the ‘first wave’ in April/May this year was an average of 5,000 daily cases. However, more cases are being detected now due to increased testing capacity.
- The North of England and Northern Ireland are currently among the UK regions with the highest infection rate in Europe. Figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control also show that the UK still has the highest number of deaths in Europe.
- More than two thirds of people who tested positive for Covid-19 had no symptoms on the day of the test. New analysis of data from the Office for National Statistics’ Infection Survey shows that 86% of infected people reported none of the main symptoms of the illness, namely a cough, or a fever, or a loss of taste or smell. Researchers are calling for a more widespread testing programme to capture this “silent” transmission.
- The UK economy is unlikely to bounce back to pre-Covid levels any time soon. ONS data shows that although the UK’s economic output grew by 2.1% in August, it still remains 9.2% below the GDP level seen in February of this year. Some economists interpret the slowdown in growth as a sign that Britain had never been on course for a rapid V-shaped recovery.
- Less people in England have the opportunity to take up an apprenticeship as a result of the pandemic. Provisional Department for Education figures show that lockdown measures have drastically reduced apprenticeship starts. There have been 58,000 apprenticeship starts reported between 23 March and 31 July 2020; fewer than the 108,000 reported for this period last year.
- The Covid pandemic is hitting low-income families particularly hard. A study of households on Universal Credit or Child Tax Credits, published by the charity Save the Children, revealed that nearly 40% of families had to rely on help from charities for food and clothes over the past two months. A quarter (26%) are already cutting back on electricity and heating.
The UK Tourism minister has praised the tourism industry in Cornwall and Devon for their response to the pandemic and professionalism and dedication in what has been a very difficult summer period. Mr Huddleston also commented that the government’s Eat Out to Help Out schemes had had a positive impact on the industry and economy, and although some measures would remain in place until next year, he was unable to comment on further support.
The highest daily increase (26) of new cases of coronavirus was recorded in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly since April 30th, when 26 cases were also registered. September 11th saw the first coronavirus-related hospital death in Cornwall recorded since July 2nd.
On Monday 21st September the government’s chief medical adviser warned the country is facing a "very challenging winter period" and critical point in the coronavirus pandemic. If no further restrictions are introduced, the UK could see 50,000 new coronavirus cases a day by mid-October, leading to about ‘200 deaths per day’ a month later. On 20th September a further 3,899 daily cases and 18 deaths were reported in the UK. Prof Whitty added, “We are now going into the seasons... that benefit respiratory viruses”. The government are expected to make an announcement regarding further restrictions to stop the spread of the virus, which may include limiting contact between households.
National analysis and data shows the percentage of businesses that had been trading for more than the previous two weeks was 95% between 7 and 16 September 2020 (a further 1% had restarted in the last two weeks, 4% remained temporarily closed), whilst retail sales volumes (in August) increased by 0.8% when compared with July; an increase of 4.0% when compared with February’s pre-pandemic level. Monthly gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 6.6% in July 2020 but is 11.7% lower than the February 2020 level, and the UK unemployment rate for the three months to July 2020 was 4.1%; this is 0.3 percentage points higher than a year earlier and 0.2 percentage points higher than the previous quarter.
According to HMRC figures, some 80,433 employers have returned cash they were given to help cover workers' salaries through the government’s furlough scheme, more than £215m. Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) - or furlough scheme - workers placed on leave received 80% of their pay, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month. £35.4bn has been claimed under the scheme up until 16 August. The government has rejected calls to extend the furlough scheme when it ends on 31 October, despite warnings that it could trigger a wave of job cuts.
Office for National Statistics figures reveal that nearly two in three workers are commuting again, with the government encouraging workers to return to help revive city centres. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that 62% of adult workers reported travelling to work last week, compared with 36% in late May. Business groups have warned that city centres could become "ghost towns" if more workers do not return to offices, impacting small businesses that rely on passing trade from office workers. However, new research released by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) suggests that working from home could be a permanent fixture for many, following the pandemic with 37% of those surveyed believing staff will regularly avoid the journey into the office following Covid-19 - up from just 18% before the pandemic.
The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee has unanimously voted to hold interest rates at their record low of 0.1%. The BoE said that despite a stronger than expected recovery in recent months, the economy remains around 7% smaller than at the end of 2019. The Bank also warned that the increasing rate of coronavirus infections and uncertainty over the UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU threaten Britain’s economic recovery.
The government has introduced new laws which states that people who are instructed to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, and are on lower incomes and cannot work from home, and have lost income as a result of self-isolating, will receive a support payment of £500. New fines for those breaching self-isolation rules will also start at £1,000. The government states it recognises that self-isolation is one of the most powerful tools for controlling the transmission of Covid-19, and this support payment will ensure that those on low incomes are able to self-isolate without worry about their finances. Just under 4 million people who are in receipt of benefits in England will be eligible for the payment, which will be available to those who are required to self-isolate from 28 September and in place via local authorities by 12 October (backdated payments).
Housing charity Shelter and district councils have warned that hundreds of thousands of private renters have fallen into arrears during the coronavirus pandemic or are otherwise at risk of being made homeless as the furlough scheme ends and unemployment rises. Calls for a ban on evictions to be extended or made permanent are being made amid fears it could provoke a surge in homelessness and contribute to a rise in coronavirus infections. Following a temporary government ban on landlords evicting tenants, eviction hearings can restart in England and Wales from 21st September.
Social care and health
The Department of Health and Social Care has announced that an additional £546m in funding will be allocated to care homes to help protect residents from winter COVID-19 outbreaks. The funding will pay for PPE such as facemasks, gloves and aprons, and will enable homes to continue paying the full wages of carers and other staff if they develop COVID-19 symptoms.
People visiting care homes in areas with high numbers of coronavirus cases will be required to be constantly supervised as part of the Government's adult social care winter action plan. Visits should be limited, and in facilities listed as being an area of intervention, visits should be halted altogether except in "exceptional circumstances".
New monthly interim indicators for Natural England’s People and Nature Survey for England show that almost half the population (46%) are spending more time outside than before COVID-19 (up from 44% in June and 26% in May). With 42% of adults reporting that ‘nature and wildlife is more important than ever to my wellbeing’ and 35% visiting local green and natural spaces more often.
- Data released by NOMIS today shows the out of work benefit claimant count is still the highest amongst the 18-24 age bracket in Cornwall, with 10% claiming, whereas the South West figures is 7.9% and it is 9.4% for Great Britain. The 10% claimant rate represents the lowest figure since April. There is also a greater proportion of men claiming benefits (7.5%) than women (4.9%).
- Unemployment in Britain increased to 4.1% during May, June and July, this equates to 1.4 million people. 4.1% represents a rise on the 3.9% recorded in the previous three months. Those aged 16-24 were the hardest hit out of all age groups. The full impact of the pandemic is expected to be shown post October when the furlough scheme ends, more than 10 million people have benefitted from the job retention scheme.
- The Professional Association of Self-Caterers are warning of yet more upheaval in the UK’s self-catering and holiday cottages market as the ‘rule of 6’ could leave larger properties standing empty. Under the previous rules in England, two families were permitted to meet if they observed social distancing measures up to a maximum of 30 people, but now holiday firms offering properties sleeping 7 or more will have to consider alternatives.
- Several UK retail and leisure businesses have announced reopening plans following lockdown. The Co-op is planning to open 50 new stores, creating 1,000 new jobs, Pret A Manger has announced a new coffee subscription service to attract customers back into stores, whilst toy store Lego will be opening 14 new stores in the UK as it enjoys the result of good sales worldwide during the pandemic.
- New figures from the Institute for Employment Studies shows that employers in Britain are planning more than twice as many redundancies than they did at the height of the last recession with 380,000 job cuts planned from May to July this year compared to around 180,000 from January to March 2009. Completed redundancies could reach 735,000 this autumn.
- Recent ONS research shows that the number of people who thought it would take more than a year for life to return to normal, if at all, rose from 2 in 10 in mid-June to 3 in 10 by the end of July. Of businesses not permanently stopped trading, 36% of the workforce were working remotely instead of at their normal place of work.
- Housing secretary Robert Jenrick announced that the government have declared a truce on enforcement action for tenants facing eviction in England and Wales this Christmas. Evictions will not be enforced in areas in a local lockdown. Notice periods for eviction have also been increased to 6 months as the pandemic continues. Court proceedings for evictions will restart on 21 September, but evictions will not be enforced by bailiffs in local lockdown areas.
Social Care and Health
- In July more than 2 million people across England are waiting for hospital treatment, more than triple the figure for 2019. The President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England highlighted that some of these patients require treatment to get back to work, therefore this represents not only a health issue but also an economic issue.
- Addiction services in England could struggle to cope with "soaring" numbers of people misusing alcohol, the Royal College of Psychiatrists is warning. Data shows that many adults are drinking more since the coronavirus pandemic began, with the college estimating that in June, more than 8.4m people in England were drinking at higher-risk levels, up from 4.8m in February. The college is asking the government to invest millions more in addiction services as the rise in risky drinking comes at a time when more people addicted to opiates are seeking help from addiction services.
- The Trussell Trust has predicted that at least 670,000 extra people will become destitute and in need of charity food parcels by Christmas as coronavirus job and income support schemes are wound down.
- NHS Providers, which represents English hospital trusts, has said that a lack of coronavirus tests for NHS staff is leading to staff absences and services being put at risk, with staff having to self-isolate because they cannot get tests for themselves or family members. Whilst a network of over 5,000 school heads also say there is growing frustration at the lack of access to testing and the potential impact and staff shortages that could force partial closures in schools. Government figures show the current capacity for daily testing is more than 350,000 - which includes swab tests and antibody tests - with the aim to increase to 500,000 a day by the end of October.
- The Eat out to Help Out scheme figures were released last week. Comparatively, in the South West, Cornwall had the fourth largest number of registered restaurants (988), with the second highest number of meals claimed (1,178,000) and amount of discount claimed (6,670,000). Broken down to Cornwall’s parliamentary constituencies, St Ives has the highest number of registered restaurants, North Cornwall had the highest number of meals claimed and highest amount of discount claimed:
Parliamentary constituency code
Total number of registered restaurants
Total number of meals claimed for
Total amount of discount claimed (£)
Average discount per meal (£)
Camborne and Redruth
South East Cornwall
St Austell and Newquay
Truro and Falmouth
- Whilst the governments scheme ‘eat out to help out’ ended last week, some restaurants in Cornwall have decided to extend similar offers throughout September, with the hope of helping out local eateries as well as local residents.
- Cornwall famers has joined forces with Cornwall Council and CORMAC to trial a new green fuel, which will be made from manure slurry. It is believed that this study is the first of its kind in the world. 6 Cornish dairy farms and a Cornish technology company are involved. The £1.56m council funded project will deliver fuel for 77 converted road maintenance trucks.
- The ONS has published provisional monthly figures showing the number of COVID-19 deaths and age-standardised mortality rates in England and Wales from March to July 2020, by age, sex, and local authority. Deaths by MSOA (Middle Layer Super Output Area), Rural-Urban Classification and Travel to Work Areas (including in Cornwall) are also available. ONS analysis shows that COVID-19 has had a proportionally higher impact on the most deprived areas of England, with the age-standardised mortality rate in July being more than double the mortality rate in the least deprived areas (3.1 deaths per 100,000 population compared to 1.4), echoing results seen in previous months. Cornwall is currently ranked 83rd out of 317 local authority areas for deprivation (where a rank of 1 has the highest proportion of the population living in the most deprived neighbourhoods). 17 of Cornwall’s 326 neighbourhoods (Lower Super Output Areas) are considered in the top 10% most deprived areas in England.
- Housing charities are calling for the government to provide emergency financial help to tenants who have fallen behind in rent due to COVID in England. Research from Shelter has suggested that 322,000 people have fallen into arrears since March. The Welsh Government have already launched a programme for tenants – the £8 Tenant Saver Loan Scheme – for those who are not on benefits.
- The Government has launched its £2bn scheme for unemployed young people. The scheme will pay the wages of 16-24 year olds, who are claiming Universal Credit, for a 6 month work placement. The chancellor states that this is not only to kick start the economy, but also young people who are struggling to get into work.
Health, Social Care and Children’s:
- Research from the British Medical Journey shows that’s children and young adults are less likely to have severe COVID19 or die from the disease, when compared to adults. According to the study there are specific factors that are linked to an increased risk (Obesity, Black Ethnicity and >1 month old), the research also identifies a new symptom of severe Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children. UKRI are calling for WHO to update the symptom list to include this. This follows news that 2,988 cases of COVID were reported on Sunday – with cases predominately among young people.
- A new study has linked multimorbidity and polypharmacy (taking multiple medications) to the risk of having a positive COVID test. University of Glasgow researched found that with the presence of two or more conditions – cardiometabolic health conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure – resulted in a 77% higher risk of a positive test.
- Research by ASK has revealed that up to 20,000 children with special needs are ‘unlikely to return to school because of safety concerns’. These children have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), which includes children who are medically vulnerable or children that need close supervision. ASK says that parents and heads of school feel that SEND feel forgotten, with many feeling as though they have to choose between the health of their child and their education.
- A study by the ONS into the affects of exposure to high pollution in the air and the increased risk of dying from COVID has concluded as inconclusive. The analysis looked at a range of studies, including one based on 400 COVID patients admitted to Birmingham hospital that concluded that patients were ‘more likely to be admitted from regions of highest air pollution, housing quality and household overcrowding deprivation’. ONS also analysed studies from the US, Italy and Netherlands that had found a ‘small increase in pollution exposure raises the number of COVID deaths’. This follows new figures that shows almost 60% of people in England lived in areas where toxic air pollution exceeded legal limits in 2019.
Surfers Against Sewage say they have seen an “explosion” of discarded masks and plastic on beaches and in rivers. The Cornwall bases Surfers Against Sewage have highlighted the governments roll back on the 5p plastic back charge to support food deliveries and the postponement of the ban on straws, stirrers and cotton-bud sticks that was weeks away from being introduced.
Low income, employed people may be able to claim up to £182 if they have to self-isolate in certain parts of England. People who claim Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit, and can only work from work premises, will be able to get money equating to £13 a day.
The Arts and Leisure industry still has the largest proportion of workforce still furloughed, with 51% still furloughed. In second, the hospitality industry with 27% of their workforce still furloughed. 23% of arts and entertainment businesses are reporting the risk of insolvency as severe to moderation. Across all businesses, 11% are reporting the same.
The number of working and workless households has remained stable throughout lockdown, according to the ONS. It estimated that between April and the end of June, 59.6% of all households had at least one member working, while 13.1% of all households have no members working.
Croydon Council have said a “balanced budget” cannot be assured, with bankruptcy a possibility. The local authority faces a £65.4m overspend in the 20/21 financial year and only has £10m of reserve funds. To address the situation an independently chaired finance review has been set up and recruitment has been frozen.
Worldwide, people working from home are doing on average almost an extra hour a day longer than they were prior to the pandemic according to research from National Bureau of Economic Research. The study from NBER analysed data from 21,000 companies across the US, Europe and the Middle East.
A survey of 285 low-income families show 80% are now in a worse financial position than before the crisis. Reasons for the change were a fall in income, job losses and an increase in living costs. Half of the respondents said the were “much worse off” and more than three-quarters said the pandemic had affected their ability to pay for food and utilities.
Research by the NFER has shown that the educational gap between rich and poor pupils has widened by 46%, due to the lockdown. Average estimates in a poll of almost 3,000 school leaders in England suggest pupils are three months behind in their curriculum, with the situation judged to be worse in schools in more deprived areas. The study from the National Foundation for Educational Research claimed over half of teachers in the study estimate that the learning gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers has widened. Reasons relate to remote learning and levels of pupil and parent engagement.
Homelessness charities are calling for the Government to extend their support for prison leavers. Ministry of Justice figures show that during the first month of lockdown, over 1,000 people were released from prison. The scheme, that provided a £6.4m pilot has helped offenders stay off the streets; however charities say that unless released offenders are supported, reoffending rates will rise with no protection from COVID.
Health and Social Care
According to analysis using global data, obesity increased the risk of dying from COVID by 48%, with fears that the vaccine will also be less effective. Additionally, the study showed that obese people were 74% more likely to be admitted to intensive care.
ONS findings from the Telephone operated Crime Survey for England and Wales has found that there is an estimated 32% reduction in total crime (this excludes fraud and computer misuse). The study analyses data during April and May 2020, and is compared to a two-month average before the lockdown initiated. Whilst nationally, data down a reduced, local data shows that crime levels have stayed the same. Additionally, parents of children aged 10-15 years old reporting negative online experiences is around 1 in 10.
Cornwall – local impact
- Nationally, the road traffic across all motor vehicles has returned to pre-lockdown levels. Locally, Cornwall is reporting as 6% increase in road traffic, compared to the same reporting period last year.
- On Sunday, Cornwall’s Lithium potential featured in Countryfile with visits to United Downs and interviews of local geologists at Cornish Lithium. Find the coverage on iPlayer.
- Cornwall has been selected to help kick start the nature recovery under the Local Nature Recovery Strategies pilot that will map the most valuable sites and habitats for wildlife restoration.
And in other Cornish news…
- The Cornish Shuffle dance is a new dance craze! The craze, initiated by a local NHS psychiatrist, hopes to increase social connections and benefits our physical and mental health. You can visit a dedicated YouTube channel and to see a breakdown of the steps and a demo video.
- Panorama investigation reveals that domestic abuse has surged during lockdown. An FOI from UK police forces found that one domestic abuse call was made every 30 seconds in the first seven weeks of lockdown. These reports included kidnap, arson, revenge porn and poisoning.
- July 2020 was the busiest month for buying houses in 10 years, according to Rightmove. They report that more than £37bn worth of property sales were conducted. In July 2019, £25bn worth of sales were conducted.
- During lockdown it is estimated that nearly 18,000 households across England have been made homeless. From FOI responses to 212 councils, 22,798 households applied for support after 1st April. The article outlines that this is only reporting 2/3rds of England’s households, which they estimate as 33,000 households for all local authorities were made homeless. The final figure removes the 15,000 households that were allocated housing under the governments scheme.
- A two year partnership between Tesco Mobile and Crisis (the homelessness charity) will enable homeless people digital connectivity. The scheme will provide £700,000 worth of smartphones and internet data to homeless people in England. Crisis has already provided 1000 mobile phones since the start of lockdown, and is now urging the public to donate their old smartphones. The scheme will support connection to family and access to health care guidance.
Social Care and Health
- Imperial College London researchers have found evidence linking Diabetes Type 1 to Coronavirus in children. During the heights on the pandemic, the Imperial College NHS trust saw a significant increase of diabetes type 1 admissions – on further investigation, a number of these had positive coronavirus testing.
- Specialist public health registrars have raised fears that scrapping the Public Health England organisation would risk a second coronavirus wave. This follows the announcement from the Health Secretary last Tuesday that said the PHE will be replaced by the National Institute for Health Protection (NIHP).
- Research from Public Health England (PHE) reveals there was an outbreak of coronavirus at only one in 10,000 schools when some reopened for select year groups in June. Outbreaks in schools were typically small in size and more than half involved just one secondary case, the report added, with PHE insisting they were all “successfully contained”.
- Reports of depression during lockdown increase to 19.2% (1 in 5) from 9.7% (1 in 10). A number of factors were found to feed into this, including unexpected expenditure worries (1 in 3 adults), unemployment, loneliness (61.7%) and future uncertainty. According to the ONS there were no statistically significant differences between rural and urban areas. More than half of all adults experienced high level of anxiety during the lockdown. There are a number of factors that have been associated with the development of moderate to sever depressive symptoms, pre and post COVID, which have fed into this increase:
- There was also a significant increase of disabled adults (around a third) experiencing moderate to severe depressive symptoms:
In conjunction with the Universities of Oxford and Manchester, Public Health England and the Wellcome Trust, the ONS have published their COVID Infection Survey which looks at the characteristics of people that have tested positive for COVID. The conclusions:
- Evidence shows that Asian or Asian British individuals are more likely to test positive for COVID than White individuals.
- One-person households were more likely to test positive for COVID than in two people households – there is no evidence of differences for larger households.
- Individuals working in health care have a higher percentage of testing positive for anti-bodies, suggesting previous infection, than those not working in a health care setting.
- From nose and throat swabs over the last 8 weeks, there is no evidence to shows likelihood of infection between age groups nor any evidence of infection preference between gender.
- Birmingham is to be the first to pilot a ‘drop and collect’ COVID test scheme, as the reported number of cases in Birmingham rises to 60%. The test will be a self-test at home package which will be delivered and collected for people struggling to get to the testing sites.
- Research at Bristol Hospital find that 3 in 4 patients diagnosed with COVID are still suffering symptoms months later. The symptoms include breathlessness, excessive fatigue and muscle aches.
- Track and trace firms missed 46% of COVID contacts in England’s worst hit areas. The outsourced project missed a large portion of contacts in five of the worst hit areas of Oldham, Leicester, Blackburn with Darwin, Bradford and Manchester.
- Analysis by the ONS into retail sales shows that in total July sales are higher than pre-lockdown. Since its lowest, in April, sales have increased by 3.6% on a monthly basis. However, breaking down the sectors, analysis shows that fuel and non sale foods are below levels of pre-lockdown with clothes sales recovering the worst (still 25.7% lower than pre-lockdown).
- One-tenth of businesses are facing a ‘moderate’ risk of insolvency, the ONS report. In the latest Business Impact of Coronavirus survey (27th July – 9th August) 10% of businesses that responded described their risk of insolvency as moderate, with 1% responding as ‘severe’.
- Families will be stripped of eligibility for welfare benefits if they receive a pay-out under the Governments COVID 19 compensation scheme. The scheme is aimed at families of frontline workers that have died from coronavirus. The eligibility will be void due to the £60,000 entitlement from the scheme voiding capital limits for benefits such as universal credit, housing benefit and pension credit.
- Citizens Advice reports that an estimated 6 million UK adults have fallen behind on at least one household bill, with mobile phone or broadband bills being at the top, with water, energy, council tax and rent bills following consecutively.
- The ESRC have announced a targeted research institutes that will explore the key to resolving the UKs productivity to boost wage growth and living standards. The ‘Productivity Institute’, alongside a dedicated research programme, will be funded by £37m from the ESRC to advance knowledge and inform significant decision made by policy makers and businesses.
- A study shows that the North South divide could be made a lot worse by COVID’s impact on the economy, with big sectors such as retail and manufacturing having major job losses.
- The UK’s centre of excellence for local carbon and fuel cell technologies Cenex, have produced a report that recommends local authorities should embrace e-scooters rental schemes. Cenex claim that e-scooters have the potential to reduce car trips and, in doing so, cut congestion and emissions, especially in congested city centres.
- Transport for Greater Manchester have revealed that their bus patronage is recovering a lot quicker than rail. Bob Morris, TfGM’s chief operating officer said the bus network was carrying about 40 per cent of pre-Covid patronage, Metrolink 35-40 per cent, and the rail network about 20 per cent.