Latest UK data:
Positive tests: 1,750,241 have tested positive (+ 12,282 new cases)
Loss of life: *62,033 across all settings (+ 616 in last 24 hours)
Cases in Cheshire East: 9,447 confirmed since start of the pandemic, + 399 in the 7 days to 3rd December
Rate per 100k population in Cheshire East: 103.9 in the 7 days to 3rd December
*Daily reported COVID deaths are now measured across the UK as deaths that occurred within 28 days of the first laboratory-confirmed positive COVID test
The R number and growth rate in the UK
The latest reproduction number (R) and growth rate of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the UK. The R number range for the UK is 0.9 -1.0 and the growth rate range is 0% to -2% to 0% per day as of 27 November 2020.
Coronavirus cases in the UK: daily updated statistics
The latest number of coronavirus (COVID-19) tests, cases and deaths in the UK. The way deaths are reported is based on a 28-day limit between the date of a positive lab-confirmed test and date of death.
Slides, datasets and transcripts to accompany coronavirus press conferences
Slides, datasets and transcripts from press conferences at 10 Downing Street in response to coronavirus
COVID-19: background information
Information on COVID-19 including epidemiology, virology and clinical features – updated with latest global case numbers.
World first: 90 year old woman becomes the world’s first to get Covid vaccination
A 90-year-old woman has become the first person in the world to be given a Covid jab as part of the mass vaccination programme being rolled out across the UK.
Margaret Keenan, who turns 91 next week, said it was the “best early birthday present”. She was given the injection at 06:31 GMT as a patient at Coventry Hospital – the first of 800,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine that will be given across the UK in the coming weeks. The second patient to receive the vaccine this morning was William Shakespeare from Warwickshire! About 70 hospital hubs across the UK will begin inoculating people aged over 80, including at Stockport’s Stepping Hill Hospital, – mainly patients coming in for planned treatments – with the Pfizer/BioNTech jab, along with some health workers and care staff. The vaccine must be carefully stored – here’s more on how it works. There are 800,000 doses currently available, with up to four million due by the end of the month. More hospitals and GP practices will become involved in delivery over time. Grandfather-of-nine Dr Hari Shukla, 87, said he was “delighted to be doing my bit” by getting the jab on Tuesday. When will you get one? Find out more.
Government’s Vaccines Taskforce has worked “decisively” and at “great pace” to improve UK’s pandemic preparedness
Government has published a report highlighting the work and achievements of its Vaccines Taskforce (VTF).
June Raine: How we backed a COVID-19 vaccine before rest of the West
MHRA Chief Executive Dr June Raine explains the process behind the Agency’s approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
UK government Vaccines Taskforce (VTF): 2020 achievements and future strategy
The Vaccines Taskforce (VTF) has made progress securing vaccines for the UK, working internationally to develop and increase access to vaccines, and building UK vaccine capability.
Who will get the vaccine first and why you may be asked to wait
People most at risk from the complications of COVID-19 are being offered the vaccine first. In the UK, there are 2 types of COVID-19 vaccine to be used once they are approved. They both require 2 doses to provide the best protection. Both have been shown to be safe and effective in clinical trials. An independent group of experts has recommended that the NHS first offers these vaccines to those at highest risk of catching the disease and of suffering serious complications or dying from COVID-19. This includes older adults in care homes and frontline health and social care workers. When more vaccine becomes available, the vaccines will be offered to other people at risk as soon as possible.
Find out the priority to list for getting the vaccine HERE
HMRC confirms virtual Christmas parties qualify for tax exemption
HMRC has confirmed that they will accept a virtual Christmas party as an event which is capable of falling within the tax exemption rules for annual functions. The rules allow employers to spend up to £150 per head (including VAT) towards the costs of an annual function such as a seasonal party, without creating a tax liability. To qualify the party must be an annual event which is open to all staff generally, or all staff at a specific location, if the employer has more than one location. If the employer has more than one annual event in a tax year, for all the events to be tax-free the combined cost per head must be no more than £150.
LOCAL / REGIONAL NEWS & UPDATES:
Council says ‘cover your face, keep your space’, shop safely and support your local town this Christmas
Cheshire East Council is urging residents to shop in their local town in the lead up to Christmas, whilst of course wearing a face mask and maintaining social distancing.
Director of Public Health comments on Covid-19 vaccine roll out for Cheshire East
Dr Matt Tyrer, Director of Public Health for Cheshire East Council said:
“The news regarding the vaccine is a significant turning point in our fight against the virus. I’m delighted that the vaccine can now be rolled out in a safe and effective manner across Cheshire East
“This will be the largest scale vaccination programme that this country has ever seen. It will be a marathon over the coming months and by no means a quick sprint.
“Cheshire’s health and care partners are working tirelessly to ensure a safe and effective delivery of the vaccine to the local population, initially to the most at-risk groups including over-80s, social care workers, care home workers and care home residents.
“It’s important that those working on the front line in care homes are vaccinated in order to protect the many vulnerable and at-risk residents who they work tirelessly to look after, and the residents themselves are vaccinated.
“Importantly, this does not mean that we can now stop social-distancing and wearing face coverings – our fight against Covid is not over – in many ways, this vaccine is the just beginning of our fightback.
“We all must continue to remember to keep good hand hygiene, wear a face covering where appropriate and to keep a distance of two metres from other people.”
Locally based UK pet retailer to repay Covid-19 business rates relief monies
Handforth headquartered pet care business, Pets at Home Group, has become the latest major retailer to repay the business rates relief it received as part of the government’s Covid-19 support. Pets at Home stores were permitted to continue trading during the two national coronavirus lockdowns, with pet care retailers classed as ‘essential retail.’ While the group has taken a £35 million hit to its finances due to the pandemic, including as a result of implemented Covid-secure measures across its stores, it has chosen to return the government support it received, totalling £28.9 million in rates relief.
Airport operator reports 80% pandemic drop in revenue
The scale of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on aviation has been revealed in the half-year figures of the UK’s largest airport operator, Manchester Airports Group. Manchester Airports Group, which owns Manchester, Stansted and East Midlands airports, revealed revenues of £102.4 million in the six months to 30th September 2020. This figure represents an 81.1% drop in revenue from £540.6 million in the same period last year.
BUSINESS & FINANCE:
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – November claims by December 14th
There are now monthly deadlines for claims.Claims must be submitted within 14 calendar days after the month they relate to, unless this falls on a weekend in which case the deadline is the next weekday. HMRC will continue to send reminder emails before the deadline each month. As we approach the Christmas period payroll dates may differ this month. You can claim before, during or after you process your payroll as long as your claim is submitted by the deadline.
Commercial providers of COVID-19 testing urged to sign up to new DHSC webinars
New proposals will see commercial testing accredited solely through UKAS, making the accreditation of private COVID-19 tests faster and more efficient.
Reporting outbreaks of coronavirus (COVID-19)
Guidance for businesses and organisations on how to recognise, contain and report incidents of coronavirus (COVID-19) – updated section ‘Early outbreak management action card example’.
Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)
Find out how to make your workplace COVID-secure – Labs and research facilities – Updated guidance to clarify that workplace canteens open to staff only do not need to collect data for NHS Test and Trace. See the ‘What’s changed’ section for further information.
SAGE advice on reducing the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission in the home
Advice from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) to help households safely plan for gatherings in the home.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Meeting with others safely (social distancing)
Information on social distancing – HTML attachment updated in line with latest government guidance.
COVID-19: Guidance for small marriages and civil partnerships
Guidance for receptions and celebrations updated to reflect local restriction tiers. In Tier 1 and 2, up to 15 people may attend receptions and celebrations, with other restrictions applying. In Tier 3, receptions and celebrations are not permitted to take place.
Face coverings: when to wear one, exemptions, and how to make one
This page explains when to wear a face covering, exemptions from wearing one, and how to make your own face covering.
Guidance if you are visiting your local coastline this winter
When visiting your local coastline please take care and follow the rules and social distancing guidelines according to your tier status.
COVID-19 vaccination: women of childbearing age, currently pregnant, planning a pregnancy or breastfeeding
Information for all women of childbearing age, those currently pregnant, planning a pregnancy or breastfeeding on coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination.
Infrastructure upkeep specialist posts record annual results
Infrastructure upkeep specialist Renew has posted a record set of annual results as essential maintenance work continued despite the pandemic.
Pre-tax profits were up to £32.1m for the year to September 30 2020 from £27m last time as revenue rose to £620.4m from £600.6m. Operating margins were steady at 6.4% and Renew is debt free despite funding the £38m acquisition of highways specialist Carnell during the year. Network Rail is Renew’s biggest customer and the company currently holds more than 50 CP6 maintenance and renewals frameworks across all disciplines, covering the entire UK rail network.
Construction buyers see strong surge in new orders
The latest improvement in construction order books was the steepest since October 2014, which survey respondents attributed to a recovery in tender opportunities and improving confidence among clients. Greater workloads also contributed to a strong increase in purchasing activity during November, with the rate of growth reaching its highest for just over six years. Rising demand for construction products and materials placed additional pressure on supply chains in November.
What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
Information for parents and carers about going back to schools, nurseries and colleges in the autumn term – updated the information on primary assessments and GCSE and A Level exams in summer 2021, Ofsted inspections and exams for selective schools.
School funding: exceptional costs associated with coronavirus (COVID-19)
Guidance on funding available to schools to support them with costs associated with coronavirus (COVID-19) – added details of how schools can claim for funding through the second claims window.
Ofsted: coronavirus (COVID-19) rolling update
Ofsted guidance and information relating to coronavirus (COVID-19) for schools, early years, children’s social care and further education and skills providers – added links to new operational notes for maintained schools and academies, non-association independent schools, further education and skills providers and early years providers.
Ofsted’s plans: 2021
Guidance and details of our plans from January 2021 as part of a phased return to full inspection.
Get help with technology during coronavirus (COVID-19)
Guidance for local authorities, academy trusts and schools on devices and support available to provide remote education and access to children’s social care – updated information on how to get a grant and support to use a digital education platform.
Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
Attendance in education settings since Monday 23 March and early years settings since Thursday 16 April – added ‘Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak: 23 March to 3 December 2020.’
Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak: 23 March to 3 December 2020
A summary of attendance in education settings since Monday 23 March and early years settings since Thursday 16 April.
Coronavirus: Environment Agency update
The Environment Agency’s priority is to protect people and the environment, and to support those we regulate during the coronavirus pandemic – two sections updated: Applying for a permit and Our waterways.
HEALTH, CARE & WELLBEING:
COVID-19 vaccination: care home and healthcare settings posters
Information and promotional resources to support the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination programme.
COVID-19 vaccination: consent forms and letters for care home residents
Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination consent forms and letter templates for care home residents – added revised relative consent form.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing service for extra care and supported living settings
Guidance on regular retesting for extra care and supported living settings that meet the eligibility criteria.
Assessment and procurement of coronavirus (COVID-19) tests
How the government assesses offers of COVID-19 tests from developers for procurement and use in the UK – information about technologies in the pipeline updated in the attachment ‘National technical validation process for manufacturers of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19); added new information about validations concluded or paused and added new information and reports on validated technology.
Coronavirus COVID-19 serology and viral detection tests: technical validation reports
Findings from technical validations and in-service valuations reviewed by the Technical Validation Group.
Personal protective equipment (PPE): local contacts for providers
A list of local contacts for providers who are not on the PPE portal. Providers can get PPE through their local authority or local resilience forum.
PPE deliveries (England): 30 November to 6 December 2020
Experimental statistics showing the latest number of personal protective equipment (PPE) items distributed for use by health and social care services in England.
COVID-19: impact on vaccination programmes
Reports assessing the impact of COVID-19-related physical distancing measures on delivery of childhood vaccination programmes in England – added ‘Impact of COVID-19 on childhood vaccination counts to week 47, 2020.’
HOSPITALITY & LEISURE:
Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)
Restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services – updated guidance on Tier 3 restrictions to clarify that customers can enter the premises to place or collect any type of order between 5am and 11pm. See the ‘What’s changed’ section for further information.
Court and tribunal recovery update in response to coronavirus
An update setting out the work being undertaken by HMCTS in the short and medium terms in response to coronavirus (COVID-19) –
7 December presentation and speaking notes added.
HMCTS weekly operational summary on courts and tribunals during coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
This page provides a weekly summary of the HM Courts and Tribunals Service operational position during the coronavirus pandemic – updated COVID Operating Hours consultation closing date
Additional COVID-19 local authority enforcement powers
Following proposals from and consultation with local authorities in England, the government has provided local authorities in England with new powers to take decisive action against premises that do not comply with COVID-secure rules. These will enable enforcement officers to issue improvement and restriction notices to premises that are not meeting COVID-secure business obligations.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for local government
Added links to: Collection: Business support; Guidance: Local Restrictions Support Grants (LRSG)Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG): guidance for local authorities Announcement: Boost for high street as Jenrick extends opening hours for Christmas shopping; Guidance: Local restriction tiers: what you need to know; Guidance: Local restriction tiers: what you need to know – alternative formats; Guidance: Full list of local restriction tiers by area; Guidance: Tier 1: Medium alert; Guidance: Tier 2: High alert; Guidance: Tier 3: Very High alert; Tier posters: Medium, High and Very High; Statement: Returning to a regional tiered approach; Statement: Renewing regional coronavirus restrictions in England; Announcement: Tiering decisions to be made through national command structure; Announcement: More rapid COVID-19 tests to be rolled out across England; Roll out of lateral flow tests to local authorities; Policy paper: Community testing; Announcement: Community testing to help lift restrictions in highest tiers; Coronavirus (COVID-19): testing guidance for employers; Guidance: Coronavirus (COVID-19) contingency framework for education and childcare settings; Collection: COVID-19 vaccination programme; Announcement: UK authorises Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine; Announcement: UK medicines regulator gives approval for first UK COVID-19 vaccine; Regulatory approval of Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19; Guidance: COVID-19 Winter Plan
COVID Support Force: the MOD’s continued contribution to the coronavirus response
Military personnel are supporting public services across the UK to assist with the response to COVID-19. This page has the latest information on the MOD’s activities – MOD’s continued contribution to the coronavirus response page as of 4 December 2020.
MPs stay neutral over stamp duty holiday extension
MPs lobbied by agents to extend the stamp duty holiday are staying firmly on the fence with standard answers and no suggestion – at least yet – that they will help our industry. Over recent months most agency industry groups have suggested to their members that they lobby their MPs on the SDLT issue, putting forward arguments that many consumers risk not being able to enjoy the holiday because the rush of transactions means major backlogs with agents, conveyancers, search bodies and surveyors. The Guild of Property Professionals set out a model letter for its members to send to MPs and now Iain McKenzie, the Guild’s chief executive, says many have received written responses.
Rental market recovering fast but now more segmented
The rental market is recovering fast from the Coronavirus crisis and still has a strong ‘offer’ for investors – but it’s becoming increasingly segmented. In an exclusive article for Letting Agent Today, Richard Donnell – the insight director of Zoopla and one of the industry’s most respected research figures – says London’s current rental problems don’t have a quick fix. But elsewhere there are stronger markets, with a mix of investment opportunities – buy to let, Build To Rent, even affordable housing.
Retail giant in talks over Debenhams rescue
The group behind the likes of Sports Direct and House of Fraser is in talks over a “potential rescue transaction” for Debenhams. Frasers Group, which is controlled by Mike Ashley, has confirmed it is in negotiations with the administrators of Debenhams’ UK business on a possible deal. The move comes after details of the discussions were first revealed over the weekend. Should a deal for the 242-year-old retailer be agreed, up to 12,000 jobs could be saved. Frasers Group, which is headquartered in Derbyshire, also owns brands such as Jack Wills and Evans Cycles.
Ted Baker losses deepen by 1,370% as coronavirus takes its toll
A high street fashion retailer has today reported that its losses deepened by more than a thousand per cent in the first half of this year. Ted Baker, which has 201 UK stores, reported losses before tax of £39m, increasing by 1,370.4 per cent from 2019’s £2.7m. The company also saw revenues drop from £313.3m to £169.5m in the first six months of the year, plummeting by 45.9 per cent, driven by the effects of Covid-19 and countrywide lockdowns. It is currently undergoing a restructuring process (Ted’s Growth Formula) which it says is set to save £31m of payroll savings annually.
First airline contact-tracing initiative launched by Delta for travellers to the US
Under the new contact tracing system, Delta passengers will be required to provide their full name, email address, address in the US plus both a primary and secondary phone number. This data will then be “directly and securely” transmitted to the CDC via US Customs and Border Protection. Bill Lentsch, Delta’s chief customer experience officer, said: “Independent studies have shown that the many layers of protection Delta has already put in place are effectively minimising the risk of Covid-19 transmission, and contact tracing adds one more important layer to our efforts to ensure safety throughout travel.” Submitting contact information will be mandatory for those flying on Delta’s first quarantine-free transatlantic route between Atlanta and Rome, which is due to launch on 19 December.
COVID-19 Winter Plan
The government’s plan for managing COVID-19 through the end of 2020 and into the start of 2021.
Government extends JRS furlough scheme at 80% for period of lockdown
The government has said the furlough scheme, due to have closed on 31st October, would now be extended until December.
New National Restrictions from 5 November
Information on the new national restrictions, including what they mean for working from home and business closures, why they are being introduced and the financial support available.
Job Retention Bonus (JRB)
Employers are able to claim a one-off payment of £1,000 for every eligible employee furloughed and claimed for through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), kept continuously employed until at least 31 January 2021 and who meets the other eligibility criteria. Claims can be made between 15 February and 31 March.
Become a Green Homes Grant Supplier II – Trustmark and PAS 2030The new Green Homes Grant will give over 600,000 homeowners in England up to £10,000 to install insulation, heat pumps, draft proofing and more to help households cut energy bills.
Check if you’re eligible for the coronavirus Local Restrictions Support Grant
The Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) supports businesses that have been required to close due to temporary COVID-19 local lockdown restrictions imposed by the government.
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme grant extension
The grant is being extended from 1 November 2020. Find out if you’re eligible and how much you can get.
Hospitality venues in England are now legally required to enforce the rule of 6 or face a fine of up to £4,000.
Designated businesses and organisations, including hospitality, close contact services and leisure venues, will also be legally required to log details of customers, visitors and staff for NHS Test and Trace and required to display official NHS QR code posters under law
NHS Test and Trace service in the workplace
Guidance on the NHS Test and Trace service for employers, businesses and workers updated to reflect the new legal requirements for designated venues to collect contact details and display official NHS QR code posters from 24th September
Claim money back through the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme
Find out how to claim the reimbursement for discounts given to diners with the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme. The Eat Out to Help Out Scheme closed on 31 August 2020 – the page updated with removal of registration links.
The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to employers to create job placements for 16 to 24 year olds.
Kickstart Scheme employer resources
If you’ve been offered Kickstart Scheme funding, you can use these resources to show your support for the scheme.
Kickstart Scheme employer contacts
List of regional contacts for employers applying for a grant through the Kickstart Scheme.
Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can’t do
Frequently asked questions on what you can and can’t do during the coronavirus outbreak – guidance updated in line with new regulations coming into force on 4 July
Apply for the coronavirus Future Fund
The Future Fund will provide UK Government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors.
Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme set to launch
Employers will be able to make claims through the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme from 26 May.
Government – Guidance on Returning to Work safely
Government – Setting out of Road Map to recovery – 11th May 2020
Our plan to rebuild: The UK Government’s 60 page COVID-19 recovery strategy
The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy. The strategy sets out a cautious roadmap to easing existing measures in a safe and measured way, subject to successfully controlling the virus and being able to monitor and react to its spread.
Coronavirus Act 2020: status
A table setting out the status of each measure in the Coronavirus Act 2020.
Government – Financial Support
New 100% government backed loan scheme for small business
Government – Financial Support
CBILS – A guide to whether it may be the best options for a business
Government – Financial Support
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – online claims portal open
Government – Business Support:
Government launches new coronavirus business support finder tool
Government – Business Support Hub:
Government – Business Support:
Government – Business Support: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19
Government – Financial Support: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-business-support-grant-funding
Bank of England – Financial Support: https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/news/2020/march/the-covid-corporate-financing-facility
Gov.uk: Maintaining Educational Provision: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision
UK Lockdown – Further businesses to close and exceptions: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/874732/230320_-_Revised_guidance_note_-_finalVF
Health – updates from NHS
Health – Shielding the most vulnerable https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19
Media and Marketing:
Recruitment: – DWP and Universal Credit: http://news.dwp.gov.uk/dwplz/lz.aspx?p1=MQsDU1NjQ5MlM2OTA0OjNCNDJBOEZCRTJDOUJEOTc1ODQ0RTRCRDNDNzk4QUNF-&CC=&p=0
Retail: An update form British Retail Consortium https://brc.org.uk/news/corporate-affairs/coronavirus-latest-retailer-activity/
Resources available from Acas:
Redundancy letter templates
Redundancy process map Acas have also contributed to the development of a new return to work toolkit in partnership with SOM, CIPD, BITC and Mind.