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POLICY & INTELLIGENCE NEWSLETTER – CORNWALL COUNCIL

 

 

12 January 2021
The articles below have been drawn together by the policy and analytical community within the Council. Information is correct at the time of writing,
11 am on 11 January. This newsletter can also be found on our website.

 

 

Covid-19

 

  • 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.

 

 

Democracy

 

  • 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.

 

 

Economy

 

  • 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.

 

 

Education

 

  • 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.

 

 

Environment

 

  • 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.

 

 

Housing

 

  • 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.

 

 

 

Find out more

 

 

 

VIRTUAL COUNCILLOR FAIR – HOSTED BY CORNWALL COUNCIL 16th JANUARY 2021

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