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News Report Page 11 of 11
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Sector braced for lay offs despite Government support

NORTH West England's manufacturers are calling on the Government to provide immediate support for the sector in any emergency Budget as the full impact of the Covid 19 crisis hits the sector hard. The call was made on the back of the Make UK/BDO Q2 Manufacturing Outlook survey which shows the sector hit record low levels of output, reaching levels beyond anything seen in even the financial crisis. Make UK has already called on the Government to step in with direct support for key strategic sectors of manufacturing, in particular aerospace and automotive on which the North West heavily depends, as well as set up a 'National Skills Task Force.' However, given the extent of the damage to manufacturing and its long supply chains, it now wants the Government to go further to provide immediate respite to company cash flow without which it fears the prospect of significant redundancies. According to the survey, output and order levels reached balances of -60% and -65% respectively which are unprecedented record low levels. This was reflected in both UK and export order cutbacks of -55% and -50% respectively with a knock on impact on investment being slashed with a balance of -47%. Despite the Government support schemes such as the Job Retention Scheme, Make UK fears the prospect of significant job losses due to the fall in demand despite the employment balance in the North West at -10% not being as bad as the national figure. As a result of the impact Make UK is forecasting that manufacturing will contract by almost 10% this year (9.4%) before recovering some of this with growth of +6.2% in 2021. It is forecasting the economy overall to contract by 7.8% this year before recovering most of this next year with growth of 7.2%.

Make UK Region Director for the North West June Smith, said:- "There is no disguising the fact these figures make for awful reading with the impact on jobs and livelihoods across the Region. Industry and Government must now leave no stone unturned to retain as many key skills as possible within the sector to ensure it is in a position to effectively recover when growth eventually returns, which at some point it will."

Graham Ellis, Head of Manufacturing at BDO in the North West said:-
"With output plunging and order books shrinking, many manufacturers in the Region have had to ditch their investment plans and rethink their priorities. While the short term support packages offered to date have provided a lifeline, it's becoming increasingly clear that the Government needs to develop a comprehensive strategy to provide long term stability for the manufacturing sector. This could include direct support for some of the country's largest manufacturers that so many small and mid sized suppliers rely on, in addition to new incentives to encourage investment in digital transformation and productivity. With COVID-19 causing instability in global supply chains and uncertainty surrounding our future trading relationships, the UK will become more reliant than ever on its manufacturing sector. Now is the time for the Government to step up and show its support."

Councils call for the suspension of no recourse to public funds over the Covid-19 crisis

COUNCILS are saying that the:- 'No Recourse to Public Funds' (NRPF) condition needs to be suspended by Government so that all vulnerable individuals are entitled to receive support during the Coronavirus crisis. The Local Government Association says that high numbers of people with NRPF; a condition Government places on some individuals as a result of their immigration status, removing access to welfare benefits; have been approaching Councils for support during the pandemic following, for example, loss of employment. The LGA, which represents Councils, wants to work with Government and the current review led by Dame Louise Casey to provide greater clarity and funding for Councils' responsibilities for all those who are destitute and homeless because of their migration status. It says a suspension of the NRPF condition would enable people to access welfare benefits, which could prevent them from becoming homeless. Since the Coronavirus outbreak, Councils have been given emergency funding to meet a range of cost pressures arising, including supporting people with NRPF. However, this funding will not cover the costs of preventing people with NRPF who were sleeping rough from returning to the streets. Councils also do not receive any specific funding from central Government to support people with NRPF. Latest data for 2018/19 showed that 59 Councils were spending ₤47.5 million a year on NRPF service provision, however this was before the Coronavirus crisis. Thanks to a monumental effort by Councils, the overwhelming majority; nearly 15,000; of rough sleepers and people in high risk accommodation have been found emergency accommodation to protect them during the Coronavirus outbreak. Councils want to take this opportunity to change the lives of our most vulnerable residents and are working up plans to support people to move on from emergency accommodation. For that to happen, the LGA said greater clarity is needed from Government on what additional practical support will be available to Councils to help them move rough sleepers out of hotels and temporary accommodation and into housing, when the current 'Everyone In' Policy, where all people sleeping rough are placed in emergency accommodation, comes to an end. It says suspending NRPF would also allow Councils to support this group of people directly into accommodation using the rough sleeping funding recently allocated by Government, which legally cannot be used to support people with NRPF, and to enable them to protect the public health of everyone in the community during future outbreaks.

Cllr David Renard, the LGA's housing spokesman, said:- "Councils have been doing everything they can to support all groups facing homelessness and help protect them from Coronavirus. Councils are now planning their next steps in supporting people to move on from emergency accommodation. This needs to include clarity and funding for those who are destitute and homeless because of their migration status. As the economy recovers, local outbreaks may mean there still may be a need to be able to access safe and suitable accommodation and financial support to allow for self isolation, particularly for single adults without care needs who are not usually eligible for social services' support. This could be enabled by a temporary removal of the NRPF condition which would reduce public health risks and pressures on homelessness services by enabling vulnerable people to access welfare benefits."

The UK Government places the no recourse to public funds (NRPF) condition as a result of immigration status which removes access to welfare benefits. Councils do have statutory duties to provide individuals with care needs or families with NRPF with housing and/or financial support in order to prevent homelessness or destitution. Costs to Councils are outlined in the annual report from the NRPF Network, alongside Councils' responsibilities for those with NRPF outside their ongoing statutory responsibilities during the current pandemic.

We can't have mental health without 'men'

IT is a long standing cliché, but 1 that is sadly still true:- men do not always feel comfortable to talk. With the Covid-19 pandemic still having a detrimental effect on our daily lives and isolation being a key factor, Sam Tyrer tells us why talking is key. Sam, who is a registered Nurse who has moved into Prevention and Engagement for Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust, knows all too well about the:- 'lad's lad' image that is still hanging heavily over men's health:- "When I was in High School, I was 'the lad.' I was the confident 1. I never struggled with my mental health and to be honest, I never thought I would. I played both rugby and cricket to a high level. Which in turn, got me accepted into a 6th form College as I didn't do very well in School. Once I left High School and entered College, that's when everything changed."

Sam went through a series of events which dramatically impacted his mental health. Through losing people extremely close to him under difficult circumstances, he ended up suffering with depression and anxiety. Sam lost the motivation to continue with sport, to focus on his A-levels and in his own words:- 'gave up.' He gained 6 stone in weight and for 4 years of his life, felt that he had achieved nothing.

4 years after Sam had begun to struggle, it was after 1 conversation he turned his life around. Sam has long since moved on from those days and though he has lost the weight, he has gained a new perspective on men's mental health and a new career through his project Change Talks. Sam graduated with a 1st class honours degree in adult nursing, is a master's student and has been invited to do a TedTalk at the London 02 Arena. His main focus now is preventing mental health issues. Sam commented:- "With Change Talks, I have visited Schools across Lancashire and South Cumbria, talking to teenagers about mental health and trying to connect with them. I want to ensure no one feels how I used to feel. I never have a bad class, no-one misbehaves; as soon as you start telling your story, they just want to listen and if they need, to share things themselves. It's been the most powerful work for me too; the other week a girl in 1 of the classes came up to me in the supermarket and hugged me and told me what a difference it had made to her. It makes you reflect. The aim now is to embed this education across Lancashire and South Cumbria's Schools."

As someone who has been through a mental health journey and has come through better for it, Sam wants us all to embrace that part of ourselves. Sam added that:- "It's important to embrace this part of you, both in the sense that you need to nurture it as well as not keep hiding it away. It may never go away completely but you can use it in a more positive way. Make sure to keep doing the things you love where you can, whether that's DIY, painting, writing or walking around local beauty spots. Talk to the important people in your life like your parents, your brothers, your sisters, your mates. We're all going through a difficult time and you may genuinely not know what another person is going through even if you've known them for years. As sad as that is, it is also what makes talking so important, especially right now. Our feelings are important and we often forget that to our own detriment. We can't have mental health without 'men.'"

Since the Covid-19 pandemic, Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust has taken action to extend the hours of their mental health listening line to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to ensure that anyone who just wishes to talk or who feel lonely has someone to talk any time, day or night on:- 0800 915 4640. The Trust has also established a 24 hour helpline for anyone seriously struggling with their mental health so they can talk to clinicians anytime for help. They can be contacted on:- 08009530110 so that even if you feel alone, there is someone there for you, something Sam would have benefited from as a younger man.

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