Liverpool City Region COVID-19 Updates - 2020-07-06

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Liverpool City Region COVID-19 Updates
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This page last updated on 6 July 2020

MP calls on Chancellor to give financial help to the "missing millions"

ON Wednesday, 8 July 2020, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, is due to make a statement about the financial crisis caused by the pandemic. Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson has called on Mr Sunak to address the plight of the "missing millions" of self employed and small business owners who have not received financial help during the Coronavirus pandemic. The MP said there were too many “gaps” in the support available, and that the schemes, which give some workers ₤2,500 a month while others get nothing, were unfair. He said he had written to the Chancellor several times on behalf of affected residents, but criticised the responses as inadequate, incomplete or non-existent. Mr Esterson said:- “The responses received from the Treasury have not been good enough. I have written on a number of occasions to highlight the gaps in the support available, and appeal to the Chancellor to extend the support available to cover those that are still not being helped. These include people in the creative industries who don’t submit self assessment tax returns but work on short term contracts, so are not available for the furlough scheme or the self employed scheme. Company directors whose income comes from dividends have been ignored. Some people who are mainly self employed but have earned some money from PAYE employment have been excluded. Self employed people who earn just above the ₤50,000 threshold have been left with no support, whereas someone making on average just less than ₤50,000 has received ₤7,500. It is unfair and unjustifiable. These are the missing millions who have been left suffering the effects of the lockdown without any financial help. I have written to the Chancellor raising all the above and more, yet when the Treasury has bothered to respond, which it hasn’t in every case, all I get is a letter outlining the support that is available, but not addressing the fact that it is not available to everyone. I supported the Musicians Union’s calls for a ₤400 per week basic income for the self-employed who were unable to work due to Covid restrictions. I advocated for constituents who started new jobs after the February 28 cut-off, or whose employers refused to furlough them. I have written to the Chancellor several times to highlight the gaps. Too many of my constituents have been left with no support. There are an estimated three million people across the UK who have been excluded from the current support packages. This puts businesses and livelihoods at risk, and risks the economic recovery. I am calling on the Government to address the disparities in support, to ensure that all individuals and businesses currently excluded from Covid-19 grants are given the support they need and deserve."

Manufacturing industry optimistic for recovery from COVID-19 despite supply chain concerns, finds Steel Scout survey

A new survey from Steel Scout has found that more than 60% of professionals in the manufacturing industry expect the sector to recover from COVID-19 and return to business as usual by mid-2021. However, they highlighted issues in the wider supply chain which might impact the recovery, with almost 30% unable to access the materials they need and 36% adding that it is taking longer just to receive a ‘winning quote’.

One key driver behind the confidence in recovery is that 62% of respondents reported having orders waiting to be fulfilled once lockdown rules have eased. The orders on hold within Steel Scout’s survey base of 100 people exceeded ₤17m in value.

In order to fully understand the impact of lockdown on manufacturers and their supply chains, Steel Scout; a multi supplier procurement platform that connects buyers with a UK network of suppliers; sought the opinions of more than 100 manufacturing professionals to gain insight into the current state of affairs.

The survey demonstrated that it has been a tough few months for the sector, with more than half of respondents reporting that they have been working at a reduced capacity or with some staff furloughed. More than 10% of respondents reported whole companies being mothballed and all staff furloughed.

Almost 80% of those surveyed reported that they have adopted new working practices to deal with rules and guidelines around lockdown in the UK. The most common change was remote working, which was used by 49% of those surveyed. Video conferencing, flexible hours and instant messaging have also helped to navigate the impact of COVID-19. To address supply concerns, almost a third had also increased their use of digital platforms in order to secure the materials they need. 22% of businesses pivoted to produce items from masks and screens to medical device parts to help the national effort. Around half of those companies added that they intend to incorporate the products and services into their offer on a long term basis.

To solve the identified supply issues, greater visibility and more alternatives in the supplier network were the most called for improvements, whilst having an easier method to collect and compare quotes was also selected by many in an effort to reduce basic admin costs and save time.

Matt Yeates, Managing Director of SteelScout, said:- "The innovation and determination shown by the manufacturing industry to continue operating through lockdown also reveals a clear shift towards the adoption of new technology to enable that continuity. Many businesses may never return to the previous way of working & I believe a key part of the recovery will come from locking in lessons learned during the pandemic. Eradicating inefficiency sounds simple but often trying new approaches requires a bold step to really understand what you can achieve. Our platforms continue to offer a smarter way to quickly source the best deal for many manufacturers using steel and other metals."

Outsourced NHS workers - Time to end them being the poor relatives of the NHS families

"ANY savings from outsourcing are tiny compared to the costs to society of the current arrangements which financially and in public health terms are prohibitive" says GMB London.

Sir John Bell, who oversees the Government's antibody testing programme, said domiciliary workers in some Hospitals were found to have "sky high" levels of antibodies compared to Doctors and Nurses who treated patients in intensive care. Commenting on the article published in the Telegraph, published, on Saturday, 4 July 2020:- 'NHS cleaners and porters were Coronavirus 'super spreaders' in Hospitals, data reveal.'

Gavin Davies, GMB London Region Senior Organiser said:- "This is no surprise, often we find that outscored workers in the Hospitals are treated as the poor relatives in the NHS families, many of whom have a shortage of PPE, They are also the unsung heroes, travelling from ward to ward. It is time that some real investment takes place to ensure these workers are protected. It is also worth noting that many of these workers have the worst terms and conditions many of whom are forced to come to work when others would isolate."

These findings make the case that outsourcing these vital services is a very expensive mistake for society as a whole. It is essential that in future these staff are directly employed and under the full operational control of NHS decision makers. The savings from outsourcing are tiny compared to the costs to society of the current arrangements which financially and in public health terms are prohibitive. Outsourcing must be ended without delay. GMB London Region is calling for real investment to protect these workers and ensure safety measures are put in place, 1 death is 1 too many.

Sefton says:- "I Do" to weddings once again

SEFTON is once again saying:- 'I do!' to weddings in the borough thanks to the hard work of Local Authority registrars. While social distancing rules remain in place for everyone's safety, the Sefton Council are once more able to offer weddings for those couples who had their ceremony put on hold at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. On Monday, 6 July 2020, at Waterloo Town Hall, welcomed its 1st bride and groom to tie the knot after Thornton couple Stephen and Nicola Pendleton said:- ‘I do' in front of witnesses.

"It was a bit of a whirlwind and we cannot thank the registrars team enough for what they did. To be the 1st couple in Sefton to be married following everything that has gone on is fantastic." said Stephen following the ceremony.

Bride Nicola added:- "The registrars team really wanted to make it as special as they possibly could for us and were so lovely about the situation.”

While weddings can now start to take place once more, UK Government guidelines, for England, mean that:-

► Numbers will be restricted.

► 2 metre social distancing must apply unless additional measures are in place.

► Bride unable to be escorted down aisle unless escort (usually dad) is from same household.

► Hand sanitiser to be used on entrance and exit.

► Ceremony will be kept to legal requirements only.

► Photographer allowed, but must remain in 1 place and must be included in numbers.

Couples who were due to to be married and had their ceremony suspended will be contacted by Sefton Council's Registrars as soon as possible.

Council remains committed to supporting care home providers experiencing significant hardship

SEFTON Council has written to the Borough’s Care Homes thanking owners, managers and their staff for their continued work supporting some of the most vulnerable people during the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter, from Sefton Council’s Executive Director for Adult Social Care and Health and the Chief officer of NHS South Sefton NHS Southport and Formby Care Commissioning Groups (CCGs) informs Care Homes that the partnership is exploring ways of continuing to support providers experiencing significant hardship, as a review of the financial support given to Homes to date is carried out.

Cllr Paul Cummins, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care said:- "Recognising the vital role that they and their staff have been playing to support some of the most vulnerable people during this unprecedented time, the Council has provided Care Homes with ₤4.5 million of additional financial support. Additionally, practical support has included ensuring that none of the Borough’s Care Homes has run out of PPE and supplying them with free smart phones to have virtual appointments and to help keep their residents in contact with loved ones. All homes have a daily call with the Council or CCG, at which managers and owners can highlight and seek support with problems they are facing. Although the weekly placement payments that Home have been receiving finished at the end of June, the Council remains committed to assessing how it can continue to support those providers experiencing significant hardship. Homes will also be receiving further payments from the Infection Control Fund in order to support pressures associated with staffing and PPE costs. The decision to end the ₤50 per resident "placement payments" at this point is also so that the Council can review the impact of the COVID19 funding provided to date to the Sefton care homes sector and has also been based upon information contained in financial returns that Care Homes have submitted and the letter thanks Homes for their ‘transparency and openness on the use of public funds."

Cllr Cummins added:- "We realise that like all areas of life in Sefton, the COVID-19 pandemic has had and will continue to have a considerable impact on Care Homes and we are reminding any providers facing significant financial pressure that if they contact us, we will respond directly. We are also planning a meeting with Care Home operators to discuss excess voids and a coordinated way of improving levels of bed utilisation."

Joanne Rose, from Green Heys Care Home, said:- "We’ve had support from every department at Sefton Council, from social workers to commissioners. They have stayed in regular contact to see how we were getting on, without judgement and with recognition of what we were experiencing. They were able give us names and numbers of people who could advise us, on staffing, for instance. Letters of support from the Director of Adult Social Care, addressed to the team, was especially appreciated by team members; giving recognition that it’s not just leaders and managers that were working hard, everyone was struggling and putting their heart and soul into helping people recover from COVID, or to die comfortably. Also, the weekly "Teams" meeting with commissioners and colleagues across Sefton have been very useful and encouraged some sharing of resources, helping us all to be stronger and more informed in our approaches to dealing with the virus."

TUS warns of mass unemployment

THE TUC warns that there is a high risk of mass unemployment in the North West without a recovery plan centred on protecting and creating jobs, backed by major investment. Workers who have required support from the job retention scheme and self employed income support scheme are most likely to face unemployment risks in the months ahead. In the North West, TUC analysis estimates that at least 1 million workers (30% of the workforce) have required support from these schemes.

The Local Authorities in the Region with the highest proportion of workers seeking support through these schemes are:-

Sefton - 43% (36,200)

South Lakeland - 42% (21,200)

Pendle - 41% (15,400)

Burnley - 37% (13,800)

The Local Authorities in the Region with the highest number of workers seeking support through these schemes are:-

Manchester - 78,100 (30%)

Liverpool - 61,800 (27%)

Cheshire East - 55,000 (29%)

Cheshire West and Chester - 51,400 (32%)

Wigan - 47,700 (30%)

On top of these figures, there will be many other people who have been laid off, or who entered the employment market during the crisis, and have been unable to find work. And the union body says economic uncertainty will affect all industries, so there will be pressure on the jobs of many workers who have not been furloughed too. A plan to get the North West growing out of the crisis; and stop mass unemployment The pandemic alone did not cause the current crisis. It was made worse by a decade of austerity and failure to strengthen the North West economy, says the TUC. Choosing the wrong approach now risks embedding low growth, long term unemployment and all the social ills that go alongside. The report recommends an approach based on recently published TUC research (see notes), which found that the fastest recoveries from economic crises in UK history were based on investment for growth.

An investment for growth approach must be resourced by Central Government, and will need action at Regional level in 3 key areas:-

Investing in jobs:- Combined Authorities, local Councils and local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) should work in partnership to:- Secure investment for local infrastructure needs and leverage public sector spending to support local jobs and enterprise. Develop a Regional level green industrial strategy that builds on the Region's strengths to meet climate targets.

Decent work and a new way of doing business:- Combined authorities, Local Councils and LEP's should attach conditions to commissioning and procurement that will improve job quality, strengthen worker voice, increase training opportunities and tackle discrimination and disadvantage in the workplace.

Rebuilding public services:- Combined Authorities and Local Authorities should adopt a policy of managing all services in house by default, so they can raise employment and delivery standards, and strengthen the resilience of essential services such as social care. These priorities complement the national priorities that we have already published in the TUC's national recovery plan.  The report calls for the formation of a North West recovery panel with representation from:- unions, employers, Job Centre Plus, relevant civic partners and Local and Combined Authorities.

Regional panels would work in tandem with a UK National Recovery Panel to turn headline objectives into tailored strategies for each Region. The TUC says that Regional structures with devolved powers are essential to achieving the best recovery possible, because the nature and scale of the challenge varies greatly across different parts of the UK. In the North West, the TUC hopes to continue work with Local Authorities in:- Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region and Preston to link procurement to supporting local economies and creating good jobs. They say making money being spent in the Region conditional on good employment standards and a living wage will ensure that workers and the wider North West public benefit in any recovery. They say that different parts of the Region will face different challenges and the TUC is calling for Local and Combined Authorities to not be competing against each other. As part of this, they're calling for investment that supports all of the North West, including in airports and key industries that also benefits supply chains. Both the Regional and national bodies should have worker representation so that workers' voices are at the heart of decision making for recovery plans.

TUC Regional secretary Jay McKenna said:- "People are very worried about their jobs. Already we are hearing of people being laid off. Losing your job is a dreadful experience for the individual and devastating for families. And if we allow mass unemployment to take hold, our economy will be smaller, and the recovery from the pandemic will be slower. That's why good jobs are at the heart of our recovery plan for the North West. Jobs in a reborn manufacturing sector. Jobs in the green tech we need to safeguard our future. Jobs in automotive and aerospace, that are high-skilled, need protecting. Jobs in hospitality and retail which are valued and paid fairly. And we must value our public services in the North West too. Our key workers kept us going through the crisis. But after ten years of cuts, it was much harder for them than it should have been. It's time to rebuild local public services for the future. We all know the size of the challenge her in the North West. But working together, we can ensure there is ‘no going back' to many of the things we need to leave behind. Instead we can focus on building a better, fairer future for the entire Region. This week, we're asking the Chancellor to put his faith in people in the North West and across the UK with big and bold investment. If he backs us in this way, we can avoid mass unemployment, work our way to recovery and build back better."

Total UK cases COVID-19 cases - update for Liverpool City Region and surroundings

THE latest total number of UK Coronavirus (COVID-19) infections that have been laboratory confirmed, has risen by 352 cases and the total number now stand at 285,768, that includes tests carried out by commercial partners which are not included in the 4 National totals.

Daily number of COVID-19 associated UK fatalities added to the total, was sadly reported to be
16 according to the Department of Health. The total number of deaths of people who have had a positive test result confirmed by a Public Health or NHS laboratory is 44,236.

In England, there are a total of 245,814 confirmed cases. North West - total of 42,757 confirmed cases. The number of laboratory confirmed cases within the following Local Authorities, in and around the Liverpool City Region are as follows:-

► Liverpool, 2,443 confirmed cases.

► Sefton, 1,504 confirmed cases.

► Wirral, 2,019 confirmed cases.

► St. Helens, 1,192 confirmed cases.

► Halton, 685 confirmed cases.

► Knowsley, 988 confirmed cases..

► Blackpool,1,016 confirmed cases.

► Blackburn with Darwen, 1,005 confirmed cases.

► Bolton, 1,805 confirmed cases.

► Bury, 1,275 confirmed cases.

► Cheshire West and Chester, 1,948 confirmed cases.

► Cheshire East, 2,188 confirmed cases.

► Lancashire, 6,623 confirmed cases.

► Manchester, 2,884 confirmed cases.

► Oldham, 1,837 confirmed cases.

► Rochdale, 1,561 confirmed cases.

► Stockport, 1,625 confirmed cases.

► Salford, 1,308 confirmed cases.

► Tameside, 1,512 confirmed cases.

► Trafford, 1,245 confirmed cases.

► Wigan, 2,114 confirmed cases.

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