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."
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
► 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.
investment for growth approach must be resourced by Central
Government, and will need action at Regional level in 3 key
► 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
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
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
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
► 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
► Tameside, 1,512 confirmed cases.
► Trafford, 1,245 confirmed cases.
► Wigan, 2,114 confirmed cases.