Liverpool City Region COVID-19 Updates - 2020-07-12

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Liverpool City Region COVID-19 Updates
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This page last updated on 12 July 2020

Chancellor has failed "milllions" says MPs

MP Bill Esterson says the Chancellor has failed millions of people who have received no financial assistance during the Coronavirus pandemic. The Sefton Central MP said thousands of workers in his constituency had fallen through the gaps of the economic support available. He said he was disappointed, but not surprised that the Chancellor Rishi Sunak had chosen not to offer any help to this group, while at the same time civil servants said what the Conservatives had offered represented:- "questionable" value for money.

Mr Esterson said:- "The Chancellor has continued to ignore the plight of the millions of self-employed, freelancers, new starters and owner/managers who have had zero help. He is offering businesses a ₤1,000 bonus for each furloughed worker who returns to their job, but the Government's own civil servants have pointed out that's a poor use of billions of pounds as it creates a perverse incentive. Companies are now encouraged to bring back workers who have been on the job retention scheme and sitting at home for months, while making the staff who have worked through the crisis redundant. The value for money of the ₤9 billion offered to businesses was said by HMRC to be questionable. Putting some of that money directly into the pockets of people who have had no help at all, some of whom now face losing their homes and are relying on foodbanks, would have been a far better way to support the recovery. Those who have still not had help have every right to be very worried and very angry at the lack of support from the chancellor who promised he would do whatever it takes. That promise did not extend to the more than 3 million people who have been left out of the support schemes. There are too many gaps in the support available, and the schemes, which give some workers ₤2,500 a month while others get nothing, are unfair. I have written to the Chancellor several times on behalf of desperate residents but the responses I've received have not been good enough. Workers who have missed out on support include many in the creative industries who don't submit self assessment tax returns because they work on short-term PAYE contracts. This means they were not eligible for furlough or the self employed income support scheme (SEISS). Also unlikely to have been helped are self employed people with a limited company and whose income comes from dividends not PAYE wages. Others who do some self employed work and some PAYE work have been refused the SEISS if more than half their income has come from PAYE work in the last three years. 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."

Mr Esterson added:- "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. 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. The Government should 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. Constituents who have been affected by the gaps in the support schemes can email me at:- Bill.Esterson.MP@Parliament.UK and my staff will do what they can to try to help.".

Crosby Library has been confirmed as Sefton's fifth venue for a drive through Mobile Coronavirus Testing unit

ON Monday, 13 July 2020, will see the 1st 3 days of the drive through Mobile Coronavirus Testing units at Crosby Library. It will have 1 unit which provide drive through COVID-19 tests for people with appointments. Ut will be open between around 10am and 4pm, the testing site will be in the Library parking area. Because these are drive through sites, people being tested do not need to leave their cars. Supported by:- Sefton Council, NHS Southport and Formby CCG and NHS South Sefton CCG, Mobile Coronavirus Testing units have already visited:- Bootle, Litherland, Maghull and Southport.

Leader of Sefton Council, Cllr Ian Maher said:- "Over 6,000 people have already been able to take tests at Sefton Borough's Mobile Units, and I'm delighted we have been able to set up this new one at Crosby Library. These tests, which are a vital part of the ongoing work to overcoming and preventing the spread of COVID-19 are taking place nearly every day in July and this new site will mean we now have extra capacity for the to take place."

Tests are available for anyone but they need to have made an appointment 1st at:- NHS.UK or by calling:- 119. Essential workers still need to book through the.Gov.UK website.

Fiona Taylor, chief officer of Sefton's 2 CCGs, said:- "This new site in Crosby is good news and gives eligible Sefton residents more opportunities to be tested for Coronavirus closer to home, particularly those who may find it difficult to travel to the regional centres in Liverpool, Haydock and Manchester and these mobile testing sites are an excellent example of how partners across health and care are working together locally to respond to Covid-19."

MP calls for inquiry into ₤15bn spend on Coronavirus PPE

MP Bill Esterson has joined calls for an inquiry after it emerged that the Government spent ₤15billion on PPE during the Coronavirus crisis. The MP said the procurement process was:- "flawed" after huge contracts were given to companies that had no history of supplying PPE, while firms such as Merseyside based Florence Roby, which said they could supply 40,000 washable gowns per month, were told:- "no thanks." Mr Esterson said the spending had been a massive waste of public money and it exposed the long standing issues with Government procurement, where smaller suppliers were ignored in favour of larger providers that had been shown unable to come up with the necessary goods. The PPE costs were revealed in documents relating to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak's latest economic package announced on Wednesday.

Mr Esterson said:- "These documents exposed what we have been saying all along; the Government is not set up to properly handle procurement when it's necessary to pursue routes that are out of the ordinary. The process is flawed. The Government had a procurement plan that involved sourcing PPE from overseas. During a global pandemic with demand at an all time high, other Governments were banning exports from their countries and requisitioning the products themselves. That left the UK exposed and because our Government was unable to turn swiftly to smaller companies who were ready to step up, they made massive errors in giving huge contracts to firms with no history of delivering PPE. Florence Roby whose owners live in my constituency spent weeks if not months trying to negotiate with the Government to make 40,000 washable gowns a month. These would have provided great value for money but the Government made the firm jump through so many hoops they missed weeks of potential production time and were eventually told:- ‘thanks but no thanks.' They were treated really badly. Lessons must be learned so that going forward, whether during another pandemic or in normal times, the procurement process works in the right way, to boost UK firms and support jobs, especially in smaller firms. The Government ran down their stocks of PPE, and their pandemic plan to procure more fell at the first hurdle due to other countries needing PPE too. And when the Government needed to turn to UK firms for help, they found they were just not set up to do that in a quick and effective way. It was a massive missed opportunity to invest in UK firms and make sure the whole health and care sector had the PPE they needed."

The Government controversially handed a ₤108m contract for personal protective equipment (PPE) to a pest control company worth just over ₤19,000. Knowsley based Florence Roby, makers of luxury uniforms for the beauty industry, pledged to make 40,000 washable surgical gowns per month at a factory in Lithuania, as well as 1,000 per month at their factory in Knowsley. But after months of being "strung along" by the Government, the company was told their product was not needed.

Senior manager Ben Roby said:- "I'm quite frankly disgusted in the entire process. We did everything we were asked to do and at the point the Government approves us for order, NHS England dithered and delayed. The message we received is a generic bulk sent message that shows a complete lack of understanding and competence in the offer that was on the table. Why have companies like mine been strung along by the govt and NHS when they had no intention of ordering? It's feels like the Government had other priorities now and were not in touch with the reality. The govt response was abysmal. It made us quite angry to hear them say they were talking to people yet our company and all the ones our fabric supplier works with have all said nobody from the Government wanted to speak to them."

The generic email received from NHS England said:- "Firstly, thank you for your offer of PPE and all of the kind offers of support and assistance you have given throughout the emergency PPE sourcing programme. The scale of the public response to Covid19 has been unprecedented and we've received a staggering volume of offers to provide PPE for which we are incredibly grateful. We are now in a position where we have sufficient contracted supplies for our demand, and the total volume of offers we have are far greater than any foreseeable future requirement. We are therefore no longer accepting offers for PPE and are closing down all offers submitted that are surplus to requirements. This means that while we remain extremely grateful for your offers, if they have not already been converted to contract with DHSC it is unlikely now to be required. We are reviewing offers which have been successfully passed to closing in light of remaining demand and you will hear from us if, on review, we decide yours is an offer that we do still wish to proceed with. We appreciate that this news will be a disappointment to many who have made significant efforts in submitting the required documentation and proposals, some of which have not been successful in progressing to contract, but would like to reassure you that regardless of the outcome we are thankful for every effort. Without the massive response we have seen from organisations such as your own we simply would not have been able to respond to the challenge and meet the needs of the NHS and our frontline workers."

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

THE total number of UK Coronavirus (COVID-19) infections that have been laboratory confirmed, within the UK, has risen by 650 cases and the total number now stand at 289,603, 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
21 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 44,819.

In England, there are a total of 249,510 confirmed cases. North West - total of 43,463 confirmed cases. The number of laboratory confirmed cases within the following Local Authorities, in and around the Liverpool City Region are as follows:-

► Liverpool, 2,463 confirmed cases.

► Sefton, 1,516 confirmed cases.

► Wirral, 2,036 confirmed cases.

► St. Helens, 1,198 confirmed cases

► Halton, 690 confirmed cases.

► Blackpool, 1,028 confirmed cases.

► Blackburn with Darwen, 1,065 confirmed cases.

► Bolton, 1,860 confirmed cases.

► Bury, 1,284 confirmed cases.

► Cheshire West and Chester, 1,983 confirmed cases.

► Cheshire East, 2,201 confirmed cases.

► Lancashire, 6,751 confirmed cases.

► Manchester, 2,947 confirmed cases.

► Oldham, 1,880 confirmed cases.

► Rochdale, 1,638 confirmed cases.

► Stockport, 1,636confirmed cases.

► Tameside, 1,531 confirmed cases.

► Trafford, 1,260confirmed cases.

► Wigan, 2,135 confirmed cases.

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