Liverpool City Region COVID-19 Updates - 2020-07-17

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Liverpool City Region COVID-19 Updates
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This page last updated on 17 July 2020

Council COVID-19 Local Lockdown Powers - LGA Statement

RESPONDING to the Prime Minister's announcement about the new Contain Framework for Councils' local lockdown powers, Cllr James Jamieson, Chairman of the Local Government Association, said:- "Locally led responses have proven to be the best way to tackle significant outbreaks, which this framework rightly emphasises. Councils know their local communities best and know how to address each unique outbreak. It is good that this framework also acknowledges the tireless efforts of Councils already to try and contain and prevent local outbreaks. Greater powers for Councils to take swift and effective action to address local outbreaks will hopefully help avoid the need for more stringent measures to be imposed locally. Managing local COVID-19 outbreaks will always need to build on the consent of local communities and an effective system of tracing and testing. The use of enforcement powers should be an option of last resort where individuals or organisations are unable, unwilling or opposed to taking actions that reduce the spread of this virus. Data flow to Councils has improved, including the introduction of daily updates. Further improvements to this, including granular level data, to Councils are still needed so they are better able to act in real time to increases in infection rates and help prevent the spread of further infection. This would help Councils be even more prepared ahead of any possible deadly second wave of COVID-19."

CLA publish proposals to simplify the planning system for rural areas

THE Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has published a Policy paper on how to enhance beneficial economic growth in rural areas through simplifying the planning system in England. ‘Rural Powerhouse; a planning system designed for the rural economy' aims to inform decision making ahead of forthcoming Government policy papers. The CLA, which represents 30,000 rural business in England and Wales, has identified three key challenges which need to be overcome to get the rural economy moving again: responding to the community needs, levelling up the economy and recovering from the economic impact of Covid-19. A reformed planning system, which was needed even prior to the global pandemic, could help address all 3. A restrictive and inefficient planning system is harming the potential of the economy in rural areas. It leads to wasted expenditure and unrealistic demands; out dated perceptions of the economy in rural areas; and decision making that seems to fly in the face of rural interests. Putting this right is one of the key objectives of the CLA's Rural Powerhouse campaign to boost productivity to rural areas. Major economic and technological trends have provided new incentives to invest in rural areas, at the same time more people are seeking a better life in the countryside; something which COVID-19 has only increased. This could not only increase the population of rural areas, but also bring with it a wealth of experience and expertise, human and social capital. Businesses in rural areas are seeking to capitalise on this growing trend, but they must have a planning system to be able to do so. If implemented, the solutions in the report will encourage rural businesses to consider new investment, encourage farm diversification, improve job opportunities and to improve the interconnectedness of rural and urban supply chains. The paper makes a series of short term and long term recommendations to adapt the planning system to respond to the current and future needs and opportunities of the rural economy. These include:-

Short term actions:-

► Avoid wasted expenditure, reduce the burden of supporting a planning application with costly surveys that can be nugatory.

► Exempt all new farm buildings from the community infrastructure levy.

► Progress heritage reforms, approve a package of reforms drawn up by the heritage sector.

► Open up the local plan to a more segmented approach so that for example economic development can forge ahead as soon as that part of the local plan has been agreed.

► Make rural communities fit for the future; Local Authorities must factor current and emerging tech development into sustainability assessments.

► Introduce a national policy for roadside barn conversions.

► Resource the planning system so that it is fit for purpose.

Long term actions:-

► Conduct a comprehensive review of Green Belt planning policy.

► Ensure land value capture delivers a competitive return to a willing seller.

► Improve the minerals planning policy.

CLA President Mark Bridgeman said:- "We have a fantastic opportunity to simplify the planning system and unlock a new wave of investment in the countryside. Planning reform can be an important ingredient to boost economic development in rural areas and help the recovery. Rural office locations may become more attractive in the light of the Coronavirus experience; if that is the case, the planning system needs to be able to respond quickly to emerging demand. In the short term, local planning authorities may want to free up vacant office and commercial space for new uses (such as for residential, affordable and sheltered housing). Again, this requires a flexible and fast-planning process. Unfortunately, the archaic laws that determine what and where we can build have held back economic development in rural areas. Now is the time for change."

Mr Bridgeman added:- "Planning reform is one of the five key pillars that make up part of the CLA's Rural Powerhouse campaign which aims to unleash the potential of the rural economy, by closing the rural productivity gap and transforming the lives of millions of people who live and work in the countryside. It is clear that an efficient, effective and proportionate planning system is a key component to an economic recovery. But we have a planning system that is complex, costly and riddled with delays. It needed reform before the Covid-19 crisis hit and is now more important than ever. It is crucial that rural areas are not left behind when the Government reviews the system."

Read the policy document in full here.

CLA encourages farming community to embrace Farm Safety Week

THE CLA is encouraging the farming community to get behind Farm Safety Week; an initiative that recognises the real dangers of working in the industry and the importance of looking after their physical and mental wellbeing. Farm Safety Week, which returns for the eighth year and takes place from 20 July 2020 to 24 July 2020, will demonstrate the impacts Covid-19 has had on the industry and the support available to farmers. It will also highlight the positive moves to changing the poor safety record and introducing some exciting new innovations in technology to help us all farm safer. Farm Safety Week is an initiative led by the Farm Safety Foundation and supported by the Farm Safety Partnerships, the Health and Safety Executive, Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland and the Health and Safety Authority, Ireland. For more information on Farm Safety Week, visit:- YellowWellies.Org.  CLA Deputy President Mark Tufnell said:- "We are proud to support the annual Farm Safety Week campaign. This has been a particularly challenging 2020 for all of us. However, over the past few months, farmers have been recognised as key workers that play an essential role in producing food for the country. Whilst other businesses ground to a halt, farming continued to face challenges brought on by Covid-19 such as dealing with a significant shortfall in seasonal workers to help pick fruit and vegetables during harvest as well as the varying weather conditions. Agriculture may have the poorest safety record of any occupation in the UK but there are signs that this is improving and we want to be part of this change. It's in all our interest to take safety seriously. Farm Safety Week may be 1 week in the year, but the Farm Safety Foundation is working all year round to educate, engage and communicate strong and relatable farm safety messages and deliver this change."

LGA and UKSSD launch 'Sustainable Development Guide' for Councils

THE Local Government Association and the UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development have launched a guide to help Councils engage with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at a time when many are starting to re-think the role of local Government in leading places and empowering people. The UN's 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, adopted by all UN member states, are an urgent call for action by all countries to end poverty and other deprivations to improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth; all while tackling climate change. The LGA, which represents Councils in England and Wales, said that if they are to be attained, then local action by Councils will be crucial and must be better funded and supported by national Government. This joint guide with UKSSD reinforces the need for coherent decision-making between all levels of Government at a time of growing consensus regarding the importance of an economically and environmentally sustainable recovery.

Examples of Councils that have been working towards the SDGs include:-

► Newcastle City Council made a political commitment to mainstream the SDGs in its policies, activity and programmes in 2019. Working closely with SDG experts at University of Newcastle, it is now embedding the SDGs in the work of the City Futures Board, formed to shape the city's renewal following the Covid-19 pandemic.

► Bristol City Council, in partnership with the University of Bristol, launched the UK's first Voluntary Local Reviewon the SDGs in 2019 and has embedded the Goals in its 1 City Plan to work with stakeholders across the city towards a more coherent plan for the future. A follow up handbook for use by other cities wanting to undertake similar local voluntary reviews has also been produced.

► Liverpool City Council's forthcoming City Plan contains a clear commitment to the SDGs from all partner organisations. The Council has worked with the 2030hub in Liverpool to inform the selection of aims, priorities and metrics for the City Plan.

Despite facing enormous pressures and sustained funding cuts, Councils have maintained the provision of essential services for their communities and continue to look ahead at how they can work closely with the Government to achieve its targets, including the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. As Councils across the country continue to lead their communities through the Coronavirus pandemic, it is vitally important that they have the resources and support to lead them through the recovery and continue to fight against climate change. Sir Richard Leese, Chair of the LGA's City Regions Board, said:- "While Councils across the country continue to grapple with the unprecedented challenges of the Coronavirus crisis, many have come to recognise their unique position as leaders of place. Local Government can play a key role in driving a sustainable recovery that meets the needs of local communities and businesses. The SDGs provide a guide to rebuilding our economies in a resilient and sustainable way, focusing on creating good lives on a healthy planet for all people. However, in order to meet the scale of the challenge local action must have the backing of national Government."

Emily Auckland, Network Director of the UKSSD, said:- "It's thought that as many as ⅔ of the SDG targets need local action to be achieved by 2030. The goals provide Councils with a framework to plan and prioritise decisions, work with their local stakeholders and engage their citizens so we can work together across the whole of society to create a just and sustainable future."

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 687 cases and the total number now stand at 292,552, 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 114 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 45,233.

In England, there are a total of 293,239 confirmed cases. North West - total of 43,907 confirmed cases. The number of laboratory confirmed cases within the following Local Authorities, in and around the Liverpool City Region are as follows:-

► Liverpool, 2,478 confirmed cases.

► Sefton, 1,534 confirmed cases.

► Wirral, 2,039 confirmed cases.

► St. Helens, 1,198 confirmed cases

► Halton, 692 confirmed cases.

► Blackpool, 1,031 confirmed cases.

► Blackburn with Darwen, 1,137 confirmed cases.

► Bolton, 1,885 confirmed cases.

► Bury, 1,294 confirmed cases.

► Cheshire West and Chester, 1,996 confirmed cases.

► Cheshire East, 2,213 confirmed cases.

► Lancashire, 6,810 confirmed cases.

► Manchester, 3,004 confirmed cases.

► Oldham, 1,897 confirmed cases.

► Rochdale, 1,692 confirmed cases.

► Stockport, 1,646 confirmed cases.

► Tameside, 1,540 confirmed cases.

► Trafford, 1,273 confirmed cases.

► Wigan, 2,143 confirmed cases..

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