Emergancy Notices - Liverpool City Region - Merseyside - 27 March 2020

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AS This page is to place quick update important notices that are being sent to us from Government and other organisations over the Coronavirus Emergency affecting our country (UK)...   Please remember that the information changes quickly, so always check to see what time and when the last post was made.  We will update as and when we can....  Users of our Formby Reporter's Free Email Service will get most updates 1st and then they will be added on here as soon as we can...  If you have any updates to send in or any views on the posts on here, please email us to:- News24@SouthportReporter.Com.

This page is updated on 27 March 2020

Letter To Editor:- "Student Nurses in the current COVID-19 crisis."

STUDENT Chloe Nicole Brown, who is from Southport contacted us saying:- "Never has there been a worse time to be a Student Nurse. We are the Cohort with no NHS Bursary, having to use Student Loans to pay our University fees. We don't get paid to complete the 2,300 Placement hours that we undertake in hospitals and other healthcare settings. If we fall unwell (or contract COVID-19) we do not get sick pay, and have to make up any hours missed before we can qualify. We are the workforce that are literally paying to look after you whilst we train. We are trapped in the current COVID-19 crisis, still having to go into Placement to get our hours, despite the risk to ourselves and our loved ones. Whilst all this is going on, we also have multiple assignments to complete, at Bachelors / Masters Degree level. Never mind, trying to manage our activities of daily living, buy milk, fruit, or loo-roll. If we fail to manage to keep our heads afloat, the country will be subject to further crisis, as the predicted 18,000 Student Nurses due to qualify this year, might not succeed, resulting in a further depleted nursing workforce. Please be kind to Student Nurses; we are at breaking point."

We have contacted the local MP's and have had the following reply from Southport's Member of Parliament, Damien Moore:-
"I strongly believe that access to higher education should be determined solely by an individual's ability, and not by their ability to pay. The current tuition fees system, which does not require anyone to pay upfront for their higher education, has seen student numbers rise, including among students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Regrettably, COVID-19 will have an impact on students across all degree areas. The Government is working hard to ensure that this disruption is minimised, and that no student goes without the qualifications they need to progress into their chosen profession as a result of this crisis. In the meantime, I welcome that the Government has introduced non-repayable grants of at least ₤5,000 per year for nursing, midwifery, and some allied health professional students, and also welcome the fact that fees have been frozen for this academic year."

Southport MP follows up our request about local businesses being refused 'Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans' if they don't agree to personal guarantees

THIS week we have had a number of very upset businesses who have tried to get:- 'Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans,' but have been told by banks that they have not got a good enough credit score and/or they are have to out down personal assets to take out the loan. We also checked and found Banks where doing this, so we contacted Southport MP, Damien Moore, about the Banks asking for:- "Personal Guarantees for Government Backed Loans." He responded on Friday, 27 March 2020, saying:- "It was my understanding that such personal guarantees would not form part of the scheme. I do not think it would be fair for business owners to have to choose between their business going under or potentially losing their personal assets. I have spoken with the ministerial team at the Treasury and they are taking action. The Chancellor, the Governor of the Bank of England, and the head of the FCA have written to bank chiefs to emphasise that lenders cannot take personal guarantees against borrowers' homes under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan scheme." If you have and problems or continue to have problems accessing these loans, please let us know, via emailing us to:- News24@SouthportReporter.Com and we will follow this up further.

Tax experts try to clear up Statutory Sick Pay misinformation

THE Low Incomes Tax Reform Group is highlighting that there is a lot of well meaning, but incorrect information about Statutory Sick Pay on the internet and it is important that people use trusted sources to confirm their position.

Emergency legislation (backdated to 13 March 2020) has been passed which allows Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) to be paid from the 1st day of sickness absence, rather than the 4th day, for people who have COVID-19 or have to self isolate, in line with official guidance.1

SSP (currently ₤94.25 per week, going up to ₤95.85 from 6 April 2020) is available for people who are an:- 'employed earner' (basically those who are working for an employer who has a liability to pay National Insurance for them) and who earn an average of at least ₤118 per week. The earnings taken into account are broadly the average weekly earnings for the prior 8 weeks. People who earn less than ₤118 (₤120 from 6 April) per week or who are self employed (including those treated as self employed for tax purposes by their engager) are not entitled to SSP.

Victoria Todd, Head of LITRG, said:- "In response to increasing numbers of incorrect articles and commentary on SSP provision in relation to the Coronavirus crisis, the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group would like to clarify that:-

- SSP, as things stand, is payable to people who cannot work because they have to self isolate in accordance with Government guidance. The Government guidance (as at 24 March 2020) on isolation is limited to those who have symptoms or those who live with someone who has symptoms.

- Currently the legislation does not appear to extend to people who cannot work because they fall within the 'social distancing' or 'shielding' measures etc. But we are discussing this with HMRC.

- The ₤118 per week limit, is per job. You cannot amalgamate earnings over 2 or more jobs to see if you meet the limit (unless those jobs are with the same employer). On the other hand, if you have 2 or more jobs and earn at least ₤118 in both; you can get SSP from both employers.

- SSP is not a 'worker' employment law right but rather 1 that is tied to whether secondary Class 1 National Insurance is payable. This means that agency workers, temporary workers and casual workers who pay their tax and NIC under PAYE may qualify, whereas those in self employment (even if it is 'dependent' self employment) will not qualify, as they do not pay Class 1 NIC.

- To qualify for SSP you must have done some work under your contract (even if this is just a few hours' worth). This means that if you are in a new job; you may qualify for SSP even if you have not been paid yet.

- Zero hours contract workers who pay their tax and NIC under PAYE may qualify; provided they have done some work under their contract. Zero hours contract workers who have not yet done any work under their contract, will not be entitled to SSP.

- Part time workers who earn at least ₤118 per week, qualify for SSP at the normal full weekly rate; they do not receive a pro rata amount. So, someone who is self isolating for 2 weeks and who normally works 5 days a week should get ₤188.50 in total. Someone who is self isolating for 2 weeks and who normally works three days a week should also get ₤188.50 in total.

- SSP is payable until your period of illness / self isolation ends or until your contract ends (if earlier). Agency workers should be aware that if they have less than three months continuous service, then SSP is only payable to the end of any agreed assignments."

LITRG is pointing out that technical guidance to help employers understand the rules in complex or unusual situations, such as where they have a new employee without 8 weeks of service, or where they cease to trade or become insolvent, is available on Gov.UK2 and in HMRC's statutory payments manual.

Victoria Todd continued:-
"In the 1st instance, employees should ask their employers for SSP if they think they are entitled to it (agency workers should ask their agency, unless they work through an umbrella company, in which case they should ask their umbrella company). They should be able to get an isolation note, if they need one, from the recently launched online facility. 4 But please remember that for the 1st 7 days off work, employees can self certify, so they do not need any evidence for their employer. We would also like to advise people who think that SSP is due, but whose employers have refused to pay SSP, to contact the HMRC statutory payment dispute team on:- 03000560630."

Self employed package gets cautious welcome from business specialist

THE new measures announced by the Government to help the self employed have been welcomed, but with a cautious message by a leading regional business specialist. Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the scheme will only be open:- 'to those who are already self employed and have a Self Assessment tax return for 2019' and apply to those with trading profits of up to ₤50,000 per year. The scheme should be accessible by:- 'no later than June and capture 95% of the self employed.' Oliver McCann of regional law firm Napthens said the new self employed Income Support Scheme was very welcome relief for the region's army of self employed people. But he warned them:- "Check out the rules and the details, especially if you have only set up your business this year. The precise application of the eligibility criteria isn't clear for these self employed people who may not have submitted an income tax return for 2019, because they have only just created their company. The Chancellor is saying he will give more time for those who haven't completed a Tax Return for last year, but I would recommend that they check if they do qualify and what they need to do quickly. Some individuals who run their own business but through a limited company may also be caught between this scheme and the job retention scheme announced for employees last week on the basis that typically these individuals take their earnings as employed income up to the tax free personal allowance and the rest as dividends. They will need to check the rules which may take a week or so to be communicated, similar to the period of time to do so for the job retention scheme. Many of these people will be caught in their own specific circumstances so they need to get advice quickly and refer to the terms of this scheme. They should also remember that they have already had a deferral of income tax for the rest of this year so that will help with cash flow."

What are your thoughts on this and does it affect you?  Please email us your thoughts to:- News24@SouthportReporter.Com.

Letter to the Editor:- "Imagine being a child during this pandemic."

"THESE are worrying times for everyone. But if you are reading this and feeling on edge, imagine being a child during this pandemic, watching helplessly as schools close, supermarkets are ransacked and we're ordered to stay indoors. As a child, it's terrifying to see adults; those who we rely on to know exactly what to do in any given circumstance; panicking while glued to the news and adapting to drastic changes in day to day life. They're supposed to be in charge, right? Already, Childline has delivered almost a thousand Counselling sessions to young people across the country regarding the Coronavirus pandemic, with topics including:- racially charged bullying, worries about physical and mental health, anxiety about severe changes to routines, school closures and exam cancellations, and even suicidal thoughts. We can help children and young people by listening to them, and by offering advice. But you can help them too. Just because children are indoors, doesn't mean they must watch rolling news; everyone needs a break. Whether they read a book or a comic, listen to their favourite music, get some fresh air in the garden, or chat with friends online, whatever helps them relax for even a few minutes should be encouraged. Take the little wins wherever you can. But it's vitally important we don't just try to shield them from the topic of COVID-19 altogether; ignorance isn't bliss in a pandemic. Don't be afraid to start a conversation. Ask what they're thinking about, read an article together and discuss the facts to reassure each other, and if they're still worried, remind them Childline is still here. By phoning:- 0800 1111, they can speak to our Counsellors, or they can use the online message boards at:- Childline.Org.UK to speak to us, other young people, or just draw pictures and play games to take their minds off things. Stay home, stay safe and keep talking. We're here if you need us."  Helen Westerman, NSPCC Service Head, Local Campaigns

Merseyrail services on Sunday, 29 March 2020, altered due to Government emergency measures and staff self isolation

AS a result of the national emergency measures announced by the Prime Minister earlier this week and an increasing number of Station, depot and onboard staff self isolating due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of changes have been made to the timetable for Sunday, 29 March 2020.

Ellesmere Port line

This will be an hourly service operating between:- 08:00 and 20:00, calling at all Stations between Ellesmere Port and Hooton.
Passengers can change at Hooton to continue their onward journeys.

Chester line

This will be a 30 minute service operating between:- 08:00 and 20:00, calling at all Stations.

New Brighton line

This will be a 45 minute service operating between:- 08:00 and 20:00, calling at all Stations.

West Kirby line

This will be a 45 minute service operating between:- 08:00 and 20:00, calling at all Stations.

Northern line

This will be a regular Sunday service (every 30 minutes).

Full timetables and details can be found on:- Merseyrail.org and passengers are advised to use this as the journey planner will not be accurate at this time.

Services from Monday will continue to operate every 30 minutes on all lines until further notice, however there are likely to be further amendments to timetables in the coming days as increasing numbers of staff are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
We would encourage all customers to check before you travel.

This can be done by visiting the Merseyrail website:- Merseyrail.org, the Merseyrail Twitter account @Merseyrail or by sending them a message on WhatsApp via:- 0151 555 1111.

Team communication App deployed free of charge to help NHS and wider care sector amid COVID-19

WITH tens of thousands of retired medics asked to return to work and a quarter of a million volunteers needed to help the NHS through the Coronavirus crisis, Our People has developed a free version of its popular team communication platform, specifically for the NHS and wider care sector. Crucially, this will enable dissemination of vital information to teams, without the chatter and noise prevalent through most other workplace engagement platforms and consumer based Apps.

'Our People Now,' which can be deployed within days, will enable managers of frontline services and other care sector workers to send vital comms, including:- images and files, to:- Doctors, Nurses, ancillary staff and care workers, alerting them to critical information and any changes to their working practices. Communication can be targeted, ensuring information is relevant, and will help to keep teams operational and informed throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

The move comes as Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, announced a new Hospital, Nightingale Hospital, will be opened at the ExCel Centre in East London, providing a further 4,000 beds for people struck down with the deadly virus.

'Our People Now' is GDPR compliant and company controlled, and allows management and staff to:-

Instantly communicate to teams in real time.

Share documents and video files.

View real time reporting of when comms are delivered and when they have been read.

Our People has seen a 55% increase in messaging and broadcasts in the past week through the full version of the platform, with existing clients taking advantage of a 95% engagement and read rate by their teams, ensuring they are up to date with relevant information as the COVID-19 situation develops.

In light of the pandemic, the team behind the platform has been working 24/7 to develop:- 'Our People Now,' a basic version of the App, to enable businesses to communicate remotely with care staff for free until the crisis passes.

Founder and CEO of Our People, Ross McCaw, says:- "In these unprecedented times it's more important than ever that we pull together to do whatever we can to help each other. As our specialism has always been communicating to desk less or remote workers, we understand what's needed to keep these teams running, engaged and informed. 1 crucial piece of feedback we had for the development of this free App, was to enable managers to communicate without the noise of non vital chatter. For the NHS and businesses and organisations within the care environment we are offering 'Our People Now' for free, for the duration of the crisis, to help keep teams running."

Our People was founded in 2016 and is already used by well known brands in the UK and the USA, including:- Serco, Virgin Active and Paulton's Park, who send hundreds of thousands of broadcasts to employees on a weekly basis. There is also the ability to communicate by SMS text message with people that don't own a smartphone.

Anyone interested should send them an email to:-
hello@Our People.com

27/03/2020 - 11:59

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Metro Mayor Announces Tailored Business Support for Socially Trading Organisations

AROUND 200 socially trading organisations across the Liverpool City Region are set to benefit from tailored business support, as the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and Power to Change have fast tracked plans due to launch in the autumn.

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:- "We all need to work together if we are to keep local people and communities safe during the Coronavirus crisis and our socially trading organisations, who are delivering crucial support to our most disadvantaged communities, have a vital role to play. That's why we have fast tracked this funding to ensure that these organisations have the tailored support they need to continue to operate during this challenging period."

In October 2019, Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram announced up to ₤5m to support Socially Trading Organisations (STOs) in the Liverpool City Region via a new investment and development vehicle, led by STOs. The Combined Authority has since been working with a founding team, including independent trust Power to Change, to develop the vehicle, which is due to be delivered later this year by a newly formed collective called Kindred.

Vidhya Alakeson, CEO of Power to Change who are the Project Sponsor of Kindred, said:- "On behalf of the founding team of Kindred, we are pleased to have the opportunity to work with the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority in these incredibly challenging times to support the City Region's highly valued socially trading organisations, including community businesses. Kindred is about supporting the needs of STOs working in the City Region's communities, and this initial Kindred work will provide non-financial Collaborating Communities business support for STO needs at this time, backed by Power to Change and the Combined Authority. We recognise that the work of STOs, including community businesses, is particularly critical at this time of national crisis as they provide support to some of the most vulnerable communities in LCR."

In response to the current COVID-19 situation, the Combined Authority and Power to Change have accelerated their plans and made an initial ₤65,000 available to advise City Region STOs on business continuity and sustainability planning.

Vidhya Alakeson, CEO of Power to Change who are the Project Sponsor of Kindred, said:- "On behalf of the founding team of Kindred, we are pleased to have the opportunity to work with the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority in these incredibly challenging times to support the City Region's highly valued socially trading organisations, including community businesses. Kindred is about supporting the needs of STOs working in the City Region's communities, and this initial Kindred work will provide non-financial Collaborating Communities business support for STO needs at this time, backed by Power to Change and the Combined Authority. We recognise that the work of STOs, including community businesses, is particularly critical at this time of national crisis as they provide support to some of the most vulnerable communities in LCR."

This peer to peer advice and support will be immediately delivered through Kindred's non-financial business support strand, Collaborating Communities, before Kindred's official launch later in the year.

Helen Heap of Seebohm Hill, part of the founding Kindred team, said:- "We know that many things will change as a result of COVID-19, but 1 constant is the crucial role played by socially trading organisations working in their communities and supporting the most vulnerable. Right from the start of the COVID-19 crisis STOs have responded quickly, decisively and with empathy to the most pressing needs of society. STOs are needed now more than ever before just at the time when their very existence is at risk. The pre-launch work of Kindred is designed to sustain as many STOs as possible during the initial crisis period so that they are there to do what they do best once we get to the other side of the pandemic. By bringing forward funding for peer to peer business support for community and social businesses the LCR Combined Authority and Power to Change are providing a vital lifeline, helping to ensure that limited resources are deployed in the places and for the people who are most in need."

Erika Rushton of Creative Economist and part of the founding Kindred team said:- "Over the last few months we have spoken to over 150 Socially Trading Organisations within the City Region to understand how Kindred can support them to grow their social impact. In the last week I have been inundated with calls and e mails from those same socially motivated businesses, not for support, but with their ideas and actions to increase their impact within communities who are facing the challenges of Coronavirus, despite facing their own uncertainty. Liverpool City Region has a strong and long heritage of people who put our collective good before personal gain. The speed with which our communities are organising and responding is testament to that heritage; and the speed with which Mayor Steve Rotheram and his team have moved to ensure STOs are stabilised and supported demonstrates the importance he places on their part in delivering a truly inclusive, caring and resilient economy. At times like this Liverpool City Region shines."

Kindred is now directly contacting all of the Socially Trading Organisations within its developing network; these STOs took part in the initial consultation process to help design Kindred ready for its future launch.

Anyone from a Socially Trading Organisation who would like to know more about accessing this accelerated non-financial businesses support available via Kindred should email:- Info@CreativeEconomist.Co.UK.

Survey Reveals 95% of LCR businesses are affected by COVID-19

A survey by Growth Platform, the City Region's Growth Company, reveals the risks to City Region businesses, as well as the priority support needed during the Coronavirus outbreak.  Survey data, collected days before the Prime Minister announced stricter restrictions on people and businesses, has revealed that 95% of Liverpool City Region businesses were already significantly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The survey was created by Growth Platform and sent to over 12,000 businesses across the region, as part of the Metro Mayor's drive to understand the specific challenges faced by the Region's businesses and shedding light on what kind of support they will need during the outbreak. Growth Platform was set up in 2019 by the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram, on behalf of the Combined Authority. Its aim is to deliver sustainable economic growth, and good jobs in the City Region.

In response to the recent COVID-19 outbreak, the Metro Mayor is leading an economic resilience plan, 1 focus of which is tactical business support which will be delivered by Growth Platform. As part of this approach, the Metro Mayor is leading a weekly call bringing together the City Region's business leaders. A key part of the plan is understanding and supporting the 50,000 City Region businesses, of which 99% are SMEs and 80% have less than ten employees.

Speaking on the impact on local businesses and next steps for the region, Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said:- "The spread of the Coronavirus is having a massive impact on every aspect of our daily lives. Our survey lays bare its adverse impact on local businesses. Whilst our primary responsibilities are to ensure we stop the spread of Covid19, I want to do all I can to help safeguard people's jobs and livelihoods. This feedback is so useful in the conversations I am having with Government about the support that businesses in our region need and to help us as we develop a devolved support package. The measures announced by the Chancellor are mostly welcome, but lots of organisations have already been in contact about the need for the pace of action to be speeded up."

The survey data collected to date indicates that:-

72% of business have had a decrease in sales and bookings.

58% of business are facing cash flow issues.

42% of business currently have staff in isolation, with 90% of these citing it as a major hinderance to operations.

26% are experiencing supply chain issues.

65% of local businesses are struggling with sick pay.

The survey also revealed the key areas of support needed by business, with City Region business owners citing the following areas as necessary for helping them navigate these challenges:-

60% need short term working capital.

52% need longer term finance.

51% need more information.

30% need financial advice.

10% to 20% need HR, Insurance and legal advice.

Mark Basnett, Managing Director at Growth Platform explained:- "We are working closely with the network of business support organisations and Local Authority teams across the City Region who are doing a brilliant job providing support to local businesses. We are all sharing intelligence and collaborating on the priority needs of business at this challenging time. To support them and help businesses further, Growth Platform has refocused its team to provide additional frontline response for businesses and partners. This is a brokerage service into the range of Government schemes and access to further specialist support from local professional services firms offering their services on a pro bono basis."

The Metro Mayor has also launched an additional survey aimed at the self employed, freelancers and sole traders, in order to understand how COVID 19 is affecting these groups.

Growth Platform has also created an online COVID-19 hub for businesses looking for advice and will be issuing regular bulletins to keep businesses up to date with the latest support and guidance.

Further information can be found at:- GrowthPlatform.Org/Business-Covid-19-Advice.

These provisions follow the Metro Mayor's announcement last Friday, where he announced an initial raft of measures in response to Coronavirus, including:- 'LCR Cares COVID-19 Community Support Fund,' a crowd funded campaign to support community and voluntary groups, as well as initiatives to relieve employers and employees affected by the outbreak. These measures include:-

Free bus travel on our supported services for children of keyworkers.

Lifting of restrictions on concessionary travel.

₤65,000 community business support fund.

More information about these measures can be viewed here.

How can businesses get support?

Please check the Growth Platform website for updates as information is shared both by Central Government and locally. Register for the Growth Platform bulletin for regular updates:- GrowthPlatform.Org. Email the team to request support:- LocalGrowthHub@GrowthPlatform.Org. Follow the Growth Platform on Twitter and LinkedIn for updates and guidance.

  • Total UK cases COVID-19 Cases Update for Liverpool City Region and surroundings

    FATALITIES rise by 181 to 759 in the UK, including 2 confirmed deaths in Merseyside. The number of COVID-19 infections has risen by 2,885 in just a day, to 14,543, the Department of Health said. In England, there are a total of 12,288 confirmed cases. The North West of England now has total of 1020 confirmed cases. The numbers include the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is now self isolating himself after he had fallen ill with the virus. He has said that insisted he will not relinquish his duties and will work in isolation at Downing Street. The other big names included in the statistics are the Health Minister Edward Argar and England's Health Secretary Matt Hancock who has said that he had also tested positive. Plus England's Chief Medical Officer, Prof Chris Whitty, who has also shown symptoms. The following are the current confirmed cases within the following local authorities in the Liverpool City Region and surrounding areas are as follows:-

    ► Liverpool, 100 confirmed cases.

    ► Sefton, 30 confirmed cases.

    ► Wirral, 32 confirmed cases.

    ► St. Helens, 32 confirmed cases.

    ► Halton, 10 confirmed cases.

    ► Lancashire, 141 confirmed cases.

    ► Cheshire West and Chester, 25 confirmed cases.

    ► Cheshire East, 35 confirmed cases.

    ► Manchester, 63 confirmed cases.

    ► Stockport, 59 confirmed cases.

    ► Trafford, 53 confirmed cases.

    ► Wigan, 21 confirmed cases.

    ► Bolton, 27 confirmed cases.

    ► Rochdale, 40 confirmed cases.

    ► Bury, 30 confirmed cases.

    ► Tameside, 43 confirmed cases.

    ► Oldham, 51 confirmed cases.

    ► Blackburn with Darwen, 7 confirmed cases.

    These stats are according to Public Health England as of 27/03/2020.

    See archived update pages from:-

    Week 1

    22 March 2020

    21 March 2020

    20 March 2020

    19 March 2020

    18 March 2020

    17 March 2020

    Week 2

    27 March 2020

    26 March 2020

    25 March 2020

    24 March 2020

    23 March 2020


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