Lancashire to remain in Tier 3
The Health Secretary Matt Hancock has made a statement to the House of Commons earlier confirming the outcome of the first review of the current Tier restrictions.
You can find a copy of the statement here: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/oral-statement-on-review-of-coronavirus-tiering-restrictions-in-england Lancashire including Blackburn with Darwen is to remain in Tier 3 (Very High Alert) for the time being.
You can find the full list of areas by Tier here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/full-list-of-local-restriction-tiers-by-area
The Health Secretary has also submitted a written statement to the House of Commons about the Review, and you can find that here: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/review-of-local-restriction-tiers-17-december-2020.
Below is the summary of the Review of Lancashire and reason it is remaining in Tier 3:
Tier 3 (Very High)
Since the end of national restrictions there is a mixed, concerning picture across Lancashire. While case rates have now stabilised they are increasing in some areas in the most recent data that is subject to upward revision. The local authorities with the highest case rates are those located in the east of Lancashire that neighbour the north of Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire (Burnley, Blackburn with Darwen, Pendle, Rossendale, Chorley). Case rates in over 60s are increasing in several areas and remain above 150 per 100,000 in Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool, Burnley, Chorley, Preston, Ribble Valley, South Ribble, Hyndburn and Wyre. Lancaster and Fylde have the lowest case rates in the area at 98 and 93 per 100,000, respectively. Case rates for these two local authorities have decreased but the trajectory based on the latest data indicates that case rates are now starting to stabilise or increase, therefore any de-escalation of these areas would likely lead to cases increasing. The epidemiology indicators remain too high for de-escalation to Tier 2, as it could lead to rising case numbers.
The local NHS has seen a slow increase in COVID admissions over the last 14 days. The daily COVID hospital bed occupancy is above the national average and continues to rise.
Extension to Coronavirus Job Retention (Furlough) Scheme
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has extended the furlough scheme for one month until the end of April next year. It means the government will continue to pay 80% of the wages of workers who have been furloughed.
The Chancellor also confirmed he would be extending the government-guaranteed Covid-19 business loan schemes (Bounce Back Loans and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans) until the end of March.
Employers will continue to only be required to pay the wages, National Insurance (NI) contributions and pensions for hours worked, as well as NI contributions and pensions for hours not worked.
The eligibility criteria for the UK-wide scheme will remain unchanged.