BwD has highest rate of COVID cases in England

Here are the latest updates from BwD Director of Public Health, and guidance on local restriction grants, covid enforcement action, furlough, self employment income support system, and the bounce back scheme.

Director of Public Health Update

Blackburn with Darwen’s Director of Public Health Professor Dominic Harrison has written his weekly update published in Lancashire Telegraph.  It can be found here: https://theshuttle.org.uk/percentage-of-people-testing-positive-for-coronavirus-2-3-2-2-2-2/ 

It includes the following:

  • ‘Rates across the county are still rising with Blackburn with Darwen now having the highest confirmed case rate in England followed by Rossendale (as at 27/10/2020).
  • ‘We simply cannot be sure, but it seems very likely on the evidence we have, that we will exit the tier three agreement on the November 10 with rates across Lancashire that are higher than those at which we entered it.
  • ‘There are then two possible scenarios. The most likely in my view is that as the ‘R’ rate is now very high across the country in all regions, with many other local authority areas who had previously low rates catching up fast with Lancashire, the government will be forced into calling a national circuit breaker lockdown across much of the UK. This would need to last at least three weeks and would dampen down the transmission of the virus to the point that we might exit at the level of the current tier two (tier one if we are very lucky).
  • ‘The second most likely scenario is that the government will seek to negotiate further control measures, for another period of 28 days in tier three areas whose rates have not fallen. Mersey City Region will face this discussion first with Lancashire following. By November 10, many more areas in the north of England will also be in tier three and areas such as London and the midland regions are likely to be facing a tier three discussion.
  • ‘Sadly however, we are very likely to find out that tier three was the right medicine at the wrong dose. The dose will have not been enough to cure the condition and the patient will have to stay longer in treatment. This will be the worst of all possible outcomes for the north of England whose economy will be impacted for longer.’

Government Guidance on Local Restrictions Grants issued

The Government has now issued guidance on the Local Restrictions Grants here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-youre-eligible-for-the-coronavirus-local-restrictions-support-grant

The Guidance also refers to Discretionary grant funding as follows:-

‘You may receive a grant of up to £1,500 at the discretion of your local council if:

  • your business is required to close but you do not pay business rates
  • if your business is not required to close, but has been severely affected, for example as a result of customer businesses being closed

Your local council will publish details of discretionary funding on their website.’  There’s no further information available about this as yet.

You can apply for the Local Restrictions Grants here

Council confirms Coronavirus Enforcement Action

Blackburn with Darwen Council has issued five fixed penalty notices for coronavirus-related offences following work by public protection officers this week:

  • Two takeaways in Blackburn have been issued fixed penalties for £1000 each for serving customers after 10pm
  • Two other premises in Blackburn and Darwen have received fixed penalties for £1000 for failing to serve food with alcohol.
  • A further £1000 fixed penalty notice has been issued to a Blackburn barber who failed to record contacts for track and trace purposes as required by law.
  • All offences were contrary to The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Local COVID-19 Alert Level) (Very High) (England) Regulations 2020.  Any subsequent offences will see fines going up to £2000, £4000 then £10,000.  The businesses have 28 days to pay with no option for early payment.  Failure to pay will result in the case being reported for prosecution. An appeal process is available.
  • More information is available here: https://theshuttle.org.uk/council-clamps-down-on-coronavirus-rule-breakers/
  • If you are unsure about any of the restrictions and how they apply to you and your business, please do get in touch with me as soon as possible.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough) comes to an end

30 November 2020 is the last day you can submit claims for periods ending on or before 31 October 2020. After this date you will not be able to submit any further claims or add to existing claims.  Information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme   The (extended) Job Support Scheme ( Closed or Open) replaces the furlough Scheme.  More information can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-job-support-scheme/the-job-support-scheme

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme extended 1 November 2020 to 31 March 2021

The extension will last for six months, from November 2020 to April 2021. Grants will be paid in two lump sum instalments each covering a three-month period.  The first grant will cover a three-month period from 1 November 2020 until 31 January 2021. The Government will provide a taxable grant covering 40% of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £3,750 in total.  The applications process is not yet open.https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/self-employment-income-support-scheme-grant-extension/self-employment-income-support-scheme-grant-extension

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans & Bounceback Loans Application Deadline

These loan schemes to support businesses are only open to applications until 30 November 2020.  More information  can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-the-coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-a-coronavirus-bounce-back-loan

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