Home / News / 14th January: Today’s latest coronavirus updates

14th January: Today’s latest coronavirus updates

Coronavirus Latest News Updates
Posted – 14 Jan 2022

Stockport Business Rates Related Schemes:

Omicron Hospitality and Leisure grant:

  • The Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant is a one-off grant to support businesses that offer in-person services in a fixed rate-paying premises.
  • Businesses that were trading on 30 December 2021 may be eligible to apply for the grant.
  • Businesses that offer more than one service may only be eligible if 50% or more of their overall income comes from hospitality, leisure or accommodation.

How much will businesses receive?

Businesses that have a rateable value:

  • of £15,000 or less on 30 December 2021 will receive a payment of £2,667
  • between £15,001 and £50,999 on 30 December 2021 will receive a payment of £4,000
  • of £51,000 or more on 30 December 2021 will receive a payment of £6,000

What are the Tax implications?

  • Grant income received by a business is taxable. The Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant will need to be included as income in the tax return of the business.
  • Only businesses that make an overall profit once the grant income is included will be subject to tax.
  • Payments made to businesses before 5 April 2022 will fall into the 2021/22 tax year. Unincorporated businesses will be taxed when they receive the grant income.

Business Grant Subsidy Allowance:

  • Businesses will be subject to the financial limits set out in the Business Grant Subsidy Allowance.
  • Businesses will be entitled to receive a grant for each eligible premises.

Applications are now open. Visit Stockport Council website for full information and application – Omicron Hospitality and Leisure grant – Stockport Council

NOTE: The closing date for applications is at midnight on 18 February 2022. We will not accept any applications after this date.

COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF):

The fund will be available to support those businesses affected by the pandemic but that are ineligible for existing support linked to business rates.

The Stockport scheme is currently being developed.
Further details will be on the Council website when available – check this link regularly for updates – 
Financial support for businesses and employers – Stockport Council

Additional Restrictions Grant:

ARG is a Discretionary Grant Scheme that has been operating over a series of funding allocations from Government. 

Round 2 Top Up:

The latest scheme with round 2 top up funding opened in November 2021. Information and application is on Stockport Council web page at this link – https://www.stockport.gov.uk/additional-restrictions-grant

Round 3 Top Up:

Round 3 top up funding allocation has now been received and must be used by 31/03/22. Most businesses are eligible to apply if still experiencing negative impact from Covid pandemic.

Applying for an ARG:

  • Businesses can apply for a grant from both top up 2 and 3 allocations but separate need to be submitted from businesses for each round of funding (Government requirement).
  • If businesses have applied for ARG before 21/12/21, then they can submit a further application now.
  • If businesses applied after 21/12/21 then no need to do anything further – if not applied at all yet then apply ASAP.
  • Applications will be processed on first come first served basis until funds are exhausted so applying does not guarantee success in getting a grant if funds have been exhausted at that time

UK NEWS UPDATES:   

UK economy above pre-Covid levels in November
The UK economy surpassed pre-Covid levels for the first time in November after recording stronger-than-expected growth. The Office for National Statistics said gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 0.9% between October and November. That was higher than economists’ expectations and meant the economy was 0.7% larger than in February 2020. But there is concern growth slowed again after the spread of Omicron and the introduction of Plan B measures.
“The economy grew strongly in the month before Omicron struck, with architects, retailers, couriers and accountants having a bumper month,” said ONS chief economist Grant Fitzner. “Construction also recovered from several weak months as many raw materials became easier to get hold of.”

Self-isolation for those with COVID-19 can end after five full days following two negative LFD tests
From Monday, 17 January, people with COVID-19 in England can end their self-isolation after five full days, as long as they test negative on day 5 and day 6. The first test must be taken no earlier than day 5 of the self-isolation period, and the second must be taken the following day. If an individual is positive on day 5, then a negative test is required on day 6 and day 7 to release from isolation. It is essential that 2 negative rapid lateral flow tests are taken on consecutive days and reported before individuals return to their job or education, if leaving self-isolation earlier than the full 10-day period. For instance, if an individual is positive on day 5, then a negative test is required on both day 6 and day 7 to release from self-isolation, or positive on day 6, then a negative test is required on days 7 and 8, and so on until the end of day 10.

Next cuts sick pay for unvaccinated staff
Next is cutting sick pay for unjabbed staff who are forced to self-isolate due to contact with someone who has tested positive. The move follows similar initiatives from Ikea and Morrisons as retailers strive to minimise Covid-related costs.
Next told the BBC sick pay on vaccination status was an “emotive topic” but said it needed to balance staff and shareholder needs. It comes as employers face mass absences due to the rapid spread of the omicron variant.

Tesco keeps on 13,000 temporary workers due to surging Omicron absences
Tesco has revealed that around 13,000 temporary Christmas staff have been kept on to help it cope with staff absences due to Covid-19 as the grocer increased its earnings outlook thanks to a strong Christmas trading period.
The UK’s biggest supermarket said nearly half of the 30,000 temporary staff taken on over Christmas have been hired until at least the end of January as it battles with surging staff sickness levels due to the Omicron variant spreading across the nation. Chief executive Ken Murphy said absence levels had been higher than normal over the past six to eight weeks but were “manageable” and well below those seen in the early days of the pandemic.

Government to protect tourism industry by closing tax loophole
Owners of second homes who abuse a tax loophole by claiming their properties are holiday lets will be forced to pay under new measures. The changes will target people who take advantage of the system to avoid paying their fair share towards local services in popular destinations such as Cornwall, Devon, the Lake District, Suffolk, West Sussex and the Isles of Scilly. Currently, owners of second homes in England can avoid paying council tax and access small business rates relief by simply declaring an intention to let the property out to holidaymakers. However, concerns have been raised that many never actually let their homes and leave them empty and are therefore unfairly benefiting from the tax break.

New advertising drive calling on young people to Get Boosted Now
Campaign launches as booster uptake among young people is lower than older age groups. While more than 80% of eligible adults in England have had a booster jab, just 57% of eligible 18 to 34-year-olds have been boosted. The new campaign, running across digital and radio, highlights that being unvaccinated or not booking in for your booster jab increases your risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19.

REGIONAL & LOCAL NEWS:    

Covid safe: Northern’s carriages cleaned almost one million times in one year  
The enhanced cleaning regime is designed to protect customers and staff by reducing the potential risk of COVID-19 transmission which is already proven to be extremely low on the rail network. Hard working Northern colleagues cleaned the rail operator’s carriages almost one million times in 2021. A total of 952,514 cleans were carried out – the equivalent of cleaning one carriage at least three times every day. Northern is taking extra care to ensure its trains and stations are as clean as possible for its customers. 

February for final decision on Stockroom library move
Stockport Council’s Cabinet is to have the final say in February on moving town centre library services to Stockroom, a new 21st Century facility planned for the Merseyway Shopping Centre. 
During a Full Council meeting on Thursday 13th January, a motion was passed to refer the decision back to Cabinet to move library services from Central Library to Stockroom, a learning and discovery space planned for Merseyway and backed by the government’s Future High Streets Fund.

Following an extensive public consultation on Stockroom and the move of library services, it has been recommended that the increased floorspace, modern facilities and high street location could help reverse the decline in library use in Stockport and improve services available.

How Stockport is handling Long Covid
SK Business Recovery spoke to local resident Stuart Bradley who is suffering from long covid and to Tina Betts, CFS/ME Physiotherapist helping patients to manage their symptoms:
View the video HERE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WkU-q_eiHVQ&t=3s

SECTOR SPECIFIC CORONAVIRUS-RELATED NEWS:   

BUSINESS:

Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)
Find out how to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading in your workplace.  

Oral statement on the government’s COVID-19 response
The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid updated Parliament on the government’s COVID-19 response.  

CARE:   

Visiting arrangements in care homes
Sets out how care homes can support families and visitors to visit residents – updated to reflect new national guidance on removal of confirmatory PCR tests in the case of a positive lateral flow test. Updated the ‘Care home outbreaks’ section to reflect that the Omicron variant will be treated the same as the Alpha and Delta variants for the purposes of managing outbreaks.  

Supported living services during coronavirus (COVID-19)
Guidance for providers of supported living settings – updated to reflect that a confirmatory PCR test following a positive lateral flow result is not required.  

COMMUNITY:    


Finding and choosing a private coronavirus (COVID-19) test provider
Lists of and information about private test providers, to help you get the private COVID-19 tests you need – updated the general list of providers. COVID-19 vaccination: resources for children aged 5 to 11 years
Information for parents of eligible at risk children aged 5 to 11 years on COVID-19 vaccination.

COVID-19 vaccination: resources for children and young people aged 12 to 17 years
Information for eligible children and young people aged 12 to 17 years on COVID-19 vaccination – added COVID-19 vaccination: a guide for eligible children and young people aged 16 to 17 (version 3).

CONSTRUCTION:

New work surges as materials shortages ease
Construction output has once again bounced back above the pre-pandemic high-water mark after a strong surge in new work during November.

A 5.7% hike in new work lifted overall construction output by 3.5%, despite a small decline in repair and maintenance workloads. The surge lifted overall activity above the February pre-pandemic high for the second time after the initial rebound recovery started to be dragged down by a slowing of workloads 12-months ago due to bad weather and then material shortages.

HEALTHCARE & WELLBEING:     

National flu and COVID-19 surveillance reports published
Weekly national influenza and COVID-19 report, monitoring coronavirus (COVID-19) activity, seasonal flu and other seasonal respiratory illnesses.  

COVID-19 vaccine weekly surveillance reports (weeks 39 to 2, 2021 to 2022)
Data on the real-world effectiveness and impact of the COVID-19 vaccines – updated COVID-19 vaccine surveillance report: 13 January 2022 (week 2) – tables 9 to 12  have been updated to include those who have received at least 2 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, using the same method as in previous reports.  

COVID-19: estimated administrative vaccine uptake for people aged 18 and over
Daily percentage of the UK population aged 18 and over who have received a first dose, second dose, or third or booster dose to date.

Weekly statistics for NHS Test and Trace (England): 30 December 2021 to 5 January 2022
Experimental statistics on NHS Test and Trace since its launch on 28 May 2020. Includes reports on NHS Test and Trace (people tested and contact tracing) and rapid (lateral flow device) testing for people without symptoms.

COVID-19 variants: genomically confirmed case numbers
Genomically confirmed case numbers for SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and variants under investigation – added data up to 12 January 2022.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey: UK: 14 January 2022
Estimates for?England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.?This survey is being delivered in partnership with University of Oxford, University of Manchester, UK Health Security Agency and?Wellcome?Trust. This study is jointly led by the ONS and the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) working with the University of Oxford and Lighthouse Laboratory to collect and test samples.

JUDICIARY:

HM Prison and Probation Service COVID-19 statistics monthly
Monthly statistics providing data of COVID-19 in HM Prison and Probation Service in England and Wales – the link to the December 2021 figures have been added to this collection page, these were published on 14 January 2022.

MANUFACTURING:

Chip shortages continue to put brakes on sales for motor manufacturer
Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) retail sales for the three-month period to December 31, 2021, fell by 13.6% due to the continuing computer chip shortage.
However, the group, which has manufacturing plants at Halewood in Merseyside and Solihull and Castle Bromwich in the West Midlands, said it has started to see some improvement in supplies and wholesale volumes compared with the previous quarter. Retail sales for the quarter were 80,126 vehicles, down 13.6% (12.6k units) from the preceding quarter ending September 30, 2021, and 37.6% (48.3k units) from the quarter a year ago, ending December 31, 2020.

PROPERTY:

Google to spend £730m to ‘reinvigorate’ its UK offices
Google is backing a return to the office with an investment that will expand its UK capacity by 50% and “reinvigorate” the work environment.

The search giant is spending £730m ($1bn) and expects headcount to rise from 6,400 to 10,000. It is buying one of the London sites, Central Saint Giles, in which it is currently a tenant. Google’s UK boss Ronan Harris told the BBC the investment reflected the firm’s faith in the office as a place of work.

“We want to reinvigorate the work environment. We’re making this commitment to rebuild. We’re buying these buildings and we’re keen to see everybody come back in and see a vibrant workspace again,” Mr Harris said.

Inflation wiping out house price growth in many areas
Soaring inflation means that house price growth in much of the country is being wiped out, according to a leading housing market analysis. The latest monthly market report from the Home website says that only four English regions, plus Wales, show annual growth over and above the latest RPI inflation figure of 7.7 per cent for November. Home also warns that with RPI inflation – according to some analysts – heading for 10 per cent, “some regions are treading water while others are suffering significant price falls in real terms.” The website cautions that with cannier buyers fixing seven-year mortgage deals at as low a rate as two per cent, there are hedges against the growing inflation threat – so it is not expecting any significant impact on the number of buyers in the housing market in 2022.
Home also quantifies the large gap between supply and demand.

TRAVEL:    

France lifts ban on UK holidaymakers
The French government has announced that fully vaccinated Britons will be permitted to enter the country for holidays from Friday (14 January) – lifting the ban that has been in place since 18 December due to the spread of the Omicron variant. There will be no quarantine, but UK visitors will still need to present a negative Covid-19 test result taken 24 hours before arrival.

Netherlands poised to ease lockdown this weekend
The Independent, citing local sources, claimed non-essential stores, hairdressers and gyms will be able to open from Saturday (15 January), with a limit on customer numbers. Students will also be allowed back to colleges and universities – but bars, restaurants, museums and other attractions are expected to remain closed.  

The plans are reportedly set to be finalised today, Friday (14 January).   The Netherlands has been under strict lockdown rules since 19 December, with all public venues, shops and dining establishments closed.

GOV & BBC UK daily coronavirus data:  

There have been nearly 15 million confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK and more than 150,000 people have died, government figures show. Over 52 million people have now received a first dose of the vaccine, 91% of people in the UK aged 12 and over. 83% have had their second and 63% have had a booster.

Total UK Cases: 14,967,817 positive tests
Latest UK daily figure: 
109,133 new cases
Number in UK hospital: 
19,721 (43 fewer than on previous day)
New deaths across UK: 335
Total UK deaths: 151,342
England Cases per 100,000: 
1,447
R number in UK: 
1.2 – 1.5

Vaccine data:

Total 1st doses given: 52,031,355 – 91% of UK aged 12+
Total 2nd doses: 83%
Daily 1st doses: 19,520
Daily 2nd doses: 30,340
Daily Booster doses: 126,632

The R value and growth rate
The latest reproduction number (R) and growth rate of coronavirus (COVID-19).
The R range for England is 1.2 to 1.5 the growth rate range for England is +3% to +6% per day as of 7 January 2022.

Latest Stockport coronavirus data:

Total Stockport cases: 75,900 to 13 January
Cases in the latest week: 5,288 (1,936 less compared with previous week)
Total deaths: 813 to December 31st (+2 on previous week)
Cases per 100,000: 1,797 per 100,000 (3 to 9 Jan)

Stockport vaccine data:

1st dose: 85% of over 12s to 12 January
2nd dose: 79%
3rd / booster dose: 63%

Covid-19 Webinars:

ACAS – run a series of courses to help businesses with transition from lockdown

Brexit Webinars:

Exporting: Actions you need to take now: An overview of the actions you need to take now before you export goods from Great Britain to the EU and move goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Key processes include – staged border controls, zero-rated VAT, customs declaration, using an intermediary as well as licences, certificates, and authorisations. Please register to take part if you’re planning to export.

Trader responsibilities when using an intermediary: You now need to complete import or export declarations to trade goods with the EU. These are complex and a lot of businesses choose to use an intermediary to do these for them. This webinar explains your responsibilities as a trader if you choose to use an intermediary. Please register to take part if you’re planning to import or export.

What are customs import declarations?: If you import goods, you now need to make customs import declarations on controlled goods and all goods by the end of June. This webinar will help you understand what they are in more detail. This includes what is needed for simplified declarations, supplementary declarations, how to make them, and delayed import declarations. Please register to take part if you’re planning to import.

Importing: Staged controls and how to prepare to use them: This webinar will walk you through the three stages of the new border controls introduced on 1?? ?January?? ?2021, and what actions you need to take for each stage. Please register to take part if you’re planning to import.

LATEST LINKS:

Home workers can claim £26 tax relief for job expenses
If you’ve asked your employees to work from home, and you’ve not reimbursed them already, your employees may be entitled to claim tax relief on additional household expenses they’ve incurred, such as heating and lighting.

New hotline launched to report COVID fraudsters
A new hotline has been launched to stop fraudsters illegally targeting COVID stimulus schemes.

If you would like to register your interest in creating one or more Kickstart Job, please complete the Kickstart Employer Enquiry Form and a member of the Council’s Kickstart Team will contact you to explain more.

Kickstart Scheme
The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to employers to create job placements for 16 to 24 year olds.

Kickstart Scheme terms and conditions
Kickstart Scheme terms and conditions for employers and gateways receiving the Kickstart Scheme grant from the Department for Work and Pensions.

Kickstart Scheme employer resources
If you’ve been offered Kickstart Scheme funding, you can use these resources to show your support for the scheme.

Kickstart Scheme employer contacts
List of regional contacts for employers applying for a grant through the Kickstart Scheme.

Apply for a Kickstart Scheme grant: 30 or more job placements
If you are an employer looking to create 30 or more jobs placements for young people, apply for funding as part of the Kickstart Scheme.

Apply for a Kickstart Scheme grant: 29 or less job placements
If you are an employer looking to create 29 or less jobs placements for young people, apply for funding as part of the Kickstart Scheme.

Visit the Stockport Council website to report details of any outbreaks online.  
https://www.stockport.gov.uk/coronavirus-in-stockport/report-a-coronavirus-outbreak

Opening times for Stockport Council Coronavirus Helpline
The helpline for vulnerable people across Stockport can now be accessed through new opening times by calling 0161 217 6046:
• Monday – Thursday from 9am to 5pm
• Friday from 9am to 4.30pm
• Saturdays from 10am to 1pm
At busy times, residents are automatically offered a call-back from one of our call handlers.

New tools and resources available from Acas:
Redundancy letter templates
Redundancy process map 

Acas have also contributed to the development of a new return to work toolkit in partnership with SOM, CIPD, BITC and Mind.

Business Support in Stockport – a centre pool of information to support business owners in Stockport:
www.skbusinessrecovery.co.uk

Government – Guidance on Returning to Work safely
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Stockport Council’s FREE job matching website helps support employers with vacancies and individuals across the Stockport borough who are looking for work. The service, Stockport Jobs Match, will help to connect employers who have urgent temporary or permanent vacancies with applicants who are immediately available and in need of employment. The website also helps signpost individuals to available support services and information. www.stockport-jobsmatch.co.uk

Stockport Council – Health & Mental Well-being https://www.stockport.gov.uk/showcase/coronavirus 

Government – Financial Support
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – online claims portal open

Government – Business Support:
Government launches new coronavirus business support finder tool

Government – Business Support Hub:
https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support

Government – IT safety support:
Government Warnings Over Coronavirus Scams – Here’s How to Protect Yourself

Government – Financial Support: 
HMRC has published guidance on how it will work out income and profits for the self-employed or those in a partnership who have lost profits due to coronavirus. 

Government – Business Support: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19

Government – Financial Support: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-business-support-grant-funding

Government – Business Support:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

Gov.uk: Maintaining Educational Provision: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision

Business Growth Hub:
www.businessgrowthhub.com/coronavirus  https://www.businessgrowthhub.com/coronavirus/resources/2020/03/coronavirus-business-support-webinar-series

Employment – Useful information for the Self-Employed:

News and Guidance for the self-employed:
Concerned how Coronavirus might impact you and your business?
Please get in touch with Enterprising You and you will be connected to someone who can help.

You can also access information and guidance including the latest Government updates via www.businessgrowthhub.com/coronavirus

Can you claim back Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay in the Rebate Scheme
From Tuesday 26 May 2020, small and medium-sized employers, with fewer than 250 employees, will be able to apply to recover the costs of paying coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments they have made to their employees. 

Health updates:

Health – updates from NHS
https://www.england.nhs.uk/news/

Health – Dedicated helpline to support vulnerable residents in Stockport:
Support can be accessed by calling 0161 217 6046 Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm and Saturdays from 10am to 4pm.

Health – Dedicated health & wellbeing services:
24/7 mental health helpline & safe haven for anyone over the age of 18 in Stockport (0800 138 7276).

Health – An Emotional Wellbeing Hub which provides information, advice, and guidance for anyone up to the age of 25 for emotional wellbeing and mental health concerns. 0161 217 6028 – 8.30am-5pm Mon – Thurs 8.30am-4.30pm on Friday. 

Community – Guidance for businesses seeking to help voluntary, community, and social enterprise organisations during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
How businesses can offer services, funds and volunteers to civil society during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Find out more information here.

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    LATEST TOWN CENTRE FOOTFALL

    Total visits this period:

    492,332

    Busiest time of the day:

    12.00 - 13.00

    Average dwell time:

    141 mins

    Average visits per day:

    16,410

    (Provided by Sept 2021 research)