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3rd December: Today’s latest coronavirus updates

Coronavirus Latest News Updates
Posted – 03 Dec 2021

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Stockport Council launches new Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) for businesses facing continued challenges from impact of coronavirus
Stockport Council has opened applications for its Additional Restrictions Grant scheme, allowing businesses that remain negatively affected by the coronavirus pandemic to access further financial support. The Additional Restrictions Grant supports businesses that are not covered by other grant schemes or where additional funding is needed. You can apply for the Additional Restrictions Grant if your trading levels continue to be negatively impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19).

ARG Grant data as at 26/11/2021:
Applications received:         274
Applications allocated:        33%
Value of Grants issued:      £236,500

Locality Boost Grant
The Council is also offering a further opportunity for businesses in local areas to access a Locality Boost Grant for their area if they did not do so in the first round of these grants. The Locality Boost Grant is for district centre trading associations or their equivalent. District centre trading associations can bid for your local area to run events to drive footfall that will support local businesses that are reopening. If the local area does not have a trading association that can lead the bid, an equivalent lead accountable body or local business will need to be agreed by businesses in that area. They will then lead as the single point of contact for their area. Only one application for each local area will be accepted. Further information on the Locality Boost Grant and how to apply is available at this link Locality Boost Grant – Stockport Council

Locality Boost Grant data as at 26/11/2021:
Applications received:         17
Applications processed / in process: 100%

GOV & BBC UK daily data: 

There have been more than 10 million confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK and sadly 145,000 people have died, government figures show. Nearly 51 million people have now received a first dose of the vaccine, 89% of people in the UK aged 12 and over. 81% have had their second and 33% have had a booster.

Total UK Cases: 10,329,074 positive tests
Latest UK daily figure: 
53,945 new cases
Number in UK hospital: 
7,644, 221 more than on previous day
New deaths across UK: 141
Total UK deaths: 145,281
England Cases per 100,000: 
R number in UK: 
0.9 to 1.1

Vaccine data:

Total 1st doses given: 51,020,285 – 89% of UK aged 12+
Total 2nd doses: 81%
Daily 1st doses: 26,028
Daily 2nd doses: 32,356
Daily Booster doses: 407,851

Latest Stockport data:

Total Stockport cases: 51,434 to 2 December
Cases in the latest week: 1,101, 15 more than previous week
Total deaths: 791 to November 19th
Cases per 100,000: 374 per 100,000 week ending 28 November

Stockport vaccine data:                  

1st dose: 84% of over 12s to 30 November
2nd dose: 77%

The R value and growth rate
The R range for England is 1.0 to 1.1 and the growth rate range for England is -1% to +2% per day as of 26 November 2021.


Bounce Back Loan checks “inadequate” according to watchdog
The government failed to put adequate measures in place to prevent fraudsters stealing billions of pounds through its Bounce Back Loan scheme, the National Audit Office (NAO) has said. Counter-fraud activity was “implemented too slowly”, which resulted in “high levels of estimated fraud”, it said. It added the Department for Business estimated fraudulent loans were worth £4.9bn, 11% of the total, as of March. The government said it would “not tolerate” people defrauding taxpayers.

The Bounce Bank Loan scheme was set up in April 2020 with the aim of keeping small businesses afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.

A total of 1.5 million loans worth £47bn were issued through the initiative, after about a quarter of UK businesses applied. In its report, the NAO said the government estimated more than a third of loans, worth £17bn, may never be repaid due to both fraudulent activity and legitimate borrowers defaulting.

NHS to see £700m investment from the government
Hospitals across the country receive a share of £700m to expand wards, install modular operating theatres, upgrade outpatient spaces and MRI and screening technology. The funding, to be split across all regions in England, will help reduce waiting times for patients by expanding the number of operating theatres and beds, including new day surgery units to prevent people staying overnight and investment in technology to improve their experiences of care and help them manage their conditions. Today’s investment is part of the £5.4bn already announced to support the NHS response to the pandemic in the second half of the year. In total, the government is investing over £34bn of additional funding in health and social care services this year. The allocations for the £700m announced today include £330m for upgrading NHS facilities, £250m for new technology and £120m for any supporting revenue costs.

RAC criticises pandemic fuel pricing
Since the start of the pandemic, supermarkets that sell petrol have been “far more reluctant to pass on savings” when wholesale oil prices fall, according to the RAC’s fuel spokesman. The motoring organisation is taking aim at retailers for failing to reduce pump prices, despite the value of oil falling by around $10 a barrel last week, given they added on average 3.1p to a litre of unleaded petrol and 2.7p to diesel during November.

Pfizer and Moderna provide best overall boost, UK trials
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines being used in the UK as boosters give the best overall boost response, according to a UK trial of seven different jabs.

The trial is the first study of how well Covid booster jabs work and justifies the UK’s early decision to use these two vaccines for boosters.

All the vaccines tested raised immunity against Covid to some degree.

Researchers said there were promising signs the boosters would still protect against illness and death from Omicron.

To make vaccine supplies go further, even a half dose of Pfizer could be used to boost populations, they added.


New training programme to plug digital skills gaps
A new programme to plug digital skills gaps identified by Greater Manchester employers has secured funding to provide training to around 2,000 city-region workers. UK Skills Academy has been awarded a £2 million contract of European Social Funding from Greater Manchester Combined Authority as part of its three-year Skills for Growth programme, to deliver its ‘Digital Skills Growth & Productivity’ course, supporting the city-region’s SMEs to develop the technical skills needed to thrive. The free training workshops of one to five days will support business leaders looking to move services and products online, a process that has been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Employees working at businesses based within Greater Manchester in digital roles can also gain access to training to develop practical skills across cybersecurity, data analysis, information governance and digital marketing.

Manchester Airports Group (MAG) will host a ‘Runway to Recovery’ meet the buyer event on Tuesday 8th December.  

The virtual event will be free to join for all and will be hosted by senior leaders from across the Group. The Managing Directors of all three MAG airports – Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands – will provide an overview of their respective businesses, alongside information from MAG’s procurement team about the process of becoming a supplier, and current available opportunities.   Businesses from across the airports’ surrounding areas in the North West, East Midlands and East of England can sign up to the event here to learn more about their local airport and the wide ranging business opportunities they provide.

Small Business Saturday 4th December Stockport

Small Business Saturday takes place on 4th December – Find out all the ways you can get involved on Small Business Saturday website.  This year HubSpot are supporting Small Business Saturday – to aid in helping as many businesses as possible to achieve their dreams and accelerate businesses growth. To do this, they have created a one-stop shop for everything small businesses to get your business online. In Essential Resources to Digitalise your Business, you can access 15+ resources to aid in growing your marketing, sales and customer service efforts, all for free. 
Are you a big business and interested in supporting Small Business Saturday? If so, please do get in touch.



HMRC: Making Tax Digital for VAT-registered businesses
Since April 2019, VAT-registered businesses with a turnover above the VAT threshold must keep VAT records digitally and send returns using Making Tax Digital (MTD) compatible software. From April?? ?2022, these requirements will apply to all VAT-registered businesses, including those with a turnover below the VAT threshold

For more information, join our live webinar – during which you can ask questions using the on-screen text box, Making Tax Digital for VAT 

This webinar uses examples showing how to deal with tax and National Insurance when you provide a mobile phone, broadband or homeworking expenses for your employees: Register here

You can also view our short videos on HMRC’s YouTube channel including:

How to sign up for Making Tax Digital for VAT 

Check a previous Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme claim
Use the service to view or delete previous furlough claims. You can also find out how to check guidance for the scheme – added information on ‘If you’ve underpaid employees.’   

Pay Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grants back
Find out how to pay all or some of your grant back, make a voluntary repayment or what you need to do if you have not paid your staff enough after claiming the grant.
Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)
Find out how to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading in your workplace – shops, branches, and close contact services – Information added on new measures introduced in response to the Omicron variant. See ‘What’s changed’ for details.    

Test and Trace Support Payment scheme: claiming financial support
Who can claim the support and how to apply – updated guidance to reflect changes to self-isolation exemptions relating to Omicron variant.  

Face coverings poster
Poster to remind people to wear a face covering where they are legally required to do so.


COVID-19: management of staff and exposed patients and residents in health and social care settings
Guidance on the management of staff, patients and residents who have been exposed to COVID-19 – clarified wording around isolation requirement and to reflect LFD testing requirement after returning from another country – for health and social care staff, as laid out in CAS alert. The health and social care approach to winter
Sets out the wide range of preparations made to ensure that health and social care services remain resilient, joined up and available to patients over the coming months. It also announces the allocation of the £700 million Targeted Investment Fund.


COVID-19: guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection
Stay at home guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection – clarified that contacts legally required to self-isolate (including contacts of suspected or confirmed Omicron cases) must complete their isolation period even if they test negative during that period.

Face coverings: when to wear one, exemptions, and how to make one
This page explains when to wear a face covering, exemptions from wearing one, and how to make your own face covering – updated guidance on disposing of face coverings to bring in line with wider COVID-19 waste disposal guidance.

Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain: 3 December 2021
Indicators from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey to understand the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on people, households and communities in Great Britain.  

COVID-19 test validation approved products
Find out which COVID-19 test products have been approved – updated ‘COVID-19 test validation approved products.’ 

Weekly statistics for NHS Test and Trace (England)
Experimental statistics from the NHS Test and Trace service and related documents.

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.

Stockport hosts first Inequalities Summit


Coronavirus (COVID-19) 2021 qualifications fund for schools and colleges
How to submit a claim for eligible costs related to the qualifications fund for the period October 2021 to March 2022 – updated the templates to increase the number of records that can be added. 

Get help with technology for remote education
Find out about the support available for educational settings and local authorities for remote and face-to-face education, and access to social care.  

Ofqual: rolling update
Information on qualifications which have been disrupted by coronavirus (COVID-19) – updated to include information on contingency measures should exams and assessments not go ahead in 2022.

What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges during COVID-19
Information for parents and carers about attending schools, nurseries and colleges in 2021 – updated guidance on face coverings, contact tracing and isolation, vaccinations, and holidays and travel to reflect new measures announced on 27 November 2021.

Higher education providers: coronavirus (COVID-19)
Coronavirus (COVID-19) operational guidance for higher education providers.

Academic mentors
How schools and academy trusts can apply for subsidised tutoring as part of the national tutoring programme to help pupils catch up on missed learning – updated the eligibility criteria for academic mentor support.

Managing coronavirus (COVID-19) in education and childcare settings
What measures education and childcare settings should be prepared to introduce to manage coronavirus (COVID-19) – updated guidance on contact tracing and isolation, face coverings and testing of higher education students.


Covid risk remain high for ethnic groups
The risk of catching and becoming very sick from Covid remains higher for people belonging to certain ethnic groups, a major review has found.

The Covid-disparities report, commissioned by the government, considers each pandemic wave. Black and South Asian people are among those hit hardest, along with people in cities with high levels of deprivation. The reasons are complex but experts say having more people vaccinated will save lives. Experts are urging anyone eligible who has not yet had a jab to have one, because it is the best way to protect yourself and your family. People in the UK can still receive a first vaccine, second dose and, if eligible, a third booster jab free on the NHS

COVID-19 vaccination: booster dose resources
Information on the booster dose for eligible individuals – added link to ‘a guide to booster vaccination for individuals aged 18 years and over and those aged 16 years and over’, and easy-read resources.

Minister calls for at risk groups to get booster jabs Crucial research into the disproportionate impact of Covid on ethnic minority groups helped shape the response to the pandemic and increase vaccine uptake in those communities, a report by the Minister for Equalities, Kemi Badenoch, shows today.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines adverse reactions
A weekly report covering adverse reactions to approved COVID-19 vaccines

COVID-19 variants identified in the UK
Latest updates on SARS-CoV-2 variants detected in the UK.

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.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey, UK: 3 December 2021
Estimates for?England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.?This survey is being delivered in partnership with the 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.

Regulatory approval of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19
Information for healthcare professionals and the public about the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine – the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine (Comirnaty) Conditional Marketing Authorisation has been renewed: changes to the SmPC – section 9 and section 10.


Omicron fears cause wave of cancellations
Fears about the Omicron Covid variant have led to a raft of cancellations at hotels, with many customers changing their Christmas plans. Best Western GB, which runs 300 UK hotels, told the BBC that around three-quarters of its hotels had experienced event and room booking cancellations. Uncertainty over the Omicron variant has added to safety concerns over large gatherings of people. It has also led to the tightening of rules on travel. Jonathan Fletcher, who manages a Best Western hotel in Dorset called The Grange, says customers have been phoning all week cancelling meals and parties. “This Saturday night, we were supposed to have 100 people eating in our restaurant. Now there’ll only be 12,” he says

Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)
Restaurants, pubs, bars, nightclubs and takeaway services – Information added on new measures introduced in response to the Omicron variant. See ‘What’s changed’ for details.


HMRC set to clampdown on Stamp Duty dodgers
HM Revenue & Customs is consulting on how it can clamp down on property professionals and buyers who allegedly try to game the current system.
The consultation closes on February 22 next year, suggesting new policies could be introduced as early as next spring. It’s looking at two specific measures which HMRC claims are being used to effectively avoid paying what it sees as the ‘proper’ level of stamp duty. The first is how stamp duty is calculated when purchasers acquire property that is mixed, meaning it comprises both residential and non-residential elements; the second is looking at how stamp duty could be reformed when a purchase includes more than one dwelling – the so-called Multiple Dwelling Relief rules.

COVID-19 and renting: guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities
Non-statutory guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities in the private and social rented sectors in the context of Coronavirus (COVID-19) – guidance for landlords and tenants updated to reflect changes to new court arrangements.


President tightens rules for all travellers to the US
President Joe Biden has unveiled stricter Covid-19 travel rules as the US confirmed a handful of cases of the Omicron variant from coast to coast.

From next week, international travellers to the US, including Americans, must get a Covid test in the 24 hours before they depart, regardless of vaccination status.

Mask requirements on planes, trains and buses will be extended until mid-March.

Millions of free and insurer-funded home tests will also be made available.

Ten cases of the Omicron variant have been detected in the US: in California, Colorado, Minnesota, and New York, and in Hawaii, where authorities say that person had no recent travel history.

State health officials have reported only mild symptoms in these cases.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer air travel for passengers
How to travel safely in airports and on aircraft during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak – face covering guidance for England updated.

Omicron: What are the new Covid rules for travelling to the UK?
New rules around international travel follows concerns about the newly identified Omicron variant of Covid, which has also led to quarantine being reintroduced for travellers from some African countries.

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.


Repayment period for Bounce Back Loans extended to ten years
Businesses that took out government Bounce Back loans to help them through the Coronavirus crisis now have more time to repay. Companies will be contacted with options to extend the length of the loan from six to 10 years as part of a new ‘pay-as-you-grow’ initiative. The new proposals give businesses three new options:

1. Extending the length of the loan from six years to 10;

2. Making interest-only payments for six months, then repaying the principal on a phased basis with other interest-only periods;

3. Delaying repayments entirely for up to six months.

Financial support for businesses during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Pay VAT deferred due to coronavirus (COVID-19)
Find out how to pay VAT payments deferred between 20 March and 30 June 2020.

Report an outbreak of Coronavirus in Stockport:

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.  

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:

Government – Guidance on Returning to Work safely

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:

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:

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

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.



    Total visits this period:


    Busiest time of the day:

    12.00 - 13.00

    Average dwell time:

    141 mins

    Average visits per day:


    (Provided by Sept 2021 research)