Coronavirus UK news – Firms BATTERED by 'worst of both worlds' Tier 2 lockdown get huge support deal – WATCH RISHI LIVE
22nd October 2020

RISHI Sunak will announce a major support package for firms hit by Tier 2 lockdown restrictions this morning.

While Tier 3 measures force most pubs and restaurants to close, most have access to the Job Support Scheme that sees the Government pay two thirds of their workers’ wages.

But businesses in Tier 2 areas have not been able to claim that level of support, despite the fact Tier 2 government restrictions ban households mixing in those areas.

This "worst of both worlds" scenario essentially means you cannot sit inside a pub with friends in a Tier 2 "high risk" zone – a measure that will have seen a steep decline in the number of people visiting pubs and restaurants.

Today the Chancellor will address that major gulf in financial support, announce that firms hit by Tier 2 restrictions such as pubs, bars and restaurants will now also get two thirds of wages paid for by the state.

You can watch the Chancellor announcing the new measures live on this page by clicking the video above of following our live blog below at 11.30am this morning.

Follow our coronavirus blog for the latest news and updates

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    PROTESTOR CLIMBS BIG BEN SCAFFOLDING

    A protestor climbed the scaffolding on Big Ben this morning to unfurl a muddled anti-lockdown, Extinction Rebellion and Black Lives Matter message.

    The man appeared at first to be urging the Government to give northern England an extra £2billion in funding before putting areas into a Tier three lockdown.

    The protester, whose name is not known, said another £2billion was needed to support the likes of Chester, Stoke, Derby, Nottingham, Boston and Skegness.

    The protester, whose name is not known, said another £2billion was needed to support the likes of Chester, Stoke, Derby, Nottingham, Boston and Skegness.

    “If not: Great Northern Rebellion.”

    More on the story here

  • John Hall

    POLICE CHIEF SAYS TIER SYSTEM IS 'TOO CONFUSING'

    A police chief has admitted he doesn’t know the details of the country’s Covid restrictions – despite being in charge of enforcing them.

    Assistant Chief Constable for Hertfordshire constabulary Owen Weatherill was yesterday asked by MPs whether Brits from two households can meet indoors under Tier Two.

    But the second most senior officer in the country could not answer the simple question, replying: “I haven’t got the regulations in front of me at the moment, so I can’t give you a definitive answer on that.

    “I will quite openly state there are so many different variations I am not conversant with every set of regulations and I’m not going to try to be, certainly not in this session.”

    Click here to read more

  • John Hall

    RISE IN COVID CASES AMONG YOUNG SLOWS

    Surging coronavirus cases in England have slowed because young people have been 'frightened' into following the rules, experts say.

    It's believed youngsters worried by long Covid and the country's rising death toll are finally complying with social distancing – and it may be the reason the north-east has so far escaped strict tier three restrictions.

    A Government 'gold' meeting on the pandemic, which was chaired by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, heard on Monday that infection rates appear to be dropping among younger people.

    More on the story here

  • John Hall

    WHAT LOCKDOWN TIER ARE YOU?

  • John Hall

    PLANS TO TACKLE 'DISPROPORTIONATE' EFFECT OF COVID-19 ON ETHNIC MINORITY GROUPS

    The Government is to set out its plans to tackle the disproportionate effect that coronavirus is having on ethnic minority groups.

    In an oral statement on Thursday, women and equalities minister Kemi Badenoch will outline a number of new measures which the Government is taking to protect those at risk.

    Dr Raghib Ali, who is senior clinical research associate at the University of Cambridge's MRC epidemiology unit, said that the spotlight should be on risk factors such as obesity, age, population density, occupational exposure and overcrowded housing, involving not just the ethnic minorities but the population as a whole.

    Dr Ali added: “If structural racism was an important problem, not saying it doesn't exist, but if it was an important problem in healthcare outcomes, you'd expect it to be reflected not just in Covid but with other outcomes as well.

    “But the truth, as we know from data, particularly from Scotland but also from England, is that most of ethnic minority groups actually have better overall health and lower rates of all-cause mortality than white groups.”

  • John Hall

    750,000 JOBS LOST IN HOSPITALITY SECTOR BY FEBRUARY

    Tough lockdown restrictions will see a staggering 750,000 jobs lost in the hospitality sector by February, it was claimed last night.

    Half of businesses are now expected to fail over the winter unless an improved rescue package is devised by Ministers, a study reveals.

    More than three-quarters are failing to break even with only one in ten are trading in profit, a survey of the sector found.

    Pubs and restaurants bosses forecast the sector faces a catastrophic future unless more government support is granted in the coming weeks.

    Eighty-nine per cent of those working in the sector were pessimistic about its future – with only three per cent taking an optimistic stance.

  • John Hall

    BRITS IN TIER 2 HOTSPOTS CAN MEET FOR LUNCH IF WORK-RELATED

    Brits living in 'High Alert' Covid hotspots are allowed to meet up with others for lunch as long as it's work-related, a Cabinet minister confirmed last night.

    Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden told ITV's Peston show that the loophole was in place to help businesses operate “as normally as we can” during the crisis.

    It means people living in Tier 2 areas can meet colleagues and people from other firms for lunch but they cannot take their mum to a restaurant. 

    Explaining why the Government decided to allow work lunches, Mr Dowden told Peston: “We've made a conscious choice through this crisis to prioritise people's jobs and livelihoods, and that means allowing people to go to work or as normally as we can in this crisis.

    “Work includes business functions and that's why the definition has been extended to cover this. It is part of saying that people can interact as part of their work in business.”

  • John Hall

    TEACHERS TO STOP SENDING PUPILS HOME 'UNNECESSARILY'

    Teachers have been told to stop sending entire year groups home “unnecessarily” if only one pupil tests positive for the Covid virus.

    The Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield has warned education must not be sacrificed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

    Ms Longfield told The Daily Telegraph: “On any given day, around a tenth of kids are at home, some in isolation. This rises to a fifth in some areas.

    “There has been chaos in some schools, with some sending entire year groups home for a fortnight because a single pupil tests positive for Covid, something that is actually against government guidance and should stop.”

    You can read more here

  • John Hall

    SALES OF TOILET PAPER ON THE RISE IN GERMANY

    Sales of toilet paper and disinfectants are on the rise again in Germany, the country's statistics office said today.

    It comes as Europe's largest economy struggles with a second coronavirus wave.

    “Hamster purchases are starting again,” the office said on Twitter, using a German phrase for panic-buying or hoarding.

    Sales of toilet paper surged by 89.9% last week when compared to pre-crisis levels, while disinfectants (up 72.5%) and soap (up 62.3%) were also in high demand, it said in a separate statement.

  • John Hall

    SALES OF TOILET PAPER ON THE RISE IN GERMANY

    Sales of toilet paper and disinfectants are on the rise again in Germany, the country's statistics office said today.

    It comes as Europe's largest economy struggles with a second coronavirus wave.

    “Hamster purchases are starting again,” the office said on Twitter, using a German phrase for panic-buying or hoarding.

    Sales of toilet paper surged by 89.9% last week when compared to pre-crisis levels, while disinfectants (up 72.5%) and soap (up 62.3%) were also in high demand, it said in a separate statement.

  • John Hall

    LIVERPOOL HOSPITALS TREATING MORE CORONAVIRUS PATIENTS THAN AT PEAK OF PANDEMIC

    Hospitals in Liverpool are treating more coronavirus patients than they were during the peak of the first wave of the pandemic, the medical director has said.

    Dr Tristan Cope, medical director of Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Royal, Aintree and Broadgreen hospitals in the city, said the numbers were continuing to rise.

    Writing on Twitter, he said: “Sadly we are now treating more patients in hospital with Covid-19 LivHospitals than we did in April at the peak of the first wave and numbers continue to rise. So important that people in liverpool and LivCityRegion adhere to social distancing restrictions.

    “Treating so many Covid patients in addition to usual acute and emergency care of patients with non-Covid conditions puts a huge strain on LivHospitals staff. Thank you to all our staff for their incredible hard work and dedication in dealing with this very difficult situation.

    “We can all help reduce that pressure by doing the right thing and taking some very simple measures: washing our hands frequently, keeping our distance from others from outside our household and wearing face coverings in indoor settings.”

  • John Hall

    NEW SUPPORT PACKAGE FOR BUSINESSES

    Rishi Sunak will unveil a major new financial support package for businesses hit by the growing number of local lockdowns today.

    The Chancellor is today expected to announce that firms hit by Tier 2 restrictions such as pubs, bars and restaurants will get two thirds of wages paid for by the state.

    But he will keep in place the requirement for staff to work for at least a third of their normal hours.

    That will ensure the scheme only supports “viable” jobs that are likely to outlast the pandemic.

    More on the story here

  • John Hall

    BIG LOSSES

    IAG, the owner of British Airways and Spanish carrier Iberia, dived into a loss totalling 1.3 billion euros in the third quarter on coronavirus fallout, it announced Thursday.

    The operating loss before exceptional items compared with profit of 1.4 billion euros one year earlier, IAG said in a statement ahead of a full earnings release due next week.

    Revenue slumped 83 percent to 1.2 billion euros in the reporting period, it added.

    IAG said it expects capacity in the current fourth quarter to be no more than 30 percent compared with a year earlier.

    IAG said: “As a result, the group no longer expects to reach breakeven in terms of net cash flows from operating activities during” the final three months of the year.

    IAG said bookings had not recovered as expected owing “to additional measures implemented by many European governments in response to a second wave of Covid-19 infections”.

  • John Hall

    BASHIR'S BATTLE

    Journalist Martin Bashir — best known for his interview with Princess Diana — is “seriously unwell” with Covid-related complications, the BBC said last night.

    The 57-year-old currently works as the BBC News religion editor.

    A spokeswoman for the BBC said: “We are sorry to say that Martin is seriously unwell with Covid-19 related complications.

    “Everyone at the BBC is wishing him a full recovery.

    “We'd ask that his privacy, and that of his family, is respected at this time.”

  • John Hall

    'TURN THE LIGHTS OUT'

    Boris Johnson ruled out a half-term circuit breaker for good yesterday as he accused Labour of trying to “turn the lights out” with a national lockdown.

    He stood firm after Sir Keir Starmer again insisted on the short break despite medics saying it would not work.

    Hours earlier, an expert warned MPs of tens of thousands of deaths if Britain stuck with the PM’s three-tier system.

    But the PM said it would be wrong to shut down the whole country when infection rates in South West England and parts of the South East are minuscule compared with the North.

    Mr Johnson turned on Sir Keir, saying: “It is the height of absurdity that he attacks the economic consequences of the measures we are obliged to take across some parts of the country when he wants to turn the lights out with a full national lockdown.”

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