Chamber Network Responds To UK Government’s Covid-19 Recovery Strategy11/05/2020
Chamber Network Welcomes Extension of Job Retention Scheme12/05/2020
Below is Inverclyde Council’s Covid-19 daily briefing for 11th May 2020, covering:
Changes to advice on going outdoors;
Additional testing capacity call;
HSCP staff testing self-referral;
Landlord loan scheme; and
Second Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill.
Previous editions of these briefings and service change or updates from partners included are published at www.inverclyde.gov.uk/coronavirus which includes updates on business support, council services, health and social care services and links to national health advice.
Changes to advice on going outdoors
The advice on how often people can venture outdoors is being changed from today (Monday, May 11) by The Scottish Government.
The advice will now be that people can go outside more than once a day to exercise. This activity should continue to be undertaken close to home. Those going out to exercise should either go alone or with members of their household.
The change does not allow people to mix with people from different households, to gather in groups, or to go out to relax outdoors.
Additional testing capacity call
Inverclyde Council’s Chief Executive, Aubrey Fawcett, has written to the Scottish Government seeking additional community testing support for the area.
In his letter, to health secretary Jeane Freeman MSP, he wrote:
Inverclyde Council has the highest proportion of COVID-19 deaths in the country with 13 deaths per 10,000 compared with a Scottish average of 5 per 10,000. It has been well established that testing plays a vital role in establishing who has the virus and helping to bring it under control.
Concerns have been raised about access to testing for essential and key workers and the wider community who are not covered under the NHS/Care worker testing programme. The drive through testing hub at Glasgow Airport is a welcome addition to opening up testing facilities to others however access to this will be problematic for those employees in both the Council and the wider community of essential workers, who do not have convenient access to transport facilities to get there.
Inverclyde has been identified as the authority with the largest local share of deprived areas, with 45% of data zones among the 20% most deprived areas in Scotland. Access to private vehicles and engagement with home testing facilities are likely to be significant issues in enabling testing to be as effective as it could be. In addition, there is no facility for general community testing to help identify hotspots in the spread of COVID-19.
The Council would like the following to be considered by the Scottish Government as potential tools to help Inverclyde fight this disease and to bring down the devastating death toll in this area.
Where local testing units have available capacity this being opened up to local workers with transport issues to help prevent the longer journey to the Glasgow Airport testing unit.
Increasing local testing capacity to additional sites within Inverclyde, either through the deployment of mobile units or new sites created.
Open out testing capacity to vulnerable groups and communities to help prevent and control community spread.
Effective testing programmes have been proven as a key factor in the control of this disease, with countries with such programmes in place showing reduced levels of infection and lower death rates.
Establishment of such programmes in localised areas which have been disproportionately affected by this disease could prove to be an effective tool in bringing it under control and reducing the death rate for the area. This will be especially important as recovery programmes are put into place and lockdown is eased.
HSCP staff testing self-referral
All HSCP staff should now be able to self-refer for COVID-19 testing throughout the health and social care partnership including a care home and other providers using a link emailed to staff and managers.
Details on testing arrangements for council key workers is published at the ‘COVID 19 Testing for Inverclyde Council key workers, employee families and household members’ page at www.inverclyde.gov.uk/coronavirus
Landlord loan scheme
All landlords registered with Inverclyde Council will be emailed by council officers to update them that the Scottish Government PRS Landlord (non-business) Covid-19 Loan Scheme is now available for applications.
This is a short-term emergency interest-free loan, available to landlords who have five or less rental properties and will fund lost rental income from a single property.
Second Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill
The Scottish Government has laid further emergency legislation in front of the Scottish Parliament today.
A statement from the Scottish Government highlighted key elements of the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Bill include a proposed additional £19.2 million investment in Carer’s Allowance Supplement, the introduction of notice to leave periods for students in purpose-built student accommodation and halls of residence, and additional protections for those facing bankruptcy.
If passed, the Bill will raise to £10,000 the minimum debt level that an individual must owe before a creditor can make them bankrupt. It will also raise the upper threshold for the availability of the minimal asset process (MAP) to £25,000. This means more people who find themselves in debt will be able to avoid a costly and lengthy bankruptcy process.
Together with the extended moratorium in the last Act – which now gives people six months protection from their creditors while they think through their options – and the changes to the Debt Arrangement Scheme made last year to help those people who can pay off what they owe, but need more time to do so, these changes will help ensure solutions are there for anyone pushed into unsustainable debt by the pandemic.
There are also recommended legislative changes in areas including non-domestic rates relief, proceeds of crime and the wider operation of Scotland’s criminal justice system.
Notice to leave periods will also be introduced for students tied into existing contracts or those looking to enter into contracts for the next academic year in halls of residence and purpose-built student accommodation.
Please Note: All Further Daily Briefings from Inverclyde Council will be featured on our Covid-19 Advice Hub page alongside our own ICC Daily Business Updates here. For past updates from Inverclyde Council visit their dedicated page here.