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On Tuesday 6th October, Ofsted published the first report in a new series of briefings looking at how schools are managing pupils’ return to education under the current COVID-19 restrictions. The research found that schools are working hard to help children catch up with their learning and homes are finding new ways to support children during the pandemic.
On Wednesday 7th October, the Government announced £25 million worth of grants for productivity-boosting farming equipment as part of the Countryside Productivity Small Grants (CPSG) scheme. Natural England also published its ‘Building Partnerships for Nature’s Recovery’ plan for a more resilient and accessible natural environment by 2025. Construction of a £3.7 million flood scheme in Stokesley, Yorkshire has started with preparation work to help manage the 'river flow' of the River Leven.
On Thursday 8th October, Minister for Science, Research and Innovation Amanda Solloway MP (Con) made a speech about the Government’s research and development roadmap and the ambition to level up across the UK. In addition, the Competition and Markets Authority secured more than £1 million in refunds for those NHS funded residents at Care UK premium homes who paid an unfair additional fee towards essential care. The Prime Minister also announced £60 million for police forces and local councils to support enforcement of COVID-19 rules. Local councils will use the funding to increase their compliance work and enforcement checks on businesses.
On Friday 9th October, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak MP (Con) announced an expansion of the Job Support Scheme (JSS). The Government will now support eligible businesses by paying two thirds of each employees’ salary, up to a maximum of £2,100 a month. Furthermore, the Department for International Trade announced 19 new investment opportunities across the UK and 10 Northern Powerhouse ‘Investment Champions’ announced to drive inward investment. The Government also invited councils in Cumbria, North Yorkshire and Somerset to submit locally-led proposals for unitary local government to drive investment in these areas. Guidance has been issued to GPs in England setting out how they can order more flu vaccines to reach 30 million people. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport also announced a £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help heritage organisations. 445 organisations will share £103 million to help restart vital repair and maintenance work on heritage sites, to keep venues open.
On Saturday 10th October, a new report was published to provide an in-depth picture of the experiences of children and young people during the pandemic and how it affected their wellbeing. Challenges were identified including isolation from friends, learning from home, or worries that family or friends might get sick.
On Sunday 11th October, Conservative MPs from constituencies across the North launched a new group to put pressure on the Government to abide by its promise to ‘level up’ the country. There are currently 27 backbenchers signed up to the Northern Research Group, led by former minister Jake Berry MP (Con).
On Monday 12th October, Prime Minister Boris Johnson MP (Con) will announce new local lockdown rules for England including a new ‘three tier’ system, which will classify regions as being on medium, high or very high alert. Tier one restrictions are the baseline restrictions in place, including a 10pm hospitality curfew and a ban on most gatherings of more than six people. Tier two restrictions are expected to be similar to rules currently in place in Middlesbrough and parts of the North East, where indoor mixing of households is not allowed. Pubs and bars, betting shops, casinos, and gyms would close under the third ‘very high’ tier restrictions, with people having to avoid all non-essential travel.
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