Last week was the Government’s Shop Local Week, launched to help local businesses rebuild from the pandemic by urging customers to shop local, help support the local economy, creates jobs and boosts local communities. Businesses have also brought in a wide range of measures, such as plastic partitions at tills and hand sanitiser stations, to protect customers.
On Monday 10th August, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP (Con) announced that funding to help communities in deprived areas plan their local neighbourhoods will almost double. Government grants to individual neighbourhood planning groups in deprived areas will increase to £18,000. Also on Monday, NHS Test and Trace and Public Health England announced it will extend its partnership with local authorities to reach more people testing positive and their contacts.
On Tuesday 11th August, Prime Minister Boris Johnson MP (Con) confirmed that 117 Trusts will be allocated a share of £300 million to upgrade A&E facilities. The funding boost was announced as a way of ‘strengthening the voice of local communities’ in some of the most disadvantaged areas in England.
On Wednesday 12th August, Business Secretary Alok Sharma MP (Con) urged tradespeople to sign up to offer services through the Government’s new £2 billion Green Homes Grant Scheme which will see the Government fund up to two-thirds of the cost of home improvements up to £10,000 to make over 600,000 homes across the country more energy efficient.
On Thursday 13th August, The Environment Agency published a report that over 100,000 more people are fishing, with a boom in rod licence sales by nearly a fifth (17 percent) compared to the same time last year. The Environment Agency has set a new target to get one million people fishing by 2025.
On Friday 14th August, local authorities in Cornwall, Buckinghamshire, Greater Manchester, Northumberland and Cumbria were selected to receive a share of £1 million of funding to set up ‘Local Nature Recovery Strategies’ (LNRS) pilot studies. These will enable local authorities to set out their local priorities for restoring peatland, mitigating flood and fire risk, and creating green spaces for local people to enjoy.
Johnson announced the resumption of the following activities in England: Indoor theatres, music and performance venues will be able to reopen, wedding receptions in the form of a sit-down meal in a COVID-secure location for up to 30 guests will now be permitted, indoor play, bowling alleys, skating rinks and casinos will be permitted to reopen, and beauty salons, tattoo studios, spas and barbers across England will be able to offer all close contact services. Business events and conferences will also be permitted to resume from 1st October, provided rates of infection remain at current levels.
On Sunday 16th August, the Government awarded The National Academy for Social Prescribing £5 million to help tackle loneliness and improve wellbeing and recovery from COVID-19 through supporting local community partnerships. Projects include football to support mental health, art for dementia, improving green spaces and singing to improve the effects of COVID-19.
Parliament rose for summer recess on Wednesday 22nd July. It will resume on Tuesday 1st September.
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