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On Monday 17th August, the Government announced that the second stage of Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) opened for applications to receive a grant worth up to £6,570. Also on Monday, Ofsted announced it will visit local authorities and children’s social care providers from September to assess whether children are getting the care that they need, amid concerns that some have fallen out of sight during the COVID-19 pandemic. The inspectorate has published new guidance for local authorities and the children’s social care providers it regulates and inspects on how the visits will work in practice.
On Tuesday 18th August, the Department for Work and Pensions announced an extension to the Access to Work scheme enabling disabled people to benefit from financial support to work from home. Funding will now cover taxi fares and public transport costs, if a health condition prevents passengers from travelling on public transport during the pandemic. Health Secretary Matt Hancock MP (Con) announced on Tuesday that Public Health England will be replaced with a new agency, the National Institute for Health Protection (NIHP). The new body will be in place by September, ready for a potential second wave of the virus in the autumn, with Test and Trace chief Baroness Harding expected to lead it.
On Wednesday 19th August, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson MP (Con) announced that 180 colleges will receive a share of £200 million to begin immediate work from this September to repair and refurbish buildings and campuses.
On Thursday 20th August, the International Trade Minister, Ranil Jayawardena MP (Con) revealed Government analysis showing that a future trade deal with the US could deliver a £284 million boost to the South West economy, including for the South West’s specialist dairy producers and agricultural industry.
On Friday 21st August, the Government and local leaders in Oldham, Pendle and Blackburn agreed additional local measures to curb the spread of the virus. Highways England also announced plans for £27.4 billion of investment in the strategic road network across the country. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps MP (Con) launched a new Acceleration Unit to speed up transport infrastructure projects. The Government also announced it is extending the ban on evictions for another four weeks, with the new six month notice periods to be in place until at least 31st March 2021. Also on Friday, the Government announced a £588 million fund to cover adult social care for people needing additional follow-on care after being discharged from hospital. From 1st September, the NHS will be able to access the funding in order to provide up to 6 weeks of additional support and rehabilitation.
On Monday 24th August, Prime Minister Boris Johnson appealed to parents to return their children to the classroom when schools reopen next week.
Parliament rose for summer recess on Wednesday 22nd July. It will resume on Tuesday 1st September.
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