Public Policy

June 25, 2020

Daily Covid-19 Brief: Thursday, June 25

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Each day, our Public Policy team will be reporting on the latest news in the evolving situation. To view the previous day’s summary, please click here.

 

The Government has published its new Covid-19 Business and Planning bill

  • The bill will allow summer fairs, outdoor markets and car boot sales to be held without planning permission in England, while alcohol will be widely available to take away.
    • Eating and drinking in pub and restaurant car parks will also be allowed.
    • The bill also included measures to help English councils pedestrianise streets so these events can be set up easily.
    • The bill was initially going to include more flexible Sunday trading hours, but this was dropped to ensure it passes before most of the hospitality industry reopens on 4 July.
    • The new laws are part of a series of Government policies designed to encourage people to spend and reinvigorate the economy this summer.

 

The Government is set to exempt travellers from most western European countries from having to spend 14 days in quarantine after arriving in the UK

  • Transport Secretary Grant Shapps will make an announcement to Parliament on 29 June about the ‘travel corridors’ and the criteria and clarification on how they would operate.
    • Reports suggest participating countries could include France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Belgium, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, Turkey and Finland.
    • Portugal is not yet included due to an outbreak of Covid-19 in the Lisbon area, while Sweden is also expected to be left out as its infection rate is now higher than the UK’s.
    • Work is ongoing to see if a travel corridor is possible with Australia.
    • The first travel corridors could come into force on 4 July, although this date has not been confirmed.
    • Shapps is expected to speak to representatives from the devolved nations about the proposals in coming days. Wales’ current five-mile restriction on travel – which would make it difficult for many to travel to an airport – will be discussed.

 

The Committee on Climate Change published its Annual Progress Report to Parliament which includes new advice to the Government on securing a green recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic

  • The report also differed from previous version as it included both analysis and recommendations for emissions reductions. The report highlighted five investment priorities for economic recovery:
    • Low-carbon retrofits and buildings that are fit for the future
    • Tree planting, peatland restoration, and green infrastructure
    • Energy networks must be strengthened
    • Infrastructure to make it easy for people to walk, cycle, and work remotely
    • Moving towards a circular economy.

 

Other UK COVID 19 news 

  • Some of the UK’s largest local government bodies have said they may have to declare themselves effectively bankrupt unless they get further funding. Leaders for Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham have warned they cannot balance their budgets as they face falling revenues from lost business rates and council tax holidays, as well as rising costs in adult care and providing protective equipment for carers.
  • The Scottish government have launched a new tourism taskforce which is made up of more than 30 businesses with experience from across the industry. Its creation follows a package of measures including the recently published tourism and hospitality guidance and a business support package worth more than £2.3 billion.
  • The IMF have forecasted that the UK will have to borrow more than £400bn over two years as the recession caused by the Covid-19 pandemic takes its toll on the public finances.
  • People living in care homes in Scotland that are free of Covid-19 will be able to welcome one visitor each from 3 July.
  • The seaside resort of Bournemouth in southern England has declared a major incident after thousands of people flocked to its beaches for the second day in a row. The local council said visitors had “defied advice to stay away” from the town and it was now co-ordinating a “multi-agency emergency response” across the area.
  • Learner drivers in England will be able to resume lessons and take their test from 4 July, the UK government has confirmed. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) was writing to instructors today to set out plans for how lessons could resume safely.

 

World COVID 19 news

  • India’s capital, Delhi, has announced that it will screen its nearly 30 million residents for Covid-19 symptoms. The ambitious plan will involve a door-to-door survey of every household.
  • Despite successfully containing its Covid-19 outbreak, Vietnam has no plans to open up to international tourists yet over fears that doing so could lead to a second wave of infections.
  • France has announced plans to extend for up to two years its “partial unemployment” measures designed to stave off business bankruptcies and mass unemployment following the pandemic.
  • China is approving plans for new coal power plant capacity at the fastest rate since 2015, in a sign that pressure to stimulate the economy is undermining a transition towards cleaner energy sources.
  • The US Labour Department reports 1.4 million new unemployment claims were filed in the last week. There are just over 19.5 million Americans currently collecting jobless benefits.

 

Private sector updates

  • Royal Mail is to cut 2,000 management jobs as is struggles to deal with the effects of the Covid-19  crisis.
  • Qantas, Australia’s national carrier, says it will axe 6,000 jobs – about a fifth of its pre-pandemic workforce.
  • The EU has approved a €9bn ($10.1bn; £8.1bn) bailout for Germany’s Lufthansa. Under the plan – which still needs approval from shareholders – the German government will take a 20% stake in the airline.
  • Airport services firm Swissport is planning to cut up to 4,556 jobs – more than half its UK workforce.
  • Airline easyJet will resume flights on international routes to Paris, Milan and Barcelona from Britain on 1 July as it aims to restore some capacity for the summer after flights were grounded by the spread of Covid-19.
  • Defence, aerospace and security contractor BAE systems has warned its half-year profits will be about 15 per cent lower than the same time last year after Covid-19 hit its aviation business.
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