From our colleagues at the STUC:
- As the Scottish Government’s focus on the economic impact of Covid-19 continues, we will be providing regular bulletins to signpost you to the latest sources of information. We hope that you will find this useful and share with your networks where appropriate.
- At Tuesday’s media briefing, the First Minister gave an update on employment figures published today, covering the period to the end of March.
- The First Minister announced that the Scottish Government is investing a further £33 million to support people back to work as the economy gradually opens up again. Most of this will be allocated to Fair Start Scotland, the devolved employability service, with a particular focus on helping those most adversely affected in times of economic downturn - young people, disabled people and lone parents. You can read the First Minister’s full statement here.
- The UK Government has extended the maximum loan size available through theCoronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme from £50 million to £200 million.
- Small and medium-sized employers, with fewer than 250 employees will be able to make claims through the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme from 26 May.
- Advice for businesses and their employees is available athttps://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/
- There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.
- The NHS Inform coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.
- Guidance for businesses looking to offer support for the ongoing effort to tackle the Covid-19 emergency can be found here.
Scottish Government announcements
- The number of people with coronavirus in Scotland has risen to 14,655, an increase of 61 on yesterday’s figure. The number of people in hospital in Scotland with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 is 1447. Of that, 59 people are in intensive care with confirmed or suspected diagnoses.
- The latest figures from the National Records of Scotland, published last week, showed 3,213 deaths involving Covid-19 had been registered in Scotland up to May 10.
- The Scottish Government is due to publish a “route map” on Thursday setting out how on a phased-basis coronavirus restrictions could be lifted, but First Minister stressed people could “increase both the likelihood and the extent of that by sticking to the rules now”.
- The First Minister Sturgeon has rejected suggestions that the Scottish government was engaged in a cover-up when it failed to notify people who might have been infected with coronavirus at the Nike conference in Edinburgh in February
- The First Minister also defended the decision to discharge patients into Scottish care homes when there was not a proper testing regime in place. She said at the time it
- The Government says that Councils will get more support to deal with increased levels of domestic abuse and gender-based violence during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The Scottish Government announced new guidance developed in partnership with COSLA as part of a range of measures introduced to tackle higher levels of abuse and violence, including a £1.5 million funding package for the women’s aid and rape crisis network.
- To coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week, the First Minister announced more help to support the mental health and wellbeing of parents and carers. The Government says most of the additional funding of £33m will be allocated to Fair Start Scotland, the devolved employability service and will have a particular focus on helping those most adversely affected in times of economic downturn - young people, disabled people and lone parents.
UK Government announcements
Office for National Statistics figures released this morning showing there have been nearly 10,000 coronavirus-related deaths in care homes. The Health Secretary defended the government’s approach, saying deaths in care homes were falling. The ONS figures show care home deaths fell to 1,666 in the week ending 8 May, from 2,423 deaths in the previous seven days – a decrease of 31%.
- The UK Government has released figures showing that:
- 8 million jobs have now been furloughed with £11.1 billion claimed so far through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)
- 2 million Self-employment Income Support (SEISS) claims have been submitted worth £6.1 billion
- Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) has seen 464,393 approved loans so far worth £14.18 billion
- Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) has seen 40,564 loans worth £7.25 billion approved so far the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) has seen 86 approved loans totalling £0.59 billion
- Ovo Energy, Britain’s second biggest energy supplier, is to cut 2,600 jobs and close offices as the coronavirus lockdown drives more customer services online. Ovo said the Covid-19 pandemic had accelerated a shift in customer behaviour. The job losses will affect gas engineers, electricians, meter readersand call centre staff and the company will close its offices in Glasgow’s Waterloo Street, Selkirk and Reading. Jobs are also expected to go at offices in Perth, Cumbernauld and Cardiff.
- ONS figures for the first three months of 2020 reveal that unemployment in Scotland is 4.1% higher than the UK figure of 3.9%. Scotland’s employment rate was slightly lower than the UK’s, with 74.7% compared to 76.6%. Across the UK in April, claimants went up by 856,500, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates. Its figures suggest the number of people claiming unemployment benefit in Scotland increased by 66.9% - which would be up about 75,000 to 188,000. The official figures only go up to the end of March, just after coronavirus lockdown began. In April, which was the first full month of lockdown, figures showed the number of people claiming unemployment benefit in the UK soared to 2.1 million. The figures do not capture the impact of 7.5 million people across the UK on furlough, nor the self-employed whose income has been hit.
- The UK Government has said the World Health Organisation should be reformed but it had a vital role to play in tackling the coronavirus pandemic and there were no plans to stop funding it. US president Donald Trump has already threatened to permanently cut US funding to the WHO unless the agency commits to “substantive improvements” in the next 30 days.
More from Scottish Trade Union Congress here https://www.stuc.org.uk