- 18 March 2020
Here you can find sources of information on the latest about COVID-19
Today's Latest news
Today's News and Latest Guidance: Wednesday 20 May 2020
Key announcements today:
- As of 0900, 14,751 people have tested positive for Covid-19. 2,184 patients who tested positive have sadly died.
- The Scottish Government’s Business Support Fund has been increased by £40 million to provide additional support for key sectors of the Scottish economy.
- Housing Minister Kevin Stewart has announced £5 million additional investment to support tenants under financial pressure during the COVID-19 outbreak
- The Scottish Parliament has unanimously supported new emergency measures to help people in Scotland get through the crisis caused by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.
MSPS SUPPORT FURTHER EMERGENCY CORONAVIRUS LEGISLATION
The Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Bill, passed today by Parliament, gives powers to Scottish Ministers to temporarily intervene and manage care home services where there is a serious risk to the life, health or wellbeing of any person in that home for any reason connected with COVID-19.
The Bill also includes an additional £19.2 million investment in the Carer’s Allowance Supplement, the introduction of notice to leave periods for students in purpose-built student accommodation, and additional protections for those facing bankruptcy.
Constitution Secretary Michael Russell said: “Scotland remains in an unprecedented situation. This legislation provides time-limited measures that will further strengthen our ability to prioritise work tackling the coronavirus pandemic, and support those in Scotland facing real hardship as a result.”
EXTRA FUNDING TO SUPPORT TENANTS
Housing Minister Kevin Stewart has announced an additional £5 million investment to support tenants under financial pressure during the COVID-19 outbreak. The extra funding, announced during the Stage 3 debate of the emergency Coronavirus (2nd) (Scotland) Bill, will go to local authorities to provide support to tenants through the Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) scheme. This takes the total funding from the Scottish Government for DHPs to almost £16 million – as well as £60 million funding budgeted to mitigate the impact of the bedroom tax.
Kevin Stewart said: “ We have been looking closely at how to support people during the crisis and I am pleased to announce that we are increasing the amount we have made available for other DHPs - those that are available outside of our full mitigation of the bedroom tax - by a further £5 million to almost £16 million. This will support tenants who are now under severe financial pressures and where the UK welfare state is not providing the safety net it should.”
HELP FOR BUSINESSES
The Scottish Government’s Business Support Fund has been increased by £40 million to provide additional support for key sectors of the Scottish economy.
Cabinet Secretary for Economy Fiona Hyslop said: “We are listening to what businesses need and following the First Minister’s announcement earlier this month that the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund would double to £90 million to meet demand, we will now add a further £30 million to help as many SMEs as possible survive these incredibly difficult times.”
SCOTLAND’S IVF CENTRES TO REOPEN AND LOOK AT HOW TREATMENT SERVICES WILL BE RESUMED
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has given the four NHS IVF Centres in Scotland approval to reopen. This means that clinics can now work with NHS Scotland to ensure all services are able to resume in a safe and timely way.
Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick said: “The Scottish Government wants to reassure patients that we are working with the four IVF centres, alongside the leading patient stakeholder group Fertility Network, to ensure all services resume in a safe and timely way.”
TORY SECRETARY DODGES COMMITMENT ON FURLOUGH SCHEME FOR SCOTLAND
At Scotland Questions today, Mhairi Black asked Alister Jack to commit to maintaining access to the furlough scheme for as long as lockdown continues in each of the devolved nations - or to devolve fiscal powers so the devolved governments can implement their own schemes. The Tory Scottish Secretary failed to commit - claiming it was "a matter for the Chancellor".
Commenting, Shadow Scottish Secretary Mhairi Black said: "It is vital that people have the support they need for as long as the lockdown continues in each of the four UK nations. It would be completely unacceptable for the Tories to push households further into hardship by cutting off support during this public health emergency.”
SNP MP REPEATS CALLS FOR ACTION TO PROTECT CONSUMERS AND HELP TRAVEL INDUSTRY
Research by Which? shows today that trust in the travel industry has plummeted from a net positive score of nine in February 2020, to a net negative score of –12 in May 2020 - a drop of 21 points to the lowest score recorded by Which? in the seven years it has been collecting data – as many holiday companies and airlines continue struggle to give refunds for coronavirus cancellations.
Commenting, spokesperson for Consumer Affairs Patricia Gibson said: “It is vital that the UK government ramps up efforts in protecting consumers and financially guaranteeing refunds so people are not pushed into hardship and debt. UK ministers must also seriously consider proposed measures from consumer groups – including a Government Travel Guarantee Fund - that will protect the sector and strengthen the rights of customers."
COSLA LAUNCHES GUIDANCE FOR AGENCY WORKERS
Speaking today following the launch of Guidance for Agency Workers, COSLA Resources Spokesperson Gail Macgregor said: “We recognise that to ensure essential services can be delivered to our communities, the health, safety and wellbeing of both our workforce and of staff contracted through agencies is paramount. We take seriously our duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act as responsible employers and are clear that these extend to all those under our line management either direct or contracted.”
UK GOVERNMENT UNLOCKS £150 MILLION FROM DORMANT ACCOUNTS FOR CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE
Today, the UK Government Culture Secretary has announced that £150 million from dormant bank and building society accounts is to be unlocked to help charities, social enterprises and vulnerable individuals during the coronavirus outbreak.
- The UK Government press release can be found here.
£40M BOOST FOR CUTTING-EDGE START-UPS
Innovative businesses and start-ups are set to benefit from a £40 million government investment to drive forward new technological advances.
- The UK Government press release can be found here.
SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT COVID-19 GUIDANCE PUBLISHED OR UPDATED RECENTLY
Joint Chief Nursing Officer (CNO), Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and National Clinical Director (NCD) letter providing a position statement on guidance for personal protective equipment (PPE) and aerosol generating procedures (AGP).
UK GOVERNMENT COVID-19 GUIDANCE PUBLISHED OR UPDATED RECENTLY
Guidance for those affected by changes to UK immigration and borders due to coronavirus.
Guidance for British people who are currently travelling abroad and are unable to return home due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
How to apply for a discretionary grant where the dissolved company can be restored.
Watch videos and register for the free webinars to learn more about the support available to help you deal with the economic impacts of coronavirus.
Temporary changes to the use and supply of denatured alcohol and duty-free spirits, to help businesses who produce hand sanitiser and gel.
The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) provides financial support to larger businesses affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).
Guidance for industry on flexible approaches to regulation we are taking during the COVID-19 outbreak.
UK Government COVID-19 statements published recently:
Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary gave the 20 May 2020 daily press briefing on the government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.