19 July Coronavirus Updates for England, Scotland, Wales and NI

The covid virus picture

As of today, England has moved to Step 4 of the Roadmap out of COVID-19 legal restrictions.

Extra support deployed in areas receiving an enhanced response to COVID-19, support is currently available to the following local authorities:

  • Bedford Borough Council
  • Birmingham City Council
  • Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council
  • Blackpool Council
  • Brighton and Hove City Council
  • Cheshire East Council
  • Cheshire West and Chester Council
  • Greater Manchester Combined Authority (Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan)
  • Lancashire County Council (Burnley, Chorley, Fylde, Hyndburn, Lancaster, Pendle, Preston, Ribble Valley, Rossendale, South Ribble, West Lancashire, Wyre)
  • Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (Halton, Knowsley Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens, Wirral)
  • Oxford City Council
  • Warrington Borough Council

For the full guidance, and additional local area’s COVID-19 information and advice, to understand what it means for you if you fall into one of the above areas, see here

Coronavirus in Scotland

Scotland uses a level system and is in Level 0. Find out what you can do at Level 0.

You should:

  • wear a face covering
  • avoid crowded places and stay 1m away from other people
  • clean hands and surfaces regularly
  • get the vaccine when you are offered it
  • self-isolate and get tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms
  • download the Protect Scotland app

Read more

Coronavirus in Wales


From Saturday 17 July

Complete the move to alert level 1:

  • up to 6 people can meet indoors in private homes and holiday accommodation
  • organised indoor events for up to 1,000 seated or 200 standing can take place, subject to a risk assessment and taking reasonable measures
  • ice rinks can re-open
  • remove the legal restrictions on the number of people who can gather outdoors
  • allow up to 30 children from organisations, such as the Brownies and Scouts, to attend residential centres over the summer holidays

Guidance and services

From Saturday 7 August (if conditions allow)

Complete the move to alert level 0:

  • remove legal restrictions on the number of people who can meet indoors, including in private homes, public places or at events
  • all businesses and premises can open, including nightclubs
  • people should still work from home wherever possible
  • face coverings will remain a legal requirement indoors, with the exception of hospitality premises. This will be kept under review.

Read more

Coronavirus in Northern Ireland

The current regulations are available on the Department of Health website:

Some of the restrictions are law through regulation, while others are guidance. 

Everyone is legally required to comply with the regulations.

If you fail to comply with the regulations without reasonable excuse, you are committing an offence. For some offences you may be given a fixed penalty or a fine on summary prosecution.

This page is an overview of what you can and cannot do. It is not a definitive statement of the law and should not be relied upon as such.

A guide to what you can do

The restrictions apply to everyone in Northern Ireland. A summary guide is available at:

Indicative date

An indicative date of 26 July has been set to allow up to 10 people from no more than three households to meet in a private dwelling and stay overnight. Children aged 12 and under are not counted in the total.

If a single household has 10 members, the maximum is increased to 15 from no more than three households.

The indicative date of 26 July is subject to review on 22 July.

Non-take-up of benefits at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic


The full report is available here, and Ben’s blog at Inequalities is here (published April 20th 2021)

You can also read a summary infographic, a blog by the Health Foundation, and coverage in the Guardian and the Independent.

The data and replication file are available via the Open Science Foundation.

About this report

The situation of those who were eligible for Universal Credit (UC) but did not claim it has been given little attention. In this report, we present the findings of exploratory research into this group, funded by the Health Foundation.

We estimate there are around half a million people – our best estimate is 430,000-560,000 people – who were eligible for UC during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic but did not claim it.

This includes a quarter of a million (220,000) people who thought they were eligible for UC (mostly correctly) but didn’t want to claim it. One-third of those who didn’t want to claim said that this was because they did not need benefits. But more commonly, people hadn’t applied for UC because of the perceived hassle of applying (59%), or because of benefits stigma (27%).

We have also estimated survey respondents’ eligibility for UC – something that has never previously been done. Estimating eligibility for UC is complex and there are a number of caveats to the figure. Bearing this in mind, we estimate that 280,000-390,000 people wrongly thought they were ineligible for UC.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, income had fallen amongst a majority of both of these groups of people not taking-up UC. Nearly half reported severe financial strain. More than one-in-six had skipped a meal in the previous two weeks because they could not afford to eat (equivalent to 80,000 people) – compared to one-in-forty members of the general public excluding claimants.

We also estimated eligibility for new style Jobseekers’ Allowance (JSA). Although subject to even greater uncertainty, we estimated that 80,000 people were probably eligible for new style JSA but did not claim it. There were also other indications that awareness of contributory benefits is lower than awareness of UC. 

In conclusion, we recommend that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) publishes its own ‘benefit take-up strategy’ for the UK. This could include at least four components:

  1. Publish take-up estimates for UC and new style JSA. 

  2. Ensure that people claim the right benefits as quickly as possible.

  3. Correct misperceptions about the benefits system.

  4. Attempt to address benefits stigma.

The full report is available here, and a summary infographic here (the data and replication file are available via the Open Science Foundation).



New fund launches to deliver £18.7 million in grant funding to social enterprises


The Social Enterprise Support Fund will provide essential financial support between £10,000 and £300,000 to help social enterprises during COVID19. 


Five social enterprise support agencies have come together to deliver the new fund which launches today. Big Issue Invest, The Key Fund, Resonance, the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) and UnLtd will jointly deliver £18.7 million in grants, with support from CAF Venturesome, the Young Foundation and Ashoka. This has been made possible thanks to The National Lottery Community Fund.  


The UK’s 100,000 social enterprises have been at the heart of community survival and recovery during this crisis, from making PPE for health workers, to providing food and connection in their neighbourhoods.   


The Social Enterprise Support Fund responds to an urgent need in the sector to help social enterprises change the way they work, make their spaces COVID-secure, and manage liquidity during the next six months. 


The fund is aimed at social enterprises supporting people at high health risk from COVID-19, and those supporting people facing increased social and economic challenges as a result of COVID-19. 


 Vulnerable people need this support more than ever, but social ventures are struggling to make enough income to meet this need. Research shows that this crisis is disproportionately hurting communities who already experience social and economic inequalities.  


The partners welcome The National Lottery Community Fund’s recognition of the valuable contribution to our economy and society which social enterprises make, enabling a fund that will help critical businesses survive and thrive. 


The fund is committed to inclusion, working to ensure that the grants reach groups that are led by people from BAME communities, LGBTQ+ communities, people with disabilities, and leaders with lived experience of the issues that the social enterprise is addressing.  


 The support agencies delivering the Social Enterprise Support Fund have come together around a common purpose and shared principles of fairness, flexibility, inclusivity, accountability and transparency. 


Through this partnership, the funds will be able to reach those who need it the most and enable communities to build back better.  


Welcoming the launch of the fund Mark Norbury, Chief Executive, UnLtd said: “Social entrepreneurs are delivering crucial community support, while balancing their operations, finances, mental health, and social distancing. The virus, the economic crash, and inaccessible support are hitting vulnerable communities the hardest, and an unprecedented pandemic requires an unprecedented response.  


“We understand that disproportionately affected communities require disproportionate relief. At UnLtd we specifically request social enterprises led by marginalised people to apply for this grant support.” 


Alastair Wilson, CEO of the School for Social Entrepreneurs, said:  “Many social entrepreneurs are on the frontline of this crisis, supporting people who are most atrisk. Others are working with groups who have been disproportionately hard hit by COVID-19. At the same time, they have seen their income from trading plummet. This funding comes at a critical time.  


“Working with our partners, we will do everything we can to ensure this funding reaches social entrepreneurs as quickly as possible, so they can recover lost income and help their communities to recover and rebuild.” 


Daniel Brewer, CEO, Resonance said: “This funding is crucial – COVD-19 has hit many social entrepreneurs hard, both operationally and financially, it’s important to remember that these entrepreneurs are supporting some of the most vulnerable and at risk people in society, many of which are based in marginalised communities across England. 


“In conjunction with our Partners, we are committed to ensuring that this funding reaches those entrepreneurs in real need, especially those who support disability led organisations, those supporting the BAME community and those created by social entrepreneurs in later life.” 


Danyal Sattar, CEO, The Big Issue Invest said: 

“As a BAME background Chief Executive Officer of The Big Issue Invest, I personally and we as an organisation are very aware of the challenges and disparities that many vulnerable communities and individuals will experience as a result of COVID-19 pandemic. 


“The recent #CharitySoWhite movement has brought to the public view the extent to which BAME organisations and individuals feel excluded by the current funding structures. The focus has been on philanthropy and mainstream charities, but Social Investment is a part of this funding environment too. We encourage social enterprises led by or focused on BAME communities or groups who feel marginalised by us as funders, to apply for this grant support. 


“These are unprecedented times but the impacts are felt disproportionately by BAME communities and we need to support organisations reaching those hardest hit in our society.” 




• The fund will be made available through a shared portal at http://socialenterprisesupportfund.org.uk/  


• The fund is for social enterprises in England, with an annual income between £25,000 and £1.5 million before COVID-19.  


• Applications will be open from 1pm Monday 13 July, with further application rounds in July and August, subject to change.  


• For more information contact: media@sesupportfund.org.uk 


About the social enterprise support agencies 



UnLtd finds, funds and supports social entrepreneurs in the UK – enterprising people with solutions to change our society for the better. From starting ups to scaling up, UnLtd’s unique package of support and funding helps social entrepreneurs to realise their untapped potential and build a better society for all. 


So that social entrepreneurs can achieve this potential, UnLtd also works to break down the barriers they face, such as finding customers, making a living, and getting access to finance. We set out to change the system so it works better for those who set out to change society. https://www.unltd.org.uk/ 

£6 million covid-19 fund announced for disadvantaged children and young people


BBC Children in Need and Youth Futures Foundation have come together in a £6 million joint fund. The fund will look to support children and young people on their journey towards employment:

  • 10 – 18 years old in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales
  • 10 – 24 years old in England

Evidence suggests that disadvantaged children and young people will be most affected by the economic impact of COVID-19. This could range from fewer job or training opportunities in the short term, to disruption in their long-term career progression. The impact of lockdown and prolonged social distancing post-lockdown will have a negative effect on those who are already struggling to gain employment. It will also reduce the opportunity for others to learn skills and gain experiences that will help them gain employment when older.

Inspiring Futures wants to support organisations that are helping children and young people facing disadvantage or discrimination.  This programme is open to you, if you are:

  • Working with children and young people facing discrimination or disadvantage
  • A not for profit organisation
  • Working in the UK

Inspiring Futures will support children and young people aged 10-24. The grants will run for a duration of up to 18 months, with awards from £10,000 to £80,000. Wherever possible we want to fund organisations led by people with lived experience of the issues faced by the children and young people they are helping to support.

The programme will fund a variety of projects that help children and young people to build the confidence and skills they need to get jobs and build careers. For example:

  • Supporting children and young people towards or into employment, using evidence led approaches wherever possible, which could for example include the following:
    • Delivery of positive activities like music, arts and sport that enables the development of work readiness skills and outcomes
    • Providing a trusted adult to provide consistent support to help children and young people overcome barriers and achieve their personal goals
    • Delivery of personalised vocational, academic or employability skills, enterprise training, job search, or work experience
    • Addressing barriers to employment such as mental and physical health problems, and housing issues
    • Supporting young people into further education, training or employment that they may otherwise not have accessed
    • Supporting young people through the provision of volunteering, work experience, paid jobs and transitioning to permanent work
    • Connecting young people directly to sustainable employment opportunities

BBC Children in Need and the Youth Futures Foundation are committed to ensuring that the needs of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic children and young people are specifically addressed as we recognise racial injustice and the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on them.

How to apply

All applications must pass our minimum standards, which you will find here. Applications most often don’t get funded because they don’t meet our minimum standards. Information on what a strong organisation looks like can be found here.

We are currently working to make our grant application process more accessible. However, please do let us know if you have any additional needs and we will look to meet them. We want everyone to be able to apply for our funding.  We’re committed to being as accessible as possible, wherever we can. If you need help please contact us on 0345 609 0015 or by emailing pudseygrants@bbc.co.uk. This help might include arranging a translator or requesting guidance in other formats.

To find out more, or to apply, please visit the BBC Children in Need or Youth Futures Foundation website. Applications are open from Friday 10th July until 11:30am on Friday 31st July. Please also share this information with any other organisations that will be eligible.

Please contact us on 0345 609 0015 or by emailing pudseygrants@bbc.co.uk if you have any questions, requests, or are unsure if you satisfy our minimum standards.

Act now to tackle record rise in unemployment and prevent long-term damage

learning and work image.jpg

Employment experts call for £1bn Youth Guarantee and urgent investment in education and back-to-work support

Download the full report here

The Government needs to act now to tackle the fastest spike in unemployment on record or risk permanent damage to our economy and people’s livelihoods, a group of experts say today.

The call comes ahead of new labour market data which are expected to show the first official signs of the rise in unemployment resulting from the coronavirus crisis. During March and April 2.5 million people made a new claim for Universal Credit, and the Office for National Statistics is expected to confirm today that claimant unemployment has increased to its highest since the mid 1990s.

Based on this, independent researchers believe five years of jobs growth has been wiped out in one month, while the number of vacancies available for those out-of-work has slumped to its lowest since the mid-1990s. The report warns that young people, women and the lowest paid have been hardest hit by the downturn.

Failure to take urgent action risks further entrenching the geographical inequalities the Prime Minister pledged to narrow and creating a ‘pandemic generation’ of young people with poorer education and employment prospects. The longer someone is out of work, the more long-term damage is done to their career prospects and the economy.

To tackle this, a group of experts has come together, made up of former government advisors, labour market experts, research institutes, think tanks and organisations representing those delivering education, training and support to unemployed people.

The group today calls for:

  1. Targeted tapering of emergency support. Providing support to find new work for furloughed workers who lose their jobs as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is withdrawn between August and October.
  2. Investing up to £800 million to scale up back-to-work support for the newly unemployed. This would mobilise Jobcentre Plus work coaches, the recruitment industry and local and voluntary sector employment and training services to get people back to work quickly.
  3. Ensure the long-term unemployed and disadvantaged are not left behind. Invest up to £2.4 billion in personalised support alongside access to training, volunteering and other specialist help. Even before this crisis began, 3.2 million people were out of work who wanted to work. National and local government must work with employers and civic society to address this. 
  4. Education and employment promise for young people. Everyone leaving education this year should be guaranteed support to find work or a place in education or training. That should include intensive employment support for all unemployed young people, underpinned by a £1 billion Jobs Guarantee for those out-of-work for the longest.
  5. Building for the future. We should plan now for how to level up access to well paid, high quality work based on understanding the future of the labour market, and ensure world class employment and skills services for all young people and adults.

The Government acted swiftly and decisively to protect jobs and businesses, including through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, but now must act to help those losing their jobs back to work.

Stephen Evans, chief executive of Learning and Work Institute, said;

“Our research shows five years of employment growth was wiped out in one month. The Government’s actions have prevented things being worse. But we need to act now to prevent permanent damage to our economy: investing in young people; mobilising back-to-work support; and making sure we help those left behind before the crisis.”

Tony Wilson, director of the Institute for Employment Studies, said:

“Unemployment has risen faster in the last two months that at any point in our lifetimes.  So having averted a disaster through the Job Retention Scheme, we need the same urgency to support the millions now out of work or facing unemployment.  The good news is that this will cost a fraction of what we have spent so far in protecting jobs.  All of us who have contributed to this report are ready to work with the government to make this happen.”

Elizabeth Taylor, chief executive of ERSA, said:

“ERSA is working collaboratively to develop responses to the future employment challenges brought about by Covid-19, including contributing to this report. Alongside this ERSA is working with the employment support sector to include all providers when considering new provisions, building on what we know works. Employment Support organisations have a 38 year track record of working collaboratively to get people into work, working with employers, keeping people close to the labour market, upskilling and providing hope. The sector is ready, but funding and resources must be allocated.”

David Hughes, chief executive of the Association of Colleges, said:

“Urgent action is needed to support young people leaving education this summer as they face unprecedented challenges in finding jobs and to help those being made redundant. Colleges will be central to the training, skills and education offer that will help people improve their skills and job prospects. They will also work with employers to help them get the skilled people they need to stay in business.”

Charlotte Pickles, director of Reform, said:

“Claims for Universal Credit have already increased seven-fold. As the coronavirus measures continue, the number of people unemployed will only rise. The Government must act now to provide upskilling and employment support; delaying risks exacerbating inequalities and scarring a generation of young people. The Chancellor’s fiscal response to the immediate economic crisis has been impressive, he must not undermine that by failing to plan for the rebuild.”

Dan Corry, Head of the Number 10 Policy Unit and senior advisor to the Prime Minister on the economy (2007-10), said:

“This crisis is of course very different from that of 2008-2010 but that period showed us that if government acts fast and intelligently it can make a major difference to the employment prospects of thousand of young, old and vulnerable people. This report points the way forward.”  

Andrew Ratcliffe, CEO of social mobility charity Impetus, said:

“If we don’t act now the COVID health crisis will lead to a youth jobs crisis bigger and faster than anything we’ve seen for a generation. And it will have effects that last a lifetime: being out of work when you’re young means you will earn less and work less over your whole career. Government needs to work with businesses, the voluntary sector and others to support and invest in young people to keep them earning and learning through the crisis and beyond.”



  • For Learning and Work Institute, please contact: Roisin Sheehy, Senior External Affairs Officer, on 07909 900164 or roisin.sheehy@learningandwork.org.uk
  • For IES: Please contact Steve O’Rourke, IES Senior Communications Officer, on 07929 663909 or steve.orourke@employment-studies.co.uk


  • The report is available here 
  • The expert group contributing to the report include:
    • Tony Wilson (Institute for Employment Studies)
    • Stephen Evans (Learning and Work Institute)
    • Charlotte Pickles (Reform)
    • David Hughes (Association of Colleges)
    • Elizabeth Taylor (ERSA)
    • Sam Windett (Impetus)
    • Anne Smee (Youth Futures Foundation)
    • Professor Dan Finn (University of Portsmouth and Learning and Work Institute Emeritus Senior Research Fellow)
    • Dan Corry (Head of the Number 10 Policy Unit and Senior Adviser to the Prime Minister on the Economy from 2007 to 2010)
    • Dave Simmonds (Learning and Work Institute Emeritus Senior Research Fellow)
    • Jeremy Moore (Learning and Work Institute Board member and former DWP Director General)
    • Pat Russell (Institute of Employability Professionals)
    • Neil Carberry (Recruitment and Employment Confederation).   

Funding to support armed forces charities doing vital work during pandemic


Defence Minister Johnny Mercer announces extra funding to support frontline armed forces charities across the UK.

  • £6-million for those supporting the defence community affected by the coronavirus
  • elderly veterans, those struggling with mental and physical health, and service children among organisations eligible for funding can apply from Tuesday 12 May.

Serving personnel, veterans and their families will benefit from an additional £6-million of new funding to ensure they get the support they need during the coronavirus outbreak, announced today by Minister for Defence People and Veterans Johnny Mercer (Tuesday 12 May).

Today’s sum is part of a package of support announced by the Chancellor in April to ensure charities can continue their vital work during the pandemic. It will be offered in addition to existing funding for veteran’s mental health and the Armed Forces Covenant Trust.

The funding is available to apply for from Tuesday 12 May (today). It will be distributed in the form of grants administered by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust, backed by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the Cabinet Office, and will be given to charities across the UK that work in 9 key areas affected by the impact of the coronavirus.

These include:

  • support to the elderly (including Care Homes)
  • mental and physical health
  • welfare
  • domestic violence
  • housing
  • criminal justice system
  • service families (including childcare)
  • bereavement
  • employment

The latest funding is in addition to the £10-million the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust received in the budget for support to veterans’ health and wellbeing and the annual government contribution of £10-million for the Covenant Fund, £3-million of which has already been protected for veterans particularly affected by the coronavirus.

The announcement follows the recent launch of 2 platforms specifically designed to support the defence community. Veterans’ Gateway, an app with 24-hour point of contact for support with finances, employment, relationships and physical and mental health, and HeadFIT, a new platform, spearheaded by The Duke of Sussex launched with online tools to help defence personnel take a more proactive approach to their mental health and fitness.

Minister for Defence People and Veterans Johnny Mercer said:

At such a difficult time I want to make sure our people, including those still serving, veterans, and their families, know they’re not alone.

Military charities do a fantastic job in supporting this community and today’s important new investment will ensure that they have the funding they need to continue their brilliant efforts.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

Having just celebrated the 75th anniversary of VE Day, our veterans, armed forces and their families are rightly at the front of our minds, so I’m pleased we can give military charities supporting them through coronavirus extra help.

Our brilliant charities are vital to the national effort to beat the virus and this funding is part of the unprecedented charity support package pledged by the government to get help to the most vulnerable people in Britain.

David Richmond CBE, Director of the Office for Veterans’ Affairs, said:

Charities play a vital role in supporting our veteran community by providing a wide range of support and services.

It’s critically important that the government is providing support to them to allow essential services to continue during these difficult times and The Office for Veterans’ Affairs will continue to work closely with the charities to ensure the funding reaches those who need it most.

General Sir John McColl KCB CBE DSO, Chairman of Cobseo, said:

Cobseo members have demonstrated true grit and determination in adapting, and in some cases revolutionising, how they support the armed forces community during this crisis, and this funding will help to provide a more secure immediate future and sustain vital services.

Many members have shifted their services to online support; and they are continuing to reach out to combat loneliness, isolation and promote mental wellbeing; as well as working hard to deliver food and essentials for Veterans in need”.

Today’s funding is part of comprehensive measures to support vulnerable people through the pandemic and the government is working closely with councils, charities and other partners to ensure they get the support they need. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has led the allocation of funding to support charities providing key services to help vulnerable people during the crisis.

Small and medium sized charities can also bid for funding through the National Lottery Community fund, which has an allocation of £370-million to support the sector.

The application process will be published on Covenant Fund Trust, and a separate decision-making board will be established to decide where the funding is best allocated. The board will include representatives from MOD, the Cabinet Office and COBSEO, the sector body for Armed Forces charities.