Colors: Purple Color

The furlough scheme, which pays employers in the UK who have been laid-off from work due to the coronavirus pandemic, will now be extended for an extra four months with it now being in operation until October 2020.

The announcement of such was made by the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, who confirmed that staffs who are off work will continue to receive 80% of their monthly wages up to £2,500.

But, this time around, there is a caveat – in that Sunak added that the government will ask companies signed up to the scheme to “start sharing” the cost from August.

A quarter of the UK workforce – anywhere up to 7 and a half million people – are currently covered by the furlough scheme, which has, to date, £14 billion.

The Chancellor said that from August, the scheme will continue for all sectors and regions of the country but with greater flexibility to support the transition back to work.

Employers using the furlough scheme will be able to gall furloughed employees back in to work on a part-time basis.

A six-year-old boy with spinal bifida who raised £28k for the NHS has won a special award from the PM.

Frank Mills, from Bristol, only learned to walk 18 months ago managed to walk for 10 metres per day with the aid of his walking frame.

He had set out to raise £99 to match Captain Tom Moore’s age when he completed his record-breaking walk but, in the end, he managed to achieve 3,000 times that target figure.

In awarding the Point of Light to Frank, Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said: “He was as brave and brilliant as Captain Tom”.

Frank’s mother, Janet, set up a JustGiving page and shared Frank’s story – with the target set for just £99.

She said: “After four weeks in lockdown, the family came across Captain Tom’s daily fundraising walk - with his walking frame, and Frank just said ‘I want to do that’.

“So we grabbed hold of that magic moment of motivation and we took his walker outside for him and chalked out 10 metres on the pavement with a start and finish line and two metre ‘you can do it’ markers”.

She continued: “Frank’s enthusiasm was not just surprising, but invigorating, and as he shouted at one of our neighbours to sponsor him, we thought why not?

“So we quickly put something up on JustGiving and shared the link on Facebook and, from then it really took off.

“We couldn’t believe the response”.

Born with spina bifida, Frank has had on-going top-class NHS care at Bristol Children’s Hospital, as well as in his community.

Millions of self-employed people in the UK whose businesses have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic can now apply for grants from the government.

The Self Employed Income Support Scheme is designed to match the support that is being given to employees who are under the furlough scheme.

The grants will be calculated as 80% of the average monthly profit over a period of up to three years.

The government said that the money will be paid into the accounts of eligible people si days after making the application

Charity fundraising champion, Colonel Tom Moore, was presented with a gold Blue Peter badge for single-handedly raising over £30 million for the (NHS) National Health Service.

The highest accolade to be presented on the long-running children’s programme, the World War II veteran received this, yet further, recognition for completing his 100 lap walk around his garden in Bedfordshire. A feat he met just short of his 100th birthday.

Described as a “beacon of light” by the show’s presenter, Lindsey Russell, Cl. Tom celebrated his birthday by witnessing a special RAF flypast, over 130,000 birthday cards and a personal message from The Queen.

On receiving the gold badge, he said: “I am very proud to receive this gold Blue Peter badge because I have always been a follower of the programme”.

Receiving the special badge for being an outstanding individual who is considered to be a role model who inspires a nation, Colonel Tom joins a select list of recepiants which includes Sir David Attenborough and The Queen.

 

The aviation watchdog has warned airlines that they are legally required to provide refunds to customers who had their lights cancelled because of coronavirus.

By law, plane operators must refund customers within seven days if their flight is cancelled.

But with fewer than 10% of UK flights already taken off, airlines are struggling to deal with all the requests for refunds.

The CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) said that it could take action against airlines.

In a statement, the regular said; “We are reviewing how airlines are handling refunds during the coronavirus pandemic and will consider if any action should be taken to ensure that the consumer rights are protected”.

Last month, consumer group Which? said that it had received thousands of complaints from people who are struggling to secure a refund from their cancelled travel.

Instead, airlines were offering customers vouchers to be used when lockdown is lifted.

Which? said that the travel industry’s own estimates suggests £7bn of travellers’ money was affected.

The government must clarify how it will approach easing Covid-19 restrictions so that businesses can prepare for life after lockdown.

That is according to a new report from Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce (GBCC), which provides analysis of the government’s coronavirus support measures.

The report, entitled ‘Mind the Gap’, calls for clarity on how restrictions will be eased when key milestones have been met, so that businesses can plan for the future.

While public safety and keeping pressure off frontline health services “remains paramount”, businesses need to know what happens next, according to GBCC chief executive, Paul Faulkner.

Firms in the hospitality, leisure and tourism sectors are in particular need of guidance, amid concerns that events, gatherings and travel could be among the last restrictions to be lifted under a ‘phased’ return.

Tracy Stephenson, co-founder and joint managing director of serviced apartment operator, Staying Cool at Rotunda, said: “Birmingham’s tourism economy is dependent on domestic and international visitors coming into the city for cultural pursuits, events and corporate travel.

“We are very concerned that, given that these activities were some of the first things to go as we went into lockdown, they could be the last things to come back online.

“We need greater clarity from government on what a phased return to ‘normality’ looks like so that we can move ahead. A prolonged lockdown or some form of half-way house where we are open but empty, due to fears of travelling would also require further government support”.

‘Mind the Gap’ provides a 10-point analysis of the coronavirus support measures announced so far, as well as highlighting areas not covered by existing schemes.

Paul Faulkner said: “Above all, safety remains paramount. We have all seen the impact of Coronavirus is having on our country and frontline care services.

“There are few people who don’t either know someone who has lost a loved one to this pandemic, or are going through the heart-breaking experience themselves.

“We are now exactly a month on since the Prime Minister introduced the lockdown measures. We have now reached the point at which businesses need to know what happens next, once key milestones on new infections are met. We know how challenging this is, but we also all know that this cannot go on indefinitely.

“The support that has been made available to help businesses and charities survive the coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented.

“However, while we welcome ambition, the GBCC will continue to lobby the government to fill the gaps in existing support on behalf of our members.

“At the heart of it, this crisis is a crisis of cash as many organisations attempt to wait out the lockdown period. Government schemes are not real for businesses and charities until they are paying out.

“The government needs to focus on shortening the timeframe between announcing support and that support reaching organisations and finding the simplest and most straightforward means of getting cash – be that grants, loans or other finances – where it is needed”.