Wednesday, August 05, 2020

School improvement projects

Today the government is greenlighting hundreds of new school improvement projects, so that children can get better classrooms and Britain can get building.

  • As we work towards getting children back into school in September, it is vital that the £560 million school rebuilding funding we announced last month is put straight to work, so that Britain can get building towards recovery.
  • That’s why today we are fast-tracking 580 building projects at schools in England to repair and upgrade their facilities, creating modern, fit-for-purpose spaces that will meet their needs. £180 million is being put towards successful bids which will increase pupil capacity, decarbonise classrooms and improve school buildings.
  • This funding comes on top of £1.4 billion this year to improve schools and a £14 billion injection into the school system over the next three years – ensuring every child has the opportunity to fulfil their potential.

Protecting the rights of furloughed workers

From the end of July the government has changed the law so that furloughed employees who lose their job will receive their full redundancy entitlements and not a reduced rate.

  • Britain's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is supporting over 9 million jobs across the UK. We urge employers to avoid making redundancies, but when this is unavoidable, it is important that employees receive the payments they are rightly entitled to.
  • That’s why the government is introducing a new law, coming into force from today, to protect workers and ensure all furloughed employees who are being made redundant receive statutory redundancy pay based on their normal wages, rather than a reduced furlough rate.
  • This will ensure furloughed workers are not short-changed if they are ever made redundant, and provide some reassurance for workers and their families during this challenging time.

Quote of the day 5th August 2020

"Oh Lord, teach me to learn that occasionally I make mistakes."

(Margaret Thatcher on BBC radio in 1982, quoting a favourite poem.) 

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

A windy evening ...

Very windy in Whitehaven this evening.

Went out to put the recycling out, as it is due for kerbside collection in my part of the town tomorrow morning and they often come very early.

This normally works but not tonight.

I found the street covered in plastic bottles and tin cans, with two recycling containers on their sides in the middle of the road.

Someone in the vicinity had had the same idea but the wind had blown what they put out all over the street.

I shall have to set my alarm early, put out the recycling first thing and hope I can get myself up before the recycling lorry arrives and that the wind has dropped tomorrow morning.

Postscript 8.35 a.m, 5th August

My wife, who is a very early riser, went out before 7 a.m. and, finding the wind has indeed dropped, put the recycling out. As at this point the recycling team have not been yet ...

Quote of the day 4th August 2020

“As Patron of the British Red Cross, I send my warmest congratulations to the staff and volunteers of the Society on the occasion of its one hundred and fiftieth anniversary. 

 “Whether those involved in the Society are assisting people to return home from hospital safely, offering care and support in the aftermath of a disaster, volunteering in a shop, administering first aid or some of the many other activities the British Red Cross encompasses, their contribution is recognised, valued and greatly appreciated. 

 “I send my heartfelt thanks and warmest good wishes to you all.”

(H.M. Queen Elizabeth II, message to the British Red Cross today as the organisation marks 150 years since it was founded.)

Recruiting doctors and nurses from around the world

Today our Health and Care Visa opens for applicants, making it easier, cheaper, and quicker for staff from across the world to come and work in our NHS.

  • Healthcare professionals from all over the world play a vital role in our health and care sector, and we want to ensure that under our new immigration system the NHS can continue to recruit the best and brightest talent from across the world. 
  • That is why we have launched our new fast-track Health and Care Visa, which will reduce visa fees and ensure applicants can expect a decision on whether they can work in the UK within just three weeks, following biometric enrolment. 
  • This will mean that when our transition period with the EU ends later this year, we will for the first time in decades have a single, global migration system which will help ensure our health service is truly fit for the future.


Today the government is announcing a £1.3 billion investment package to build tens of thousands of new homes and other vital infrastructure projects across the country, laying the foundations for a green economic recovery that builds back better for every part of the UK.

  • As part of our ambitious strategy to rebuild Britain after coronavirus, we are determined to kickstart our economic recovery by boosting skills and investing in green infrastructure across the country.
  • That is why we are announcing £1.3 billion of investment to deliver new homes, infrastructure and jobs – including £900 million for over 300 shovel-ready projects that is expected to deliver up to 45,000 homes, create 84,000 jobs and reduce CO2 emissions by 65 million kgs, as well as a further £360 million to build 26,000 new homes on brownfield land.
  • This people’s government is committed to levelling up every corner of our country – and this investment will ensure we can build our communities back stronger, more united and better connected than ever before.

Monday, August 03, 2020

Rapid Coronavirus tests

From next week, the government will roll out millions of ground-breaking rapid coronavirus tests to hospitals and care homes across the UK - increasing testing capacity and further strengthening our coronavirus response ahead of winter.

  • As we prepare for winter, we will ensure that our NHS and care homes have the most innovative technologies available to them - to aid in the ongoing battle against coronavirus and continuing to save lives.
  • These two groundbreaking new tests – both able to detect the virus in just 90 minutes – do not require a trained health professional to operate them, meaning they can be rolled out in more non-clinical settings.
  • Alongside our hugely increased testing capacity, we will ensure that our NHS and care homes get the backing they need to continue to support and care for our loved ones and save lives throughout the winter and beyond.

Eat out to help out launches

Today, the new Eat Out to Help Out scheme launches across the UK – giving people up to 50 per cent off meals out, safely encouraging them back into restaurants, cafes and pubs.

  • The hospitality industry is a vital ingredient to our economy, it has been hit hard by coronavirus – we want people to enjoy their summer safely and show support for their favourite places and the jobs those businesses provide.
  • From today, anyone who eats at a participating business, Monday to Wednesday this month, can receive up to 50 per cent off food and non-alcoholic drinks, up to a value of £10 per person. Businesses can then claim the money back from the government weekly, receiving funds within 5 working days.
  • Through this unprecedented scheme we can all help to protect the 1.8 million jobs in the hospitality industry. By safely supporting our local restaurants, cafes and pubs we can all do our part to help safeguard this vital industry and the millions of livelihoods it provides.