Covid bulletin #30
This is the thirtieth of a series of bulletins produced by ISE to update members on key data and policy on Covid-19. This covers the period 15/10/2020-21/10/2020.
You can access all of the Covid-19 bulletins on ISE insights.
Latest Covid-19 data
The UK has now had a total of 789,229 identified Covid-19 cases and 58,164 deaths (with Covid on the death certificate). The data shows that the UK is now clearly in a second wave. The number of cases has continued to increase, albeit more slowly over the last week, and the pattern of the number of deaths doubling every two weeks has also been maintained. There are some concerns about healthcare capacity in the face of the rising number of hospitalisations and deaths.
- The government has rationalised lockdowns into a three tier approach. However there has been considerable disagreement between central and local government about being placed into tier three (notably in Lancashire and Manchester). A key problem has been concerns about the level of support offered to those businesses and workers placed into tier three lockdown. The Chancellor plans to unveil a new business support package shortly.
- Some commentators are arguing that the government needs to look again at the way in which it has been trying to balance health and economic policy (with some suggesting that there is a disconnect between the two policy areas). Some economists are arguing that it is impossible to build an economic recovery without a healthy population.
- Labour are continuing to call for a ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown to slow the growth of the disease.
- While schools continue to teach face-to-face many pupils are being sent home to prevent outbreaks. In response to this situation the government has legally required schools to provide remote learning for pupils who need it. But, there are a number of challenges including bridging the digital divide.
- Apprenticeships are gradually recovering from the lockdown, with the number of higher and degree apprenticeships rising this week.
- Universities continue to have a difficult start to term as they try and balance safety with their financial sustainability. Some argue that they have got this balance wrong, leading to complaints from staff and student protests.
- The TUC has argued that scrapping the Union Learning Fund will harm economic recovery.
- New detailed economic and social data available from ONS on how the UK is responding to the pandemic. Many of the economic indicators are trending upwards but are still lower than at the same time last year. Other data also confirms that the number of jobs is continuing to grow.
- The Chancellor has announced that he will conclude a one-year Spending Review in late November.
The labour market
- There are a number of less positive signs from the labour market. The volume of redundancies is increasing and there is an indication that the negative effects of the pandemic are hitting the most vulnerable hardest.
- Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has been calling for £100 a week wage subsidy for the under-25s.
The student labour market
- There continue to be concerns about growing youth unemployment and the likelihood of over a million young people unemployed. There are also some worrying signs from the graduate labour market (also see Charlie Ball’s commentary).