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Our plan to rebuild the UK: 12 May, 2020

The government published its COVID-19 recovery strategy on 11th May. It describes the progress made to date and sets out a roadmap for moving to the next phase of its response.

The attached GMCA briefing summarises the Government’s strategy and we will update as further supporting guidance is issued.. We are working to understand the detailed implications of each element of the guidance and what it means for services and residents in Salford.  

We expect further announcements over the coming days and weeks. We will be developing local implementation via recovery arrangements and in consultation with portfolio lead members, and will keep members updated through these regular briefings, which will be issued as required

TRANSPORT

TfGM messages

TfGM has reminded people to “not use public transport unless you have to. If you need to travel, walk, cycle or drive if you can. Leave public transport for key workers and people who rely on it, and only use it if you have no other option.”

And “if you can, continue to work from home or travel outside rush hour.Whilst public transport operators are working to increase services as quickly as possible, buses, trams and trains are still running reduced services and, because of social distancing, space is very limited.”

Last week Greater Manchester local authorities launched the Safe Streets Save Lives campaign. This will see new measures implemented to give pedestrians and cyclists more space to keep them safe when travelling.

Examples include closing roads to motor traffic, widening pavements, decluttering street furniture and traffic calming measures on residential streets.

GM has committed £5m to help fund a range of cycling and walking initiatives  to help people travel while social distancing. Salford is working closely with TfGM in looking at how to further enable traveling habits that have dramatically changed as a result of Civid-19 crisis within the recovery phase and in preventing an upswing in car use.

BUSINESS

Business support

The council has been working hard to pay out the £44 million funding we received from government to support local Salford businesses. To date, £31 million has been claimed by Salford businesses with this figure increasing daily.

£617 million is being made available to councils to provide discretionary grants of up to £25,000 to support small businesses adversely affected by the lockdown. Salford is awaiting its exact allocation but local authorities are being asked to prioritise businesses in shared spaces, bed and breakfasts, regular market traders, and small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief.

BENEFITS

Benefits

The Benefits team have seen a 50% increase in universal credit notifications from the DWP in line with the national increase in universal credit applications. In addition, they have been prioritising Council tax reduction cases and keeping up to date with business as usual with over 4,500 calls and 1,000 online enquiries handled. 

Council Tax

The Council tax team have been helping with the business rates grants in the main whilst running business as usual with over 6,600 calls handled and ,8000 online enquiries handled throughout the pandemic. The team have changed over 1,000 instalment plans so that payments are more manageable via our back on track scheme.  In addition, the team administered the awarding of the government’s hardship grant scheme, awarding 19,092 at a value of £2.86m accounts who have Council tax reduction with up to £150, this clears the Council Tax bill for 20/21.  

EDUCATION

School reopening

Nationally around 80% of school settings are open but only just over 2% of the school cohort are attending school. The Government has issued guidance on reopening schools in June, issued 11 May.

Citywide school catering and cleaning

Current advice from DfE is that there will be a 3 week lead in time for the re-opening of schools. Citywide services are working alongside Children’s Services in readiness for such an announcement.

HOUSING AND DEVELOPMENT

Affordable housing to recommence

A number of affordable housing developers/ contractors are looking at re-mobilising sites from next week (11/5). They have been working on method statements / risk assessments to ensure that they can operate within social distancing requirements.

New lets

Government guidance has advised social landlords to pause all ‘non-essential’ allocations with vacant properties either being offered to the supported tenancies team as temporary accommodation to house households currently housed in inappropriate temporary accommodation or allocated as direct lets through the housing options service.

Registered Providers Services Repairs / Housing Management

All delivering essential repairs with procedures in place to ensure social distancing. A number are looking at undertaking urgent repairs (following a series of screening questions with their customer) and re-introducing grounds maintenance (where social distancing requirements can be maintained.

Homelessness

The numbers of households presenting as homeless have reduced considerably and remain low but there is a greater level of need from those people presenting.  There are significant pressures around temporary accommodation, 266 households in statutory temporary accommodation (with no throughput into permanent accommodation) and ABEN under considerable pressure. Funding and capacity to support 110 people but currently supporting 223 people.

Development

Some Salford sites maintained operations throughout although this has been dependant on the stage of development.  However, there are now a number of developments that have restarted (albeit scaled back) now that developers have reviewed and implemented new working practices.

The consistent message also is that other developers are actively reviewing their processes and protocols to enable the restart of sites in the very near future.  Some sites are being prepared to facilitate new working practices.

SOCIAL DISTANCING

Public gatherings

GMP and Regulatory Services work together and we have taken a three step approach of engage, educate and as a last resort enforce.  In the main both businesses and residents have remained compliant for the duration of the lockdown although there have been hotspot problems for which we have conducted compliance visits.  Additionally, in line with Greater Manchester the intelligence we have is that places are generally getting busier (when compared to the initial lockdown period).

FOOD SUPPLY

Food hub

Citywide continue to manage all aspects of the food hub at Buile Hill Banqueting Suite. To date there has been the delivery of over 2,200 food parcels including the introduction of kosher parcels to the Jewish Community.

TESTING

Testing

Promotion of staff testing in care homes and home care and supported living settings has increased the testing in these settings. Training of Supported Living staff this week to enable them to swab vulnerable adults they support for Covid testing to take place. This model may be expanded to other staff groups.

Highways staff are being utilized, where possible on Covid-19 related matters with traffic management at the AJ Bell Stadium / additional military testing centres in addition to their normal duties. 

Contact Tracing

Regulatory services continues to work with public health on contact tracing and what support this will require from a local level is still to be determined with regular meetings with the GM steering group on this.