COVID-19 Update – 25th March 2020

I received the latest update late last night.  In addition to the information below I have 3 pdf 1- page documents on Accessing Food if you are find it difficult, Emergency Food Provision and criteria for Essential Housing Repairs. Please email me if you would like these documents barry.anderson@leeds.gov.uk

“Here is another update on a range of issues. There is a lot in here, including more attachments than usual, but we think they are on issues of interest to you. In tomorrow’s update, we will provide a briefing note about the “shielding”.

Leeds has now had 53 confirmed cases and 5 deaths, which appears less at this stage than some of the other core cities. Here are the links for confirmed coronavirus cases and coronavirus deaths in case you want to keep track.

So far we have had more than 4500 volunteers offering help.

In response to some queries, we are seeking further clarity from Public Health England on the risk of COVID-19 and leaflet distribution, which we know is of interest to you, and we will update you soon.

The issues that we are raising nationally include: PPE; support for the self-employed; impact on local government finance; the need for additional respirators; greater clarity about which businesses can continue; support for the self-employed and ensuring that nobody falls through the cracks between schemes; ensuring we have the information to play our role in “shielding” and expanding testing. 

Social care recruitment:  We have many part-time, full-time, temporary & permanent paid jobs available. Full training & guaranteed job interview. Assessments start 26 & 27 March Contact wecareacademy@leeds.gov.uk. Please promote this if you can.

Jobs and skills:  DWP is redeploying staff from work coach positions that have claims experience to support the increase in applications for benefit support. Our Employment and Skills service is currently linking with major retailers and the health and care sector to help recruitment to key roles. More than 1,000 residents are still being supported by employment advisers, with check-ins and on-line learning, job search and CVs and matching to vacancies. Local residents who want job support can visit the Leeds Employment Hub website or e-mail employmenthub@leeds.gov.uk  or call tel: 0113 3784576. There are a series of Home Learning Activities on Start in Leeds our digital careers education platform to help them stay engaged with their careers learning and support them to make informed choices moving forward.

Housing repairs:  In-light of the council moving to an ‘essential’ only repairs service, I have attached the criteria that order raising staff will be using to define what is, and what is not ‘essential’ repair work during this period. Hopefully this will assist you in handling enquiries from Tenants about the scaled back service.  In summary, for the foreseeable future the council will only deliver repairs and maintenance that if not done, are likely to jeopardise the health or safety of tenants and/or other householders. I would like to give assurance that whilst the importance of scaling back the repairs service is clearly critical right now, this is not an exhaustive list and in each case, the individual needs of tenants and any vulnerability issues will be factored into determining the repair priority.

Business support: As you know, there are a range of measures to support businesses, including rates holidays for businesses in specific sectors, such as retail, leisure and hospitality sectors, as well as childcare providers, letting agent, estate and bingo halls. These discounts will be awarded automatically to those eligible and there is no need to apply. In addition grants of £10,000 available to businesses in receipt of small business rate relief and up to £25,000 for those in receipt of the expanded retail relief. These will also be awarded to those eligible without the need for an application and it is anticipated that the grants will start being issued in early April. The business rates team is extremely busy implementing the above measures and is therefore struggling to respond to individual enquiries at the moment – if you require further information please visit our website at www.leeds.gov.uk/coronavirus/business.

Food provision: Last week we provided a briefing note about this, we now attach and updated briefing note. Following lots of work across multiple agencies in a short space of time, the new Emergency Referral process will go live tomorrow. It may not be perfect straight off, but we will work through the issues and keep you posted. Here are useful websites https://www.leeds.gov.uk/leedsmic or https://leedsfoodaidnetwork.co.uk/document/. A more detailed briefing note is attached along with a poster that promotes the new service.

Enforcement issues: We have had a number of enquiries about enforcement issues, so if anyone wishes to report a licensed premise that is still open (excluding takeaways as they can continue to function) they should email entertainment.licensing@leeds.gov.uk and reports of any retail shops still open when they shouldn’t be can be sent to epteam@leeds.gov.uk. Here is the latest guidance about this further-businesses-and-premises-to-close-guidance

Communications: Please use our Coronavirus webpages  where we have put as much useful information for businesses, people and communities as we can in a one place. This is regularly updated with any service changes and national guidance. You can sign up here for regular updates. Here are some useful links that you can promote whilst people are staying at home:

ways to stay happyways to stay sane, ways to keep the kids entertained, how to look after your mental health.”