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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Tougher coronavirus restrictions affecting millions more come into force

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Tougher coronavirus restrictions affecting millions more come into force Millions more people will be under tougher coronavirus restrictions in the next 24 hours as the Government increased financial support for businesses and employees affected by the measures. Greater Manchester moved into the highest alert level, Tier 3, on Friday morning, and Wales will introduce its two-week “firebreak” lockdown at 6pm. Coventry, Stoke and Slough will enter Tier 2 on Saturday, while talks between Westminster and civic leaders in Nottingham over possible Tier 3 restrictions are continuing on Friday. Under Tier 3 measures in Greater Manchester, pubs and bars will be closed, unless they are serving substantial meals, for a 28-day period, along with casinos, bingo halls and bookies. Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced an emergency multi-billion pound bailout on Thursday aimed at supporting workers and firms through the second coronavirus wave. The Job Support Scheme, which replaces the current furlough system from November 1, will be made more generous in an effort to persuade firms to keep staff in work. There will also be grants of up to £2,100 a month available for firms in Tier 2 areas of England, aimed at helping hospitality and leisure venues which have seen takings plummet due to restrictions on households mixing. The package could cost the Exchequer around £13 billion over six months. It came as the Prime Minister acknowledged that the test and trace system, which he previously promised would be “world beating”, needed to be improved. He said turnaround times for tests needed to be faster, after it emerged that just one in seven people having a test at a centre get their result back in 24 hours. The Government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance also said problems with the system could be “diminishing the effectiveness” and there was “room for improvement”. A total of 101,494 people tested positive for Covid-19 in England at least once in the week to October 14, according to the latest Test and Trace figures, the highest weekly figure since the system was launched in late May. But just 59.6% of close contacts of people who tested positive were reached through the Test and Trace system, its worst performance yet. In other developments: – Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance declined to rule out a “digital Christmas” in England due to social restrictions that “will need to be in place for a while”, after a medical adviser to Nicola Sturgeon warned that large family gatherings would be “fiction” this year. – The Government said a further 189 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, as of Thursday in the UK, while 21,242 lab-confirmed positive cases were recorded. – Spain’s Canary Islands, Denmark, the Maldives and the Greek island Mykonos have been added to the Government’s list of travel corridors, while Liechtenstein has lost its quarantine exemption. – The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said analysing sewage for traces of coronavirus has helped officials spot spikes in Covid-19 cases in areas where relatively few people were being tested. The Chancellor’s package of extra support, announced just days after London was moved into Tier 2, provoked fury from northern politicians who have seen their economies suffer due to long-standing coronavirus curbs. In an effort to address that criticism, Mr Sunak said the business grants will be available retrospectively for areas which have already been subject to restrictions since August, and come on top of higher levels of additional business support for areas moving into Tier 3. Around 150,000 businesses in England could be eligible, the Treasury said, at a potential cost of more than £1 billion. The changes to the Job Support Scheme will apply across the country and could cost the Exchequer £6 billion if two million people take up the offer for the entire six months of the scheme. Instead of only being open to people in “viable” jobs working a third of their normal hours, it will now cover employees doing just 20% of their usual work who will receive at least 73% of their usual pay. The amount that employers are required to pay to top up their wages has also been reduced to just 5% of unworked hours, down from 33%. Extra help for the self-employed will see the amount covered by grants increase from 20% of profits to 40%, meaning the maximum payout will increase from £1,875 to £3,750. This will amount to a potential further £3.1 billion of support to the self-employed through November to January, with a further grant to follow covering February to April. Published: 23/10/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Nearly half of people do not fully understand lockdown rules study finds

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Nearly half of people do not fully understand lockdown rules, study finds Nearly half of the public in England do not “fully understand” the current coronavirus lockdown rules, a study suggests. Researchers found that around half of adults (51%) in the country said they understand the current Covid-19 restrictions. Only 13% of the respondents said they “fully understand” them. The ongoing University College London (UCL) Covid-19 Social Study found this was an improvement on the 45% who felt they understood the rules in England in July. Those responses came after lockdown restrictions were firstly significantly eased on July 4. But it was a significant drop from the initial lockdown period when 90% of respondents said they understood what was and was not permitted. Lead author Dr Daisy Fancourt, associate professor at UCL’s Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care, said the findings were “especially worrying” at a time when case numbers were climbing. “Levels of understanding around what is and isn’t allowed under current lockdown restrictions have dropped markedly since nationwide ‘strict lockdown’ has ended,” she said. “This issue may well also be exacerbated by the newly introduced system of tiers in England and the differing policies of the devolved nations. “As well as this potentially leading to people breaking rules they don’t fully understand, confusing messages or unclear communication could result in people disengaging from trying to keep abreast of restrictions, which could well lead to lower compliance in the long term. “These developments are especially worrying at a time when the number of cases continues to climb. So it is vital that the Government improves communication of lockdown restrictions and ensures they are as simple to understand and follow as possible.” The study of more than 70,000 people also found that understanding of the rules was lower in England than in both Wales and Scotland. It said in Wales 15% “fully understand” and 62% understand “the majority” of the rules. In Scotland 15% “fully understand” and 66% understand “the majority”. The levels of control people feel around aspects of their lives have also improved in some areas since July, it added. Around three fifths of respondents (60%) felt in control of future plans compared with half in July. Meanwhile 70% now felt in control of their employment situation – up from 60% in July. Despite this the study found people were still feeling out of control of their mental health. Half of respondents (50%) reported they do not feel at all in control or only feel a little in control of their mental health. There was also a lack of improvement in people’s sense of financial control with two in five respondents (39%) not feeling properly in control financially, it added. The project was launched the week before lockdown started. It is the UK’s largest study into how adults are feeling about the lockdown, Government advice and overall wellbeing and mental health, following more than 70,000 participants over the last 30 weeks. A Government spokesperson said: “The Government has been working day and night to battle against coronavirus, delivering a strategy to protect our NHS and save lives. “Throughout this crisis we have set out clear instructions to the public about what they need to do in order to delay the spread of the disease. The vast majority continue to play their part, washing their hands regularly, wearing face coverings and following social distancing rules.” “We also work closely with local authorities to share best practice and insight on communications, and have delivered a paid marketing campaign according to local risk levels in England to ensure our messaging lands locally.” Published: 23/10/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Wales prepares to enter two week firebreak lockdown

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Wales prepares to enter two-week ‘firebreak’ lockdown Wales will enter a two-week “firebreak” lockdown at 6pm on Friday in an attempt to protect the country’s NHS from being overwhelmed by the resurgence of coronavirus. The Welsh Government has said the “sharp and deep” lockdown, brought in to coincide with half-term holidays, could be enough to avoid a longer and “much more damaging national lockdown” in the months ahead. Under the measures, which will last 17 days until November 9, people will be asked to stay at home and to leave only for a limited number of reasons, including exercise, buying essential supplies, or to seek or provide care. The Welsh Conservative’s leader in the Senedd, Paul Davies, told the PA news agency that the Welsh Government needed to ensure the two week period wasn’t “wasted”, and called for more data supporting the decision for a “disproportionate” nationwide lockdown to be published. He said: “For months we’ve been calling for the publication of community by community cases, demographic data and how the virus is transmitted. It is essential that transmission data is published so that people can see how and where the virus is transmitted – their homes, work, transport or elsewhere. “It is concerning that the Welsh Government’s actions show that they either don’t have this data or it doesn’t support their monumental decision to lock Wales down again. “If the Welsh Government want to take the people of Wales down further rolling lockdowns in the future, they need to be open and transparent along the way.” Mr Davies also called on the Welsh Government to “get to grips” with its testing regime, after First Minister Mark Drakeford conceded the country currently wasn’t able to make full use out of its 15,000 tests-a-day capacity. “Currently on average only 3,000 tests are done per day by Welsh laboratories, with the UK Government carrying out more than 6,000 tests a day in Wales”, he said. “The Welsh Government needs a plan to fully utilise the testing capacity in Wales.” Under the “firebreak”, people will be encouraged to work from home if possible, with the exception of essential workers. People will not be able to meet indoors or outdoors with anyone they do not live with, with exceptions for those living alone. All non-essential retail, leisure, hospitality and tourism businesses will close, along with community centres, libraries and recycling centres, while places of worship will also be shut other than for funerals or wedding ceremonies. Business owners in Welshpool on the Welsh border have questioned the necessity for the two-week lockdown, saying they were effectively being tarred with the same brush as places such as Cardiff and Swansea. Terri-Ann Ratledge, landlady of The Grapes pub, said she felt “victimised” by the new lockdown. “We’re being tarred with the same brush and the same restrictions as what the big cities are. It’s just not bad round here and people are considerate because it’s a small community,” she said. Tammy Weaver, owner of wedding services firm TMS Events in Four Crosses, Montgomeryshire, described 2020 as a “wipe out” for her business. “We don’t really see light at the end of the tunnel because of the implications of the restrictions both in England and in Wales,” she said. Ms Weaver also criticised the decision to impose the circuit-breaker for the whole of Wales. “We feel a bit confused and upset by the decision,” she said. “We just feel we are such a small area and Montgomeryshire is a safe area and everybody is abiding by the rules.” Childcare facilities will stay open in Wales, with primary and specialist schools reopening after the half-term break. Secondary schools will also reopen after half-term for children in years seven and eight, as well as the most vulnerable students. And universities will provide a blend of in-person and online learning, but students will be required to stay at their accommodation. Published: 23/10/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Trump and Biden clash on coronavirus and race in final debate

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Trump and Biden clash on coronavirus and race in final debate The second and final presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden was a much more civil affair than last month’s widely-panned first debate. With a mute button in place this time around, the candidates interrupted each other far less frequently, even as they clashed on issues ranging from the coronavirus to crime and global warming. While Mr Trump and Mr Biden responded to each other’s answers — shaking their heads disapprovingly or smiling, in the case of Mr Biden — the two largely avoided speaking over one another. And neither man tried to speak at length while he was muted during opening questions. They opened the debate by sparring over the coronavirus pandemic. Mr Trump insisted he had done a good job with the worldwide pandemic and said the country needs to “learn to live with it”. Mr Biden shot back: “People are learning to die with it.” Responding to unfounded allegations from Mr Trump that he has received funds from Russian sources, Mr Biden noted that he has released 22 years of taxes, which he says show “I have not taken a penny from any foreign source ever in my life”. Pointing his finger at Mr Trump, Mr Biden asked: “What are you hiding?” The two candidates took questions on how they would deter foreign interference in American elections. US officials have reported that Russian hackers have targeted the networks of dozens of state and local governments in the United States in recent days, stealing data from at least two servers. The president said that nobody has been tougher on Russia through sanctions and pushing for increased military spending by NATO than him. Mr Biden said his son did nothing inappropriate while working for a company in Ukraine while noting the president was the one who got impeached for dealings with that country. Mr Trump said Mr Biden’s son Hunter drew a large salary from a Ukrainian firm. Mr Biden responded that the accusation had been investigated repeatedly and did not link him to any wrongdoing. He also noted that the president was impeached for attempting to pressure the president of Ukraine to find potentially damaging information on his family. President Trump said former president Barack Obama’s government left him a “mess” to deal with in terms of tempering relations between the United States and North Korea. Mr Trump said he had warded off a war that could have threatened millions of lives, adding Mr Obama told him he viewed potential danger from Kim Jong Un as among the country’s greatest national security threats. Mr Biden said Mr Trump had “legitimised” a “thug” by meeting and forging a relationship with Mr Kim, while the president countered by saying that Mr Kim “didn’t like Obama” and added that “having a good relationship with other countries is a good thing”. Mr Biden responded by saying the United States “had a good relationship with Hitler” prior to the invasions that led the country into World War II. Mr Trump defended his administration’s separation of immigrant children from their families following detentions along the US-Mexico border. Mr Trump said his government had constructed more than 400 miles of his promised border barrier. He also said “they built cages”, referring to Obama-era facilities depicted in media reports during the separations. Mr Biden disputed Mr Trump’s answer, saying kids “were ripped from” their families in 2018. As he has done since the primary campaign, Mr Biden defended the immigration policy of the government under Mr Obama, admitting that it “took too long to get it right”. The debate then turned to race relations, with the former vice president calling the current president “one of the most racist presidents we’ve had in modern history”. Mr Biden said the president “pours fuel on every racist fire” and noted that at his last debate the president would not condemn white supremacy and told an extremist group to “stand down and stand by”. Mr Trump portrayed himself as a champion of black people, repeating his standard line that no president has done more for black Americans aside from Abraham Lincoln – which Mr Biden sarcastically seized on by referring to the president as “Abraham Lincoln over here”. He also accused Mr Biden and Mr Obama of ignoring issues of racial justice when they were in power. Touting criminal justice reform and opportunity zone bills he signed, the president said: “I am the least racist person in this room.” The two also sparred over the nation’s reliance on oil and what is required to reduce future emissions. Mr Biden said the US needs to embrace clean energy and eventually transition away from the use of oil. Mr Trump quickly pounced, cutting in with “that’s a big statement”, and wondered aloud if voters in oil-producing states like Texas, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania were listening. Mr Biden said that his plan was far more nuanced than Mr Trump was making it sound and emphasised that the transition would be gradual. He also criticised the president for subsidising the oil industry while failing to give similar benefit to clean energy producers, like wind and solar power. To close out the debate, both President Trump and Mr Biden offered divergent versions of what they would tell Americans who did not support them on a hypothetical Inauguration Day. Mr Trump said that if he is re-elected, he would tell voters who did not back him in the election that “success is going to bring us together, we are on the road to success”. Meanwhile Mr Biden said he would tell his detractors that “I represent all of you, whether you voted for or against me” and “I’m going to make sure that you’re represented”. Published: 23/10/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Liverpool hospitals treating more coronavirus patients than at peak of pandemic

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Liverpool hospitals treating more coronavirus patients than at peak of pandemic Hospitals in Liverpool are treating more coronavirus patients than they were during the peak of the first wave of the pandemic, the medical director has said. Dr Tristan Cope, medical director of Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Royal, Aintree and Broadgreen hospitals in the city, said the numbers were continuing to rise. Writing on Twitter, he said: “Sadly we are now treating more patients in hospital with Covid-19 @LivHospitals than we did in April at the peak of the first wave and numbers continue to rise. “So important that people in #liverpool and @LivCityRegion adhere to social distancing restrictions. “Treating so many Covid patients in addition to usual acute and emergency care of patients with non-Covid conditions puts a huge strain on @LivHospitals staff. Thank you to all our staff for their incredible hard work and dedication in dealing with this very difficult situation. “We can all help reduce that pressure by doing the right thing and taking some very simple measures: washing our hands frequently, keeping our distance from others from outside our household and wearing face coverings in indoor settings.” The hospital trust currently has 398 inpatients with Covid-19, compared to 390 at the height of the pandemic, on April 12. The city region became the first area of the country to become subject to Tier 3 restrictions, which include the closure of bars and pubs which are not serving food, last week. Liverpool has the third highest infection rate in the country according to the latest figures, although the numbers are dropping. In the seven days up until October 17 there were 2,970 recorded new cases, meaning a rate of 596.3 cases per 100,000 people, down from 691.7. Chief nurse of the hospitals trust Dianne Brown wrote on Twitter: “As Covid rates @LivHospitals exceed the number back in April, need to recognise the impact this is having on our staff . “Thank you to each and everyone of you, it is mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting – you are doing an amazing job.” Published: 22/10/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Russia and Iran obtain voter information ahead of US election officials say

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Russia and Iran obtain voter information ahead of US election, officials say Russia and Iran have obtained US voting registration information and are aiming to interfere in the presidential election, the government’s national intelligence director said. John Ratcliffe, the intelligence director, and FBI Director Chris Wray told a news conference the US will impose costs on any foreign countries interfering in the 2020 US election. “These actions are desperate attempts by desperate adversaries,” Mr Ratliffe said. Appearing alongside him, FBI director Christopher Wray said: “You should be confident that your vote counts. Early, unverified claims to the contrary should be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism.” The announcement came after Democratic voters in at least four battleground states including Florida and Pennsylvania received threatening emails, falsely purporting to be from the far-right group Proud Boys. The messages warned “we will come after you” if the recipients did not vote for Donald Trump. The voter intimidation operation apparently used email addresses obtained from state voter registration lists, which include party affiliation and home addresses and can include email addresses and phone numbers. Those addresses were then used in an apparently widespread targeted spamming operation. The senders claimed they would know which candidate the recipient was voting for in the November 3 election, for which early voting is ongoing. Speaking at a rally in North Carolina, Mr Trump made no reference to the intelligence announcement but repeated a familiar campaign assertion that Iran is opposed to his reelection. He promised that if he wins another term he will reach a new accord with Iran over its nuclear program. “Iran doesn’t want to let me win. China doesn’t want to let me win,” he said. “The first call I’ll get after we win, the first call I’ll get will be from Iran saying let’s make a deal.” Federal officials have long warned about the possibility of the voter information being accessed, as such registration lists are not difficult to obtain. “These emails are meant to intimidate and undermine American voters’ confidence in our elections,” Christopher Krebs, the top election security official at the Department of Homeland Security, tweeted on Tuesday night after reports of the emails first surfaced. Published: 22/10/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Five month undercover county lines drug sting leads to 53 arrests

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Five-month undercover county lines drug sting leads to 53 arrests Fifty-three people have been arrested after a five-month undercover investigation into a drug dealing network thought to be responsible for 33 county lines. Metropolitan Police officers held 47 men and six women, aged 16 to 48, during raids carried out over six weeks, including warrants in Greenwich and Bexley, south-east London, as well as Kent and the Thames Valley. A total of £63,000 in cash, about 320 grams of crack cocaine, 150 grams of heroin and a quantity of cannabis were seized, along with various weapons including four guns, knuckledusters and knives. Rolex watches worth £40,000 and two cars with a combined value of £45,000 were also found. The suspects arrested were held on suspicion of various offences including possession of firearms and ammunition; possession of offensive weapons; possession of criminal property; possession with intent to supply class A and B drugs, and supply of class A and B drugs. Two young people who are believed to have been exploited by the gang have been safeguarded as a result of the investigation. Detective Inspector Jo Gresham said: “Operations like this one, which disrupt county lines drug supply and dealing and target the criminal exploitation of vulnerable people, are vital because we know that this type of criminality drives a high proportion of violent crime in London.” County lines are phone lines run by drug dealers, predominantly in urban areas, who use young and vulnerable people as couriers to take illegal substances to customers in more rural parts of the country. Published: 22/10/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Chancellor expected to announce more business support for Tier 2

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Chancellor expected to announce more business support for Tier 2 The Chancellor is set to announce a new support package for businesses affected by Tier 2 restrictions, according to reports. Rishi Sunak will unveil a new plan to help firms, particularly pubs and restaurants, who have seen their trade drop as a result of the social restrictions in the “high” Covid-19 category. Currently businesses in Tier 2 areas such as London and Birmingham do not benefit from the same Government aid as those in Tier 3, including business grants and higher wage subsidies, because they can remain open. Mr Sunak will make a statement to the Commons on Thursday morning and the Telegraph reported he will unveil financial measures to help Tier 2 firms following complaints from industry leaders and MPs that thousands of jobs were at risk ahead of Christmas. The Chancellor’s spokesperson told the PA news agency: “The Chancellor is due to update the House of Commons on the economic situation, in particular, and so far as it relates to the new restrictions. “And, what we have always said is that our package of support is always flexible and always up for review to make sure that it is dealing with the situation as it evolves.” In Tier 3, social mixing is banned both indoors and in private gardens, while pubs and bars must close unless they can operate as a restaurant. For businesses in this band that are unable to legally operate due to Covid-19 restrictions, the government will pay employees 66% of their wage, with the employer still contributing to pensions and National Insurance. Meanwhile, companies in Tier 2 can only claim on a scheme where employers have to pay around 55% of staff wages with a smaller subsidy from Government, while still being subject to bans on household mixing indoors. Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said he would be “looking closely” at the announcement, after he was embroiled in debates with ministers for days over what support businesses in his region should get for their move into the Tier 3. He said: “Greater Manchester has been in ‘high’ alert for three months but our hospitality businesses haven’t had any emergency support. “We asked for this to be taken into account in Tier 3 negotiations. The Government refused.” It comes as talks with local leaders in South Yorkshire were branded a “charade” as the area was confirmed to move up to Tier 3 this weekend. Sheffield City Council leader Julie Dore said it was clear Downing Street officials and ministers were “going through the motions” in 10 days of negotiations just to “try and prove they were listening”. Ms Dore was speaking after Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis, who led the discussions, admitted he could not have secured any more cash, saying he “moved heaven and earth to secure the maximum amount of resource that we could”. Ms Dore told the PA news agency: “I can assure you that Dan has been fighting vociferously for the people of Sheffield and South Yorkshire, just like I have been, because we genuinely thought we were in proper discussions and negotiations.” It is understood talks to move parts of the North East into Tier 3 have been put on hold, but Coventry will be moved from up from the “medium” Tier 1 restrictions this weekend, joining other Midlands neighbours in Tier 2 after a rise in cases. West Midlands mayor Andy Street said the new rules will present a “serious economic challenge” and called on central Government to update their support. He tweeted: “Currently, there’s no extra financial support available for our hospitality sector in Tier 2 which cannot possibly be right. “I will continue to press Govt on this & I’m confident we will get a breakthrough soon.” Meanwhile, the University of Oxford has said a trial of its vaccine developed with AstraZeneca will continue in Brazil after the death of a volunteer. The institution said it has investigated the case but found “no concerns about safety” around the vaccine. Wednesday saw the UK report its highest daily rise in lab-confirmed coronavirus cases since the outbreak began. The Government announced a further 26,688 lab-confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK, taking the total number to 789,229, a jump of more than 5,000 on the 21,330 positive cases confirmed on Tuesday, while a further 191 people died within 28 days of a positive test, meaning the death toll reached 44,158. Amid the continuing increase in cases, a Sage scientist warned that the UK can expect thousands of deaths from the second wave of the disease. Professor John Edmunds told MPs: “We’ll see peaks around Christmas, in the new year of very severe numbers of cases throughout the UK.” Published: 22/10/2020 by Radio NewsHub

More areas of England are to be placed under Tier 3 restrictions

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More areas of England are to be placed under Tier 3 restrictions As from Saturday, Sheffield, Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster will move to the highest tier South Yorkshire will be the latest region placed into Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions as Boris Johnson came under renewed pressure to increase financial help for areas under the toughest curbs. The region will receive a £41 million package of funding, but Sheffield City Council’s leader Julie Dore pleaded with ministers to “do the right thing” and offer extra support to all Tier 3 areas. The deal with South Yorkshire comes after bitter wrangling over money with Greater Manchester led to the highest level of restrictions being imposed from Whitehall without an agreement. Published: 21/10/2020 by Radio NewsHub

End of Eat Out to Help Out scheme pushes UK inflation higher

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End of Eat Out to Help Out scheme pushes UK inflation higher UK inflation was pushed higher last month as the end of the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out saw restaurant and cafe prices bounce back, according to official figures. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation rose to 0.5% in September from 0.2% in August. It came as the Eat Out to Help Out discount scheme finished at the end of August, which had helped push inflation to its lowest level for nearly five years. Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician at the ONS, said: “The official end to the Eat Out to Help Out scheme meant prices for dining out rose during September, partially offsetting the sharp fall in inflation for August. “Air fares would normally fall substantially at this time due to the end of the school holidays, but with prices subdued this year, as fewer people have been travelling abroad, the price drop has been less significant. “Meanwhile, as some consumers look for alternatives to using public transport, there was an increased demand for used cars, which saw their prices rise.” The September figure is used to decide the annual increase in business rates. While retail, leisure and hospitality firms have been given a one-year business rates holiday, this is set to end on March 31 just before the new rate kicks in on April 1. September’s CPI is also used in the calculation for state pensions, although the triple-lock rule means the payout will be the highest figure out of CPI, earnings growth for the year to July, or 2.5%. State benefits are likewise decided by the September inflation figure, meaning payments will rise 0.5% next April, which is far less than this year’s 1.7% increase. Published: 21/10/2020 by Radio NewsHub