Coronavirus: High-risk workers with no symptoms to be tested | Politics News

Thousands of workers whose jobs put them at higher risk of catching coronavirus will be tested even if they have no symptoms.

Taxi drivers, cleaners and retail assistants will be part of the pilot.

The Department of Health said it was to see if there is demand for testing among these kinds of workers, and to examine how they are affected by COVID-19.

Four councils are also joining the asymptomatic test pilot

Businesses including taxi firm Addison Lee, BT, services company Mitie and pharmacy giant Boots have agreed for their employees to be part of the scheme.

Councils in Bradford, Newham, Brent and Oldham will also select groups of people deemed to be high-risk for asymptomatic testing.

It came as the latest figures show the test and trace system is reaching fewer people.

In the seven days up to Wednesday 1 July, 22.6% of people with COVID-19 referred

Read More

UK government to pay companies to bring workers back from furlough

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a new “job retention bonus” of £1,000 per worker to be paid to companies that bring back staff out of the government’s furlough scheme.

Mr Sunak told the House of Commons that the scheme could cost up to £9bn if all of the 9m people currently furloughed through the state’s “job retention scheme” were re-employed before January.

The chancellor is also announcing a £2bn “kickstarter” job creation scheme to stop the UK’s young people becoming part of a blighted “Covid generation”, in an economic statement intended to stave off an unemployment disaster.

Mr Sunak said the Treasury would create a pool of “free labour” for companies, paying the minimum wage to up to 300,000 people aged 16-24 for six months from August.

Furthermore, the chancellor promised to pay companies £2,000 for every young apprentice they take on over the next six months while also tripling

Read More

Coronavirus: Workers offered regular COVID-19 tests will not face increased tax bill, Treasury confirms | Politics News

Workers offered regular coronavirus tests by their employers will not face an increased tax bill, the Treasury has confirmed.

The move comes after former cabinet minister Mel Stride, now the chair of the House of Commons Treasury committee, wrote to Chancellor Rishi Sunak to urge him to look into the matter.

Mr Stride noted how HMRC guidance published earlier this week stated that COVID-19 testing kits – or tests carried out by a third party – which have been purchased by employers for their staff are treated as a taxable benefit in kind on the employee.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been urged to ‘look into this matter as soon as possible’

The Tory MP warned many key workers could be faced with the “perverse incentive of avoiding employer-sponsored tests in order to reduce their tax bill”.

The Treasury has now confirmed to Sky News that it will introduce an

Read More

UK labour market expert urges better enforcement of workers’ rights

A key figure in the UK’s fight against labour abuse has called for a comprehensive rethink of the enforcement of employee protection laws after longstanding failures in factory working practices in Leicester were highlighted by the recent rise in coronavirus cases.

Matthew Taylor, director of labour market enforcement, made the comments in an interview with the Financial Times after an increase in Covid-19 cases in areas near factories in north-east Leicester prompted the government to impose the UK’s first local coronavirus lockdown.

The Sunday Times subsequently revealed that one of its reporters, working undercover, took up work in one of the factories, was offered well below the UK’s minimum wage and worked in conditions that defied the UK’s coronavirus distancing rules.

Poor pay and sometimes dangerous conditions in some of Leicester’s garment factories have long been an open secret and were comprehensively described in an FT investigation in 2018.


Read More