Good Morning. Please see the follwing update as we embark on the seventh week of lockdown. The official death toll now sadly stands at 28,446. We have however seen our lowest death increase today since March 30th.
Business Bounce Back loans available
The Bounce Back Loans scheme went live this morning. Barclays saw 200 applications in the first minute and Lloyds 5,000 within three hours.
It offers loans up to £50,000 and is designed to be simpler and quicker than the existing Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS ). CBILS offer loans of up to £5m and are available for companies with a turnover of less than £45m. However, banks can often apply their usual lending criteria, which makes it harder for smaller enterprises to qualify while locked down.
On Thursday, the number of CBILS loans agreed was 8,638, down from more than 9,000 the previous week. Of 52,807 loans applied for, almost 28,000 have still to be approved. Barclays said its first bounce back loans will be awarded within 24 hours.
Today is Firefighters’ Memorial Day. We remember the bravery and sacrifice of all the firefighters we have lost. Unfortunately we’re unable to be together in person this year. We will still stand together to honour them. Thank you to every firefighter and for all the work they do to keep us safe. I today observed the minute’s silence.
A programme of home testing for coronavirus will track the infection across England. The programme will help improve understanding of how many people are currently infected. As well as how many have been infected and recovered since the outbreak began. The Government will ask 100,000 randomly selected people to provide nose and throat swabs which they will test for antigens, indicating the presence of the virus. The Government will access many different antibody tests taking into consideration their accuracy and ease of use at home. If antibody self-testing works, the Government will roll it out to 100,000 people later this year. This will provide a sign of the prevalence of coronavirus based on the presence of coronavirus antibodies.
I am happy to welcome Chief Superintendent Damien Miller to his new role as the new Police Commander for Leeds District. In an email to Leeds Councillors and MPs, PC Miller said, “I am delighted to have been appointed as the Commander for Leeds District. I was born in the City and started my policing career here in 1997, on my initial posting to Millgarth Division. My last role in Leeds was as the Neighbourhood Inspector for Beeston and Holbeck. Since then I have spent six years in Bradford as a Chief Inspector and Superintendent, over this period I have covered the Neighbourhoods, Partnership and Operations portfolios. In November 2017, I was asked to lead the Neighbourhood Policing Review across West Yorkshire, following its implementation I was promoted to Chief Superintendent in June 2018 as the Director for Corporate Services. Here I led the Force response to the delivery of Local Policing, Criminal Justice, Custody, Safeguarding Governance, HMICFRS Inspection regime and Change Delivery. Clearly I have taken up my current post as Leeds District Commander at a time when the city, like the rest of the country, is facing unprecedented challenges due to Coronavirus. The importance of working closely with key partners like Leeds City Council has never been greater as we work together to keep people safe. The police are still continuing to support anyone who has concerns about their own or someone else’s safety during this time. We are continuing to encourage people to call them for help in imminent danger.”