• In Focus

    Coronavirus: Ban on residential evictions and seizure of goods

    Following the introduction of a second national lockdown in England, the Government introduced a ban on evictions against residential tenants and restrictions on the seizure of goods inside someone’s home by bailiffs. The Government stated these measures were necessary because of the high risk of Covid-19 transmission and the difficulty in accessing public services when pressure on the NHS and local authorities was most acute. The restrictions will be in place over the mid-winter period.

  • In Focus

    Covid-19: Health literacy and public health information

    Public health information has been a central tool in the Government’s fight against Covid-19. However, the public’s ability to obtain, process and understand health information is variable, with 61% of adults in one observational study struggling to understand health information that included both text and numbers. This article examines some of the barriers to understanding public health information, particularly in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. It also looks at what the Government is doing to improve levels of health literacy.

  • In Focus

    Covid-19: Revised tiers for England

    The Government has announced that the England-wide Covid-19 restrictions commonly referred to as ‘lockdown 2’ will not be renewed past 2 December 2020. The restrictions are to be replaced with a revised tier structure for England similar to the one in place before the second lockdown. The revised tiers form part of the Government’s Winter Plan, which was announced on 23 November 2020.

  • In Focus

    Autumn 2020 spending review

    The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, delivered a spending review statement on 25 November 2020. The Government said the review’s priorities were “to support the Government’s response to Covid-19, invest in the UK’s recovery and deliver on promises to the British people”. Alongside the spending review, the Office for Budget Responsibility set out its latest forecasts for the economy and for the public finances.

  • In Focus

    Covid-19: Winter rough sleeping plan

    Rough sleepers have been identified as an at-risk group who are vulnerable to contracting and spreading Covid-19. The Government has launched several schemes to support local authorities and their partners to provide covid-secure accommodation to those sleeping rough or at risk of sleeping rough. In November 2020, the Government launched the Protect programme, which provides targeted funding throughout the winter to support areas with high numbers of rough sleepers.

  • In Focus

    Covid-19 vaccine: Winter update

    Almost 200 Covid-19 vaccine candidates are currently being developed. Ten candidates, including the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, are currently in largescale phase 3 clinical trials. This article provides an update on the Covid-19 vaccine, looking at when a candidate is likely to be available for deployment, who will be prioritised when a candidate becomes available, and how the vaccine will be distributed internationally.

  • In Focus

    Covid-19 and dental services

    Following the announcement of a national lockdown to combat the spread of Covid-19 in March 2020, the Government restricted the availability of routine dental treatment. Although dental services have since resumed, it has been reported that treatment levels have not returned to pre-pandemic norms. Following the announcement that such services will not have to close during the second lockdown in England, this article explores what barriers there are to providing dental care because of Covid-19.

  • In Focus

    Coronavirus: November lockdown for England

    On 4 November 2020, the House of Lords is due to debate regulations introducing a second ‘lockdown’ in England. The Prime Minister announced the measures in a televised address on 31 October 2020 and made a further statement in the House of Commons on 2 November 2020.

  • In Focus

    Covid-19 and the US election: Campaigning

    The 2020 US election has been conducted during the coronavirus pandemic. At the start of the year, the candidates’ presidential campaigns had to be halted as many US states issued lockdown orders. Since June, the candidates have taken different approaches to appealing to voters. Donald Trump has tried to emulate his successful 2016 campaign while Joe Biden has been more cautious in his campaigning.

  • In Focus

    Domestic abuse in the UK: Government support

    During the Covid-19 pandemic, domestic abuse charities have reported a sharp increase in demand for their services. In response, the Government has provided additional funding to local authorities and domestic violence groups, and is seeking to enact further measures through the Domestic Abuse Bill shortly to come before the House of Lords.

  • In Focus

    Coronavirus: Restrictions on businesses and social gatherings

    In September 2020, the Government placed new restrictions on businesses selling food and drink, requiring many to close between 10pm and 5am. It also introduced further limits on the exemptions to its “rule of six” for social gatherings. This article looks at the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (England) (Amendment) (No. 5) Regulations 2020, which implemented these new measures.

  • In Focus

    Prosecution of Offences (Custody Time Limits) (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020

    These regulations temporarily increase the amount of time that a defendant can be held in custody whilst awaiting a crown court trial. The Government said that the purpose of the regulations is to provide reassurance to victims and the public following the recent delays in trial listings caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The regulations came into force on 28 September 2020 and will expire on 28 June 2021.

  • In Focus

    Covid-19 local alert levels: Three-tier system for England

    On 12 October 2020, the Government announced a new system of local Covid-19 alert levels in England. Areas would be categorised as either ‘medium’, ‘high’ or ‘very high’. Different restrictions intended to combat the spread of Covid-19 would be in place based on the alert level in a local area. This article summarises the regulations establishing this new system and the reaction from the local areas affected.

  • In Focus

    Negative interest rates: The policy debate

    Since 2009 the UK bank base rate has been below 1%, and it was cut to 0.1% in March 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. With the economy remaining weak, commentators have debated whether there should be further cuts, taking the interest rate negative for the first time. This article summarises the policy debate.