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Millions of workers might be eligible for a new £6.5k grant from the government

It’s set to help those hit by coronavirus.

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Self-employed people can apply for a new coronavirus grant that will help support them through the pandemic. 

The Self-Employment Support Scheme was created to help those whose businesses have been impacted by the pandemic, and will see grants of up to £6,570. 

This sees the second round of grants for self-employed people, with applications being taken now. 

This is the final grant from the government for self-employed people, and will cover the three months to the middle of October.

Around 2.7 million self-employed people have applied, with £7.8billion being sent out so far.

The scheme has received a mixed response from the public and from other political parties. 

One user wrote on Twitter: “Just did my 2nd grant and very straightforward. Thanks for the help. Much appreciated in these difficult times. I feel really sorry for all those SE who cannot get the grant.”

While another wrote: “Got nowt last round even though I’ve been working and paying taxes for 40yrs. Just because I moved from Ltd company to sole trader last year. No way to treat loyal supporter.”

Labour has warned that workers face a ‘cliff-edge’ when the payments stop. 

Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds said: “The Chancellor now plans to cut off support for every self-employed worker in the country from October – no matter whether they’re back at work or back under local lockdown.

“Just like his one-size-fits-all wind down of the furlough scheme, he’s pulling the plug at the worst possible time.

“Without flexible, targeted support beyond the autumn, hundreds of thousands more self-employed workers will lose out and Johnson’s jobs crisis will get much worse.”

The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed said that the government will need to consider a second extension if there is a second spike in Covid-19.

The association’s chief executive Derek Cribb said: “It is now clear from the sharp drop in the number of self-employed in the UK that this vital part of the workforce has had nowhere near enough support compared to employees.

“Two-and-a-half million people claimed for SEISS between May and June – just half of the total five million self-employed in the UK. Now, as the number of self-employed has fallen sharply for the second quarter in a row, we are seeing the consequences.

“With the risk of a second wave looming, government must be ready to not only reopen SEISS, but also extend it to the desperately struggling forgotten self-employed. Historically, self-employed people have been essential for kickstarting the economy in recessions, but they cannot do this if they are driven out of business before they can play their part.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Our self-employment income support scheme has already helped millions of people, whose hard work running their own businesses is crucial to our economy.

“It means that people’s livelihoods across the country will remain protected as we continue our economic recovery – helping them get back on their feet as we return to normal.”

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New government proposals could see cat owners fined £500

Here’s everything you need to know…

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@vnevremeni & @little_plants / Unsplash

Cat owners could be slapped with hefty fines under a subtle new rule change proposed by the government this week.

The new plans propose that all cat owners must ensure their pet is microchipped before they are twenty weeks old – there, the cat’s details will be stored and kept up-to-date in a database.

If a cat owner is found to not have microchipped their cat, however, they will have twenty-one days to get their pet microchipped or risk facing a fine of up to £500. 

@little_plant / Unsplash

Government figures show that out of the 10.8 million pet cats in the UK, as many as 2.8 million are still not microchipped. And, according to Cats Protection, eight out of ten stray cats coming into their centres are not microchipped.

The charity added that the procedure only costs between £20 and £30.

Animal Welfare Minister Lord Goldsmith said: “Cats are much-loved parts of our families and making sure that they’re microchipped is the best possible way of making sure that you are reunited with them if they are ever lost or stolen.

“These new rules will help protect millions of cats across the country and will be brought in alongside a range of other protections we are introducing under our Action Plan for Animal Welfare.”

Paul Hanaoka / Unsplash

Jacqui Cuff, Cats Protection’s Head of Advocacy and Government Relations, also stressed the importance of microchipping, adding: “Every day, we see how important microchipping is for cats and for the people who love them.

“Whether it’s reuniting a lost cat with their owner, identifying an injured cat, or helping to ensure an owner can be informed in the sad event that their cat has been hit and killed by a car.

“Microchipping is by far the most effective and quickest way of identifying lost cats and can help ease the pressure on rescue charities like Cats Protection. Without a microchip, a lost cat will most likely end up being rehomed to a new home as there is often no trace of their original owner.”

The new rules, which have been announced as part of the government’s ‘Action Plan for Animal Welfare’, won’t come into place until an official review has been completed.

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Chill Factore forced to close after section of roof damaged by Storm Barra

Major damage to the roof has forced the popular attraction to close

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@stefm84 / Twitter

The Chill Factore has been forced to close after a section of its roof was damaged from severe winds brought on by Storm Barra. 

All activities at the Beyond building, which houses an indoor ski slope, have been cancelled for the rest of the day, with car parks surrounding the Trafford attraction closing ‘with immediate effect’. 

In a statement on its website, Chill Factore said: “The Beyond building has sustained some damage due to the severe winds.

“As a result we’ve made the difficult decision to close our building and surrounding car parks with immediate effect to protect the health and safety of our guests and team.

“All activities for the remainder of the day have been cancelled and we are in the process of contacting guests with bookings for today to rearrange their activities.

“We are awaiting contractors to come and assess the damage and we will provide more information as soon as possible through our website & social media accounts.”

This comes after the Met Office issued a yellow weather warning in various areas across Greater Manchester ahead of the arrival of Storm Barra.

@adventurecat__ / Instagram

The second named storm of the season hit the region today, bringing with it plummeting temperatures plummeting and heavy rainfall.

Forecasters say travel disruption is ‘likely’, especially over higher routes, as is delays to rail and air travel. There is also the ‘slight chance some rural communities may become cut off’. 

The Met Office said: “A deep area of low pressure moving in across the UK from the Atlantic is likely to bring high winds to many parts of the UK.

“Strong winds arriving into the west through the morning, spreading inland and reaching eastern areas through the afternoon and early evening. Gusts of 45-50 mph are expected widely, with 60-70 mph in exposed coastal locations.

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People who kill children will face mandatory life sentences under new Arthur’s Law

The law has been named after six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, who was murdered by his stepmother last year

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@BorisJohnson / Twitter

The Prime Minister has backed a newly proposed law that will ensure child murderers will never leave prison.

Following the horrifying death of six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, Boris Johnson has announced that his government will be amending the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill to make ‘whole-life orders the starting point for such abhorrent crimes’. 

Johnson said in a statement: “Anyone who plans then carries out the murder of a child should never be released from prison. So we’re toughening the law to make whole-life orders the starting point for such abhorrent crimes.

“The Attorney General is also urgently considering the facts of this case and the sentence handed down, but this is a Government that will always legislate for the toughest possible sentences for such repugnant crimes.”

Arthur’s stepmother Emma Tustin was jailed last week for at least twenty-nine years for his murder, while his father Thomas Hughes was sentenced to twenty-one years for manslaughter.

However, the attorney general announced over the weekend that the sentences are to be reviewed to ‘determine whether they were too low’. 

According to The Guardian, the AGO has twenty-eight days from the date of sentence to review a case, assess whether it falls under the Unduly Lenient Sentence (ULS) scheme and make a decision as to whether to refer a sentence to the court of appeal. 

West Midlands Police

Arthur died in Solihull, Midlands on June 16th 2020, as a result of a serious head injury inflicted by Tustin. His body was also covered in 130 bruises.

It was later discovered that the six-year-old had been starved, beaten and poisoned with salt in the weeks leading to his death.

Harrowing footage recently released by West Midlands Police show a weak and emancipated Arthur struggling to lift his duvet from the living room floor, where he had been forced to sleep. 

Social worker and member of the House of Lords Herbert Laming said the reduction in funding for social care in the last ten years meant abused and neglected children like Arthur were being missed by the authorities. 

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