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Day 75: Key points from today's conference

Posted on May 2020 By Aaron Liffen

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Today's daily government coronavirus conference was led by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who was joined by Prof Stephen Powis, NHS England medical director, as we heard further information regarding the financial packages provided by the government, including the job retention scheme and furlough payments.

38,161 people have now died for coronavirus - 324 fatalities since yesterday. In the 24-hour period up to 9am on Friday, 131,458 tests were carried out or dispatched with 2,095 positive results. Overall, a total of 4,043,686 tests have been carried out and 271,222 cases have been confirmed positive.

Key points to take away from today's speech are:

  • Mr Sunak outlines changes to the job retention scheme, which has so far covered the wages of 8.4 million staff unable to work during lockdown - costing £15bn. Employers will be asked to pay a modest contribution over coming months. 

  • Government is introducing a more flexible furlough in July to kick-start the economy. Meaning some workers can return to work for e.g 2 days, paid by the company, with the governemnt covering the other 3 working days via the furlough scheme.

  • The Chancellor said the self-employment income scheme will be extended.

  • Prof Stephen Powis runs through the latest figures:

  • Sunak has extended the self-employment income support scheme - which has so far seen 2.3 million claims worth £6.8 billion - enabling freelancers to access grants of up to £6,570 from August. Individuals could claim up to £7,500 under the first grant, which launched earlier this month. Employees on furlough will keep getting 80% of their wages up to £2,500 a month.

  • Sunak: "In September, taxpayers will pay 70% of the furlough grant, with employers contributing 10%. "In October, taxpayers will pay 60% and employers will contribute 20%. "Then... the scheme will close."

  • NHS England national medical director Professor Stephen Powis told the briefing that 98% of adults said they have tried to stay at least two metres away from others while outside. He added that 29% of adults are using a face covering when outside their home to slow the spread of the virus.

  • Powis: Fundamental rules around safety remain, including the two metre rule and hand hygiene

To read a brief summary of last night's points and important measures click here.