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Coronavirus: who’s doing what?

Across the UK, important decisions are made at different levels of government. The UK Government, devolved governments in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and local authorities all have crucial roles to play in responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

Updated: 11 May 2020

Darllenwch yr erthygl yma yn Gymraeg | View this post in Welsh

Across the UK, important decisions are made at different levels of government. The UK Government, devolved governments in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and local authorities all have crucial roles to play in responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

This can make it hard for people in Wales to know which decisions affect them. To make things more confusing, devolved governments may have powers in an area but decide to take the same approach as the UK Government or to allow the UK Government to act on their behalf. This was the case with buying coronavirus testing kits, where the Welsh Government – along with the other UK devolved governments – agreed that the UK Government should do this for the whole UK, despite health being a devolved issue.

Who is doing what in response to the coronavirus pandemic?

Many of the of key areas for responding to the crisis are in the control of the Welsh Government. For example: health is devolved, so the decision of when and how to ease the current lockdown is one for the Welsh Government. The First Minister, Mark Drakeford AM, has emphasised that different approaches across the UK would be “fraught with difficulties”, but he would “do things differently” if it was right for Wales.

On 20 March schools across the UK closed to most children. Education is devolved, however, so the decision for Wales was made by the Welsh Government. Similarly, the decision to re-open schools in Wales will be made by Minister for Education, Kirsty Williams AM.

Economic development is devolved, so Ken Skates AM, Minister for Economy and Transport, decides how to support businesses in Wales that have been hit by the economic fallout of the virus. However, some UK Government schemes – such as The Coronavirus business interruption loan scheme – are open to businesses across the UK.  Business rates are also devolved, so decisions about how businesses are helped with rates relief are made in Wales by Finance Minister Rebecca Evans AM.

Local authorities make sure that local services can still operate whilst the country is in lockdown. Social care is delivered by local authorities, who have had to change services so they can continue to meet the care and support needs of the most vulnerable in our communities. It is up to local authorities and schools how education is provided to children of key workers and vulnerable children, whilst schools are closed to the vast majority of pupils. In both of these examples the Welsh Government has published guidance, but it is up to local authorities to decide how to apply this on the ground.

Other important areas remain the responsibility of the UK Government. For instance, employment rights and welfare are reserved to the UK Government, so decisions about how to support people who have lost earnings as a result of the virus are made by the UK Government, and affect people all across the UK. This applies both to employees who are “furloughed” – i.e. put on a paid leave of absence by their employee – and support for self-employed people.

The following table explains who is doing what in Wales in response to the coronavirus pandemic:

Business Support
Benefits and sick pay
Childcare
Education
Health and social care
Food
Volunteering and voluntary sector
Housing
Culture, tourism and sport
Policing
Local Services
Agriculture
International / air travel
Road & freight transport
Bus and Rail Transport
Planning
Business Support
Scheme, support or policy
Responsible

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme provides 80% of employees’ salaries, up to £2,500 a month.

UK Government (administered by HMRC

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme supports SMEs with access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million and for up to 6 years.

UK Government through the British Business Bank (available through accredited lenders)

 

The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme supports larger businesses by providing them with finance of up to £50 million for up to 3 years.

UK Government through the British Business Bank (available through accredited lenders)

 

The Coronavirus Future Fund will provide loans of up to £5 million for innovative UK-based companies who are able to secure match funding from the private sector.

UK Government through the British Business Bank

Grants and loans will be available to SMEs focusing on research and development through Innovate UK

UK Government (delivered by Innovate UK)

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) provides self-employed individuals with grants

 

UK Government (administered by HMRC)

 

Employers with fewer than 250 employers can reclaim Statutory Sick Pay costs.

 

UK Government

Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of COVID-19 will be protected from eviction until 30 June 2020 (can be extended if necessary).

 

This provision of the UK Coronavirus Act applies in Wales until 30 June and gives the Welsh Government power to extend it if necessary

HMRC is enabling businesses and individuals to defer VAT and Income Tax payments.

 

UK Government (administered by HMRC)

HMRC’s Time To Pay service provides businesses and self-employed people in financial distress with support with their tax affairs.

 

UK Government (administered by HMRC)

Under the new Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility, the Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies.

 

UK Government (administered by the Bank of England)

The Economic Resilience Fund provides support to businesses through:

 

grants of £10,000 for micro-businesses employing up to nine people.

 

grants of up to £100,000 for small and medium sized firms with between 10 and 249 employees.

 

Bespoke support for larger companies.

 

Welsh Government

The Development Bank of Wales has a £100 million scheme providing business loans of  up to £250,000. (The scheme is now fully subscribed)

 

Welsh Government (delivered by the Development Bank of Wales)

The Development Bank of Wales is offering all its business customers a three-month capital repayment holiday.

Welsh Government (delivered by Development Bank of Wales)

One year business rates relief in 2020/21 for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with a rateable value of less than £500,000.

Welsh Government (administered by local authorities)

Grants of £10,000 and £25,000 for businesses depending on their rateable value and business type.

 

Welsh Government (administered by local authorities)

Benefits and sick pay
Scheme, support or policy
Responsible

Statutory sick pay (SSP) is available to people who are unable to work because they are ill, self-isolating, or ‘shielding’ and earn over £120 a week.

UK Government (but paid by employers)

Face to face Jobcentre appointments, and assessments for disability and health-related benefits have been suspended for three months.

UK Government

Requirements to actively look for work (and the associated sanctions for not doing so) have been removed for three months

UK Government

Self-employed people on low incomes can now access Universal Credit.

UK Government

Universal Credit and Working Tax Credits will increase by £20 a week from 6 April.

UK Government

Employment and Support Allowance (for people who are too sick to work) is now available from day one and is available to self-employed people

UK Government

The Discretionary Assistance Fund is a grant for People in financial hardship  can apply for while waiting for benefits to be paid.

Welsh Government

Childcare
Scheme, support or policy
Responsible

The Coronavirus Act 2020 gives the Welsh Ministers the power to direct childcare settings.

The Welsh Government decides whether settings need to close or remain open.

The Welsh Government has decided to temporarily replace its Childcare Offer scheme with a Coronavirus Childcare Assistance Scheme. The scheme funds the childcare costs for pre-school children of key workers over and above their normal childcare costs. It will also continue to fund childcare provision for vulnerable children. The Welsh Government has issued guidance to parents and providers.

Welsh Government

Providers will still receive funding under the Childcare Offer, in respect of children enrolled prior to 18 March, even if those children do not attend due to coronavirus.

Welsh Government

Childcare providers and childminders can access support from schemes run by both the  a UK Government and the Welsh Government. These are set out in the Welsh Government’s guidance on support for childcare providers.

UK Government and Welsh Government - Due to the commercial and self-employed nature of childcare providers and childminders, there are various UK Government support schemes in addition to Welsh Government schemes.

Education
Scheme, support or policy
Responsible

Schools closed for statutory provision or education on 20 March. They remain open for vulnerable pupils and children of parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response with no alternative childcare. The Welsh Government has provided guidance on schools’ temporary new role.

Welsh Government

Implementation of the WG guidance on what constitutes a key/critical worker, in terms of access to schools, is down to schools and local authorities.

Head teachers and local authorities (applying Welsh Government guidance)

Provision for continuity of learning while children and young are at home and not in school.

Welsh Government

Pupils eligible for free school meals (eFSM) can still receive these whilst schools are closed for general provision (in the form of financial support).

Local authorities

The summer 2020 GCSE, AS and A level exam series have been cancelled.

Welsh Government (decision synchronised with other UK nations due to issues regarding portability of qualifications and HE admissions). Welsh Government taking the strategic decisions and  Qualifications Wales, as regulator, decide how these decisions work in practice, in line with a Ministerial Direction

Student maintenance support and tuition fee payments to continue as normal.

Welsh Government

Universities moving to online course delivery and assessment for degrees.

Universities

FE colleges moving to online delivery.

Colleges

Vocational qualifications (impacting FE and apprenticeships)

The individual qualification Awarding Bodies in liaison with Ofqual and Qualifications Wales

Apprentices continuing their apprenticeships where they are able to

Welsh Government runs the apprenticeship programme but responsibility for vocational qualifications as above.

Support for apprentices made redundant, furloughed etc

Welsh Government responsible for apprenticeship learning arrangements, training provider regulation and sick allowance for young apprentices.  

Fully or partially closing or keeping open universities and FE colleges

Welsh Government (under CV Act 2020)

Health and social care
Scheme, support or policy
Responsible

£40m to support adult social care services during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Welsh Government

Hospices: £6.3 million package is announced for additional support for hospices.

Welsh Government

Testing: a review of testing in Wales was carried out which described a range of delays and supply chain issues. The Welsh Government committed to providing weekly updates on testing capacity.

Welsh Government

Regulations made in Wales bring into force provisions in the Coronavirus Act 2020, relating to local authority care and support, and the Mental Health Review Tribunal for Wales. These changes mean that local authorities no longer have a duty to meet adult’s care and support needs, nor adult carers’ support needs.  They now only have to meet the needs in the most serious cases where someone is at risk of abuse or neglect.

Welsh Government

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Following a rapid review of PPE across the UK, new UK wide guidance is published.

 

Guidance is issued jointly by the UK Government Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), Public Health Wales (PHW), Public Health Agency (PHA) Northern Ireland, Health Protection Scotland (HPS), Public Health England and NHS England as official guidance.

All GP practices in Wales can access a new system which allows people to have online appointments with their doctor and other healthcare professionals. Video consultations have been extended to secondary and community care.

Welsh Government

Critical care capacity: the Health Minister said the number of critical care bed in Wales is increasing daily.

Welsh Government

Additional beds are being set up by

health boards at field hospitals. Including: the Principality Stadium, Parc y Scarlets, Bluestone Resort (Pembrokeshire), Bay Studios (Llandarcy) and Venue Cymru (Llandudno). Councils are also given emergency powers to support the NHS with new field hospitals.

Welsh Government/Health Boards and local authorities.

Welsh Health Circular advising health professionals to continue with immunisation programmes as far as possible.

Welsh Government

Women in Wales will have access to abortion services at home during the coronavirus crisis.

Welsh Government

Coordination of medicines delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic. Guidance on how medicines should be collected in different circumstances. Where an extreme vulnerable person has no existing social network to collect medicines from the pharmacy there will be a Welsh Government co-ordinated solution available.  

Welsh Government

Declaration of threat to public health in Wales due to coronavirus. This Declaration relates to Part 4 of Schedule 22 to the Coronavirus Act 2020.

Welsh Government

NHS staff to get free travel as part of £69m hardship fund deal for public transport.

Welsh Government

The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Commencement No. 1) (Wales) Regulations 2020. Brings into force Coronavirus Act 2020 provisions relating to the Mental Health Review Tribunal for Wales and local authorities' duties under the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014.

Welsh Government

Financial support for independent primary care dental practices providing NHS services.

Welsh Government

Joint statement on developing immediate critical care nursing capacity, developed in association with the Nursing and Midwifery Council, professional associations, specialist alliances/networks and devolved health governments.

All four UK governments

Guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable from coronavirus (COVID-19). Information is available from the Chief Medical Officer for Wales on the shielding letters and support for those extremely vulnerable.

Welsh Government

People who are extremely vulnerable to coronavirus due to an existing health condition will receive a letter from Wales’ Chief Medical Officer. They will be advised to follow the shielding guidance.

Welsh Government

Guidance on how dental teams should work from 23 March 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic. This includes the action that routine scheduled dentistry will cease for the time being

Welsh Government

Health professionals and scientists can return to the NHS to help during the coronavirus pandemic. Those who have left health and social care jobs within the last 3 years are asked to join a temporary register to fulfil a range of clinical and non-clinical roles across the sectors.

Students from across Wales could also be available to work, on an opt-in basis, and their roles will depend on what stage they’re at with their training.

Welsh Government

Welsh Government has said it expects NHS Wales and social care to take account of rapid guidelines from NICE when planning and providing services during COVID-19. (NICE is an executive public body sponsored by the UK Government, which provides guidance and advice to improve health and social care)

Welsh Government

Changes to help community pharmacies  support the most vulnerable during the coronavirus pandemic.

Welsh Government

A number of NHS services are suspended including non-urgent outpatient appointments and non-urgent surgical admissions and procedures.

Welsh Government

The Health Protection (Notification) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 are made, making COVID-19 a notifiable disease in Wales.

Welsh Government

Coronavirus action plan: a guide to what you can expect. This joint action plan between the UK Government and devolved Governments in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland sets out a phased response to the virus.

All four UK governments

The National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) (Amendment) (Wales) Regulations 2020 exempt overseas visitors from being charged for the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 in Wales.

Welsh Government

Food
Scheme, support or policy
Responsible

The Welsh Government has provided the details of extremely vulnerable people in Wales to major supermarkets and agreed that the supermarkets will prioritise online home delivery orders for these people.

Welsh Government

Statement outlining how vulnerable people’s personal data will be shared to ensure delivery of essential items, including food.

Welsh Government

Extremely vulnerable people who are not able to call on help from family members, friends or neighbours while they are shielding are eligible for a free weekly food box delivered to their home.

Welsh Government / Local Authorities

Grocery delivery and collection services have been exempted from the 5p carrier bag charge to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

Welsh Government

Guidance for consumers on food hygiene and social distancing when shopping, including how to deal with takeaway food.

Food Standards Agency

Volunteering and voluntary sector
Scheme, support or policy
Responsible

In Wales people can register their interest in volunteering with Volunteering Wales. The “NHS Volunteers” scheme, which uses the GoodSAM app, is run by the NHS in England. 

Volunteering Wales

An ‘initial’ £24 million fund has been announced to support Wales’ voluntary sector and coordinate volunteers. This consists of the Third Sector Resilience Fund, Voluntary Services Emergency Fund and Third Sector Infrastructure Enabling Fund.

Welsh Government

The Funding Wales platform provides a funding search portal to help charities, community groups or social enterprises to find grants and local finance opportunities from local, national and international sources. It includes a specific coronavirus funding category.

 

 

Third Sector Support Wales/Welsh Government

Housing
Scheme, support or policy
Responsible

Most tenants will be entitled to a minimum of three months’ notice if their landlord wants to evict them. Welsh Ministers can extend the notice period to 6 months.

Welsh Government (This provision of the UK Coronavirus Act applies in Wales)

Housing possession claims have been suspended for an initial period of 90 days. This includes claims relating to rented accommodation and mortgages.

 Judiciary in agreement with UK Government.

Mortgage repayment holidays of up to three months may be available to borrowers.

Individual lenders following Financial Conduct Authority guidance.

Welsh Government has provided additional funding to address homelessness, including provision of accommodation for rough sleepers.

Welsh Government / Local Authorities

Culture, tourism and sport
Scheme, support or policy
Responsible

£18 million of funding has been made available by the Welsh Government, Arts Council and Sport Wales. This includes funding for the arts; sport; grassroots music venues; the TV and publishing sectors; and museums, archives and libraries.

Welsh Government, Arts Council of Wales, Sport Wales

Policing
Scheme, support or policy
Responsible

The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) Regulations 2020 give the police powers to enforce social distancing and stay at home rules in Wales. There is guidance on what these new powers do. These regulations include enforcing social distancing in the workplace and rules for funerals.

Welsh Government. The timing of the introduction of the lockdown was made consensually between the four UK nations, but as health is devolved the Welsh Government has the power to change these rules in Wales.

The Welsh Government announced the framework it would use for easing the stay at home rules.

Welsh Government

On 8 May the First Minister extended lockdown for a further 3 weeks, with some minor amendments to the restrictions: people may go out to exercise more than once a day but must stay local; garden centres may open as long as they comply with physical distancing; local authorities can begin to plan for the safe reopening of libraries and municipal recycling centres.

 

Welsh Government

Local Services
Scheme, support or policy
Responsible

Guidance on funerals issued for local authorities and the general public.

Local authorities, funeral directors, places of worship.

The Welsh Government has published non-statutory guidance for local authorities on the prioritisation of waste and recycling collection services.

Local authorities and other waste collection services.

Agriculture
Scheme, support or policy
Responsible

Measures to support farmers during COVID-19: Farmers will have an extra month to submit their Single Application Form (SAF). WG is removing Crop Diversification requirements completely for Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) 2020. An additional £5.5m has been allocated to the BPS and Glastir 2019 support scheme.

 

Welsh Government

The Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs   plans for bovine TB testing during the pandemic.

Welsh Government

The UK Government has introduced a temporary suspension of competition laws to allow the dairy industry to work together during the pandemic which has been welcomed by the Welsh Government.

UK Government

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Welsh Government introduced Regulations requiring the closure of Public Rights of Way and access land in areas where access could enhance the spread of the coronavirus.

Welsh Government

 

 

 

 

Following concerns regarding a lack of farm workers during the pandemic, the Welsh Government has commissioned an online service to match employers with jobseekers looking for agricultural, land and veterinary work.

Welsh Government

The Welsh Government announced a fund for dairy farmers. Eligible dairy farmers who have lost more than 25% of their income in April and subsequently May will be entitled to up to £10,000, to cover 70% of their lost income. There is a similar scheme for England.

 

Welsh Government

International / air travel
Scheme, support or policy
Responsible

Specific coronavirus related travel advice has been issued,  alongside country specific advice.

UK Government

Arrangements have been put in place with airlines to repatriate stranded travellers.

UK Government

Information for air passengers and holidaymakers travelling by air on their rights has been published.

UK Civil Aviation Authority

On 31 March the Welsh Government issued a written statement announcing the suspension the Cardiff-Anglesey Air Service.  On 3 April the Welsh Government announced financial support for the Airport.

Welsh Government

Cardiff Airport has published coronavirus advice indicating that all passenger flights from Cardiff Airport are suspended.

Cardiff Airport

Road & freight transport
Scheme, support or policy
Responsible

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency announced changes to driving test arrangements.

UK Government and Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency

The UK Government and DVSA have issued guidance exempting lorries, buses and trailers from MOT for three months.

On 25 March they also announced a six month exemption from MOT testing for cars, motorcycles and vans from 30 March.

 

On the same day, it issued guidance for drivers of these vehicles where the MOT expiry is on or before 29 March stating that tests are still required, except for self-isolating and “shielded” drivers.

UK Government and Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency

The UK Department for Transport and DVSA issued guidance on the relaxation of drivers’ hours rules for the carriage of goods by road.  

The DVSA issued guidance implementing temporary changes to allow bus and lorry drivers who cannot complete compulsory Driver Certificate of Professional Competence training to continue to drive.

UK Government and Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency

The Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain published statutory contingency and emergency planning guidance.

Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain (largely non-devolved responsibilities though local bus service registration is devolved to Wales)

The UK Government issued guidance or the freight transport industry on international travel.

UK Government

Bus and Rail Transport
Scheme, support or policy
Responsible

The UK Department for Transport announced emergency measures for the rail franchises it oversees. In Wales, this applies to Great Western Railways, CrossCountry, and Avanti West Coast. It also announced agreement on ticket refund arrangements.

UK Government

The Welsh Government announced a package of support for the Welsh bus industry, and additional support for the Transport for Wales franchise which is its responsibility. 

Welsh Government

Traveline Cymru has collated  information from bus and some rail operators on timetable changes responding to the virus.

Traveline Cymru / Welsh Bus and Rail Operators

Planning
Scheme, support or policy
Responsible

 

The Welsh Government has instructed planning authorities to relax their enforcement of retail distribution planning conditions so that deliveries aren’t restricted unnecessarily and there’s more flexibility around store opening times. 

Welsh Government

The UK Government relaxed planning rules to grant permission for pubs and restaurants to operate as takeaways as part of the coronavirus response. This only applied in England.

 

The Welsh Government confirmed that this was already is the case in Wales without the need to amend planning rules.

Welsh Government

Local authorities can now undertake development on their land in response to the coronavirus emergency without needing to apply for and obtain planning permission.

 

As a result, for example, local authorities can now use leisure centres as temporary hospitals.

Welsh Government

The Welsh Government has written to local planning authorities setting out how it expects them to maintain services during the coronavirus pandemic.

Welsh Government


Article by Robin Wilkinson, Senedd Research, Welsh Parliament

We’ve published a range of material on the coronavirus pandemic, including a post setting out the help and guidance available for people in Wales and a timeline of Welsh and UK governments’ response.

You can see all our coronavirus-related publications by clicking here. All are updated regularly

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