Thursday, March 30, 2023

Lifting Lockdown Delay, and Renting Now Cheaper in England

Lifting Lockdown Delay, and Renting Now Cheaper in England

Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Monday morning. We’ll have another update for you this evening.

1. Lockdown easing in England to be delayed

Easing all restrictions in England on 21 June is to be delayed for four weeks. Ministers had been urging caution and scientists wanted more people vaccinated as cases of the Delta variant rise. The average number of daily confirmed cases is increasing and with this in mind, senior ministers have signed off a decision to delay lifting all restrictions such as reopening nightclubs. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to confirm the delay at a news conference later. Elsewhere in the UK, all areas of Scotland are due to move to Level Zero Covid restrictions on 28 June and limits on indoor gatherings in Northern Ireland are scheduled to be relaxed on 21 June – when the rules in Wales will also be reviewed.

2. Renting now cheaper than buying a home

It is cheaper to rent a property than it is to buy a home for the first time in six years, says estate agent Hamptons. Before the pandemic in March 2020, people with a 10% deposit would have been £102 per month better off with a mortgage on a property compared to renting, the company said. Its head of research Aneisha Beveridge says the pandemic is responsible for reversing this six-year-long trend. The North East, North West, Yorkshire and Humber, and Scotland are the only areas in the UK where it is still cheaper to buy than rent.

3. Education ‘should not be punchbag’

Education should not be “the punchbag” that takes the financial hit as Wales recovers from the pandemic, a leading economist has said. Prof Gerald Holtham said the Welsh government, which is providing over £150m of extra funding, should focus resources on “supporting education” and young families. He suggested a “one-off levy” could be introduced to raise capital for restoring the education system.

4. ‘We want another homeless hotel – and we can make it work’

Thousands of rough sleepers were given rooms in hotels as part of the UK’s emergency response to coronavirus during the first lockdown. The unprecedented effort was described by some as a silver lining to the dark clouds of Covid-19. Read the story of the highs and lows in one of those hotels.

5. The unlikely YouTuber helping people to cope

An 84-year-old former farmer has been helping people cope with anxieties about the coronavirus pandemic. Unlikely YouTuber John Butler has been sharing his philosophical videos about life and meditation.

And there’s more…

It looks like there’ll be a delay in lifting all restrictions in England on 21 June. Our health correspondent Nick Triggle has looked into why lockdown easing will have to wait.