One instrument relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 4) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/1200) is drawn to the special attention of the House in this report (see pages 10 to 13 above).
45.The original “Lockdown 2” Regulations prohibit gatherings of more than two people but made a specific exemption to permit attendance at outside events to commemorate Remembrance Sunday, or in Westminster Abbey, on 11 November 2020 to commemorate Armistice Day and the centenary of the burial of the Unknown Soldier.
46.This instrument adds a further exemption for other Armistice Day commemorations in England, putting them on the same footing as those for Remembrance Sunday, by amending regulations 6 and 11(18). This instrument will lapse 28 days after coming into effect.
47.These Regulations amend the original International Travel Regulations to remove Denmark, Germany and Sweden from the list of exempt countries. Passengers arriving from Denmark after 6 November and Germany and Sweden from 7 November will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. Germany and Sweden are placed on the quarantine list on the basis of rising infection rates, while Denmark has been placed on the quarantine list as a precautionary measure due to the spread of a mink-variant of the COVID-19 virus from fur farms.
48.Because of the potential threat of a new strain of the virus from Danish mink, these instruments add further precautions to arrivals from Denmark:
49.SI 2020/1238 removes the exemptions set out in the International Travel Regulations that would otherwise allow a person who arrives from, or has transited through, Denmark to avoid self-isolation or filling out a passenger locator form. The Regulations also extend the requirement to self-isolate for 14 days to anyone residing in that person’s household.
50.SI 2020/1239 prohibits all aircraft and vessels whose last departure point was Denmark from landing, or mooring at a port in England. The prohibition does not apply to craft that only carry freight.
51.This instrument proposes to extend the duration of a temporary provision in relation to the electronic inspection of the Mayor of London’s current spatial development strategy (“The London Plan”). The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) explains that the Mayor of London is usually required to keep the London Plan available for inspection at the Greater London Authority’s (GLA) principal offices and to provide a hard copy on request. Due to the pandemic, however, an earlier instrumentdisapplied these requirements temporarily until the end of 2020, if the strategy was instead available for inspection free of charge by appropriate electronic means. MHCLG says that because of the continued uncertainty about the pandemic, this instrument proposes to extend the period by 12 months until 31 December 2021. MHCLG says that a new London Plan is due to be published soon and without the extension it may be difficult for the GLA to meet all requests for hard copies while staff are predominantly working from home and City Hall remains closed to the public. MHCLG says that the GLA has not had any recent requests for hard copies of the London Plan and has not received any complaints about copies only being available electronically at present.
52.This instrument extends from one to three years the period over which local authorities can repay deficits in their local tax collection funds which have accrued during financial year 2020/21 as a result of the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. According to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, this extension gives local councils “breathing space” in setting budgets for next year and implements a commitment made by the Secretary of State on 2 July 2020 when a package of measures to support local government was announced.
53.Following review, these Regulations amend the Social Security (Coronavirus) (Further Measures) Regulations 2020 so that the expiry date for these support schemes is extended. Regulation 2, relating to the relaxation of the minimum income floor for the self-employed claiming Universal Credit, will now expire on 30 April 2021. Exceptions to regulations 8 (Jobseeker’s Allowance — periods of sickness) and 9 (Carer’s Allowance), which make special exceptions during the pandemic so claimants are not penalised for self-isolating because of possible COVID-19 infection, are extended to 12 May 2021.
21 MHCLG, Press release: Comprehensive new funding package for councils to help address coronavirus pressures and cover lost income during the pandemic on 2 July 2020: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/comprehensive-new-funding-package-for-councils-to-help-address-coronavirus-pressures-and-cover-lost-income-during-the-pandemic.