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Eastbourne COBRA Meeting

Eastbourne COBRA took place on the afternoon of Wednesday 4th November, discussing the lockdown and issues arising as a result. There is still clarity required from national Government in terms of grants and eligibility, and we will update you as soon as we have heard.

Eastbourne Borough Council got the first version of the eligibility for Grants. Businesses required to close in England due to local or national restrictions will be eligible for the following:
– For properties with a rateable value of £15k or under, grants to be £1,334 per month, or £667 per two weeks;
– For properties with a rateable value of between £15k-£51k grants to be £2,000 per month, or £1,000 per two weeks;
– For properties with a rateable value of £51k or over grants to be £3,000 per month, or £1,500 per two weeks.

Central government has published guidance on how the grants will operate. This can be found here on the government website. The current relevant documents are the top three: Addendum (closed), Local Restrictions Grant (closed) and Additional Restrictions Grant. The last two, labelled ‘open’ are not valid in a national lockdown situation.

If you are on the ratings list and have been forced to close by the Government, you are eligible for the Local Restrictions Support Grant.

If you are not eligible for the Local Restrictions Support Grant, we are waiting for further information about the Additional Restrictions Grant.

Eastbourne Borough Council will provide further details on the application process and the local policy shortly. Portal will be the same as used for previous grants.

The grant is low in consideration of the importance of Christmas to many businesses. We are lobbying Caroline Ansell for an increase.

The police gave assurances that adequate resources would be deployed to help protect businesses that have been forced to close as a result of the lockdown.

Crime Update:
Lockdown – we are awaiting guidance from Parliament and National Chief Police Council
Very likely that they will take 4 e approach – engage, explain, encourage, enforce.
Threat levels for terrorism have increased.
Expecting there may be difficulties Wednesday night as last night before lockdown.

Brighton Homeless Placements
CEOs and Directors meeting was cancelled, but further meeting tomorrow at 12. EBC have met with Ministry prior to the meeting. Strong focus on not to place out of borough. MHCLG will be discussing this with Brighton.
Along with Eastbourne BID, Eastbourne Chamber reinforced that homelessness was a significant issue, and out of area placements needed to be prevented. Both Caroline Ansell and the Council are lobbying for this.

Public Health England
If all measures are followed – we would probably go back into lower level if that is the case.
But air of caution – low compared to rest of country but highest in East Sussex and the figure needs to be reduced.
Within next ten days we should get a sense of how the de-escalation of national lockdown will happen into local tiers and lockdown.
Should be told a week beforehand which tier we are in (week before 2nd December).
Evidence would come from epidemiology and impact of lockdown, and rate of increase and decrease.
Michael Gove on Sunday said that it might go on beyond 2nd December.
National lockdown could finish technically on the 2nd of December, with most places then asked to operate on a level.
Still hopeful that an end of restrictions will happen on or soon after 2nd December.
Wouldn’t have called lockdown for county on Monday, but nationally it makes sense.
Eastbourne has highest rate for testing, but lowest positivity rate. This is good marker.
Current test and trace locally is at around 40%. There is capacity and slots not being filled.
Likely see increase for two weeks during lockdown as infection is already there.
Reduced transmission in two week’s time.
But – the infection spreading from north west of country. Rates of infection in South East could increase.