SELF-employed workers will be eligible for a second and final coronavirus grant, the Chancellor announced, as he confirmed that employers must start paying towards the wages of furloughed staff from August.

Rishi Sunak said the schemes had been a "lifeline" for millions of people and businesses, but that as the country comes through the "other side" of the Covid-19 crisis, it was time to adjust them to "ensure those who are able to work can do so".

He 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.

  • Chancellor Rishi Sunak also said 38,161 people had died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 5pm on Thursday, up by 324 from 37,837 the day before. 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.
  • In the North-East and North Yorkshire another seven people have died after they tested positive for coronavirus. Figures published on Friday afternoon revealed a total of 1,606 people had now died in our region's hospitals following a diagnosis of Covid-19.
  • More than £1 million of additional financial support for local businesses in Darlington is now available as central Government provides extra funding aimed at small businesses who have seen a significant drop in income due to the coronavirus crisis. This could mean many more local businesses being able to apply for a grant of up to £10,000 to help them survive the current trading conditions.
  • An overwhelming number of parents in the North-East and North Yorkshire will not be sending their child back to school on Monday, The Northern Echo has found. Earlier this week, we asked our readers whether they would be allowing their child to go back, provided their school was reopening on June 1. A poll found a staggering 80 percent would refuse to return their child to school while the remaining 20 percent said they would.
  • Durham City outdoor market will restart on Saturday, June 13 and Barnard Castle will be on Wednesday, June 10. All other outdoor markets will reopen week beginning Monday, June 1.
  • Car production fell to its lowest level since the Second World War in April amid plant closures because of the coronavirus crisis, new figures reveal. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said production was down by 99.7% compared with April last year, with just 197 models leaving factory gates in the month.
  • Three-quarters of British households have saved money during the lockdown, according to new figures. UK households have saved an average of £300 on day-to-day expenses as they stop going to restaurants and the cinema, and slash fuel bills as cars sit largely unused up and down the country. Not paying gym memberships and TV sports packages have also saved a fifth of households money.
  • Environment Secretary George Eustice confirmed that pubs with beer gardens are likely to be the first venues in the hospitality sector to reopen. Asked about those self-employed workers who cannot go back to work, Mr Eustice said: "The sectors that are going to have the greatest challenge getting back to work, which we recognise, and I'm sure the Chancellor recognises this too - the hospitality sector and some of those other ticketed venues, in particular cinemas and in particular theatres, restaurants and pubs, will also face a challenge getting back in to operation.
  • With the easing of some lockdown restrictions announced last night, dental practices across the North-East are set to reopen in less than two weeks' time. In a letter to all dental practices in the country, Sara Hurley, chief dental officer, said face-to-face care in practices can resume next mont
  • A Glasgow-based technology company is to develop a mobile game aimed at helping children prevent the spread of coronavirus. Game Doctor has been given a £50,000 grant by Government agency Innovate UK for the app, which will it is hoped will launch in September as a free download on iOS and Android.
  • Almost 1.5 million payment holidays have been handed out to customers facing temporary financial difficulties due to the coronavirus crisis, according to the banking trade body. Credit card companies have also granted payment freezes on 877,800 customer accounts – increasing by 26% since the start of the month, UK Finance said.
  • A wartime singer that set herself a challenge to perform at 100 care homes across the North-East has reached her target.