Coronavirus: Unemployment latest and free school meals pressure grows

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Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus outbreak this Tuesday morning. We'll have another update for you at 18:00 BST.

1. Unemployment news

Figures just published show the number of people on UK payrolls fell by more than 600,000 between March and May as lockdown hit Britain's labour market. According to the Office for National Statistics the total number of hours worked fell by a record 94 million. It's worth bearing in mind these figures don't paint a complete picture of the employment landscape, especially because they don't take into account people furloughed as they're still counted as being employed. Kayleigh Rennix is just one of the millions struggling to find work during the UK's worst economic slump on record.

Media caption,

Restaurant chain owner: 'It's the worst news you can give as an employer'

2. Free meals campaign

Ministers are facing increasing pressure to back a call by Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford to extend free school meals in England into the summer holidays. The government has insisted it won't do so, but Rashford has vowed to keep fighting. MPs, including some Conservatives, have supported his campaign. See more on the row and hear from families affected. Provision will also stop in Northern Ireland at the end of term, but is set to continue in Scotland and Wales.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Marcus Rashford has raised about £20m to supply three million meals to vulnerable people during lockdown

3. Lost learning

Children are studying for an average of 2.5 hours a day during lockdown, according to a survey of teachers and school leaders. That's only about half the time indicated by previous research. About a third are not engaging with set work at all. Limited access to technology and lower parental engagement mean already disadvantaged children are worst hit. The government says it has committed more than £100m to help home learning, and plans to provide 10,000 families in England with vouchers for internet access.

Image source, Reuters

4. A very different Royal Ascot

Flat racing's biggest meeting, Royal Ascot, gets going today behind closed doors with jockeys wearing face masks. The Queen is missing the event for the first time in her 68-year reign. There'll be plenty of action though, with an expanded programme including six additional races over five days. It comes, of course, ahead of the return of the Premier League on Wednesday - see more on the changes fans can expect.

5. Transplant joy

The pandemic has had a devastating effect on organ transplants in the UK with a shortage of donors and NHS resources diverted elsewhere. As things slowly begin ramping back up, the BBC revisited Ana-Rose Thorpe. She desperately needed a liver transplant and has now received that life-changing operation.

Media caption,

Ana-Rose Thorpe became seriously ill after needing a liver transplant

And don't forget...

You can find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page and get all the latest in our live page.

Plus, remember the five tests the government says are key to easing lockdown? Well, find out whether we're meeting them right now.

Image source, BBC

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