Author Archives: Amelia Jones

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) is made up of four taxable government grants for self-employed individuals. The first three grants have all now closed. These grants are lump sums rather than paid as a monthly salary. For those that qualify, the grants are based on average profits from the past three tax years.

This is different to furlough and should be referred to as “support for the self-employed”, “self-employed support” or “self-employed support grants”.

The term furlough should only be used to refer to those who are employed by an employer and meet various qualifying dates and criteria, for example, on a Pay As You Earn (PAYE) roll by 30 October 2020.

Vaccines and vaccinations 

Vaccines are substances that stimulate the immune system into producing immunity to a specific disease. 

Vaccination is the act of administering a vaccine into the body. 

Immunisation is the process whereby someone becomes protected against a disease after they have been vaccinated. It is often used interchangeably with vaccination. For consistency, use vaccination. 

Vaccines against the coronavirus (COVID-19) should be referred to as “COVID-19 vaccines”.  

When discussing COVID-19 vaccines in general, use “a COVID-19 vaccine” rather than “the COVID-19 vaccine”. This is because there are multiple types of vaccines and so we need to make it clear we are talking about all vaccines. 

Only refer to a specific type of COVID-19 vaccine by name if you need to make the distinction between the vaccine types clear. There are currently three COVID-19 vaccines being administered in the UK: 

  • Moderna  
  • Pfizer-BioNTech 
  • Oxford-AstraZeneca 

When discussing vaccine doses, refer to them as the first dose and the second dose. 

The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine was approved for use in January 2021. 

More than 23,000 people have received the first dose of their vaccine.  

The number of people receiving their vaccinations has doubled. 

Vaccination centres have been set up across the UK. 

New variants of the coronavirus

In December 2020, a new variant of the coronavirus (COVID-19) was found to be spreading in the UK, particularly in the South East and London. This was previously referred to as the “new virus variant” in line with GOV.UK, but with the emergence of other variants, this should now be referred to as the “UK variant”. It is sometimes also referred to as VOC 1 (variant of concern 1) or the Kent variant.

In early 2021, another new variant of the coronavirus was found to be spreading in the UK, known as the South African variant, also known as VOC 2 (variant of concern 2). This should be referred to as the “South African variant”.

Support bubble

A support bubble is a close support network that can be formed between a household of any size and a household with either: 

  • only one adult 
  • one adult and one or more people who were under the age of 18 on 12 June 2020 in the home (known as a single-adult household) 

Once a support bubble is formed, the households can act as a single household and can have close contact with each other.

Test and trace

Each country of the UK has introduced its own test and trace service to help stop the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). These are:

When referring to a specific country’s test and trace service or programme, use upper case. Use lower case for general use.

When contacted by the test and trace service, the person will be asked to self-isolate if they have been in contact with a confirmed positive case of COVID-19.

See further detail on different events and time periods in the pandemic.


Shielding was introduced in the UK in March 2020 at the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The shielding guidance advised those most at risk of serious harm from COVID-19 to stay at home to protect themselves. It applied to people, including children, who are clinically extremely vulnerable to developing serious illness if they are exposed to COVID-19 because they have a particular serious underlying health condition. 

Specific shielding guidance for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland was published. People were asked to stop shielding in August 2020 and to instead follow the national rules and restrictions.

Refer to “those who were shielding” and the “shielding guidance”.


Self-isolation is a form of social distancing for people who have symptoms of the coronavirus (COVID-19). People who have tested positive or have come into close contact with someone who has had a positive test for COVID-19 are required by law to self-isolate for 10 days or 14 days respectively when told to do so. This means staying at home and not having any contact with others outside of their household.

People returning from countries abroad may also be required to self-isolate for 14 days if the country they are travelling from is not on the list of exempt countries. This period of self-isolation is also sometimes called quarantine.

“Self-isolation” should be lower case and hyphenated.

Pre-coronavirus, pre-pandemic and pre-lockdown

“Pre-coronavirus” can be used for talking about time periods before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Avoid using the phrases “pre-pandemic” and “pre-lockdown” as these are not clear and may lead to misinterpretation of the data. The “start” of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic may also be subjective or have a different meaning or impact for different topics. Be as clear and specific as possible when referring to time periods.

When referring to the period before the coronavirus pandemic, use:

  • the exact dates if you are talking about a specific and clear time period or event, for example, “before the national lockdown started on 23 March 2020”
  • the month, such as “February 2020” if you are talking about the first full month before the effects of COVID-19 were seen in the UK
  • “early 2020” for a more general time period relating to the months before the pandemic

Rather than using “pre-lockdown”, either state the month you are talking about or use “before the national lockdown in March 2020” to make it clear what date you are talking about.

The level of GDP output remains below the levels seen in early 2020, before the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) were seen.

Local lockdowns and restrictions

Local lockdowns or restrictions apply to a particular local authority or local council area. Each country of the UK introduced its own set of restrictions to manage the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in local areas when the rates of infection began to increase after the summer of 2020. 


In England, a three-tier COVID Alert Level system was introduced on 14 October 2020 to help control the spread of the coronavirus in local areas. This included Tier 1 (medium), Tier 2 (high) and Tier 3 (very high), with increasing restrictions depending on the alert level for the area. This system was replaced by national lockdown restrictions for England on 5 November 2020.

Use “Tier” when referring to a specific COVID Alert Level category in England but use lower case “tier” when referring to multiple categories or in general use.


In Wales, local restrictions were introduced in local authority areas with a high or rising number of cases to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus. These local lockdowns were introduced from September 2020 for varying amounts of time depending on the local area. These measures were replaced with the firebreak restrictions on 23 October 2020 and have since been replaced with national restrictions on 9 November 2020.

Use the phrase “local restrictions” when referring to local measures used in Wales.


In Scotland, a five-tier COVID-19 local protection levels system was introduced on 2 November 2020. Local areas that are categorised as protection level 0 have the lowest levels of restrictions, while protection level 4 areas have the highest levels of restrictions. More detail on Scotland’s COVID-19 protection levels by area system is available. 

Use “protection level” in lower case when referring to categories of restrictions in Scotland. These protection levels are sometimes also referred to as “tiers” in lower case but try to be consistent.

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, a national set of restrictions was introduced on 16 October 2020 for a period of four weeks. Prior to this, local restrictions were in place for certain areas.

See Lockdown for information on the first national lockdown on 23 March 2020.

Job Retention Scheme

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was introduced by the UK government to support employers and businesses as part of its response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This allowed all UK employers with employees on a Pay As You Earn (PAYE) scheme to designate some or all employees as “furloughed workers”. See Furlough for more information.

The scheme allows employers to access government support to continue paying 80% of their furloughed employees’ salaries, and potentially protect their employees from redundancy.

The first phase of the scheme finished at the end of June 2020 and a second flexible phase ran between June and October 2020. The scheme has now been extended into a third phase from November 2020 to March 2021.

Use upper case and write in full where possible. Avoid using the abbreviation CJRS where possible.