Thousands of workers caught up in UK cross-border coronavirus rule differences

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More than 200,000 “cross-border” workers could be caught out by differing Covid-19 rules between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, new analysis shows.

Some 130,000 people cross the border between England and Wales alone for work, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show. Wales now has stricter rules than England on exercise, and unlike its neighbour has not encouraged people who cannot work from home to return to work.

Just under 90,000 people who live in Wales work in England, while 40,500 people who live in England work in Wales.

A further 42,000 people cross the Scottish and English border for work, with the vast majority coming from England. The Scottish government has also maintained stricter Covid-19 lockdown rules than England, and has not encouraged people to return to work.

A further 75,000 people live in the UK but work outside of the UK, the data shows.

The new analysis was based on statistics collected annually by the ONS. Separate data suggest that one in six UK workers are in construction and manufacturing – industries that the government says "should" return to work in England.

Michael Goodier is a data journalist at New Statesman media group

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