Weekly Digest – 16 March 2022
Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward.
All Travel Restrictions to Be Lifted
The government will remove all remaining COVID-19 restrictions for international travel from 18 March. Meanwhile, the remaining managed hotel quarantine capacity will be fully stood down from the end of the month.
Economy Bounces Back
The UK’s economy bounced back from Omicron at a faster pace than expected in January, as consumers returned to dining out. According to the Office for National Statistics, all sectors returned to growth, helping to lift GDP by 0.8% in January from the previous month.
Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules
The Home Office has published its latest Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules taking effect from 6 April. This includes new immigration routes and some changes and rebranding for existing routes.
40% of Small Businesses Planning to Hire Before End of March
The UK economy saw its fastest annual growth rate on record in 2021, rising 7.5% throughout the year. According to a new report from leading private equity house IW Capital, 40% of small- and medium-sized businesses are planning to hire, on average, six new employees before the end of the month.
CBI: Business Confidence Wavering
UK businesses’ optimism is beginning to falter as the potential impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on inflation and consumer spending becomes clearer, according to the Confederation of British Industry.
Get Ready for £150 Council Tax Rebate
Households across England are being urged to set up direct debits with their local council to receive a £150 council tax rebate that will help millions of families manage costs of living. Around 20 million households in council tax bands A to D – including 95% of rented properties – are set to benefit from the £3 billion council tax rebate, which doesn’t have to be repaid.
£350 Government Support to Help with Energy Costs
The Energy Bills Rebate will provide around 28 million households with an upfront discount on their bills worth £200 from October. Households in England, which are in council tax bands A-D, will also receive a £150 rebate from April.
This £9.1 billion government support is intended to help with the cost of living after the increase in energy costs.
Over £700 Million New Grant Fund for Businesses Impacted by Omicron
Businesses in England most impacted by the Omicron variant will be able to tap into a new £700 million support package in the coming weeks.
Firms in the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sectors will be able to apply for one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises depending on rateable value. In addition, more than £100 million worth of discretionary funding is also being made available for local authorities to support other businesses.
£1 Billion Support for UK Businesses Impacted by Omicron
The government is providing one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises for businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors in England. More than £100 million discretionary funding will be made available for local authorities to support other businesses.
The government will also cover the cost of Statutory Sick Pay for Covid-related absences for small and medium-sized employers across the UK. To enable more cultural organisations to apply for support during the winter, further funding amounting to £30 million will be made available through the Culture Recovery Fund.
Deadline Extension for Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Scheme
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy confirmed that it is proposing a 12-month extension to the non-domestic RHI’s application deadline, moving the date from 31 March 2022 to 31 March 2023.
Also set to be extended are the second and third allocations of the scheme’s tariff guarantee, which will allow organisations to secure a fixed tariff before their installation is commissioned and accredited.
Cold Weather Payment Scheme
From 1 November 2021, households have become eligible for the Cold Weather Payment scheme which involves a weekly reduction on their energy bills.
You can receive this payment if the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below over seven consecutive days. Eligible individuals will get £25 for each seven-day period of very cold weather between 1 November 1 and 31 March 2022.
£500 Million Plan for Jobs Expansion
Workers leaving the furlough scheme and unemployed individuals over 50 years old will be supported back into work as part of more than £500m expansion of the government’s Plan for Jobs. People earning the lowest wages will also benefit and existing schemes targeting young people will be extended into next year as part of the new package.
Starting in April 2022, the Government is enhancing its programme of support for workers on Universal Credit.
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