Weekly Digest – 1 December 2021

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward.

COVID-19 Boosters By End of January

All eligible adults aged 18 years old and above will be offered a COVID-19 booster vaccine by the end of January. To speed up the vaccination programme, around 400 military personnel will be drafted in to support deployment, with 1,500 community pharmacy sites, additional hospital hubs, and pop-up sites opening in convenient locations across the country.

Rising Costs Could Push Family Spend Up £1,700 a Year

A typical family in the UK will spend £1,700 more per year on household costs in 2022, according to the analysis conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR). The projected inflation rate would rise to 4.6% by Christmas, mainly due to higher fuel and energy prices.

New Support for UK’s Agri-food and Drink Industry

The government has announced further measures to support the UK’s world-leading agri-food and drink sector. Eight new agri-food and drink attachés will be added in priority markets to boost exports, further unlock barriers to trade, and open up new exporting opportunities.

Support comes ahead of Small Business Saturday, a scheme to encourage consumers to shop small in the run-up to Christmas.

Plans to Modernise and Simplify Tax System

As part of Tax Administration and Maintenance Day the government has set out further plans to deliver a modern, simple, and effective tax system. This includes work to support the delivery of announcements from the Autumn Budget and to help stimulate economic growth as we continue our recovery from the pandemic.

You can read the details here.

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.

UK Plans to Boost Overseas Trade

The government has announced its plans to boost the UK’s annual exports to £1 trillion by the end of the decade.

Last year, the UK exported about £600 billion in goods and services. However, only one in 10 British firms trades overseas. As part of the plan, government agencies such as UK Export Finance will offer new services to help UK exporters to secure business. Additionally, there will be a new UK trade show programme to help UK companies exhibit their products at international events.

New Laws and Code of Practice to Resolve Commercial Rent Debts

From 25 March 2022, new laws introduced in the Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Bill, will establish a legally-binding arbitration process for commercial landlords and tenants who have not yet reached an agreement, following the principles in the Code of Practice.

The new laws will be implemented in England and Wales, and Northern Ireland will have a power to introduce similar legislation. The Commercial Rent Bill will apply to commercial rent debts related to the mandated closure of certain businesses such as pubs, gyms and restaurants during the pandemic.

Starting 10 November, the government is also protecting commercial tenants from debt claims, including County Court Judgements (CCJs), High Court Judgements (HCJs) and bankruptcy petitions, issued against them in relation to rent arrears accrued during the pandemic.

Cold Weather Payment Scheme

From 1 November, 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.

SME Brexit Support Fund

The SME Brexit Support Fund will help businesses adjust to new customs, rules of origin, and VAT rules when trading with the EU.

Traders can apply for a grant of up to £2,000 to pay for practical support for importing and exporting. This fund will help businesses prepare for the implementation of import controls that will take effect from April and July.

More details can be found here.

Kickstart Scheme

The Kickstart Scheme:

  • Provides funding to employers to create new job placements for 16 to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit
  • Covers 100% of the National Minimum Wage (or the National Living Wage) for 25 hours a week for a total of six months
  • Also covers National Insurance contributions
  • Employers can spread the start date of the job placements until the end of December 2021

Applications close in December. More information can be found here.

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