Weekly Digest – 6 October 2021

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

Furlough Support Scheme Has Ended

The government’s furlough scheme ended on 30 September, leaving almost 1 million workers expected to be on the scheme in limbo, according to Resolution Foundation’s research.

The HMRC said, of those on furlough in late July, about half on the scheme were able to work some of the time. Since the pandemic started, this government support scheme has helped pay the wages of 11.6 million workers.

According to forecasters, including the Bank of England, they only expect a small increase in unemployment as the furlough scheme closes.

£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.

UK Businesses: Flexible Working as Important as Salary

A new research from HSBC showed that UK businesses identified both flexible working (35%) as well as salary (35%) to be equally compelling factors when attracting and retaining staff. UK companies are already seeing the positive impact of flexible working on attracting and retaining staff (66%), building a positive culture (64%), improving productivity (61%) and driving wellbeing (60%).

UK Eases Travel Rules for Some Countries

The UK simplified international travel rules on Monday, easing quarantine and testing requirements for fully vaccinated travelers from more than 50 countries. The government vowed that it will seek to regularly expand the rules to more nations.

You can find the complete list of countries remaining on the red list here.

Children 12 to 15 Will be Offered a COVID-19 Vaccine

All children aged 12 to 15 in Wales will be offered to be vaccinated by the end of October. Some of the vulnerable children have already been vaccinated, and the pace is expected to ramp up this week. If you want to know more about the potential benefits and risks of vaccinating younger people, check out this comprehensive article by the BBC.

SME Brexit Support Fund

A £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund has been announced to help businesses adjust to new customs, rules of origin, and VAT rules when trading with the EU.

Traders will be able to 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 Grant

  • Provides funding 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

More information can be found here.

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