Weekly Digest – 13 October 2021

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

UK Job Vacancies Hit Record High

Job vacancies in the U.K. have risen to a record high of nearly 1.2 million, signalling worker shortages in a range of sectors due to the pandemic, end of furlough and Brexit. Though there’s a shortfall in workers, the Office for National Statistics pointed out that the number of workers on payroll in the U.K. rose to a record 29.2 million in September as the economy rebounded after the lifting of restrictions.

The International Monetary Fund forecast that the British economy will grow by 6.8% this year, more than any other Group of Seven industrial nation, and by a still-high 5% next year.

Travel to the UK

On 11 October, the government removed 47 countries from its red list, leaving only seven red destinations.

Fully vaccinated travelers from green list countries can enter England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland without a pre-departure negative test or going through quarantine. However, they must do a test on or before day two of their arrival.

For non-vaccinated travelers, they are subject to extra testing and quarantine requirements. All UK arrivals must complete a Passenger Locator Form before arriving in the UK.

Business Minister Requests Government Support for Struggling Energy Firms

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has asked the Treasury to prepare support for struggling energy firms, in the form of millions of pounds for loans to larger utilities. The loans could also help energy-intensive industries, where bosses have warned of disruption caused by high power prices. The Treasury continues to analyse the proposal.

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.

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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