Weekly Digest – 30 March 2022

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

Rising Energy Bills to Drag On UK Economy

Soaring energy bills are set to drag on the economy this year, as household energy bills will almost double in October even after rebates are handed out, according to new forecasts published by the EY Item Club. This indicates the cost of living crunch will slow the country’s recovery from the pandemic.

Economic Recovery at Risk From Rising Inflation and Declining Business Confidence

The economy’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is being put at risk by the increasing price pressures and a blow to business confidence due to the war in Ukraine. The flash estimate of activity from S&P Global and the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply found the service sector is growing rapidly but optimism about the future is at its weakest in almost 18 months.

£2.5 Million Package to Help Disabled People Travel

The government has announced a £2.5 million package to support disabled people to travel more confidently on our transport network as it reopens after COVID-19. The new funding will include £1.5 million allocated to support all 13 Mobility Centres across England to roll out a ‘Hubs Mobility Service’, which are vital services that help people stay mobile after they have been advised to stop driving or if they are unable to learn to drive due to their disabilities.

End of Free COVID Testing

From 1 April, symptomatic testing will be free only for certain groups, such as hospital patients and social care staff. However, scientists have warned ending community testing could put vulnerable people at risk and undermine efforts to understand the virus.

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.

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.

£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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