Weekly Digest – 27 April 2022

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

Retail Sales, Consumer Confidence Declined

Business activity from the S&P Global business survey showed growth slowed by more than expected this month as companies face challenges of rising costs and became much more pessimistic about the outlook. Official data showed retail sales volumes slid by 1.4% in March, and consumer confidence declined this month to close to its lowest level since records began nearly 50 years ago. This is due to the weakening demand and inflation hitting a 30-year high of 7%.

UK, India Agree to Step Up Defence and Trade

The UK and India have agreed to step up defence and business cooperation, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson indicating a bilateral free-trade deal could be wrapped up by October this year. In 2019, the UK’s trade with India was worth £23 billion, and with the world’s second-largest population of nearly 1.4 billion, India offers a vast pool of potential customers.

Delays in Passport Renewals to be Expected

The U.K. Passport Office has reported processing delays due to an increase in new and renewal passport applications. If you’re in need of a new passport, allow up to 10 weeks after applying to receive it. It is recommended to apply online as it is the easiest and cheapest method. You may also use the passport application tracker three weeks after applying by filling out a paper form at a local Post Office using Check and Send.

Working Visa Deal Allows UK Travellers to Travel to Australia for £10 Return

The South Australian Tourism Commission campaign will offer 200 return flights to Adelaide from London Heathrow, Manchester, Edinburgh, and Dublin for just £10 on Qatar Airways services. This is an attempt to entice more young travellers to visit and work, boosting tourism and filling employment gaps and skill shortages in the state.

Energy Bills Support Scheme

The government recognises that many households need support to help deal with rising energy bills, which is why it is providing a package of support worth £9.1 billion from 2022 to 2023 which includes the Energy Bills Support Scheme. Under this scheme, domestic electricity customers will receive a £200 reduction in their electricity costs from this October.

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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