Weekly Digest – 3 November 2021

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

Over 8 Million People Received COVID-19 Booster Vaccinations

More than 8 million people have received their COVID-19 booster jab, according to the latest figures released on 1 November 2021. Meanwhile, 45,712,351 people have received two doses (79.5%) and 48,790,855 people have received a single dose (84.8%).

While vaccines give high levels of protection, immunity reduces over time particularly for older adults and at-risk groups. With this, it’s important that the vulnerable come forward to get their booster vaccine to top-up their defenses.

Extra COVID-19 Support for the East of England

Additional support has been deployed from 1 November to Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, and Suffolk due to the high rates of COVID-19 cases in these areas.

The package includes options for:

  • targeted support to maximise vaccine and testing uptake
  • extra testing in these targeted areas
  • further help for local public health campaigns
  • temporary extra measures in education settings

This additional support will be in place for 5 weeks to allow for targeted local action. Students will return to school next week as planned.

Business Closures Increase by 50% in Q3

The number of UK business closures in Q3 2021 increased by 50% compared to the same period last year due to labour shortages and supply chain disruptions.

The largest increases in closures were in the transport and storage (up 101%) and business administration and support services (up 66%) industries, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics.

All 16 of the main industrial groups showed a surge of companies shutting their doors in the last year, amounting to a total of 100,835 in the period.

Lloyds Bank: Business Sentiment Declines Slightly, But Remains at High Level

UK business sentiment declined slightly in October after reaching its highest since the onset of the pandemic in September, according to a survey by Lloyds Bank. While Lloyds’ business confidence barometer slipped to 43% in October from 46% in September, it was still well above the long-run average of 28%.

CBI: Businesses Report Stronger-Than-Average Growth

UK businesses grew at an above-average pace in the quarter ended October despite supply chain disruptions.

CBI’s monthly growth indicator increased slightly to +29 from +27 in September, after hitting its highest since 2014 in August at +34. In the previous week, the Office for Budget Responsibility upgraded its growth projection to forecast an expansion of 6.5% this year and 6.0% in 2022.

Cold Weather Payment Scheme

From 1 November, households will 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.

£65 Million Support Package for Renters

Vulnerable renters that are struggling due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will benefit from a £65 million support package intended for low income households announced by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

The funding will be given to councils in England and is aimed at preventing homelessness and supporting families get back on their feet. This comes on top of the £500 million Household Support Fund announced in September.

£6 Million Trees Call to Action Fund

Action to get more trees in the ground, create more jobs, and improve access to nature across the country has been stepped up on 31 October with a new £6 million ‘Trees Call to Action Fund’.

Grants of £250,000 to £500,000 will be awarded to projects across England, with funding to be allocated to up to 24 regional or national projects managed by partnerships of environmental charities, not-for-profit organisations, local authorities, and protected landscape bodies.

£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.

Get in touch

Contact us if you have any questions or want to discuss the next steps for your business.