News

Aug 12, 2021 - UK economy grows 4.8% as Covid restrictions ease

The UK economy grew by 4.8% between April and June, according to official figures, as most businesses emerged from lockdown.

Data from the Office for National Statistics showed that the expansion in gross domestic product (GDP) was fuelled by retail, restaurants and hotels.

Education also boosted the economy as schools reopened in the second quarter.

However, the figure was slightly below the 5% the Bank of England expected.

The UK economy is now 4.4% smaller than it was before the pandemic.

But Capital Economics said it expected the economy to return to pre-Covid levels later this year.

"We a...

Aug 05, 2021 - Passports can be issued to British children abroad without abusive father’s consent

In April 2021 the High Court held that Her Majesty’s Passport Office was wrong to insist on signed consent for child passports from an abusive father overseas. That judgment has now been robustly upheld by the Court of Appeal following a disastrous appeal by the Passport Office: Secretary of State for the Home Department v GA & Ors [2021] EWCA Civ 1131.

We say “disastrous” because not only were each of the Passport Office’s grounds of appeal dismissed, but GA and her children were actually able to introduce a further point in their favour, with which the Court of Appeal agreed. So this appeal ...

Aug 02, 2021 - Coronavirus and the UK immigration system

People stuck in the UK

Some people who in the UK during the pandemic were unable to leave before their permission to be here expired because of travel restrictions. The government had been allowing people in this situation to easily extend their visas through a simplified online application process, but that concession has now been replaced with “exceptional assurance”, a promise of extra time to stay that falls short of proper leave to remain.

It is still possible to request additional time to stay in individual cases. The Home Office initially called this “exceptional indemnity” but it is no...

Jul 30, 2021 - Covid: One in five firms plan job cuts as furlough tapers - survey

One in five firms plan on letting staff go in response to Sunday's furlough policy change, which will see employers contribute more, a survey has found.

The British Chamber of Commerce said extra training was needed to deal with thousands of redundancies predicted.

From Sunday, government payments reduce to 60% towards salaries, with employers paying 20%.

The government said the approach was "right" and meant "we can focus support elsewhere" as the economy recovers.

According to the most recent figures up to 30 June, about 1.9m workers were on furlough, down from a peak of 5.1m in January.

The...

Jul 28, 2021 - Fewest people on furlough since pandemic began

The number of people on furlough has fallen sharply, with young people moving off the government scheme fastest, new figures show.

At the end of June, 1.9 million people were still on furlough, the lowest level since the start of the pandemic and half a million fewer than in May.

In the last three months, younger people came off furlough twice as fast as all other age brackets.

Almost 600,000 under-25s had left the scheme in that time, the Treasury said.

At the same time, more than a million people in hospitality and retail have left the scheme.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak hailed the latest figures...

Jul 26, 2021 - UK will be paying for Covid for decades, say MPs

Taxpayers will bear the costs of Covid "for decades" - and an inquiry will not come soon enough to learn lessons from the pandemic, MPs have said.

In the cross-party reports published on Sunday, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said the taxpayer would be exposed to "significant financial risks for decades to come" with the estimated cost of the government's measures having already hit £372bn in May.

The MPs also attacked government spending on unusable protective kit. The Department of Health said there were "processes" to ensure spending gives taxpayers value for money.

UK government debt ...

Jul 23, 2021 - New “High Potential” Visa With No Job Offer Required

“High potential individuals” will in future be able to come to the UK to work without a job offer, the UK government has announced.

The move, building on previous promises to provide an unsponsored work route under the Points Based Immigration System for business visas, comes as part of the UK Innovation Strategy published yesterday.

The document says:

the UK government will introduce a new High Potential Individual route to make it as simple as possible for internationally mobile individuals who demonstrate high potential to come to the UK. Eligibility will be open to applicants who have grad...

Jul 21, 2021 - UK property sales at new record as boom peaks

Property sales in the UK hit a new record level in June, official figures show, but analysts say it may mark the peak of the housing boom.

An estimated 213,120 sales were completed during the month - more than twice the total in May, data from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) shows.

Commentators said there was a "frenzied rush" before the withdrawal of some of the stamp duty concessions.

But. with demand outstripping supply, they expect prices to keep on rising.

Record sales

In June, sales hit their highest monthly UK total since comparable figures were first collected in April 2005.

The figure w...

Jul 21, 2021 - UK borrowing leads to record interest payments

The UK government spent a record £8.7bn in interest on repaying its debts last month, official figures show.

The figure was more than three times as much as the £2.7bn in interest payments seen in June 2020.

The reason was a surge in inflation, which raised the value of index-linked government bonds.

Overall borrowing - the difference between spending and tax income - was £22.8bn, which was £5.5bn lower than June last year.

However, the figure was the second highest for June since records began.

Borrowing has been hitting record levels, with billions being spent on measures such as furlough pa...

Jul 21, 2021 - Home Office refuses to explain secret sham marriage algorithm

The Home Office has rebuffed Public Law Project’s (PLP) the latest attempt to find out more about the secret algorithmic criteria used to decide whether a proposed marriage should be investigated as a “sham”.  Sham marriage investigations can be invasive and unpleasant, and it appears that they are targeted at some nationalities more than others. PLP is concerned about the lack of transparency and possible discrimination involved in the automated triage system, and we would like to make contact with people who may be affected, as well as organizations that support them.