Jul 15, 2020 - UK banks propose ‘student loans style’ scheme to help businesses and to avoid job cuts

UK banks fear up to 800,000 firms employing 3 million could go bust in the next year if they cannot defer repayments on government-backed loans.

The lending industry is proposing a student loans-type scheme, where coronavirus loans can be converted into a tax debt repayable over a decade.

Like student loans, the money would only be repayable when and if the businesses can afford it. Banks want the scheme to be administered by HM Revenue and Customs.

Banking industry lobby group TheCityUK is proposing to set up a "UK Recovery Corporation", through which companies could convert their short-term ...

Jul 14, 2020 - Coronavirus and the UK immigration system (as of 15 July 2020)

COVID-19 related automatic visa extensions

The situation is particularly pressing for people who are in the UK on an expiring visa and unable to leave because of travel restrictions. The government had been extending people’s visas through a simplified online application process, but that concession is now coming to an end.

On 22 May the Home Office extended the concession to 31 July.

However, the given concession is unlikely to be extended any further. An official announcement is expected shortly, but a senior Home Office official told MPs on 14 July:

“it is not our intention at the moment to...

Jul 14, 2020 - Health and Care Visa launches on 4 August

The new Health and Care Visa for foreign medical workers will open for applications on 4 August 2020, the government has announced.

The visa is not a new route as such, but a species of Tier 2 (General) visa — the announcement comes in a new Part A to the Tier 2 policy guidance, added on 14 July. It is also misnamed in the sense that it is only for “qualified doctors, nurses and allied health professionals who have been trained to a recognised standard” — not for care home workers. The full list of eligible professions is:

2112 – Biological scientists and biochemists
2113 – Physical Scientists...

Jul 14, 2020 - Hospitality VAT cut may not be passed on to customers

VAT (value added tax) will be cut from 20 per cent to five per cent for businesses in the hospitality and tourism industries, chancellor Rishi Sunak revealed in his mini-Budget on July 8.

A £4bn cut in VAT has come into force today (July 15) and will remain in place until January 12, 2021, allowing firms in the food, drink and hospitality sectors to slash prices.

VAT is a tax paid by businesses to HMRC on the items or services they sell. It is typically passed on to consumers in the price they pay for these goods and services.

The cuts will last for six months until January 12, 2021 with the i...

Jul 13, 2020 - UK economy rebounds more slowly than expected

The UK economy shrank by 19.1 per cent in the three months to May, according to the latest data.

The Office for National Statistics show despite the UK's economic contraction, there has been signs of recovery, as GDP grew by 1.8 per cent in May. However, despite May’s GDP growth, it was far short of the five per cent rise expected by many economists.

The increase came after a fall of 6.9% in March and a record 20.4% decline in April. In the three months to May, the economy shrank by 19.1% compared with the previous three-month period, the ONS said.

Manufacturing and house building showed signs...

Jul 12, 2020 - Government provides further details on the UK’s new Points-Based Immigration System

Today, on 13 July 2020, the Home Office has published a new 130-page document which outlines future amendments to the UK immigration system in relation to various visa routes.

See below the overview of the most crucial of such changes.

Written confirmation of immigration status

The document says that:

“EU and non-EU citizens wishing to come to and live in the UK from 1 January 2021 will need to demonstrate their right to be in the UK and the entitlements they have. All applicants will receive written confirmation of their immigration status. EU citizens will additionally be provided with secur...

Jul 12, 2020 - Priti Patel sets out post-Brexit immigration plan - including health and care visa

A fast-track health and care visa has been unveiled as part of plans for the UK's points-based immigration system for when freedom of movement ends.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said employers would be encouraged to invest in workers from within the UK.

But the new system, she added, would also allow them to "attract the best and brightest from around the world".

The new system is set to come into force on New Year's Day – from 01 January 2021, immediately ending freedom of movement with the EU.

Under the government's plans for after the Brexit transition period ends, those wishing to live and w...

Jul 09, 2020 - EU citizens are now being turned down for settled status

The Home Office has started to refuse EU citizens and their family members the right to stay in the UK post-Brexit. It issued 1,400 refusals under the EU Settlement Scheme in June 2020 alone, compared to 900 over the whole of the last couple of years. There had been 200 refusals in May, meaning that the number of refusals has jumped 600% month on month.

There was also a sharp rise in the number of applications rejected as invalid. As Kuba Jabłonowski of campaign group the3million points out, over 10% of all Settlement Scheme decisions taken last month were negative (i.e. the application was re...

Jul 07, 2020 - Coronavirus: Rishi Sunak to announce jobs ‘kickstart scheme’ for young people

Chancellor Rishi Sunak will announce a £2bn "kickstart scheme" later today to create more jobs for young people.

The fund will subsidise six-month work placements for people on Universal Credit aged between 16 and 24, who are at risk of long-term unemployment.

Labour welcomed the move but said the government had failed to "rise to the scale of the unemployment crisis".

Hundreds of thousands of "new, high-quality" subsidised jobs will be created, the government said.

For each "kickstarter" job, the government will cover the cost of 25 hours' work a week at the National Minimum Wage - £4.55 for ...

Jul 07, 2020 - Summer statement 2020: key points of the chancellor's recovery measures to support the UK economy.

Delivering his Summer Economic Update in Parliament, the Chancellor announced a package of measures to support jobs in every part of the country, give businesses the confidence to retain and hire, and provide people with the tools they need to get better jobs.

Rishi Sunak’s plan includes the following measures:

Furlough scheme

The furlough scheme will wind down flexibly and gradually until the end of October, Sunak confirms.

A jobs retention bonus will help to wind down the scheme: businesses will be paid £1,000 to retain furloughed staff. This would cost the Treasury more than £9bn if every j...