Apr 21, 2021 - UK inflation rate rises to 0.7% in March

The UK inflation rate rose to 0.7% in the 12 months to March, up from 0.4% in February, pushed up by the increased cost of fuel, transport and clothes.

The figure from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) was slightly below economists' forecasts, with lower food prices offsetting other price rises.

Fuel prices in March showed their biggest annual increase since January 2020, the ONS said.

Inflation is forecast to rise further due to higher energy and oil prices.

The Bank of England has forecast that inflation could reach 1.9% by the end of 2021, with other experts saying it will exceed 2% ...

Apr 21, 2021 - Stripping someone of refugee status doesn’t mean they can be deported

The European Court of Human Rights in K.I. v France (application no. 5560/19) has re-affirmed that refugee status is declaratory and revocation of a person’s refugee status does not prevent that person from continuing to be a refugee. Authorities revoking someone’s refugee status therefore need to assess afresh whether the person would be at risk of a violation of their Article 3 rights if returned to their country of origin.

KI was a minor when he arrived from Russia to France in August 2011. In 2013, he was granted refugee status by the French authorities. Nine months later, he was investiga...

Apr 20, 2021 - Under-35s bearing brunt of jobs crisis

Younger people continue to bear the brunt of the jobs crisis amid widespread cuts in sectors such as hospitality, official figures show.

In the year to March, 811,000 payroll jobs were lost in the UK, with under-35s accounting for 80% of these cuts.

The data also showed the unemployment rate dipped to 4.9% in the three months to February - down from 5% previously.

This was despite most of the UK being under strict lockdown rules for at least some of the period.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the jobs market "remains subdued", with five million people employed but still on furlou...

Apr 19, 2021 - Bank of England to consider digital money plan

The Bank of England and the Treasury have announced they are setting up a taskforce to explore the possibility of a central bank digital currency.

The aim is to look at the risks and opportunities involved in creating a new kind of digital money.

Issued by the Bank for use by households and businesses, it would exist alongside cash and bank deposits, rather than replacing them.

No decision has been taken on whether to have such a currency in the UK.

However, the government and the Bank want to "engage widely with stakeholders" on the benefits and practicalities of doing so.

The taskforce will ...

Apr 19, 2021 - Mortgage scheme launched for 5% deposits

High Street lenders are now starting to offer mortgages to borrowers offering a deposit of just 5% under a new government guarantee scheme.

The policy, announced in the Budget, is designed to help more first-time buyers secure a home.

But the launch comes as average house prices in the UK continue to rise to record levels.

Analysts also suggest that cheaper deals are available for those able to stretch to a 10% deposit.

The scheme is similar to policies previously used to boost the housing market and the economy, as well as offering support to those buying a home for the first time.

The new sc...

Apr 16, 2021 - Passports can be issued to British children abroad without abusive father’s consent

Her Majesty’s Passport Office was wrong to insist on signed consent for child passports from an abusive father, the High Court has held in R (GA & Ors) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2021] EWHC 868 (Admin). 

British children refused passports

The claimants were a British mother (GA) and her four British children. The children are all under 16. Their names are anonymised, as is “Country X” where the children live.

GA met a man from Country X, moved there, married him, and had her first three children there. Country X is a patriarchal society in which fathers are recognised as the...

Apr 15, 2021 - Being taken to court means we’re doing our job, Home Office officials say

Some interesting nuggets from a new report on judicial review, published today by the Institute for Government. The Home Office is the department most affected by this particular type of legal challenge, accounting for 80% of JRs between 2007 and 2013, of which most related to immigration and asylum decisions.

As well as examining the data, the researchers also spoke to civil servants about their attitude to judicial review and the effect it has on policy-making. The Home Office contribution is revealing.

One official spoke of how being taken to court is an inevitable consequence of tougher en...

Apr 13, 2021 - UK exports to EU rebound partially after January's slump

Trade between the UK and EU partially recovered in February, after a steep drop in January following Brexit.

Official figures show exports to the EU jumped 46.6%, although that followed January's 42% slump as firms struggled with new trade rules.

Imports from the EU, too, picked up, albeit by a weaker 7.3%, after falling 29.7% in January.

Separate figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed the UK economy grew by 0.4% in February. However, the ONS said the economy was still 7.8% smaller than a year earlier, before the impact of the pandemic. Covid restrictions remained in plac...

Apr 12, 2021 - Sponsor licence inspection visits back on

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) has confirmed that with lockdown easing, it is resuming sponsor licence compliance visits. Initial visits will be focused on organisations that have a pending sponsor licence application.

Confirming the resumption of visits in a recent message on the Sponsorship Management System, UKVI was keen to emphasise that visits will be carried out in a Covid-safe manner:

FOR THE ATTENTION OF ALL SPONSORS: Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the restrictions imposed by the UK Government in December 2020, all sponsorship and compliance auditing was suspended. As the U...

Apr 08, 2021 - Home Office: It can take up to ten weeks to get a British passport instead of usual three

The Home Office warns that processing applications for a British passport can take three times longer than usual due to increased demand for replacement documents.

Now it can take up to 10 weeks to get a British passport.

For example, if you apply today, you should not expect a passport before 17 June 2021.

According to official data, in 2020, about four million people applied for a British passport, but after the lifting of the travel ban, the number of applicants may increase.

British citizens whose passports will soon become invalid will be sent text messages asking them to take care of the...