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UK NEWS UPDATES:
HMRC reminds businesses to prepare for 1st January customs changes
Changes will affect a range of rules and processes regarding the movement of goods from Great Britain to the EU, as well as to Northern Ireland.
You will no longer be able to delay making import customs declarations under the Staged Customs Controls rules that have applied during 2021. Most customers will have to make declarations and pay relevant tariffs at the point of import.
Some businesses already have a ‘Simplified Declarations’ authorisation from HMRC that allows their goods to be released directly to a specified customs procedure without having to provide a full customs declaration at the point of release. If you want to use Simplified Declarations, you’ll need authorisation to do so. It can take up to 60 calendar days to complete the checks needed for this and you will also need to have a Duty Deferment Account in place. Therefore, a new application made now may not be authorised before 1 January 2022.
People urged to get booster as UK approaches 20m top-up jabs
Almost 20 million COVID-19 booster vaccines and third doses have been administered in the UK. Vaccines are the best way to protect people against COVID-19 and, in light of the new Omicron variant and following advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the government is expanding the booster programme to all adults over 18, with all those eligible being offered a top-up jab by the end of January, as well as halving the gap between doses to protect more people more quickly. More than one million appointments (1,077,514) for a booster vaccine were booked in England in just 4 days between Monday and Thursday this week.
New rules for travelling to the UK
From 04:00 tomorrow, on 7 December, everyone travelling to the UK will need to take a Covid test before their journey – as well as a test after they arrive.
The government is introducing the measure as a response to worries about the Omicron variant. It is also placing Nigeria on the UK’s travel red list.
Tests are required both before you set off for the UK, and once you arrive.
Before departure: From 04:00 on Tuesday, all travellers to the UK aged 12 and over will have to show proof of a negative test, even if they are fully vaccinated.
This can be a PCR or a lateral flow test and must be taken no more than 48 hours before departure for the UK. Private test providers must be used – so free NHS lateral flow kits are not allowed. The test can be taken either in the country where you start your journey, or in another country en route to the UK, if you’re travelling that way. After arriving in the UK, you have two days to take a PCR test.
The PCR test must be booked before you travel and bought privately from a government-approved list of providers.
While you are waiting for a result, you must self-isolate – whether or not you have been vaccinated. You can stop self-isolating if your test is negative. As well as the rules on tests, all travellers coming to the UK must fill in a passenger locator form – even if they are just passing through – which they need to fill in no more than 48 hours before their journey.
CEO of Manchester Airports Group, Charlie Cornish, responded to the new travel restrictions introduced by the government:
“We understand the need to respond quickly to the emergence of new variants where there is a substantial threat to public health.
“But, yet again, the Government has chosen not to share data and evidence to support its actions.
“Uncertainty, and a lack of transparency on decision-making, is destroying consumer confidence in travel and will hold back the recovery of one of the UK’s most important industries.
“There continues to be no recognition from the Government or the Opposition of the impact these restrictions will have on our sector, and the urgent need for support while we continue to be prevented from operating normally.”
GOV & BBC UK daily data:
There have been more than 10 million confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK and sadly 145,000 people have died, government figures show. Nearly 51 million people have now received a first dose of the vaccine, 89% of people in the UK aged 12 and over. 81% have had their second and 33% have had a booster.
Total UK Cases: 10,329,074 positive tests
Latest UK daily figure: 53,945 new cases
Number in UK hospital: 7,644, 221 more than on previous day
New deaths across UK: 141
Total UK deaths: 145,281
England Cases per 100,000: 438.3
R number in UK: 0.9 to 1.1
Total 1st doses given: 51,020,285 – 89% of UK aged 12+
Total 2nd doses: 81%
Daily 1st doses: 26,028
Daily 2nd doses: 32,356
Daily Booster doses: 407,851
REGIONAL & LOCAL NEWS:
‘Levelling up done seriously’ – Northern Powerhouse publishes new report
A report by the Northern Powerhouse Partnership lobbying group chaired by former Chancellor George Osborne on how to improve the fortunes of the region’s towns said there has been an ongoing misapprehension that the success of city centres like Manchester and Leeds has led to decline in nearby towns. It said: “The reality is that the challenges of some towns of the North, particularly in many post-industrial areas, would have been much more acute without the regeneration of Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle. The vitality of places like Stockport, Guiseley and Gateshead is due to their shared success with their near neighbours.”
The report said other towns across the region required improved public transport links to nearby cities as part of efforts to make them more economically interconnected.
GMCA begins research ahead of support for foundational economy
Greater Manchester Combined Authority is beginning its research to inform measures that will better support the Foundational Economy in the city-region.
The sector, which comprises the industries which supply everyday essential goods and services necessary for social and economic functioning and wellbeing, has historically not been focus of local and national economic policy, and so research will initially focus on an in-depth understanding the sector.
Initial research will look to understand the issues affecting businesses and self-employed people in the Foundational Economy and the people working in it, initially focusing on Social Care and Early Years, Retail, and the Hospitality and Leisure sectors. GMCA are also keen to understand the support and networks already available to help address challenges faced, and where there are gaps.
STOCKPORT GRANT SCHEMES:
Stockport Council launches new Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) for businesses facing continued challenges from impact of coronavirus
Stockport Council has opened applications for its Additional Restrictions Grant scheme, allowing businesses that remain negatively affected by the coronavirus pandemic to access further financial support. The Additional Restrictions Grant supports businesses that are not covered by other grant schemes or where additional funding is needed. You can apply for the Additional Restrictions Grant if your trading levels continue to be negatively impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19).
ARG Grant data as at 26/11/2021:
Applications received: 274
Applications allocated: 33%
Value of Grants issued: £236,500
Locality Boost Grant
The Council is also offering a further opportunity for businesses in local areas to access a Locality Boost Grant for their area if they did not do so in the first round of these grants. The Locality Boost Grant is for district centre trading associations or their equivalent. District centre trading associations can bid for your local area to run events to drive footfall that will support local businesses that are reopening. If the local area does not have a trading association that can lead the bid, an equivalent lead accountable body or local business will need to be agreed by businesses in that area. They will then lead as the single point of contact for their area. Only one application for each local area will be accepted. Further information on the Locality Boost Grant and how to apply is available at this link Locality Boost Grant – Stockport Council”
Locality Boost Grant data as at 26/11/2021:
Applications received: 17
Applications processed / in process: 100%
Latest Stockport coronavirus data:
Total Stockport cases: 51,434 to 2 December
Cases in the latest week: 1,101, 15 more than previous week
Total deaths: 791 to November 19th
Cases per 100,000: 374 per 100,000 week ending 28 November
Stockport vaccine data:
1st dose: 84% of over 12s to 30 November
2nd dose: 77%
The R value and growth rate
The R range for England is 0.9 to 1.1 and the growth rate range for England is -1% to +2% per day as of 3 December 2021.
SECTOR SPECIFIC CORONAVIRUS-RELATED NEWS:
BUSINESS & ECONOMY:
Coronavirus (COVID-19): jobs that qualify for travel exemptions
Jobs that qualify for exemptions from quarantine, passenger locator form or COVID testing requirements – changes to rules on PCR tests and quarantine on arrival.
Visiting arrangements in care homes
Sets out how care homes can support families and visitors to visit residents.
Thank you to primary care: letter from Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
Letter of thanks from Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, to all primary care staff.
Finding and choosing a private coronavirus (COVID-19) test provider
Lists of and information about private test providers, to help you get the private COVID-19 tests you need – updated the general list of providers.
Energy prices to drive second wave of materials cost hikes
While materials and product price jumps will be less pronounced than this year, tender price inflation is still expected to be between 3-5% in 2022.
This time around energy prices will create the upward pressure rather than raw material shortages. Due to the high energy intensity involved in their manufacture, products such as bricks, glass, cement and concrete are particularly exposed.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) 2021 qualifications fund for schools and colleges
How to submit a claim for eligible costs related to the qualifications fund for the period October 2021 to March 2022 – updated the spreadsheet templates to address issues that have been identified with the previous versions.
COVID-19: guidance for first responders
Advice for first responders (as defined by the Civil Contingencies Act) and others where close contact may be required as part of their normal duties – updated guidance in line with changes to self-isolation requirements for contacts of people identified as a suspected or confirmed case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
HEALTH & WELLBEING:
Unvaccinated mothers urge pregnant women to get jabbed
Powerful new video shows their experiences of severe COVID-19 during pregnancy
COVID-19 variants identified in the UK
Latest updates on SARS-CoV-2 variants detected in the UK.
COVID-19 variants identified in the UK
Latest updates on SARS-CoV-2 variants detected in the UK.
Regulatory approval of Spikevax (formerly COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna)
Information for healthcare professionals and the public about Spikevax
Manchester Arndale chosen for first Debenham.com store
Fashion retailer Boohoo has selected Manchester Arndale for its first Debenhams.com beauty store. Boohoo, which acquired Debenhams.com in January, will use the new shop to connect the online and physical retail worlds by using interactive screens. Real-time posting via social media platforms will be displayed. The unit will be spread across two floors and cover a total area of 7,552 sq ft.
M&S sees 100,000 app downloads in 48 hours amid its 12 days of discounts
M&S has seen over 100,000 downloads of its app in just 48 hours after launching its popular Sparks Advent Calendar on Wednesday.
Wednesday marked the retailer’s highest number of daily app downloads this year and the third highest day ever – trailing closely behind the relaunch of Sparks back in July 2020. Day 2 of the calendar (Gary Barlow day) saw more than 100,000 customers registering for the chance to win two tickets to an VIP Christmas performance from the Take That performer. Since Monday, 2.5 million customers have visited the M&S App, with 800,00 engaging with the Advent Calendar and now, with just 10 days of the calendar remaining, M&S is encouraging all customers to download the app to avoid missing out on offers available – which are all completely tailored to them.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): providing public health information to passengers travelling to or from England
Information that transport operators must ensure is provided to passengers and how to provide it – changes to pre-departure testing for passengers travelling to England from 4am 7 December 2021.
Red list of countries and territories
Check the COVID-19 testing and quarantine rules for countries and territories on the red list for international travel to England – Nigeria added to red list 4am Monday 6 December 2021.
Foreign travel insurance
If you’re travelling abroad, it’s important to take out appropriate travel insurance before you go – reviewed and updated guidance in full.
Booking and staying in a quarantine hotel if you’ve been in a red list country
How to book a quarantine hotel and coronavirus (COVID-19) tests if you’ve been in a red list country in the 10 days before you arrive in England – updated to show that Nigeria will be added to the UK red list from 4am Monday 6 December.
Travel to England from another country during coronavirus (COVID-19)
Check what COVID-19 tests you need to take and the quarantine rules for travel to England – from 4am, Tuesday 7 December all people aged 12 years and over must also take a?PCR?or LFD COVID-19 test before they travel to England from abroad.
Exporting: Actions you need to take now: An overview of the actions you need to take now before you export goods from Great Britain to the EU and move goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Key processes include – staged border controls, zero-rated VAT, customs declaration, using an intermediary as well as licences, certificates, and authorisations. Please register to take part if you’re planning to export.
Trader responsibilities when using an intermediary: You now need to complete import or export declarations to trade goods with the EU. These are complex and a lot of businesses choose to use an intermediary to do these for them. This webinar explains your responsibilities as a trader if you choose to use an intermediary. Please register to take part if you’re planning to import or export.
What are customs import declarations?: If you import goods, you now need to make customs import declarations on controlled goods and all goods by the end of June. This webinar will help you understand what they are in more detail. This includes what is needed for simplified declarations, supplementary declarations, how to make them, and delayed import declarations. Please register to take part if you’re planning to import.
Importing: Staged controls and how to prepare to use them: This webinar will walk you through the three stages of the new border controls introduced on 1?? ?January?? ?2021, and what actions you need to take for each stage. Please register to take part if you’re planning to import.
Repayment period for Bounce Back Loans extended to ten years
Businesses that took out government Bounce Back loans to help them through the Coronavirus crisis now have more time to repay. Companies will be contacted with options to extend the length of the loan from six to 10 years as part of a new ‘pay-as-you-grow’ initiative. The new proposals give businesses three new options:
1. Extending the length of the loan from six years to 10;
2. Making interest-only payments for six months, then repaying the principal on a phased basis with other interest-only periods;
3. Delaying repayments entirely for up to six months.
Financial support for businesses during coronavirus (COVID-19)
Pay VAT deferred due to coronavirus (COVID-19)
Find out how to pay VAT payments deferred between 20 March and 30 June 2020.
Report an outbreak of Coronavirus in Stockport:
Home workers can claim £26 tax relief for job expenses
If you’ve asked your employees to work from home, and you’ve not reimbursed them already, your employees may be entitled to claim tax relief on additional household expenses they’ve incurred, such as heating and lighting.
New hotline launched to report COVID fraudsters
A new hotline has been launched to stop fraudsters illegally targeting COVID stimulus schemes.
If you would like to register your interest in creating one or more Kickstart Job, please complete the Kickstart Employer Enquiry Form and a member of the Council’s Kickstart Team will contact you to explain more.
The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to employers to create job placements for 16 to 24 year olds.
Kickstart Scheme terms and conditions
Kickstart Scheme terms and conditions for employers and gateways receiving the Kickstart Scheme grant from the Department for Work and Pensions.
Kickstart Scheme employer resources
If you’ve been offered Kickstart Scheme funding, you can use these resources to show your support for the scheme.
Kickstart Scheme employer contacts
List of regional contacts for employers applying for a grant through the Kickstart Scheme.
Apply for a Kickstart Scheme grant: 30 or more job placements
If you are an employer looking to create 30 or more jobs placements for young people, apply for funding as part of the Kickstart Scheme.
Apply for a Kickstart Scheme grant: 29 or less job placements
If you are an employer looking to create 29 or less jobs placements for young people, apply for funding as part of the Kickstart Scheme.
Visit the Stockport Council website to report details of any outbreaks online.
Opening times for Stockport Council Coronavirus Helpline
The helpline for vulnerable people across Stockport can now be accessed through new opening times by calling 0161 217 6046:
• Monday – Thursday from 9am to 5pm
• Friday from 9am to 4.30pm
• Saturdays from 10am to 1pm
At busy times, residents are automatically offered a call-back from one of our call handlers.
Acas have also contributed to the development of a new return to work toolkit in partnership with SOM, CIPD, BITC and Mind.
Business Support in Stockport – a centre pool of information to support business owners in Stockport:
Government – Guidance on Returning to Work safely
Stockport Council’s FREE job matching website helps support employers with vacancies and individuals across the Stockport borough who are looking for work. The service, Stockport Jobs Match, will help to connect employers who have urgent temporary or permanent vacancies with applicants who are immediately available and in need of employment. The website also helps signpost individuals to available support services and information. www.stockport-jobsmatch.co.uk
Stockport Council – Health & Mental Well-being https://www.stockport.gov.uk/showcase/coronavirus
Government – Financial Support
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – online claims portal open
Government – Business Support:
Government launches new coronavirus business support finder tool
Government – Business Support Hub:
Government – IT safety support:
Government Warnings Over Coronavirus Scams – Here’s How to Protect Yourself
Government – Financial Support:
HMRC has published guidance on how it will work out income and profits for the self-employed or those in a partnership who have lost profits due to coronavirus.
Government – Business Support: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19
Government – Financial Support: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-business-support-grant-funding
Government – Business Support:
Gov.uk: Maintaining Educational Provision: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision
Business Growth Hub:
Employment – Useful information for the Self-Employed:
News and Guidance for the self-employed:
Concerned how Coronavirus might impact you and your business?
Please get in touch with Enterprising You and you will be connected to someone who can help.
You can also access information and guidance including the latest Government updates via www.businessgrowthhub.com/coronavirus
Can you claim back Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay in the Rebate Scheme
From Tuesday 26 May 2020, small and medium-sized employers, with fewer than 250 employees, will be able to apply to recover the costs of paying coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments they have made to their employees. Health updates:
Health – updates from NHS
Health – Dedicated helpline to support vulnerable residents in Stockport:
Support can be accessed by calling 0161 217 6046 Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm and Saturdays from 10am to 4pm.
Health – Dedicated health & wellbeing services:
24/7 mental health helpline & safe haven for anyone over the age of 18 in Stockport (0800 138 7276).
Health – An Emotional Wellbeing Hub which provides information, advice, and guidance for anyone up to the age of 25 for emotional wellbeing and mental health concerns. 0161 217 6028 – 8.30am-5pm Mon – Thurs 8.30am-4.30pm on Friday.
Community – Guidance for businesses seeking to help voluntary, community, and social enterprise organisations during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
How businesses can offer services, funds and volunteers to civil society during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Find out more information here.