24/11/2021

Business Update – 24 November 2021

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

UK PMIs Show Record Inflation

UK companies reported the strongest inflation in more than two decades during November, adding to pressure on the Bank of England to lift interest rates.

IHS Markit Ltd. said 63% of purchasing managers reported increased cost burdens. The gains were powered by higher wages and an increase in the prices paid for energy and raw materials.

Weekly Jobless Claims Declines to Lowest Level Since 1969

Initial jobless claims totaled 199,000 last week, the lowest level in more than 52 years. The report easily beat Dow Jones estimates of 260,000 and was well below the previous week’s 270,000. Continuing claims also fell by 60,000 to 2.05 million, a fresh pandemic-era low and a strong sign that the labor market is getting tighter.

In other economic reports, second-quarter GDP growth was revised up slightly to 2.1%, though that was below estimates for 2.2%.

Travel Rules to be Reviewed in January 2022

The government will review the UK’s international travel rules in January 2022, according to Aviation Minister Robert Courts. The minister also said he wants the aviation sector to “bounce back” from the pandemic.

January is an important month for the country’s travel industry as it is when many people book summer holidays.

Hydrogen Storage Project Near Glasgow

A hydrogen storage project near Glasgow has today been backed by nearly £10 million in UK government funding, helping create high-skilled jobs and drive progress towards decarbonising the transport sector.

The cash boost will see the Whitelee green hydrogen project develop the UK’s largest electrolyser, a system which converts water into hydrogen gas as a way to store energy. It will be located alongside ScottishPower’s Whitelee Windfarm, and will produce 2.5 to 4 tonnes of green hydrogen per day that could provide the equivalent of enough zero-carbon fuel for 225 buses travelling to and from Glasgow and Edinburgh each day.

Biggest Investment Into UK’s Tidal Power

The UK government will invest £20 million per year in Tidal Stream electricity as part of its flagship renewable energy auction scheme, creating jobs across the country and opening a new chapter for the tidal industry.

Tidal energy has the potential to be a very reliable source of generation, given the clockwork predictability of the tides.

UK Plans to Boost Overseas Trade

The government has announced its plans to boost the UK’s annual exports to £1 trillion by the end of the decade.

Last year, the UK exported about £600 billion in goods and services. However, only one in 10 British firms trades overseas. As part of the plan, government agencies such as UK Export Finance will offer new services to help UK exporters to secure business. Additionally, there will be a new UK trade show programme to help UK companies exhibit their products at international events.

£624 Million of Loan Funding for New Infrastructure

Loan funding of at least £624 million will be available for house builders, including SMEs, to improve the vital infrastructure needed to kick-start new housing projects.

This loan funding paves the way for up to 116,000 new homes to support people on to the housing ladder. Additionally, it will support smaller building firms and create thousands of new jobs.

New Laws and Code of Practice to Resolve Commercial Rent Debts

From 25 March 2022, new laws introduced in the Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Bill, will establish a legally-binding arbitration process for commercial landlords and tenants who have not yet reached an agreement, following the principles in the Code of Practice.

The new laws will be implemented in England and Wales, and Northern Ireland will have a power to introduce similar legislation. The Commercial Rent Bill will apply to commercial rent debts related to the mandated closure of certain businesses such as pubs, gyms and restaurants during the pandemic.

Starting 10 November, the government is also protecting commercial tenants from debt claims, including County Court Judgements (CCJs), High Court Judgements (HCJs) and bankruptcy petitions, issued against them in relation to rent arrears accrued during the pandemic.

Cold Weather Payment Scheme

From 1 November, households have 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.

£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.

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