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Save Future Travel Coalition – Easter/Summer Period booking survey – please complete
The Save Future Travel Coalition, led by ABTA, is running an industry survey which aims to gather data on booking trends for the Easter/summer periods and to assess the latest employment situation. Accurate and reliable data plays an important role in the direction of public policy and therefore your input is very valuable. The survey should take around 10-15 minutes to complete, and you’ll find a link to it here. The survey closes 5pm on Friday 29 April.
Department for Transport launches Great Britain Rail Sale
Offering passengers up to 50% off selected rail tickets, the sale offers passengers significant savings on a range of journeys across the UK, including cross-border journeys with Scotland and Wales. The discount will be available on selected Advance tickets on over 1 million journeys from participating train companies or, Off-Peak tickets as an alternative on some routes. Railcard customers will also be able to save an extra third off a Great British Rail Sale ticket. Customers can find out more by visiting nationalrail.co.uk/railsale.
Visitor Visa fee increases
The Government has increased the cost of visitor visas to the UK. Prices are as follows –
- Visitor visa – standard 6 months increased £5 to £100
- Visitor visa – 5-year multiple entry increased £15 to £670
- Visitor visa – long up to 10 years increased £15 to £837
UKinbound issued a strong press statement about the increases stating, ‘The decision to increase visa prices is absolutely tone-deaf.’
Government grants for EV charging points
The Government has introduced a new scheme providing grants of up to £350 per electric vehicle charge point socket installed by accommodation businesses. Every business can claim up to 40 grants. This grant is available for B&B’s, campsites, small hotels, and any other accommodation business with less than 250 employees provided that the business is registered with Companies House, has a VAT number, or has a HMRC registration letter.
Levelling Up Fund
London borough councils and district councils in two tier areas in England are eligible to submit bids for the second round of the Levelling Up Fund which was announced in the 2022 Spring Statement. The Levelling Up Fund is designed to invest in infrastructure that improves everyday life across the UK. The £4.8 billion fund will support town centre and high street regeneration, local transport projects, and cultural and heritage assets. Across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (NI), unitary authorities (including metropolitan borough councils). In addition to local authorities, the UK government will accept bids from a range of local applicants in NI, including but not limited to businesses, universities, voluntary and community sector organisations, district councils, the Northern Ireland Executive, and other public sector bodies. The Fund will run until 2024/25. The application window opens on Tuesday 31 May 2022, with a deadline of 12:00 noon on Wednesday 6 July 2022.
UK Shared Prosperity Fund
The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) prospectus and supporting documents have been published on gov.uk. UKSPF is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and a significant component of its support for places across the UK. It provides £2.6 billion of new funding for local investment by March 2025, with all areas of the UK receiving an allocation from the Fund via a funding formula rather than a competition. It will help places right across the country deliver enhanced outcomes and recognises that even the most affluent parts of the UK contain pockets of deprivation and need support. The window for the submission of investment plans will run from 30 June 2022 to 1 August 2022.
HMRC and ACAS National Minimum Wage (NMW) Seminars
HMRC and ACAS are holding two webinars for employers about the new NMW rates. It will discuss common minimum wage mistakes made by employers and how businesses can avoid them. They will be answering questions and providing links to further business support. The two one-hour seminars are on 4 and 10 May and you can register for them here.
The UK Government has announced they will remove the remaining COVID-19 international travel restrictions for all passengers from 4am Friday 18 March.
- From 4am 18 March no-one entering UK will need to take tests or complete a passenger locator form
- Remaining managed hotel quarantine capacity will be fully stood down from the end of March, making the UK one of the first major economies to end all COVID-19 international travel rules
- Contingency plans to be put in place to manage any future variants of concern (VoCs)
- People will continue to be able to access their vaccine and recovery records through the NHS COVID Pass to use when travelling overseas.
See the full press release here – https://www.gov.uk/government/news/all-covid-19-travel-restrictions-removed-in-the-uk
Update from the National Cyber Security Centre
Following Russia’s further violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, the National Cyber Security Centre has called on organisations in the UK to bolster their online defences.
The NCSC – which is a part of GCHQ – has urged organisations to follow its guidance on steps to take when the cyber threat is heightened. There is specific support and guidance for organisations of different sizes:
- CNI, large organisations and public sector – NCSC alert
- SMEs – Small business guide
- Microbusinesses, sole traders – Cyber Action plan
- Citizens – Cyber Aware
Organisations should also consider adopting Cyber Essentials to help guard against the most common cyber threats and demonstrate a commitment to cyber security.
While the NCSC is not aware of any current specific threats to UK organisations in relation to events in and around Ukraine, there has been an historical pattern of cyber attacks on Ukraine with international consequences.
The guidance encourages organisations to follow actionable steps which reduce the risk of your organisation falling victim to an attack.