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The News section lists important news items recently published, regarding government policy and issues affecting UK citizens.


UK Marks One Year Since Deploying World’s First COVID-19 Vaccine

Vaccination programme has been a phenomenal success with almost 120 million doses administered, saving countless lives and reducing pressure on the NHS.


UK Hydrogen Strategy

Government plans to create a thriving low carbon hydrogen sector.


Cyber Defence Funding Competition

Funding competition for autonomous cyber defence agents to protect military networks and systems.


Product Defect Recall – Ketofen 10% Solution for Injection

Ceva Animal Health Ltd issues product recall for Ketofen 10% solution for Injection.


Contacts of Double Vaccinated No Longer Have to Self-Isolate from 16 August 2021

Rules for self-isolation changed.


Defence Innovation Loans Available

Up to £1.6m available to help companies commercialise defence solutions.


Health and Social Care Secretary Statement on Offering COVID-19 Vaccination to Young People

The government accepts JCVI advice on vaccinating 16 and 17 year olds.


Government Waives Quarantine for Arrivals Fully Vaccinated from Europe and USA

The latest steps towards reopening international travel make it easier for people vaccinated in Europe or the USA to travel to England.


Prime Minister’s Statement at Coronavirus Press Conference 19 July 2021

The fourth step on the Coronavirus roadmap has now been reached. The Prime Minister outlines the next stage in the government’s strategy.


Britain to Move to Step 4 of Coronavirus Roadmap on Monday, 19 July 

The Prime Minister has cautiously confirmed Britain will move to the next state of the Coronavirus roadmap on 19 July.


Self-Isolation to be Eased for Fully Vaccinated Adults from 16 August 2021

Individuals who have received two vaccinations and under 18s will no longer need to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19.


Prime Minister’s Statement at Coronavirus Press Conference 5 July 2021

The Prime Minister’s plans for opening up the country from 19 July.


All Care Home Workers Will Need to Be Vaccinated from October

The new rules will apply to all directly employed workers, agency workers, and volunteers working in care homes.


Prime Minister Postpones End of Coronavirus Restrictions Until 19 July 2021

Due to the impact of the Delta variant the country will not be fully opened up until 4 weeks after 21 June.


Statement by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care – 14 July 2021

Summary of current health situation regarding the Coronavirus.


The Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2021

1,129 honours granted to a diverse range of recipients, including a damehood to Kate Bingham, previously Chair of the COVID Vaccine Taskforce, for her role in the procurement, manufacture and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.


G7 Global Tax Agreement

The largest multinationals will now pay tax on the profits they generate, in the countries in which they operate.


Queen’s Speech 2021

Transcript of the latest Queen’s speech, outlining the government’s plans for the forthcoming year and beyond.


New Free Speech Duties for Universities Announced by Government

Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill has been introduced to parliament.


COVID-19 Restrictions to be Comprehensively Eased from 17 May 2021

The government plan to reduced Coronavirus infections and to get the country back to normal is working as predicted.


Pupils Will No Longer be Required to Wear Face Masks in Schools and Colleges from 17 May 2021

The Prime Minister announced the change in his press conference yesterday.


International Holidays No Longer Illegal from 17 May 2021

Guidance on which countries are deemed safe according to the government’s ‘green list’ available.


Government Statement on the Latest Developments in Jersey

An update on the government’s response to the French fishermen’s blockade of Jersey.


Single Use Carrier Bag Charge to Increase to 10p on 21 May 2021

As a result of the carrier bag charge, the average person in England now buys just four single-use carrier bags a year from the main supermarkets, compared with 140 in 2014.


Care Homes Residents to be Allowed More Out-of-Home Visits

Residents will be able to leave care homes for low-risk visits without needing to self-isolate on their return.


Legal Limit on Mourners at Funerals to be Removed from 17 May 2021

The legal limit of 30 mourners at a funeral is to be removed as part of step 3 of the Coronavirus roadmap.


School Uniforms to be Made More Affordable

Schools will need to follow a new law that instructs them to keep uniform costs down.


Breathing Space – New Debt Respite Scheme Launched Today

The Breathing Space scheme will provide 60 days for those facing financial difficulties to get their finances in order without debts piling up.


Self Driving Cars Could Be Used On British Roads Later This Year

Self driving vehicles would be limited to speeds of up to 37 miles per hour on motorways.


New Antivirals Taskforce Launched

The taskforce will identify treatments for patients who have been exposed to COVID-19, both to stop it spreading and to reduce its transmission.


Most Pharmacies Now Offering Free COVID-19 Tests

Nine in ten pharmacies across England are now distributing free rapid lateral flow tests for people to collect and use at home.


Prime Minister’s Statement on the Death of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh


MHRA – Possible Link Between COVID-19 AstraZeneca Vaccine, and Rare, Unlikely to Occur Blood Clots

The benefits of vaccination continue to outweigh any risks but the MHRA advises careful consideration be given to people who are at higher risk of specific types of blood clots because of their medical condition.


Recovery Loan Scheme Launches – Loans from £25,0000 up to £10,000,000 Available

The scheme will provide loans to those businesses that need it. It will be operated by the British Business Bank, with loans available through a diverse network of accredited commercial lenders.


Face Coverings to Continue to be Worn in Schools and Colleges

After an ongoing review of evidence, it has been decided face coverings will continue to be worn on educational premises.


COVID-19 Restrictions to be Eased Further on 12 April 2021

Pubs, shops, gyms and hairdressers set to reopen.


Government’s Plans to Reduce Illegal Immigration

The government announces the biggest reform of the immigration system in many years.


The Union Flag is to be Flown on Government Buildings Every Day

New rules on for the flying of the Union Flag published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.


Secretary of State’s Statement on the Failings of Liverpool City Council

The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government responds to the findings of the Best Value Inspection Report of Liverpool City Council.


Prime Minister’s Statement on the Coronavirus – 23 March 2021

Prime Minister’s statement, marking the one year anniversary of the lockdown.


Easing of Restrictions for National Lockdown

The next series of easements will begin on 29 March 2021, leading up to what is presumed to be the final end of the lockdown on 21 June.


Self Assessment Payment Deadline 1 April 2021

Last month, HMRC said that due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, they were giving Self Assessment taxpayers more time to pay their tax or set up a payment plan without facing a 5% late payment penalty charge, as long as arrangements were in place by midnight on 1 April 2021.


Defence Review 2021 – ‘Defence in a Competitive Age’

The new defence review outlines a future vision for the UK armed forces, in which they are ready to effectively deal with new and ever more sophisticated threats.


Prime Minister Declares COVID-19 Vaccines to be Safe

During a press conference on the 18 March, the Prime Minister said the vaccines being made available across the country are safe, and urged those that are clinically vulnerable to take them.


Government Launches Project Gigabit

£5 billion investment in next generation superfast broadband.


Grant Scheme for Electric Cars, Vans and Trucks 

The grant scheme has been updated to target less expensive models. Government grants of up to £2,500 will be available for electric cars or vehicles costing less than £35,000.


Prime Minister’s Statement on the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy

Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a statement to the House of Commons on the Integrated Review of security, defence, development and foreign policy.


SME Brexit Support Fund Open for Applications

Grants of up to £2,000 available.


International Condemnation of Hong Kong Electoral Changes

Statements by the G7 and the British Foreign Secretary.


Secretary of State’s Speech on COVID-19 Vaccine Supply and Manufacturing in the UK

Our efforts on COVID vaccine supply and manufacturing here in the UK are well progressed. Over 22 million have received their first dose – two-fifths of our adult population.


Prime Minister’s Coronavirus Press Conference 8 March 2021

Schools have begun the process of fully re-opening again.


National Action Plan to Protect Journalists from Abuse and Harassment

It follows reports to the government from journalists who have suffered abuse and attacks while going about their work, including being punched, threatened with knives, forcibly detained and subjected to rape and death threats.


Free COVID-19 Workplace Testing Offered to All Businesses

Government workplace testing scheme opened to all businesses.


New Mandatory Form for International Travel

Passengers travelling abroad will need to carry the form showing that their trip is allowed under national lockdown rules.


Key Points of the 2021 Budget

The Coronavirus Job Support Scheme will be extended until September 2021, as will the Self Employment Income Support Scheme.


Households with School Aged Children to Get 2 COVID-19 Tests Per Person Per Week

As well as tested at school, school aged children will also be tested at home, as COVID-19 home testing kits are made available.


Study on Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca Vaccines Shows Them to be Highly Effective in Reducing Severe COVID-19 Symptoms in Older People

The vaccination seems to be particularly effective in protecting the over 70s and 80s from the worst effects of COVID-19.


Levelling Up Fund Extended Across the UK

Fund extended to help level-up every corner of United Kingdom. £4.8 billion to be invested.


Prime Minister Announces Roadmap to Ease Lockdown Restrictions

Four step roadmap announced.


Schools and Colleges to Re-open from 8 March – Mass Testing for Secondary Pupils

All secondary school and college students will take three COVID-19 tests as they return to the classroom from the 8 March at existing school testing facilities.


Government Plans to Scrap Vnuk Motor Insurance Law

British drivers will avoid an estimated £50 a year increase in motor insurance costs as the government confirms it plans to do away with the controversial EU ‘Vnuk’ law.


COVID-19 Home Testing Kits Can Now be Ordered Via Telephone

COVID-19 home testing kits can be ordered over the phone without the need for accessing the internet.


COVID-19 Variants Identified in UK – Public Health England

Latest updates on presence of COVID-19 variants in the UK.


Free Speech to be Protected at Universities

The government is to take legal measures to strengthen free speech and academic freedom at universities across England.


Prime Minister’s Statement on the Coronavirus 15 February 2021

Overview of the current situation. This should be the final lockdown.


Support for Renters Extended

Renters will continue to be supported during the ongoing national lockdown restrictions, with an extension to the ban on bailiff evictions.


SME Brexit Support Fund Announced

Grants of up to £2,000 will be available.


Heavy Financial Penalties and Potential Jail Time for Travellers Who Break Quarantine Rules

Harsh new measures to be introduced by the government from Monday, 15 February 2021.


National Scheme to Provide Free PPE for Unpaid Carers

The government has instigated a new national scheme for providing free PPE to unpaid carers who do not live with the people they care for.


HM Treasury Announces Greater Flexibility to Pay Bounce Back Loans

The Chancellor’s Pay as You Grow repayment flexibilities now include the option to delay all repayments for a further six months, meaning businesses can choose to make no payments on their loans until 18 months after they originally took them out.


Mandatory Hotel Quarantine to be Introduced from 15 February 2021 to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

From 15 February anyone travelling to the UK from a country on the UK’s travel ban list will be required to quarantine in a government-approved facility for 10 days.


NHS Vaccinated 10 Million Against COVID-19 Between December 2020 and February 2021

More than 10 million people in the UK have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, marking a significant milestone for the largest vaccination programme in British history.


COVID-19 Alternating Dose Vaccine Study Begins

The study will determine whether different vaccines can be safely used together.


Britain Applies to Join Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership

Britain has asked to join CPTPP, with formal negotiations due to start later in the year.


New Hong Kong British National (Overseas) Visa

The visa reflects the UK’s historic and moral commitment to the people of Hong Kong who have had their rights and freedoms restricted.


Schools and Colleges to Return on 8 March

The earliest schools and colleges will return to work will be 8 March.


No Self Assessment Late Filing Penalty for Those Submitting Accounts by 28 February 2021

HMRC is encouraging anyone who can to file their accounts by 31 January, but is temporarily relaxing the deadline for tax penalties.


Prime Minister’s Latest Update on the Government’s Coronavirus Strategy

It now appears a new variant of the Coronavirus is appearing in London and the South East.


Home Secretary’s Statement on the Coronavirus 21 January 2021

£800 fine announced for people who attend house parties.


Decriminalising TV Licence Fee Evasion

The government has published its response to the public consultation on whether or not to decriminalise non-payment of the tv licence.


Companies House Direct and WebCHeck Services Closure Postponed

The services were due to be closed in February 2021, but a decision has been made to defer the closure to later in the year.


National Free School Meals Voucher Scheme

The scheme allows schools to place orders for supermarket gift cards on behalf of parents and carers whose children are eligible for free school meals.


Over 70s to be Invited to Take COVID-19 Vaccination from Today

Millions of people aged 70 and over and those clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 will be invited to get their vaccinations from today.


Professor Chris Whitty – the UK’s Battle with COVID-19

Professor Chris Whitty summarizes the UK’s current battled with the Coronavirus.


Mandatory COVID-19 Testing for All International Arrivals to England

Passengers arriving from all international destinations will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test result before departing for England to help protect against new strains of coronavirus circulating internationally.


COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Updated – South Africa and Israel

The ban on South Africa has been extended, whilst Israel has been removed from the travel corridors list.


Leasholdings to be Increased to a Maximum of 990 Years

Leaseholders will be given the right to extend to extend the leases on their homes for up to 990 years.


One-off Grants for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Sectors

Lockdown grants worth up to £9,000 available.


Prime Minister’s Statement on the Coronavirus 5 January 2021

An update on the fight against Coronavirus COVID-19.


Joint Statement from the UK Chief Medical Officers on Raising the COVID-19 Alert Level

The UK Chief Medical Officers have recommended raising the COVID-19 alert level from 4 to 5.


Restrictions on Primary Schools to be Introduced Across London

The government has today (1 January) announced that the education contingency framework will be implemented across all London boroughs, following a further review of the transmission rates.


£830 Million Funding for High Streets

Funding for high streets in 72 areas to help them recover from the pandemic and to deliver regeneration plans.


School and College Contingency Plans if Coronavirus Cases Rise

One week staggered return for schools and colleges due to the continuing spread of the Coronavirus.


Oxford University/AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine Approved by MHRA

The COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University/AstraZeneca has today been given regulatory approval by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency after meeting required safety, quality and effectiveness standards.


Advice for Clinically Extremely Vulnerable in Tier 4 Areas

It is recommended this group stay at home at all times.


Tier 4 ‘Stay At Home’ Alert Level Announced for London and South East of England

The Prime Minister has announced tougher restrictions for large parts of South East England with a new Tier 4: ‘Stay at Home’ alert level.


UK and US Sign Customs Agreement

New agreement signed to ensure the smooth flow of trade after Brexit is completed.


Weekly Coronavirus Testing to be Made Available to Secondary Schools and Colleges

Lateral flow tests to be made available to staff and students from January 2021.


UK and Mexico Sign Trade Deal for Tariff-Free Trade

Around 3,800 UK businesses export goods to Mexico, which the OECD expects to become one of the world’s 10 largest economies within a generation and which has a market of over 130 million consumers.


London, South Essex, and South Hertfordshire to Move to Tier 3 Restrictions

Urgent action needed to reduce transmission of the virus in these areas.


UK Chief Medical Officers’ Statement on the Self-Isolation Period

The self-isolation period can now be reduced from 14 days to 10 days.