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

 

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.