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COVID-19 Update 5th March 2021

  • ARG Funding For Tourism Businesses

In response to the disappointment that a number of sectors of the tourism industry such as tour and coach operators and English Language Schools are not included in the updated LRSG guidance, the Tourism Minister has again Tweeted a link to a speech he made in parliament where he affirmed that these businesses were eligible for ARG grants and called on Councils to give them due consideration to prioritising support.



  • ONS’s Social Impact Monitoring

There’s some good news from the latest round of ONS’s social impact monitoring. The proportion of adults that felt that life will return to normal within six months increased by almost 50% (from 22% to 32%) over the last week, while the proportion of adults who felt that it will take more than a year decreased by almost a third (from 27% to 20%). This is a very substantial change in the space of a week and is the first time since June 2020 that more than 30% of people thought that life will return to normal within 6 months.


  • Graduate Entry Route

The Home Office has confirmed that the Graduate Route will open for applications on 1 July 2021. This route will be available to international students who have completed a degree at undergraduate level or above and who have valid Tier 4 or Student permission at the time of application. Successful applicants will be able to stay in the UK and work, or look for work, at any skill level for two years (three for Doctoral students), and, once they have found a suitable job, will be able to apply to the Skilled Worker route from within the UK. The cost is £700 and the Immigration Health Surcharge at the full rate of £624 per year and the graduate does not need a sponsor in order to apply.

This move should go some way to help tourism businesses recruit employees with the skills that they need without going through the sponsored immigration route. It also means that businesses with ongoing recruitment needs should form closer relationships with local tertiary institutions.

To help with recruitment and labour issues, I’ve also attached a copy of a new explanatory Document that the Home Office have sent through for distribution to businesses wth detail on everything from the EU Settlement Scheme, the Points based Immigration policy and the various entry routes


  • State Aid Limited Increased to £10.9m

Paul Scully has confirmed via twitter that the government is removing the EU Sate Aid cap of £3m and replace it with a higher limit of £10.9m. This will help many large businesses in the tourism sector which would otherwise not have benefitted from the additional support announced in the budget on Wednesday.


  • Furlough Statistics

The latest round of furlough statistics have been released and show, yet again, that tourism businesses are the most impacted with around 60% of people working in the sector being on furlough in January compared to just 20% for UK businesses as a whole.


  • Vulnerability Analysis

ONS have also undertaken an analysis of the types of jobs that have been most and least vulnerable to reduced hours or pay during the coronavirus. The analysis again highlights the impact on the hospitality sector and the need to protect people in the industry. Two key findings are:

    • Waiters and waitresses saw a pay decrease of 10.0% compared with 2019; 77.3% were furloughed.
    • Chefs, and restaurant and catering managers saw similar drops in pay, and staff in these jobs were furloughed at a rate of 67.9% and 72.8%, respectively.


  • Kick Start Update

The guidance for the Kick Start scheme has been updated (yet again) to include more detail on the process for hiring an employee and the payment schedule for people employed through the scheme. The process for recruiting someone is:

    • You or your Kickstart gateway will give DWP job descriptions that work coaches at Jobcentre Plus will use to match candidates to the job placements.
    • You or your Kickstart gateway will receive a notification email each time a young person is referred to the job placement (‘referrals’).
    • Referred candidates may choose to apply for the job placement.
    • You’ll then be able to interview the candidates who have applied.
    • You or your Kickstart gateway will tell DWP when the young person has started so we can process the funding.

The payment schedule is:


  • R Number and Growth Rate

As ever, we end with this week’s R number and growth Rate, which are 0.7 to 0.9 and -5% to -3% respectively. Which are essentially unchanged from last week.


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