Attached a copy of the lobby pack that supports the Queen’s speech. Here are some…
Distribution of ARG Funding
The latest figures on the distribution of ARG funding have been released by BEIS and show that there are still a significant number of councils in tourism areas that are not getting this funding to businesses quickly enough. The new figures are to the end of March, so they are about five weeks in arrears, but even so there are some councils that have barely started distributing this funding to business. Some examples are:
- Stratford upon Avon has only distributed £74k of the £3.8m that they have received (just 2%) – this is the same as they reported as having distributed in February so they haven’t distributed anything during March
- Southampton has only distributed £216k of the £7.3m that they have received (just 3%) – they reported distributing £207k at the end of February so they only managed to distribute £9k during March
- Kingston Upon Thames has now distributed £659k (up from £137k last month) but this is still just 13% of what they have received
- Southend has distributed just £12.6k to six businesses since November 2020 – this is just 0.2% of the £5.1m that they have received.
Bear in mind that to be eligible for the next tranche of ARG funding, councils have to distribute this funding by 30 June – so they now have less than two months to do this.
It is worth businesses that have applied for ARG funding checking the distribution figures for their council to ensure that they are not dragging their feet on providing businesses with much needed support.
Guidance for Visa Applicants
The Home Office has updated the guidance for people from red list countries wanting a transit visa. The guidance is that the Home Office’s pause on issuing transit visas has now been lifted and people from red list countries wishing to apply for a visitor in transit or direct airside transit visa can now do so.
G7 Meeting on International Travel
DfT has published a press release on the outcome of a meeting of G7 Transport ministers today at which they agreed to identify common goals and principles that will help develop globally recognised travel standards for when international travel reopens. This includes best practices for sharing scientific data and promoting coordination on universally recognised travel certificates.
West End Footfall
The New West End Company is undertaking a daily survey of footfall in London’s main shopping area. With the May Bank Holiday I thought it would be worthwhile to share the results. For the week covering the Bank Holiday, footfall was down 56% compared with 2019 and, more worryingly, was down 9% on the previous week. In terms of the year so far, footfall is down 79% compared with the same period in 2019.
DFT has released it’s weekly update on transport usage which suggests that public transport use continues to remain static with use of rail being only about a third of normal, while bus use remains at about 60%. The one change is in the use of the Tube in London which reached 45% of normal over the bank Holiday weekend – which is the highest level since before the start of coronavirus last year which is a welcome sign.