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Weekly policy update from London Chamber of Commerce and Industry 17 November 2020

November 19, 2020
General News
Merton Chamber

A round-up of key policy changes from the past seven days from LCCI

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Further insight on the UK Freeports model available

• A new guide published today has set out the government’s ambition for Freeports policy, the government’s core Freeport objectives, what is expected of bidders and what a best-in-class Freeport proposal will set out.

• The UK Government have said they are working with the devolved administrations to develop proposals to establish at least one Freeport in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, in addition to those allocated in England via this process.

• Bidders wanting to apply for Freeport status in England should complete this form by midday on the 5 February 2021.

• The benefits of these freeports was reiterated in a written statement on the levelling up of the UK.

Continuity trade deals may be given ‘provisional application’ to avoid disruption

• Trade Policy Minister Greg Hands responded to an urgent question in the HoC regarding scrutiny of future continuity trade agreements. He provided the following updates:

o Noted that trade agreements had been signed or agreed “in principle” with 52 countries in the last two years.

o Expected “significant progress” to be made on further deals before the end of the Brexit transition period.

o Explained that parliamentary reports had been published to show any differences between EU FTAs and the UK’s continuity agreement.

o Stated that “provisional application” of some agreements might be required for some continuity agreements, with scrutiny applied after their implementation, to allow for enactment on 1 January 2021 and guarantee continuity of trade.

£175 million more for cycling and walking as research shows public support

• £175 million announced for high-quality cycling and walking infrastructure across England to make local journeys safer all

• A survey revealed nearly 8 out of 10 people support measures to reduce road traffic in their neighbourhood, and two-thirds of people support reallocating road space for walking and cycling

o In London, independent polling by Redfield & Wilton shows 19% of people oppose LTNs, 52% support them and 25% are neutral.

o Surveys are also being conducted of residents in individual LTNs where roads have been closed. The first of these, in south London, found 56% wanted to keep the scheme, against 38% who wanted to remove it.

• The funding is allocated alongside strict plans set out by the Transport Secretary to ensure councils consult local communities

• Evaluation of early School Streets projects has shown traffic outside schools has reduced on average by 68%, children cycling to school has increased by 51% and harmful vehicle pollution outside schools is down by almost three quarters.

Chancellor hints at changes to road pricing to offset loss of taxes from shift to electric vehicles

• It was widely reported on Monday that the Chancellor is considering introducing a road pricing strategy to offset the estimated £40bn potential loss of tax revenue from the shift to EVs.

£2.2bn to help businesses in England through national restrictions

• Small businesses in England will receive £2.2 billion from the Government to help them through the current period of national restrictions.

• Businesses will benefit from two grant schemes: one for businesses that have had to close, and another scheme for further business support as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, helping support people’s jobs and livelihoods and protect communities.

• Money was reported as being transferred to councils in England on Friday and businesses can expect to receive money covering the 4-week period of national restrictions in the coming days.

19,000 jobs created under Kickstart scheme so far

• HM Treasury announced that the £2bn Kickstart Scheme has created 19,000 jobs already.

• It said that the jobs in tech, film and TV, communications, fitness and the charity sector are all areas which have created new roles since the scheme started.

• The announcement stated that over 4,350 applications from employers and gateways had been started, with more and more applications being accepted each week.

Business freedom extension

• The Government has boosted support for restaurants, pubs and cafes as Robert Jenrick MP extends takeaway services.

• Government extends temporary freedom for pubs, restaurants and cafes to provide food takeaways by another year.

• Freedoms enabling outdoor markets also extended

£22.5 million funding to turn industry waste into environmental wins

• Industry set to benefit from £22.5 million government funding to reduce waste and boost recycling in textiles, electronics, metals, construction and chemicals

• emissions from the UK’s textiles industry alone are almost as high as those from cars used for private trips

• research could stop the generation of 154 million tonnes of mineral waste each year

Updates provided by the Policy & Research Manager, LCCI