HSE: Removal of Plan B coronavirus measures in England

The UK government announced on 19 January that, with immediate effect, people are no longer asked to work from home.

From 27 January face coverings and the NHS COVID Pass will no longer be required by law in England.

The latest GOV.UK guidance has information on this and also on measures that remain.

There is separate advice for Scotland and Wales.

HSE’s latest advice on keeping workplaces safe will help you to continue to work safely during the pandemic.

You must still control the risks and review and update your risk assessment. The following workplace controls remain unchanged:

HSE is continuing to carry out spot checks to ensure workplaces are working safely and following the latest government COVID-19 guidance.

Further information on the spot checks is available.

Forecasts for the UK economy: January 2022

A comparison of independent forecasts for the UK economy in January 2022.

Read more: Forecasts

UK-US Joint Statement on Addressing Global Steel and Aluminium Excess Capacity

Joint statement from the UK and US on the start of bilateral discussions to address the issue of global steel and aluminium excess capacity.

United Kingdom Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan, United States Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo and United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai today announced the start of bilateral discussions to address global steel and aluminium excess capacity, including the United States’ application of tariffs on imports from the United Kingdom under Section 232 and the UK’s retaliatory tariffs on certain U.S. exports to the UK. Both parties are committed to working towards an expeditious outcome that ensures the viability of steel and aluminium industries in both markets against the continuing shared challenge of global excess capacity and strengthens their democratic alliance.

During a virtual meeting today, Secretary of State Trevelyan and Secretary Raimondo discussed the impact on their industries stemming from global excess capacity driven largely by China. The distortions that result from this excess capacity pose a serious threat to market-oriented steel and aluminium industries in the United Kingdom and the United States, and to the workers in those industries. They agreed that, as the United Kingdom and the United States are close and long-standing partners, sharing similar national security interests as democratic market economies, they can partner to promote high standards, address shared concerns and hold countries that practise harmful market-distorting policies to account.

Secretary Trevelyan, Secretary Raimondo and Ambassador Tai will enter into discussions on the mutual resolution of concerns in this area that addresses steel and aluminium excess capacity and the deployment of effective solutions, including appropriate trade measures, to preserve our critical industries.


India-UK Joint Media Statement on Launch of Negotiations

Joint Statement of Indian Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal and UK Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan.

Today the Republic of India and United Kingdom have formally launched negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement between our two countries.

This announcement has been made by Indian Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal and UK Trade Secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, who is in New Delhi for Free Trade Agreement discussions. A India-UK Free Trade Agreement would be a substantial opportunity for both of our economies and a significant moment in the India-UK bilateral relationship.

The India-UK bilateral trading relationship is already significant, and both sides have agreed to double that bilateral trade by 2030, as part of Roadmap 2030 announced by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Boris Johnson in May 2021. India and the UK will seek to agree a mutually beneficial agreement supporting jobs, businesses and communities in both countries.

Read more: India – UK

HSE: Personal Protective Equipment at Work (Amendment) Regulations 2022

Employers responsibilities to workers regarding the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are changing from 6 April 2022

The regulations and accompanying impact assessment extend employers and employees duties in respect of personal protective equipment to workers.

What is PPE?

PPE is defined in the regulations as “all equipment (including clothing affording protection against the weather) which is intended to be worn or held by a person at work and which protects the person against one or more risks to that person’s health or safety, and any addition or accessory designed to meet that objective.”

What does this mean for employers? 

The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 place a duty on every employer in Great Britain to ensure that suitable PPE is provided to ‘employees’ who may be exposed to a risk to their health or safety while at work.

The PPER 2022 extends this duty to workers and comes into force on 6 April 2022. Employers need to carefully consider whether the change to UK law apply to them and their workforce and make the necessary preparations to comply.

What does this mean for workers?

If a risk assessment indicates a worker requires PPE to carry out their work activities, the employer must carry out a PPE suitability assessment and provide the PPE free of charge as they do for employees.

The employer will be responsible for the maintenance, storage and replacement of any PPE they provide, and as a worker, you will be required to report loss and defects in the PPE which is provided, use the PPE in accordance with the training and instruction provided, and ensure PPE is returned to the accommodation provided by the employer.

The Personal Protective Equipment at Work (Amendment) Regulations 2022 interim guidance

HSE has prepared interim guidance to help employers identify whether they and their workforce may be impacted by the changes and explains what employers may need to do to prepare for the changes.

How to apply for the incentive payment for hiring a new apprentice

This article provides the information you need to apply for the incentive payment for hiring a new apprentice. The process involves several steps, which are outlined below.

It is the employer’s responsibility to apply for the incentive payment for hiring a new apprentice, using their apprenticeship service account. This cannot be done by the training provider.

When to apply

For apprentices with an employment start date from 1 October 2021 to 31 January 2022:

  • You can apply from 11 January – 15 May 2022
  • Apprentices must have an apprenticeship start date from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022

 Before you apply

  1. Check you are eligible to apply for the incentive payment.
  2. You need to have created an account on the apprenticeship service.
  3. You need to have hired a new apprentice. To be eligible, apprentices must have an employment start date from 1 October 2021 to 31 January 2022.
  4. If you do not pay the apprenticeship levy, before the training starts you need to have reserved funds in your apprenticeship service account or have arranged a transfer of levy funds.
  5. You need to have added your apprentice to your apprenticeship service account. This can be started by either the employer or the training provider but both need to agree the details before training begins.
  6. You need to have agreed a start date for apprenticeship training to begin with your training provider. To be eligible, apprentices must have an apprenticeship start date from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022.

How to apply

Once you have hired an apprentice and set up funding for training using the apprenticeship service, you can apply for the incentive payment.

  1. Sign in to your apprenticeship service account.
  2. In the ‘Finances’ section on the homepage, select ‘Your hire a new apprentice payments’.
  3. Select ‘Apply for the hire a new apprentice payment’.
  4. You’ll need to know the employment start date and apprenticeship start date for each apprentice you’re applying for.
  5. You will need to have your organisation’s finance details ready, if you have not entered them before as part of a previous application.
  6. You will need to have signed the latest employer agreement. If you have not done so, you will see a notification with more information before you start the application.
  7. Follow the application process online

After you apply

Once these steps are complete you will be able to track the status of your incentive application using your apprenticeship service account.

We use confirmation from your training provider that training has started to calculate when the first (90 day) payment is due to be paid.

Read more: Hiring a new apprentice

BEIS Bulletin: 7 January

  • COVID Updates
  • National Security and Investment Act comes into force

  • Sign up for webinars on using the UKCA mark

  • Other news

Read more: BEIS update 7 January 2022

Strategic Trade Advisory Group (STAG): summary of discussions

Summary of meetings of STAG which bring together Department for International Trade (DIT) officials and stakeholders to discuss trade policy.

Read more: Summary of discussions

UK exporters to South Korea tie up deals worth ‘tens of millions’

Government-backed trade shows in South Korea have helped UK businesses raise tens of millions of pounds in the last twelve months.

UK exporters to South Korea have landed deals they estimate to be worth over £70 million following support from the Department for International Trade (DIT).

UK-made products ranging from hydrogen fuel cells and offshore wind technology to lifejackets will be supplied to the South Korean market through deals made at DIT-supported trade shows in South Korea.

In fact, UK exports to this fast-growing nation increased by 9% (or £620 million) in the year to June 2021 compared to the same period the previous year.

South Korea is the tenth largest economy in the world and a growing market for exports of top-quality British products. The country forms a key part of UK’s strategic tilt to the Indo-Pacific region as we look for new opportunities to trade.

Trade between our two nations increased by 6% to total £13 billion in the year to June 2021, and the UK exported £2 billion more to South Korea than it imported.

DIT’s Pavilion showcase series – which provides stalls for UK companies to exhibit at overseas tradeshows – has enabled British firms to promote their products at South Korea’s largest events.

Read more: UK exporters to South Korea tie up deals worth ‘tens of millions’

Enabling or requiring hydrogen-ready industrial boiler equipment

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has published a call for evidence on Enabling or requiring hydrogen-ready industrial boiler equipment.

Hydrogen-ready industrial boilers have the potential to help industry decarbonise and kick start the UK hydrogen economy. They can run on fossil fuels today but are designed for subsequent conversion to hydrogen, enabling industry to transition to a low carbon future.

This call for evidence could be relevant to your organisation, so please take this opportunity to provide your views and help guide policy development in this area. Responses are welcomed until 23:55 GMT Monday 14 March.

What does the call for evidence cover?

  • Our latest analysis showing industrial boilers could represent 40-50% of low carbon hydrogen demand from industrial fuel switching by 2030.
  • How ‘hydrogen-ready’ for industrial boilers should be defined.
  • Whether hydrogen-ready boiler equipment would enable cheaper and faster fuel switching.
  • Whether government should take action to encourage hydrogen-ready boiler equipment.
  • The role of the supply chain and how best to maximise the economic opportunities for the UK.

Our ask of you

Respond to the call for evidence with as much detail as you can. All questions are optional, information will be treated confidentially if requested, and we will publish an anonymised summary of responses.

Why your evidence is important

The UK government is committed to working with industry to support decarbonisation and encourage the growth of new, low carbon sectors in the UK. Hydrogen-ready industrial boilers could be important for these aims and we welcome your expertise to inform policy in this area.