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News Report Page 5 of 12
Publication Date:-
2022-01-27
 
News reports located on this page = 2.

England returns to Plan A as regulations on face coverings and COVID Passes change today

THE Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) have confirmed that as of 00:01, on Thursday, 27 January 2021, England returned to Plan A measures following the huge success of the vaccination programme and falling Omicron infections. Plan B measures were initially introduced on 8 December 2021 to slow the spread of the Omicron variant and buy time for scientists to better understand it and get more jabs in arms. The Get Boosted Now appeal was launched, bringing the date for all adults to be offered a booster to the New Year. This target was reached, and over 37 million boosters have now administered. The vaccination programme has succeeded in reducing the risk of severe infection and hospitalisations, easing pressure on the NHS. Hospital admissions have now stabilised and the number of people in intensive care units with Covid19 continues to fall.

As of today the lifting of Plan B means:-

Mandatory Covid19 certification will end, but venues may choose to use the NHS COVID Pass voluntarily.

Face coverings will not be required by law in indoor venues.

Local Directors of Public Health are still able to recommend face coverings in communal areas only in education settings within their area, but only where the department and public health experts judge the measures to be proportionate - this is a temporary measure.

Infection prevention control guidance continues to require face coverings be worn in health and care settings, including:- Primary Care and Pharmacies.

It is suggested that people wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed spaces where they might come into contact with people they do not normally meet.

It is still a legal requirement for those with Covid19 to self isolate for 10 days with the option to end self isolation after 5 full days following 2 negative LFD tests.

Since Wednesday, 19 January 2022, the UK Government, within England, no longer asked people to work from home. People should speak to their employers about arrangements for returning to the office, and should follow the Working Safely guidance. Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said:- "The tireless efforts of NHS and care staff, and the army of volunteers, as well as the phenomenal response of the British public means over 37 million people have been boosted. I want to thank everyone who has come forward to Get Boosted Now. Our vaccines, testing and antivirals ensure we have some of the strongest defences in Europe and are allowing us to cautiously return to Plan A, restoring more freedoms to this country. As we learn to live with Covid we need to be clear eyed that this virus is not going away so if you haven't already, please come forward for your 1st, second or booster jab."

Today's changes follows a review last week of data including:- infections, vaccine efficacy, Covid19 pressures on the NHS, workforce absences, public behaviours, and views from the scientific community.

Vaccines continue to be the main defence against Covid19 with data from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) showing a booster is 92% effective in preventing hospitalisation from 2 weeks after it is administered and is 65% to 75% effective against symptomatic infection from Omicron. More than 83% of people aged over 12 in the UK have had their second dose and of those eligible, 81% have received their booster.

Though infections continue to fall, Omicron remains prevalent across the country; especially in the young and the elderly. Remaining cautious and taking precautionary measures is vital alongside vaccines and testing to control the spread of Covid19. As the virus becomes endemic, the Government will set out a long term strategy for living with Covid19 and replacing legal requirements on self-isolation with advice and guidance urging people with the virus to be careful and considerate of others.

The Government and the UK Health Security Agency continues to monitor new variants to keep the country safe and are working with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other national public health bodies to establish the International Pathogen Surveillance Network to improve surveillance around the world. The UK is also providing world leading genomic sequencing capability through the New Variant Assessment Platform (NVAP).
 


CBI finds UK Manufacturing activity remains firm despite costs rising sharply

UK manufacturing output volumes in the ¼ to January grew at a slower pace than in December, though growth remained firm compared with the long run average, while costs grew at the quickest pace for decades, according to the latest quarterly CBI Industrial Trends Survey. The survey of 236 companies found that output volumes increased in 10 out of 17 sub-sectors, with growth mostly driven by the food, drink and tobacco sub sector. Manufacturers expect output growth to pick up next ¼ . The manufacturing sector continues to face intense cost and price pressures, with firms reporting average costs in the ¼ to January growing at their quickest rate since April 1980. Firms expect costs to grow at a similar pace over the next 3 months. Increasing costs are continuing to feed into higher prices, with average domestic prices growing near previous ¼'s record pace and export price growth at its quickest since April 1980. Both domestic and export price growth are expected to accelerate in the next ¼. Total new orders in the ¼ to January grew at a faster pace compared to October, with the acceleration driven by faster growth in domestic and export orders. Manufacturers expect total new orders growth to slow in the next ¼, reflecting an easing of domestic and export orders. Supply issues continue to bite, with the share of firms citing skilled labour shortages as a factor likely to limit output next ¼ rising to its highest since October 1973, and concerns regarding other labour near the previous ¼'s record high. Meanwhile, the proportion of firms citing materials/components availability as a potential limiting factor declined from last ¼'s multi decade high but remained elevated by historical standards. Investment intentions for the next 12 months (compared to the previous 12) for plant and machinery reached their strongest April 1988, with intentions for training and retraining also strengthening. Firms expect to increase capital spending on product and process innovation to a similar extent as the previous ¼

Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Chief Economist, said:- "Global supply chain challenges are continuing to impact UK firms, with our survey showing intense and escalating cost and price pressures. More positively, it's good to see firms looking to invest more in training and retraining as labour shortages continue to bite. And planned increases in spending on plant and machinery is a welcome sign of much needed strengthening in business investment. Further fiscal measures to get more firms investing will be needed to set the UK on a long-term path to sustainable growth. Meanwhile, against the backdrop of rising energy prices, which are adding to inflationary pressures, short term action is needed from the UK Government to find urgent solutions for firms that are struggling. Longer term, energy market reforms are required to build resilience against future energy price shocks and create markets for renewable technologies, assisting net zero ambitions."

Tom Crotty, Group Director at INEOS and Chair of the CBI Manufacturing Council, said:- "It is no surprise that manufacturers remain acutely concerned about the impact of labour shortages on their business. Alongside this, manufacturers continue to face rising energy costs and broader inflationary pressures amid ongoing supply chain disruptions. The Government must work together with businesses to tackle these challenges as we begin to feel the effects of the cost of living crunch. On a more positive note, output continued to increase across most sub-sectors. But we must continue to push the Government for more strategic direction for the sector to initiate further sustainable growth.'"

Numbers employed in the sector grew at a slower pace compared to October, but growth is expected to pick up in the next ¼. Business optimism dipped in the ¼ to January, as did export sentiment.

Key findings:-

Output...

Output volumes in the ¼ to January grew at slower pace to December (+14% from +29% in December, long run average of +3%).

Output increased in 10 out of 17 sub-sectors, with headline growth mostly driven by the food, drink and tobacco sub-sector.

Manufacturers expect output growth to pick up in the next ¼ (+23%).

The share of firms citing skilled labour (42%) as a factor likely to limit output next ¼ rose to its highest since October 1973.

Meanwhile, the proportion mentioning other labour (30%) as a potential limiting factor was near the previous ¼'s record high (31%)

The proportion of firms citing materials / components availability as a factor likely to limit output next ¼ (55%) declined from last ¼'s multi decade high (64%, highest since January 1975).

Orders...

Total new orders in the ¼ to January (+10%) grew at a slower pace compared to October (+24%).

Domestic orders growth (+32% from +21% in October) quickened, as did export orders growth; to its fastest since July 2018 (+19% from +10% in October).

Manufacturers expect total new orders growth to slow next ¼ (+12%), reflecting an easing in domestic (+11%) and export (+7%) orders.

Headcount...

Numbers employed in the ¼ to January (+10%) grew at a slower pace to October (+24%). Headcount is expected to grow at a faster pace next ¼ (+38%).

Costs and prices...

Average costs growth accelerated at the fastest pace since April 1980 (+74% from +71% in October). Growth is expected at a similar pace next ¼ (+73%).

Average domestic price growth in the ¼ to January (+40%) was similar to October (+41%, its quickest pace since April 1980). Domestic price growth is anticipated to accelerate next ¼ (+66%).

Average export prices in the ¼ to January (+35% from +27% in October) grew at their quickest pace since April 1980. Export price growth is expected to pick up next ¼ (+47%).

Stocks...

Stocks of raw materials (+35% from +27% in October) grew at their quickest pace since April 2019, while stocks of work in progress grew at a survey record pace (+30% from +16%). Growth in stocks of finished goods remained broadly flat (+2% from -2% in October).

Manufacturers expect stocks of raw materials to grow at a slower pace next ¼ (+26%), with growth in stocks of work in progress also growing at a slower pace (22%). Stocks of finished goods are anticipated to grow at a modest rate (+10%).

Business sentiment...

Business optimism declined at a moderate pace in the ¼ to January (-9% from +2% in October).

Export sentiment also dipped in the ¼ January (-20% from +4% in October).

Investment intentions...

Firms expect investment in product and process innovation to increase in the next 12 months (compared to the last 12 months) at a broadly similar degree to last ¼

Firms expect to invest more in plant and machinery (strongest intentions since April 1988) and training and retraining in the next 12 months.

Capital expenditure on building is expected to be broadly unchanged.

Concerns about the extent to which labour shortages are likely to limit capital expenditure over the year ahead rose to its highest since July 2020.

The proportion of firms mentioning an inability to raise external finance (4%) as a potential factor to limit investment declined to its lowest since July 2017.
 

 
      
 
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