- Visits To Museums
DCMS has released the latest data on visitor number to the national museums and galleries. The figures cover Q1 2022 so they include the height of the Omicron variant but the figures for March when restrictions ended show that visitor number at that stage were still 55% down on March 2019 (1.94m visitors vs 4.5m visitors). It is noticeable that the attractions outside London are fairing better than those in London which probably reflects their higher dependence on overseas visitors.
- Covid Inquiry Terms Of Reference
The Chair of the Covid Public Inquiry has asked the Prime Minister to expand the inquiry’s Terms of Reference to include:
- Children and young people, including the impact on health, wellbeing and social care education and early years provision;
- Impacts on mental health and wellbeing of the UK population
- Collaboration between central government, Devolved Administrations, local authorities and the voluntary and community sector.
The third of these was an issue that came out of the Tourism Roundtable that we held with the Inquiry team which highlighted the problems for the sector associated with different rules and interpretation of rules across administrations and regions. Here’s a copy of the transcript from this round table.
Once the Prime Minister has approved the Inquiry’s final Terms of Reference, it will be established with full powers under the 2005 Inquiries Act.
- Covid Pass Guidance Updated
The guidance on the Covid Pass has been updated to say that the domestic NHS COVID Pass is no longer available and the medical exemptions service is no longer accepting new applications.
- Public Transport Use
I haven’t mentioned the DfT’s public transport figures for a while so I thought that it would be interesting to include them in an update. In short, national Rails figures are at about 75% of pre-covid levels while the Tube is about 70% on week days and 80% at weekends, and bus travel is 80-85%. What is interesting is that rail travel has been about 75% since the beginning of march which suggests that the recent Great British Rail Sale had little impact on rail use.
- Government Response to LUHC Select Committee Inquiry On The Future of the Planning System in England
The Government has published its response to the Select Committee Inquiry on Planning. Some of the key points are:
- The Government does not accept the recommendation to extend the 30 month timeframe to produce new local plans.
- The Government agrees with these recommendations and confirms that as part of the statutory 30-month timetable for plan-making, there will be requirements for two rounds of community engagement and consultation before local plans are submitted for independent examination.
- The Government agrees that design issues are very localised, and will require all local councils to produce local authority area-wide design codes.
- The Government agrees with the recommendation to ensure that Historic Environment Records are put on a statutory basis
- The Government agrees that the impact of development on the natural environment needs to be factored into decision-making at both a strategic and project level.
WLPF Conference Details
Next steps for the UK immigration system
New visa routes, economic impact, and addressing key issues for sectors, businesses and individuals
Morning, Thursday, 9th June 2022
Professor Brian Bell, Chair, Migration Advisory Committee, and Professor of Economics, King’s College London
Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive, UK Hospitality
Professor Catherine Barnard, University of Cambridge; Demetris Demetriou, Davidson Morris Solicitors; Carine Elliott, Squire Patton Boggs; Marley Morris, Institute for Public Policy Research; Emelia Quist, Federation of Small Businesses; and Madeleine Sumption, University of Oxford
Stuart McDonald MP, Shadow SNP Spokesperson, Home Affairs
[full chair and speaker details – further senior speakers are being approached]
This conference examines the future of the UK immigration system.
It will be an opportunity to assess recent changes to immigration rules – including new Global Business Mobility, High Potential Individual and Scale-up visa routes – and how the new routes can be used most effectively, as well as the options for further routes.
We also expect discussion on issues for implementation – particularly in light of added pressure on resources as a result of developments relating to asylum, such as the conflict in Ukraine and the Government’s new Migration and Economic Development Partnership with Rwanda.
The agenda will bring out latest thinking on options for reform to enable the system to more effectively contribute to economic growth and recovery – particularly in the context of labour shortages and increasing pressures on workforces being experienced in sectors such as construction, hospitality, retail, and health and social care.
There will also be examination of the processes and workings of the system itself, with delegates exploring what is needed to improve both employer and individual experiences and lower the barriers for engaging with the system, with discussion expected on:
- the cost of visa applications
- complexity and bureaucracy in sponsor licenses
- information, guidance and support available to employers
We are pleased to be able to include keynote sessions with Professor Brian Bell, Chair, Migration Advisory Committee, and Professor of Economics, King’s College London; and Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive, UK Hospitality.
The conference will be an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who are due to attend from the Home Office; the Migration Advisory Committee Secretariat; Department for the Economy, NI; The Scottish Government; and the Welsh Government, along with Parliamentary passholders from the House of Lords.