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In his speech of 30 June, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister made clear that in recovering from COVID-19, we must build back better, build back greener, build back faster, and to do that at the pace that this moment requires. Our economy must be cleaner, more sustainable, and more resilient.
Renewable and low carbon energy are important in the delivery of our Net Zero target and will help drive new jobs and growth across the UK.
The Government announced on 2 March 2020 that, in addition to offshore wind, onshore wind and solar projects can bid for contracts in the next Contracts for Difference allocation round planned for 2021. At the budget, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced an ambitious support package for our low-carbon economy including £800 million funding to deploy the first carbon capture and storage cluster in the UK. These announcements reflect our commitment to reach our net zero target, through a sustainable, diverse, and resilient energy system and capture economic opportunities in doing so.
Nuclear power has the potential to play a key role in achieving net zero and as the Prime Minister noted in his 30 June speech is an important UK innovation sector. We consulted on a Regulated Asset Base (RAB) financing model to enable new nuclear projects last year and are considering the responses we received – we will publish our response in due course. We also awarded an initial £18m R&D grant, under the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, to a Rolls-Royce led consortium developing an SMR design last year, with a decision to be taken on possibility of further grant of c.£200m later in 2020. Economic recovery post Covid-19 is clearly a new context in which future investment decisions will be taken.
Electricity storage has a key role to play in decarbonising our energy system. We are facilitating investment in storage through delivering the actions set out in the Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan, including creating a best-in-class regulatory framework and reforming markets. Energy network regulation is a matter for Ofgem, as the independent regulator, and Ofgem is considering how the upcoming network price controls, for example, can help stimulate the recovery while delivering net zero at the lowest cost to consumers. Government will continue to engage with Ofgem on these issues.
My Department is taking a number of steps to support the reopening of the business events and exhibition sector.
We seek to reopen business events and conferences in Step 3, subject to a capacity cap. Attendees at outdoor business events will be capped at 50% capacity, up to 4,000 people. Attendees at indoor business events will be capped at 50% capacity, up to 1,000 people.
Step 3 will take place no earlier than 17 May, and at least five weeks after Step 2, following a further review of the data and the four tests.
As part of our efforts to get such events back in full operation, we have launched the Events Research Programme to explore when and how large events can return with reduced social distancing requirements.
The Government’s Covid-19 Secure guidance for the visitor economy will be kept up to date over the coming months, in line with the reopening process for the sector.
The Global Travel Taskforce reported on 9th April with recommendations aimed at facilitating a return to international travel as soon as possible, while still managing the risk from imported cases and variants of concern. We will confirm by early May if non-essential international travel can resume on 17 May.
The Government is taking a number of steps to encourage tourism once restrictions are eased. We are working with VisitBritain, VisitEngland and local partners to champion the UK’s diverse tourism offer through the Enjoy Summer Safely campaign.
We will continue to work with industry to provide assurance regarding when people can safely visit attractions - as demonstrated through the We’re Good to Go industry standard, which has been used by over 45,000 businesses. In addition, the £56 million Welcome Back Fund will help councils boost tourism, improve green spaces and provide more outdoor seating areas.
The Government is taking a number of steps to support the visitor economy’s recovery. The Global Travel Taskforce last year committed the Government to publish a Tourism Recovery Plan in support of the sector. The Government intends to set out proposals in the spring, including plans for a marketing campaign to welcome visitors back to the UK as soon as it is safe to do so.
Budget 2021 included £700m of extra funding to support our world-leading arts, culture and sporting institutions - protecting the venues which make London and the UK an attractive destination to visit.
In total, over £25bn has been provided to the tourism, leisure and hospitality sectors in the form of grants, loans and tax breaks.
The Skills for Jobs White Paper, published in January 2021, sets out our blueprint to reform post-16 education and training. It is focused on giving people the skills they need, in a way that suits them, so they can get great jobs in all sectors, including the tourism industry.
A range of provision is already available for young people aged 16 to 24 to equip them with the skills and experience they need to progress in their chosen careers, including traineeships, which provide unemployed young people with employability training, work experience and English and mathematics skills.
We have also launched T Levels, which are a high-quality technical alternative to A levels. With longer teaching hours and a meaningful, 45 day minimum industry placement, employer designed T Levels will be excellent preparation for skilled work or further training.
Through the Plan for Jobs, we are investing £1.6 billion to scale up employment support schemes and training to ensure young people have the skills and training to go on to high-quality, secure and fulfilling employment. This funding is delivering real change on the ground, including through the new Kickstart scheme providing 6-month jobs for young people furthest from the labour market, incentive payments for employers taking on new apprentices, the largest ever expansion in traineeships and considerable growth in the number of sector-based work academy programme placements, to enable unemployed individuals to acquire the skills needed for local jobs.
My right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, also announced £375 million for the National Skills Fund at the Spending Review in November 2020. This includes £95 million funding for a new level 3 adult offer and £43 million for skills bootcamps, as part of the Lifetime Skills Guarantee.
Currently, adults between the ages of 19 and 23 are eligible for full funding for their first full level 3 qualification, which is equivalent to an advanced technical certificate or diploma, or 2 full A levels. From April 2021, any adult aged 24 and over who is looking to achieve their first full level 3 qualification will be able to access a fully funded course which will give them new skills and greater prospects in the labour market.
We have also introduced skills bootcamps, which are free, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks, giving people the opportunity to build up sector specific skills and fast track to an interview with a local employer. Skills bootcamps have the potential to transform the skills landscape for adults and employers, and are open to all adults aged 19 or over, who are either in work or recently unemployed.
Apprenticeships are available to individuals of all ages and backgrounds providing opportunities to earn whilst learning the skills and knowledge required to work in the tourism industry.
There are 600 high-quality apprenticeship standards to choose from that have been designed by employers to meet their skills needs. Employers in the tourism sector can take advantage of standards in a number of occupational routes. Within the hospitality and catering route for example, standards include hospitality team member, hospitality supervisor and hospitality manager. Other available standards include travel consultant and cabin crew. The full list of standards can be found here: https://www.instituteforapprenticeships.org/apprenticeship-standards/?routes=Catering-and-hospitality.
To help employers in all sectors, including tourism, to offer new apprenticeships we have increased the level of incentive payments. Employers can claim up to £3,000 for each apprentice they take on as a new employee between 1 April 2021 and 30 September 2021 under the government’s Plan for Jobs.
Between 11 metres and 18 metres the risk profile of buildings is different and will not always require the same level of remediation when risks are identified. However, we want to make sure the residents and leaseholders in these buildings also have peace of mind and financial certainty. That is why the Government has announced a generous financing scheme which will mean that buildings of 11-18 metres in height will be able to access finance for the remediation of unsafe cladding, with a commitment that leaseholders will not need to pay more than £50 a month towards this. By providing this financing scheme we are ensuring that funding is available for remediation, accelerating the process and making homes safer as quickly as possible.
On 10 February the Government announced it will provide an additional £3.5 billion, which builds on steps already taken to support leaseholders, including £1.6 billion of funding to remediate unsafe cladding, the £30 million waking watch fund to help end excessive costs and new legislation in the Building Safety Bill which will ensure homes are made and kept safer in future. This brings the total investment in building safety to an unprecedented over £5 billion.
We realise the need to get unsafe cladding remediated as swiftly as possible as public safety is our first priority. We will publish further details as soon as possible.