London: Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak is planning to lay out details of new fast-track “Tech Visas” in his Budget statement next month as part of efforts to boost the UK’s financial technology industry, according to a UK media report. The senior Cabinet minister has drawn up details for the scheme to attract global talent to UK start-ups and its GBP 7-billion fintech sector, proposals which are said to have the backing of his boss — UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The Daily Telegraph’ quoted Whitehall sources with knowledge of the plans to say that the new visas are likely to be approved by Tech Nation, Britain’s national network representing tech entrepreneurs.
The final details are still being drawn up, but insiders expect it will be similar to the Global Talent Visa announced last year to attract the world’s leading scientists to Britain, the newspaper claims. The Global Talent Visa is part of Britain’s new post-Brexit points-based system for visas and immigration, dubbed as levelling the field for migrants from within the European Union (EU) and beyond, including countries such as India.
While the EU and non-EU citizens wanting to live and work in the UK following Britain’s exit from the economic bloc must meet a similar specific set of requirements and points under the new system, the Global Talent Visa contains no cap on numbers for people who are suitably qualified. Sunak is said to be keen to maintain the UK’s status as a global hub for fintech and to overcome any challenges as a result of Brexit because such firms are often heavily reliant on European talent.
With the Budget in March due to be dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the newspaper notes that Sunak is also expected to rollover many of the support schemes due to expire at the end of March while lockdown restrictions are gradually lifted. Senior business leaders expect him to announce a six-month extension of the furlough or job retention scheme, before gradually phasing it out later in the year. Treasury insiders are also referenced as having signalled that any major tax rises are likely to be delayed until later in the year.
Airline CEOs, Biden Officials Consider Green-Fuel Breaks
Chief executives of the nation’s largest passenger and cargo airlines met with key Biden administration officials Friday to talk about reducing emissions from airplanes and push incentives for lower-carbon aviation fuels.
The White House said the meeting with climate adviser Gina McCarthy and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg also touched on economic policy and curbing the spread of COVID-19 travel has been a vector for the virus. But industry officials said emissions dominated the discussion.
United Airlines said CEO Scott Kirby asked administration officials to support incentives for sustainable aviation fuel and technology to remove carbon from the atmosphere. In December, United said it invested an undisclosed amount in a carbon-capture company partly owned by Occidental Petroleum.
A United Nations aviation group has concluded that biofuels will remain a tiny source of aviation fuel for several years. Some environmentalists would prefer the Biden administration to impose tougher emissions standards on aircraft rather than create breaks for biofuels.
Biofuels are false solutions that dont decarbonize air travel, said Clare Lakewood, a climate-law official with the Center for Biological Diversity. Real action on aircraft emissions requires phasing out dirty, aging aircraft, maximizing operational efficiencies and funding the rapid development of electrification.
Airplanes account for a small portion of emissions that cause climate change about 2% to 3% but their share has been growing rapidly and is expected to roughly triple by mid-century with the global growth in travel.
The airline trade group says U.S. carriers have more than doubled the fuel efficiency of their fleets since 1978 and plan further reductions in carbon emissions. But the independent International Council on Clean Transportation says passenger traffic is growing nearly four times faster than fuel efficiency, leading to a 33% increase in emissions between 2013 and 2019.
The U.S. accounts for about 23% of aircraft carbon-dioxide emissions, followed by Europe at 19% and China at 13%, the transportation group’s researchers estimated.
The White House said McCarthy, Buttigieg and economic adviser Brian Deese were grateful and optimistic to hear the airline CEOs talk about current and future efforts to combat climate change.
Nicholas Calio, president of the trade group Airlines for America, said the exchange was positive.
Airlines are ready, willing and able partners, and we want to be part of the solution” to climate change, Calio said in a statement. We stand ready to work in partnership with the Biden administration.
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