Weekly Client Update – Friday 15 October

Local update

Islanders will be able to show digital proof of their vaccination status from early next week, the government has announced.

 Digital Covid Status Certificates are to be made available on smartphones, with QR codes that can be used in ‘certain limited situations’. This includes Wales and Scotland, which each have their own Covid passes for large scale events and nightclub venues.

England and Northern Ireland do not currently have certification schemes. The QR codes, which will be sent by email and valid for a maximum of 30 days, can also be used at the French border and domestically as part of France’s Pass Sanitaire scheme.

Islanders currently have to show their paper certificate when travelling or call the coronavirus helpline to receive a QR code when going to France, under an interim government solution.

The government added that in the coming days the UK is expected to join the EU Digital COVID Certificate Gateway, which they said would allow Jersey-issued digital certificates to be used in Europe and other jurisdictions that recognise the EU scheme.

Chief Minister John Le Fondré said that ‘many Islanders will welcome the accessibility of having a QR code for first and second doses displayed on their smartphone or emailed to them’.

Jersey’s YOTI app must be downloaded and registered to use the digital Covid certificate, and a One Gov account needs to then be created via one.gov.je Islanders aged 16 years and over will be able to log on via YOTI and view the vaccination record on a smartphone or desktop, and download a PDF certificate displaying QR codes for first and second doses.

Those aged under 16 years, and those who do not have access to the internet, can call the Coronavirus helpline to request a QR code to be emailed for each vaccine dose received within their primary immunisation course (i.e. first and second dose) The QR codes can be re-issued at any time, either by re-logging into one.gov.je or by contacting the Coronavirus helpline.

Vaccinating young Islanders can help Jersey to ‘keep Covid at bay’ through winter, according to the Island’s deputy medical officer of health. Dr Ivan Muscat said that vaccinating 12–15-year-olds could also prevent disruption to the education system, which marred pupils’ school experience during the third wave this summer.

The government announced last month that it would be offering a single vaccine to this age group, with around 600 young Islanders now having had their jab.

Speaking during an Ask the Experts event at Fort Regent, Dr Muscat said: ‘It is important I think to use all the weapons at our disposal to keep Covid at bay as we go into winter.’ He added: ‘We don’t know exactly what winter is going to bring, but we do think there’s going to be greater pressure from flu and other viruses.’

When asked by a young member of the audience why they should get the vaccine if they were healthy and young, Dr Muscat said: “The benefit is not as great as if you are unhealthy or old, but there is still a benefit. Covid-19 could still cause hospitalisation and disruption to school and education”.

He also said that if all of the around 4,000 children aged 12 to 15 on the Island were vaccinated, it would prevent one hospital admission a year.

‘We have all heard how disruptive Covid can be to children’s day to day lives,’ Dr Muscat said the vaccine, ‘together with other measures’, reduced the threat both to the individual child and the general well-being of children.

Consultant paediatrician Dr Owen Hughes said that long-term complications of vaccinations were ‘vanishingly rare’ and any complications would happen within a few days. He added: ‘These are very, very safe vaccines and the disease is worse.’

The latest vaccination statistics released yesterday confirm that 69% of all islanders have now received 2 vaccinations and 50% of 16 and 17 year olds have now received their first dose.

As of today, there are 245 known active cases of Covid in Jersey with 9 people in hospital.

And finally, Guernsey has announced that from the 20th of October, it will no longer be a requirement for those travelling into the Bailiwick from the Common Travel Area as ‘blue’ arrivals to purchase and complete a course of lateral flow tests.

Mixed markets

London stocks were still in the black by midday today as earnings optimism helped to offset concerns about inflation. The FTSE 100 was up 0.3% at 7,228.54, trading at its best level since the start of the pandemic as investors welcomed solid earnings from US banks such as Citigroup, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley a day earlier.

European markets are mixed. The DAX is higher by 0.06%, while the CAC 40 is leading the FTSE 100 lower. They are down 0.43% and 0.07% respectively.

Wall Street futures were in the green ahead of the bell on Friday ahead of the publication of last month’s retail sales data.

As of midday today, the Dow Jones 30 futures were up 0.42%, while S&P 500 and NASQAQ 100 futures were 0.34% and 0.29% firmer, respectively.

Asian markets finished mixed as of the most recent closing prices. The Shanghai Composite gained 1.14%, while the Nikkei 225 led the Hang Seng lower. They fell 2.07% and 0.27% respectively.

Airline collapses unavoidable

At this week’s Chamber of Commerce lunch, Matt Thomas, chief executive of Ports of Jersey, said he didn’t expect air travel to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2023, but he also didn’t expect dramatic price increases since airlines would have to compete.

Mr Thomas stated that because the Island was now in a stronger position in respect to Covid-19, the Airport was experiencing passenger flow at about 70% of 2019 levels, compared to 45% in the UK.

However, he warned that more airlines were likely to face the same fate as Flybe, which went bankrupt early in the epidemic, and Jersey must not be complacent about its travel links as the Island’s connection was jeopardized.

Camping and dining out increasing UK economy 

In August, the UK economy increased by 0.4% as more people dined out, vacationed, and visited music festivals.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the services sector contributed the most to economic growth in the first full month following the removal of all Covid restrictions in England.

According to the report, sports clubs, amusement parks, and festivals drove growth in arts, entertainment, and leisure.

There was also an increase in the number of hotels and campsites available.

According to the ONS, the GDP has shrunk by 0.8% since the epidemic began.

“The economy picked up in August as bars, restaurants and festivals benefited from the first full month without Covid-19 restrictions in England,” said Darren Morgan, director of economic statistics at the ONS.

Call for reduced rates to attract investment

Employers’ groups have warned that failure to act ahead of the budget will harm the UK’s economic aspirations. Groups representing more than a quarter of all employment in the UK have urged Rishi Sunak to reduce business rates in the next budget to free up billions of pounds for economic investment.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and 41 other prominent trade organisations have issued a joint statement ahead of the chancellor’s post-lockdown budget, calling for significant changes to the system that taxes businesses, based on the premises they occupy.

The trade groups, which collectively represent over 260,000 firms and 9 million people, cautioned that failing to act would jeopardize the government’s aim to establish a high-wage, high-productivity, and high-investment economy.

Response to the early rate hike 

Two members of the Bank of England’s nine-member monetary policy committee have stated that they would like to wait and observe how rising gas prices and raw material shortages influence inflation before voting to raise borrowing costs.

Catherine Mann, a former chief economist at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the US bank Citi, said that uncertainty about the BoE’s plans was raising the cost of borrowing in financial markets, which is what a rate hike would do. 

Latest post-Brexit U-turn

The UK has agreed to accept temporary visas for butchers, after farmers were forced to start culling healthy pigs a few weeks ago, due to a shortage of slaughterhouse workers.

Butchers working in abattoirs and meat processing factories that deal with pigs will be permitted to operate in the UK for six months, the environment secretary, George Eustice announced yesterday. He stated that 800 butchers were required to fill staffing gaps and get the issue under control.

A backlog of up to 120,000 pigs was believed to have been stranded long after they should have been slaughtered, causing cages to become congested and farmers to bring in specialised teams to dispose of the extra animals.

According to studies, in the run-up to Christmas, if traffic congestion persists, the clothing industry will be affected the most.

Large shipping firms have claimed that they have been forced to reroute some of their largest boats away from Felixstowe, Britain’s largest container port. These delays will reportedly affect over £1.5 billion worth of products imported into the UK if the backlog continues.

Retailers such as Asda, Tesco, John Lewis, and Marks & Spencer are thought to be among the most vulnerable due to the significant volumes of clothing they import.

According to Russel Group, clothing worth £46.2m imported by the supermarket chain Asda could be affected by the port delays. For Tesco the figure was £33.7m, and for John Lewis and M&S it was more than £29.3m each.