Things are looking good between the UK and India bilaterally, it is reported that Anne Marie Trevelyan-International Trade Secretary, backed up by Liz Truss-Foreign Secretary, is about to embark for India bearing a new bespoke visa deal. It could include options for Indian students and others to work here for a period of time and cutting fees for different types of Indian visas. A more relaxed less expensive visa deal would make all the difference to Indians studying in UK and businesses employing Indians in the UK.
According to new data published in 2021, the UK has broken down hundreds of trade barriers around the world, opening up new opportunities for British businesses. Now cooperation with Indian counterparts has enabled more investment in India’s £4bn insurance market- 74% foreign ownership is now allowed, up from 49% – a sector in which the UK has world-class strengths. The UK is keen to break into the tech and digital space in India. Ranil Jayawardena, Trade Minister, has been working tirelessly to strengthen UK trade and investment both ways with India, deepening the trade, investment, and export cooperation between the two countries through the Enhanced Trade Partnership which will hopefully mature into a proper UK-India Trade Deal, even before an equivalent deal is agreed with the EU and the US.
Things are looking up for the Prime Minister too, it seems Boris Johnson has finally accepted that Covid-SARS2 is endemic and bit by bit Johnson is taking steps to introduce the population to learn to live with recurring Coronavirus mutations. Despite COVID-19 infections compatible with the Omicron variant continuing to increase rapidly across England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland, and it being the most common variant across all UK countries, there were no additional New Year restrictions. Travel is opening up and from Friday, pre-departure testing is no longer required for fully vaccinated travellers returning to England. This new more get up and go attitude towards the pandemic has reunited the Conservative party and settled the rebellious backbenchers, although vaccination and boosters still have the starring role in the prevention of serious illness and the PM is not ruling anything out in the future.
Now Johnson and Rishi Sunak will have to address the rise in the cost of living; inflation is rising, energy bills are soaring and in an unpopular move the national insurance contribution is going up, and expectations of the NHS remain high.