VAT Returns and Payments 

Many businesses and individuals are experiencing additional pressure due to this year’s COVID-19 lockdowns. If you have a VAT return that is due to be submitted and/or a liability that you don’t think you are going to be able to pay, please contact the Debt Management Unit at DMU.Customs@gov.im and explain your situation. There are alternative arrangements that can be agreed to help businesses and individuals who need support at this time.

There is already a payment scheme available for VAT deferrals relating to February, March and April 2020, businesses and individuals affected have until 21 June 2021 to agree a payment plan for those periods. 

Customs and Excise Division can be contacted on 648100.

Sleepers Stolen

Police are appealing for info after 20 railway sleepers were stolen on Good Friday. A statement said: ‘At 1.30pm on Friday April 2 a pickup type vehicle entered the car park opposite the Glen Mona Hotel. The occupants of this vehicle then stole twenty wooden railway sleepers. If you know who is responsible for this theft, or have any information which could assist, please contact Police Constable 220 Norris at Police Headquarters on 631212.’

Well Past the Peak

The number of weekly coronavirus deaths in England and Wales has fallen by 92% from the second wave peak, the Office of National Statistics says. Its latest report said there were 712 deaths involving Covid-19 occurred in the week to 19 March, down from 8,945 weekly deaths in January.

Roald Dahl Wood and HS2

Four people have been arrested during confrontations with HS2 contractors over the felling of woodland said to have inspired Roald Dahl. Natural England issued licences last week permitting the felling of two-thirds of Jones’ Hill Wood, in the high-speed rail line’s path. Campaigners said they were there to ‘fight for the woodland’. An HS2 spokesman said 4.1 hectares (10 acres) of new woodland would be created nearby. The estimated final cost of the HS2 project is now more than £100bn.

Greenland Election

Greenland’s left-wing pro-environment party, called Inuit Ataqatigiit, has won a snap election which now threatens a major mining project backed by China. The project is at Kvanefjeld, a mine in the south of the island which plays host to one of the world’s largest rare earth deposits. The 17 rare earth minerals include materials like neodymium used in wind turbines and electric vehicles. But even if the end products are green, the extraction process is not. The Kvanefjeld project is forecast to increase the country’s CO2 emissions by 45 per cent, and the Risø National Laboratory in Denmark estimates that up to a thousand tons of radioactive uranium dust could be released annually from the mine.

The winning party was one of the loudest voices in opposition to the mine and it will now be interesting to see how this plays out as democracy and big business go head to head.

ECHR Rules Obligatory Vaccination May be Necessary

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled on Thursday that compulsory vaccinations are legal and may be necessary in democratic societies. The ruling came following the conclusion of a complaint brought to the court by Czech families regarding compulsory jabs for children.

The court judgement said: ‘The measures could be regarded as being ‘necessary in a democratic society.’

Although the ruling did not deal directly with COVID-19 vaccines, experts believe it could have implications for vaccination drives against the virus, especially among those who have so far stated a refusal to accept the jab.

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