Sirius Business Bulletin - 12th February 2021
This bulletin provides a summary of topical news, announcements and policy developments affecting business across the UK.
Consultation on food legislation in England
Defra has launched a consultation on proposed changes to specific food legislation in England. The proposed changes affect legislation relating to bread, meat products and jam. The proposed changes would enable the UK to maintain high domestic food standards and reflect the UK’s new trading relationship with the EU.
Read more about the consultation at: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/food/consultation-on-amending-domestic-food-legislation/
87m pints of beer wasted since start of pandemic
Up to 87 million pints of beer may have been wasted, costing the industry £331 million, since the Covid-19 crisis began in March 2020. Overall beer sales in pubs were down 56% in 2020 to about £6.1 billion, a loss of £7.8 billion in sales compared with 2019.
Read more about the figure at: www.morningadvertiser.co.uk/ Article/2021/02/05/How-much-beer-has-gone-to-waste-because-of-coronavirus
Hospitality at home trend to continue
A survey carried out by KAM Media has revealed that the ‘hospitality at home’ trend is set to continue, even after hospitality venues re-open. The survey results indicate that after venues reopen 40% of respondents would consider buying a cook-at-home meal kit, 44% would consider a finish-at-home meal kit and 35% would buy mini kegs from a pub.
Read more about the survey at: https://catererIicensee.com/hospitaIity-at-home-is-here-to-stay-reveals-survey/
Organic sales hit 15-year high
Sales of organic produce in the UK increased by 12.6% to £2.79 billion in 2020, the biggest increase in 15 years. The top four organic produce categories were dairy, fresh produce, canned and packaged and meat, fish and poultry.
Read more about the increase at: www.thegrocer.eo.uk/sourcing/organic-sales-hit-15-year-high-as-locked-down-shoppers-flock-to category/652996.article
IT and cybersecurity
New UK Cyber Security Council announced
The Government has set up a new independent body to help increase professional standards in the UK’s cybersecurity sector. The UK Cyber Security Council will establish the knowledge, skills and experience required for a range of cybersecurity jobs, bringing it in line with other professions such as law, medicine and engineering.
Read more about the council at: www.gov.uk/government/news/new-uk-cyber-security-council-to-be-official-governing-body-on-training-and standards
IT spending in the UK increases
IT spending risen dramatically in 2020 due to employers adapting to staff working from home. Around 80% of firms implemented quick-fix solutions and more than half implemented longer-term solutions.
Read more about the increase at: www.consultancy.uk/news/26910/it-spending-in-the-uk-on-the-rise-to-meet-the-new-normal
Services sector feels effects of lockdown
In January, business activity in the UK services sector shrank at the fastest rate since May 2020 due to businesses struggling to trade during lockdown. However, business optimism is at its highest since May 2014 due to the successful UK vaccine rollout and hopes of a strong rebound in economic conditions.
Read more about the services sector at: www.markiteconomics.com/Public/Home/PressRelease/514aa66dc87149979bbe8bf5edf5b36b?
Treasury ‘considers’ online sales taxes
The Treasury is considering the introduction of an online sales tax and an ‘excessive profit’ levy, in response to the increase in online shopping resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. The Treasury believes that an online sales tax might help reduce the impact of tax on high street retailers.
Read more about the ideas at: www.publicfinanee.co.uk/2021/02/treasury-considers-onIine-taxes
Countryside Stewardship scheme opens for 2022 agreements
Farmers and land managers are being encouraged to apply for Countryside Stewardship agreements to help them protect and improve the natural environment. The agreements will be replaced with the Environmental Land Management scheme in 2024.
Read more about the Country Stewardship scheme at: www.gov.uk/government/news/improved-countryside-stewardship-scheme-opens-for-2022-agreements
West of England becomes first region to offer e-scooters rental
The West of England Combined Authority has launched a long-term e-scooter rental scheme for residents in Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire. Under the scheme residents can rent an e-scooter for personal use and can keep it at home for an extended period of time.
Read more about the scheme at: www.publicsectorexecutive.com/articles/west-england-becomes-first-uk-region-offer-e-scooters-long-term rental
EU trade and the economy
Banks asked to prepare for negative interest rates
The Bank of England has written to banks asking them to prepare for any future decision to cut interest rates below zero. However, the Bank of England has stressed that negative interest rates are not imminent.
Read more about the letter at: www.publicfinanee.co.uk/2021/02/banks-asked-prepare-systems-negative-rates-move
UK importers face new customs checks
UK importers are being warned to prepare for new controls on products imported from the EU that come into force in April and July 2021. In April health checks will be extended to all products of animal origin including, meat, pet food, honey, and milk or egg products. From July all goods
will be subjected to customs declarations and tariffs.
Read more about the controls at: www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/feb/07/british-importers-brace-for-disaster-a s-new-brexit-checks-loom?
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