Sirius Business Bulletin - 21st February 2021
This bulletin provides a summary of topical news, announcements and policy developments affecting business across the UK.
Surge in demand for battery electric vehicles as tax incentives take effect
Demand for battery electric vehicles surged to take a 15% share of new lease car registrations in Q3 2020, as the Government’s benefit-in-kind tax incentives took full effect. According to the BVRLA’s latest Quarterly Leasing Survey, plug-in and hybrid vehicles overtook diesel in gaining a 36% share of new lease car registrations in Q3 2020, and are expected to overtake petrol soon.
Read more about the survey at: www.alphabet.com/en-gb/auto-digest/surge-demand-battery-electric-vehicles-tax-incentives-take-effect
Van sector keeps economy on the road as sales grow in January
New registrations in the light commercial vehicle sector increased by 2% month-on-month in January 2021 as dealers used click-and-collect services and deliveries to meet demand. The overall increase was due to a 25.4% rise in demand for larger vans weighing more than 2.5 - 3.5 tonnes that are often used for goods distribution and online deliveries.
Read more about the increase at: www.alphabet.com/en-gb/auto-digest/van-sector-keeps-economy-road-sales-grow-january
Tenant farmers back early retirement scheme
Three quarters of tenant farmers say they would consider retiring depending on the value of a government package offering them the opportunity to leave the industry. This is according to a survey by the Tenant Farmers Association about Defra’s plans for a lump-sum exit payment scheme, which is expected to launch in England in 2022.
Read more about the issue at: www.fwi.eo.uk/business/business-management/succession/tenant-farmers-back-early-retirement-scheme
Defra to launch £12m Farming Innovation Pathways fund
Defra will launch a new research and development competition looking to create new farm-focused innovations to make the industry greener. The £12 million initiative will bring together farmers and businesses to develop novel technological solutions to address the challenges of productivity and sustainability.
Read more about the competition at: www.farminguk.com/news/defra-to-launch-12m-farming-innovation-pathways-fund 57602.html
60% of pubs would remain closed if outdoor trading rules enforced
Around 29,000 pubs will have to stay shut if the Government only permits outdoor trading from April 2021. According to the British Beer & Pub Association, this will mean that 60% of the UK’s pubs won’t be able to reopen due to not having enough space externally.
Read more about the issue at: www.morningadvertiser.co.uk/ Article/2021/02/16/How-many-pubs-can-reopen-for-outside-only-in-ApriI
Builders warn new VAT policy will lead to cash flow issues
The Federation of Master Builders has reported that 66% of builders expect the Government’s new ‘reverse charge VAT’ tax policy will have a moderate or significant impact on their firm’s cash flow. Builders are also unclear about details of the complicated new policy, or have never heard of it.
Read more about the policy at: www.fmb.org.uk/resource/2-in-3-builders-say-new-government-vat-policy-will-lead-to-cashflow-issues-and confusion-warns-fmb.html
Google to start paying UK publishers for news
Google has launched its News Showcase product in the UK, meaning the tech giant will now pay for news content for the first time. Google has signed a deal with 120 British publications that will be paid a licensing fee to produce news extracts that appear in Google News Showcase.
Read more about the licensing fee at: www.cnbc.com/2021/02/10/google-is-going-to-start-paying-uk-publishers-for-news.htmI?
£20 million SME Brexit Support Fund
The Government has announced a £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund to help small businesses adjust to new customs processes, rule of origin and VAT rules when trading with the EU. Small businesses that only trade with the EU can apply for grants of up to £2,000 to pay for practical support including training and professional advice.
Read more about the fund at: www.gov.uk/government/news/government-announces-20-million-sme-brexit-support-fund
Half of UK exporters to the EU are having difficulties
Half of British exporters to the EU are facing difficulties with mounting Brexit red tape and border disruption after a month of the new rules, according to a survey carried out by the |British Chambers of Commerce between 18 and 31 January 2021.
Read more about the survey at: www.britishchambers.org.uk/news/2021/02/bcc-brexit-survey-half-of-uk-exporters-report-difficulties-adapting-to-changes-relating-to-eu-uk-goods-trade
Bounce Back Loan borrowers can delay repayments
Businesses that have taken out a Bounce Back Loan will have greater flexibility over repayments from 8 February 2021, the Treasury has announced. Pay as You Grow will allow borrrowers to delay repayments for six months, meaning no repayments will be due until 18 months after the loan was originally taken out.
Read more about the repayment options at: www.gov.uk/government/news/chancellor-eases-burden-on-more-than-a-million-businesses-through-pay-as-you-grow-flexible-repayment-options
Retailers call for more Covid help after £22bn loss in non-food sales
Retailers are calling for more financial support from the Government after the UK’s Covid lockdowns in 2020 cost £22 billion in lost non-food sales. The high street was hit by the biggest fall in sales for non-food stores on record, down 24%.
Read more about the issue at: https://brc.org.uk/news/corporate-affairs/22bn-cost-of-lockdown-to-retailers/
Disclaimer while all reasonable efforts have been made, the publishers makes no warranties that this information is accurate and up-to-date.
@Cobweb Information Ltd, 2021.