Sirius News Bulletin - 18th December 2020
This bulletin provides a summary of topical news, announcements and policy developments affecting business across the UK.
EU exit briefing for local shops
ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) has published an EU Exit Readiness briefing for the convenience sector to help retailers consider how their business may be affected when the transition period ends on 31 December 2020.
Read more about the briefing at: https://www.acs.org.uk/news/acs-eu-exit-readiness-briefing-local-shops
Government issues public procurement guidance
The Government has issued guidance about changes to public procurement which will come into force at the end of the transition period 31 December 2020.
Read more about the changes at: https://www.publicsectorexecutive.com/articles/government-issues-public-procurement-guidance-ahead-brexit
Food and Drink
Fall in food and drink exports
In Q3 2020, food and drink exports fell by 11.6% to 5.5 billion when compared to the same period in 2019, as exports to EU and non-EU markets fell. The decrease was largely due to the closure of hospitality and travel sectors.
Read more about the figures at: http://www.fdf.org.uk/news.aspx?article=8399&newsindexpage=1
Importing EU products of animal origin into Great Britain
Deloitte have published a guide covering the new rules about importing products of animal origin into Great Britain from the EU from 1 January 2021.
Read more about the guide: https://brc.org.uk/news/trade/importing-eu-products-of-animal-origin-into-great-britain-from-january-1st/
Cost of shipping goods to UK soars
Consumers have been warned that they face higher prices as congestion at ports and problems in the global shipping industry cause a pre-Christmas surge in the cost of shipping goods to the UK.
Read more about the warning at: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/dec/09/cost-shipping-goods-uk-covid-pandemic
Consumers recognising benefits of shopping with AI
Consumers are starting to see the benefits of AI when shopping and interacting with brands online, but more education is needed to highlight AI’s advantages, according to research by Contact Engine.
Read more about the research at: https://www.retailtimes.co.uk/consumers-starting-to-recognise-the-benefits-of-shopping-with-ai-but-more-education-is-needed/
Tax and IR35
IR35 tool does not return a result in nearly 20% of cases
According to HMRC, the IR35 check tool was used 975,416 times during the 12 months to 24 November 2020. In 52% of cases the person using the tool was classified as working outside of the IR35 rules, while 29% were confirmed as falling inside. However, in 19% of cases the tool was unable to return a conclusive response.
Read more about the figures at: https://www.computerweekly.com/news/252493526/HMRC-data-shows-online-IR35-status-check-tool-does-not-return-a-result-in-nearly-20-of-cases
Government publish VAT plans for sharing economy
HM Treasury has launched a consultation about plans to expand VAT for the ‘sharing economy’ to help ensure there is a level playing field for all businesses.
Read more about the consultation at: https://www.publicfinance.co.uk/2020/12/government-shake-taxes-sharing-economy
Investors race to complete before end of stamp duty holiday
Buy-to-let landlords are joining the rush to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday before it ends on 31 March 2021. In November 2020 landlords made up 15% of buyers, the highest figure since December 2016.
Read more about house sales at: https://www.hamptons.co.uk/research/investors-race-to-complete-before-31st-march-2021/
Manufacturers cut production forecasts for 2021
Manufacturing output is forecast to fall by 12% in 2020, according to a report published by BDO. Make UK has also downgraded its growth forecasts for 2021 to 2.7%, down from 5.1%.
Read more about the forecasts at: https://www.bdo.co.uk/en-gb/news/2020/industry-slashes-growth-forecast-ahead-of-eu-exit-make-uk-bdo-survey
Tier system halves economic growth rate
UK Hospitality has highlighted that restrictions on the hospitality sector have halved the UK’s economic growth. Figures published by the Office for National Statistics revealed that in October 2020 GDP grew by 0.4% but accommodation and food services fell by 0.37% when compared to September 2020.
Read more about the figures at: https://catererlicensee.com/tier-system-for-hospitality-halves-countrys-economic-growth-rate/
Inbound tourism forecast predicts slow recovery
Visit Britain has forecast that in 2021 inbound visits will increase by 73% to 16.9 million when compared in 2020. However this is less than half of the 40.9 million visits the UK saw in 2019.
Read more about the forecast at: https://www.visitbritain.org/visitbritain-inbound-tourism-forecast-2021-predicts-first-signs-slow-recovery
Government launches review of gambling laws
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport has launched a review into the powers of the Gambling Commission. The review will also cover protections for online gamblers, advertising and promotional offers, and extra protections for young adults. It has also been announced that the minimum age for playing the National Lottery will be raised from 16 to 18 from October 2021.
Read more about the review at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-launches-review-to-ensure-gambling-laws-are-fit-for-digital-age
Surge in Covid-19 vaccine phishing scams reported
Check Point and KnowBe4 have warned that a growing number of phishing campaigns are offering Covid-19 vaccines for sale as a way of stealing personal data.
Read more about the warning at: https://www.computerweekly.com/news/252493523/Surge-in-Covid-19-vaccine-phishing-scams-reported
IP and patents
European patents are the most used to commercially exploit inventions
A study published by the European Patent Office has revealed that universities and public research organisations use European patents as the main instrument to exploit their inventions commercially.
Read more about the study at: https://ebn.eu/index.php?lnk=K2tiZmlkaWp5MVZzVWF6SzFUWkpHNWZ3M1Z5MFpYOGcvRUFFZEFQenBwUT0=
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