Sirius News Bulletin - 22nd October 2020

Sirius News Bulletin - 22nd October 2020

This bulletin provides a summary of topical news, announcements and policy developments affecting business across the UK.


MPs urged to guarantee mandatory food labelling
The RSPCA has called on the Government to guarantee mandatory labelling so the British public know exactly how their food is produced. As MPs rejected an Agriculture Bill amendment to stop lower-standard imports, the charity said alternative measures must now be adopted to deliver the
Government’s manifesto commitment of upholding UK standards.

Brits turn to UK-produced food amid COVID
The majority of British consumers now buy more home-grown produce as a result of the pandemic and Brexit, according to new research. The number of Brits visiting farm shops has also increased significantly compared with before the coronavirus pandemic.

Most farmers want to be carbon neutral by 2035
Eight out of 10 UK farmers aim to be carbon neutral by 2035 amid a growing appetite among British consumers for food produced without emissions, according to a new survey from Barclays Bank. The survey of 1,000 farmers reveals that 83% believe they could be carbon neutral five years ahead of the 2040 target set by the NFU. Meanwhile, 16% said they had achieved this already.


Retailers pay £1.1 bn to accept customer payments
The latest Payment Survey from the British Retail Consortium has revealed card use continued to rise steadily from 54% of transactions in 2016 to 61% in 2019. At the same time, the cost to retailers of accepting payments reached £1.1 billion in 2019, of which £950 million was from card payments.

39% of Brits pay for subscription delivery services
According to new research from Mintel, four in ten Brits have signed up to subscription delivery services such as Amazon Prime. While non-essential sectors have struggled, supermarket loyalty reward schemes and Amazon Prime’s combination of delivery services and streaming entertainment benefitted from an increase in consumers staying home during the COVID-19 pandemic.


315,000 UK start-ups open during lockdown
During the lockdown period from March to July 2020, 315,000 companies were incorporated in the UK - a 7% increase compared to the same period in 2019. The highest rates of new business creation have been within ecommerce, with 16,000 businesses created between March and July.


Charities and social enterprise
Watchdog warns charities to protect themselves against fraud 
The Charity Commission is warning trustees and donors to strengthen their defences as it fears the pandemic has created environments that are enabling charity fraud.


Funding to help charities take on loans
Access - The Foundation for Social Investment and Social Investment Business have announced that the Reach Fund will be extended for three more years, with a further £7.2 million available for charities and social enterprises. The Reach Fund was launched in 2016 and provides grants of up to £15,000 to organisations that need extra support to get ready to take on loans.


Hospitality and foodservice
More than 750,000 hospitality jobs at risk without urgent government support a survey carried out by UKHospitality, the British Institute of Innkeeping and the British Peer & Pub Association reveals that the industry faces mass redundancies without urgent Government support.

Industry leaders urge Chancellor to backfoodservice wholesalers
Industry leaders have sent a joint letter to the Chancellor warning that the introduction of curfews, local restrictions and a downturn in demand is putting the wholesale foodservice sector in danger.


Exporting and Brexit
HMRC writes to businesses about new trade arrangement with the EU
HMRC is writing to VAT-registered businesses in Great Britain that trade with the EU and/or the rest of the world, highlighting actions they need to take to continue trading with the EU from 1 January 2021.


Export Growth Plan announced
The Department for International Trade has announced a package of measures to help businesses in England recover following the COVID-19 pandemic. The Export Growth Plan includes a £38 million Internationalisation Fund, which will help 7,600 small businesses trade internationally. Small businesses in the North of England, the Midlands and the South West will also receive support from new International Trade Advisors and access to an Export Academy.