Welcome to our round up of the latest business news for our clients. Please contact us if you want to talk about how these updates affect your business. We are here to support you!
UK Government Sets out a New Timetable for Introducing Border Controls
The UK Government has set out a new timetable for introducing full import controls for goods being imported from the EU to the UK.
Full customs declarations and controls will be introduced on 1 January 2022 as previously announced, although safety and security declarations will now not be required until 1 July 2022. Under the revised timetable:
- The requirements for pre-notification of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) goods, which were due to be introduced on 1 October 2021, will now be introduced on 1 January 2022.
- The new requirements for Export Health Certificates, which were due to be introduced on 1 October 2021, will now be introduced on 1 July 2022.
- Phytosanitary Certificates and physical checks on SPS goods at Border Control Posts, due to be introduced on 1 January 2022, will now be introduced on 1 July 2022.
- Safety and Security declarations on imports will be required as of 1 July 2022 as opposed to 1 January 2022.
Business and Industry Challenges in Filling Vacancies
The government has published an analysis of UK businesses’ ability to fill job vacancies across different industries, and reasons for any recruitment challenges. The data covers Summer 2021, primarily after coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions were eased.
Hospitality businesses are more than twice as likely as other industries to be experiencing challenges in filling vacancies compared with normal expectations for this time of year. Between 23 August and 5 September 2021, 30% of hospitality businesses said that vacancies were more difficult to fill than normal. This compares with 13% across all industries (up from 9% in early August).
Vacancy challenges are more common for larger businesses. Excluding those with fewer than 10 employees, 41% of businesses across all industries were struggling to fill vacancies in late August, up from 32% earlier in the month.
These difficulties coincide with a very busy time for recruitment, according to the latest labour market data, with hospitality among several industries posting record numbers of vacancies in June to August 2021. Aside from hospitality (30%), the water (27%) and health (23%) industries were most likely to be finding it more difficult than normal to recruit staff in late August.
Live Events Reinsurance Scheme
The scheme rules for the Live Events Reinsurance Scheme have been published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
On 5 August 2021, the government announced that it is partnering with insurers to offer a cost indemnification insurance scheme which will make cover available against the cancellation, postponement, relocation or abandonment of events due to new UK Civil Authority restrictions in response to COVID-19.
The Live Events Reinsurance Scheme will support live events across the country — such as music festivals, conferences and business events — that are at risk of being halted or delayed due to an inability to obtain COVID-19 cancellation insurance. Cover will be available to purchase alongside standard commercial events insurance for an additional premium.
The scheme will not cover loss of revenue prompted by lower demand for tickets or venue capacity, and the scheme does not cover self-isolation of staff or performers. The scheme will cover a limited series, or run, of linked events, provided that the event organiser specifies which event dates from that limited series, or run, require cover and how much cover they are purchasing for each.
The Scheme will run to 30 September 2022 with a review point in Spring 2022. Cover will be available to purchase through participating insurers. A number of prominent insurers in the Lloyd’s market, including Arch, Beazley, Dale, Ark and Munich Re, are supporting the scheme. Event organisers can now start approaching these insurers to discuss their cover.
The full scheme rules, as published by DCMS, can be found on this page: UK Live Events Resinsurance Scheme (publishing.service.gov.uk)
Are you Planning to use a Freeport to Import or Export your Goods?
In the Spring 2021 Budget the Chancellor announced a number of areas to be designated as Freeports. Those areas would have a number of direct and indirect tax advantages for businesses located there.
Among those advantages is relief from customs duty and the ability to make simplified declarations. HMRC have now published guidance for businesses planning to take advantage of the new procedures.
Freeport customs sites (also known as a ‘free zone’) are secure customs zones where you can import or export goods inside the UK’s land border, but where special import or export rules apply.
If you choose to use a customs site to import or export goods, you may be able to:
- get relief from duties and import taxes
- use simplified declarations processes to reduce administrative burdens
- choose which rate of Customs Duty you use if processing the goods changes their classification
If your goods are purchased in the UK, you will continue to pay duties and import taxes using the normal UK rates.
If you are a business who wants to move goods into or out of a Freeport customs site, you will need to apply to use the Freeport customs special procedure (a single authorisation combined with easier declaration requirements) to import goods that are not controlled.
For more details see: Get your business ready to use a Freeport customs site – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Government Postpone Making Tax Digital for Income Tax to 2024/25
Having listened to stakeholder feedback from businesses and the accounting profession, the government have announced that they will introduce Making Tax Digital (MTD) for Income Tax Self-Assessment (ITSA) a year later than planned, in the tax year beginning in April 2024.
This will give the self-employed and buy to let landlords an extra year to prepare for the digitalisation of Income Tax and also allow HMRC more time for customer testing of the pilot system.
The start date for partnerships to join MTD for ITSA has been put back still further to the tax year beginning in April 2025.
There has been no change to the £10,000 per annum gross income threshold which means that most self-employed traders and buy to let landlords will be mandated to comply with MTD for income tax from April 2024.
Private Providers of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Testing
The lists of and information about private providers who have self-declared that they meet the government’s minimum standards for the type of commercial COVID-19 testing service they offer has recently been updated.
Tell HMRC about an Option to Tax Land and Buildings
Form VAT1614A has been updated.
HMRC is creating new versions of their forms that do not depend on Adobe Reader. Whilst this work is in progress the following methods can be used to make sure the form will download or open in Adobe Reader:
- Whatever browser you use, review your settings to make Adobe Reader the default program for opening PDF documents
- Windows users should right click on the form link then select ‘Save target as’ or ‘Save link as’
- Mac users should right click on the form link then select ‘Save linked file as’
- Save the form – the recommended place is in the documents folder
- Using Adobe Reader you can open the form
Key Agricultural Schemes Extended
Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths has announced the Glastir Advanced, Commons and Organic contracts are being extended until December 2023.
The Minister also said it is the intention for the Basic Payment Scheme to continue until 2023, subject to the UK Government’s comprehensive spending review.
Over 1.3m hectares of Welsh agricultural land comes under a Glastir contract and the continuation of the scheme ensures priority sites and areas in Wales are managed effectively to achieve positive environmental outcomes.
This includes conserving and enhancing wildlife and biodiversity, improving soil and water resources, restoring peatland habitats and contributing to the decarbonisation of Welsh agriculture.
All existing eligible contract holders will be offered an extension via their RPW on-line accounts.
The Minister also announced a further £7m to extend the Farming Connect programme through to March 2023.
Farming Connect has been key in providing important business support to thousands of farmers and foresters across Wales.
This has included identifying areas for improvement, developing skills and helping find more efficient and innovative ways of working.
Rules for Foreign Travel to and from Wales
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel) (Wales) Regulations 2020 (“the Travel Regulations”) introduced certain requirements for persons entering Wales to reduce the risk of imported infections.
The law in Wales is different to the law applicable in other parts of the UK. This guidance is applicable to anyone who arrives in Wales who has been outside of the Common Travel Area (UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) in the 10 days before arrival.
The Travel Regulations are subject to a formal review every 28 days. However, changes may be made more frequently, especially in relation to the removal of countries from the list of exempt countries and territories. It is advisable to check the latest position before departure on both the outward and return journeys.
COVID Pass for Events and Nightclubs Announced
People will have to show an NHS COVID Pass to enter nightclubs and attend events in Wales from next month, the First Minister announced today.
The requirement to show an NHS COVID Pass will come into force from 11 October 2021.
It will mean all over-18s will need to have an NHS COVID Pass to enter:
- Indoor, non-seated events for more than 500 people, such as concerts or conventions
- Outdoor non-seated events for more than 4,000 people
- Any setting or event with more than 10,000 people in attendance
People who are fully vaccinated in Wales can already download the NHS COVID Pass to securely show and share their vaccine status.
It also allows people to show they have had a negative lateral flow test result within the last 48 hours.
Royal Welsh Winter Fair 2021
The Royal Welsh Agricultural Society (RWAS) have announced that this year’s Royal Welsh Winter Fair will be returning to the Showground in Llanelwedd as a two-day event on 29 and 30 November 2021.
The Export Cluster Programme
Welsh companies in five key sectors will be brought together to help each other export more of their products across the globe, as part of a new programme being launched by Economy Minister Vaughan Gething.
The Export Cluster Programme is one of a series of new support initiatives being introduced by the Welsh Government as part of the Export Action Plan for Wales, which aims to create a strong, vibrant and sustainable exporting sector to help strengthen the economy, safeguard existing and create new jobs and opportunities for people in Wales.
Its aim is to drive the growth of Welsh exports in the longer term, increasing the contribution exports make to the Welsh economy, including by broadening Wales’ exporter base.
For further information see: Gov.Wales