Here you will find the latest news, updates and communication resources from the BVRLA. Members, media partners, journalists and other commentators can feel free to republish the content in part or in full, crediting the association.
Latest Email Bulletins
The BVRLA issues a series of regular email bulletins to keep members informed of the very latest advice, guidance and support from government relating to the coronavirus pandemic and EU Exit. Any individual working for a member organisation can sign up to receive BVRLA updates, including the Bulletins below:
05 March 2021
Budget focused on Covid recovery
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has announced how it will play a key role in delivering the Spring Budget, which was designed to focus on protecting jobs and livelihoods of the British people throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
The BVRLA has published a short video alongside an explanatory overview of what Covid and other fiscal measures were announced in this week’s Budget that will be of particular interest to members.
Roadmap out of lockdown stimulates optimism
Latest social indicators monitoring the impact of coronavirus on society on a weekly basis, show that following the Prime Minister’s roadmap announcement, adults in Great Britain reported feeling more optimistic about the speed with which life will return to normal.
The data, published by the Office for National Statistics shows that around a third (32%) felt that life will return to normal in six months or less, up from 22% the week before. 20% of adults felt that it will take more than a year for life to return to normal, down from 27% the previous week.
Ventilation required to make workplace Covid-secure
The Government has published guidance on ventilation for the workplace, advising that this should be considered as part of making your workplace or indoor public space Covid-secure.
It is important to identify and deal with areas that are not well ventilated. The more people occupying an area that is poorly ventilated, and the longer they remain in it, the greater the risk of spread of Covid-19.
ONS publishes data on job vulnerability
The Office for National Statistics has published information on what jobs are being most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, and which socio-economic groups are identified as most vulnerable.
Findings from the ONS’ Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings shows that men, those aged 16–19-year-olds, and those in lower paid jobs are the workers being most impacted by the pandemic.
The data, which looks at 25,763,000 employees working across 365 different occupations, reports on average hourly pay, annual percentage change, gender representation, whether they have been furloughed, and whether they fall under the high, medium or low vulnerability score.
Low paid workers represent 88% of those with a high vulnerability score, and 66% are men.
An overview document has also been published to accompany the data.
FCA guidance on consumer payment deferrals
The Financial Conduct Authority is reminding consumers that the deadline for applications for new payment deferrals under the Payment Deferral Guidance (PDG) is 31 March 2021. Only consumers still in a payment deferral under the PDG on 31 March will be able to extend their payment deferral beyond that date. All deferrals under that guidance will end by 31 July 2021 at the latest.
From 1 April 2021, consumers who are newly impacted by coronavirus, or find themselves impacted again, whether or not they have previously had a payment deferral, should receive support from their lender under the Tailored Support Guidance (TSG) which reflects their individual needs and circumstances. This could include short-term support such as a payment deferral.
In January the regulator updated its Information for firms on consumer credit as well as its Tailored Support Guidance enabling firms to repossess goods and vehicles from 31 January 2021, but only as a last resort.
Kickstart Scheme guidance updated
The Government has updated its guidance for employers using the Kickstart Scheme, adding the funding schedule to ‘How you will get the funding’ and also adding more detail to the steps in ‘Getting the young people into the job placements.’
Contactless payment limit increased to £100
The Financial Conduct Authority announced on 3 March that it had changed its rules to allow for an increase in the single transaction contactless payment threshold from £45 to £100. The contactless threshold for multiple transactions will also increase from £130 to £300.
The changes have been brought about to support consumers and merchants during the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and is a response to changing behaviours. The first change was introduced in April 2020, when the FCA increased the contactless limit from £30 to £45.
24 February 2021
UK is one step closer to being granted Data Adequacy
The Government has welcomed the European Commission’s ‘draft’ data adequacy decisions, which recognise the UK’s high data protection standards and set out that the UK should be found ‘adequate’.
The draft decisions published on 19 February by the Commission will now be shared with the European Data Protection Board for a ‘non-binding opinion’, before being presented to EU member states for formal approval. The UK is hoping for a speedy decision, which will provide certainty for businesses.
Being granted a positive data adequacy decision under both the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Law Enforcement Directive (LED) would allow for personal data to continue to flow freely from the EU and wider EEA to the UK. The UK has already recognised the EU and EEA member states as ‘adequate’, as part of its commitment to establish a smooth transition for the UK’s departure from the EU.
As part of the UK/EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, a time-limited ‘bridging mechanism’ for personal data flows was agreed, allowing personal data to continue to flow as it did before the end of the transition period for up to six months, while the EU completes the adequacy process.
EU granted extension to further scrutinise UK Trade Agreement
The UK is currently only “provisionally” implementing the EU/UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement as the EU has requested more time to scrutinise the Agreement before ratifying.
The EU had requested an extension until 28 February, which had been granted by the UK, and a further extension has now again been requested. In a letter to the Vice President of the European Commission, Maroš Šefčovič, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Rt Hon Michael Gove MP made clear that the UK expects the EU to satisfy its internal requirements before 30 April and would not accept an extension beyond that point.
Both parties are due to meet today (24 February) at the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee. Representatives from the Northern Ireland Executive have been invited to form part of the UK delegation and the agenda will focus on Withdrawal Agreement Implementation since the end of the transition period, Citizens’ Rights and the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol.
The Prime Minister Boris Johnson has acknowledged that there have been “teething problems” with trade between GB and Northern Ireland but is committed to doing everything “to ensure there is no barrier down the Irish Sea”.
Resources to support those moving goods to Northern Ireland
The Government has published a series of videos that signpost to the free-to-use Trader Support Service which provides help to traders moving goods from England, Wales or Scotland to Northern Ireland.
Those moving goods into, out of, or through Northern Ireland, are also advised to check the Government’s latest Northern Ireland Protocol guidance and Guidance on trading goods in and out of Northern Ireland.
The BVRLA has also published some sector-specific advice on its EU Exit Business Advice page, covering leasing vehicles for use in Northern Ireland and customs considerations for Northern Ireland. Members are encouraged to email email@example.com to highlight any issues that are being experienced relating to EU Exit.
Support to understand Rules of Origin
The Government has published a 12-minute video to help businesses understand the Rules of Origin. If you are a UK exporter and your EU importer wants to claim zero tariffs on your goods, there are 3 key steps to work out whether your goods comply with rules of origin:
- Classify your good – every good has a commodity code and a list is available on gov.uk
- Understand whether your good meets the applicable rule of origin from the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (Chapter 2 as well as Annexes ORIG-1 to ORIG-4 will be most useful). You can also use the export checker tool to find out what rule of origin applies to your exports.
- Understand how to demonstrate origin to the customs authorities.
For help in working out whether your goods comply and how to demonstrate this to customs authorities, read the Rules of Origin Guidance on trading with the EU. You may choose to use a customs agent to help you with Rules of Origin and there is guidance available here on how to find one.
HMRC to host import and export webinars
Two new webinars are being hosted by HMRC to support businesses who import and export.
You can register here to attend the 60-minute Customs Import Declarations: An overview webinar which takes place on 5 March.
Register here to attend the 60-minute Exporting: what you need to do to keep your goods moving webinar taking place on 2 March.
Guidance on moving goods between GB and France
The Government has published a technical 2-hour webinar to provide support to businesses on moving goods between Great Britain and France. Slides are also available. The live webinar took place on 12 February and was hosted by Border Force, DEFRA and HMRC.
Guidance for businesses employing staff from overseas
The Home Office has developed a communications toolkit including a suite of digital and print assets with information to help employers prepare for the new points-based system. Anyone coming to the UK to work will need to apply for permission in advance except Irish citizens or EU citizens eligible for status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
Resources include useful factsheets as well as digital and social resources, and a dedicated microsite has also been created to support businesses.
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