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 May 2021
FCA to issue third Covid-19 Impact Survey
The Financial Conduct Authority is providing advance notice to inform regulated members that they will be receiving a request to input into the regulator’s next Covid-19 Impact Survey.
Completion of the survey, being issued between 19 and 25 May, is mandatory.
With high prevalence of phishing emails and scams, members are advised to ensure that when they receive the survey, they check it is from either FCA@fcanewsletters.org.uk or an @fca.org.uk email address.
The survey will include 10 questions designed to collate information about:
- Liquidity/cash availability and needs
- Recent financial performance
- Scale of business activity
- Access to government schemes
Support for employers claiming Statutory Sick Pay Rebate
HMRC has published a new 25-minute webinar to provide information to employers about claiming back some Statutory Sick Pay paid to employees due to coronavirus-related sickness absence.
Payment deadline extended for local authority Grants
Guidance has been updated to reflect that payment deadlines have been extended for the following schemes: LRSG (Open), LRSG (Sector), LRSG (Closed), LRSG (Closed) Addendum, LRSG (Closed) Addendum: Tier 4, LRSG (Closed) Addendum: 5 January onwards (first 6-week payment only) and Closed Businesses Lockdown Payment.
Local Authorities now have until 14th May 2021 to make payments to businesses that have applied for any of these schemes.
International Travel Report outlines recommendations
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus, established in July 2020, has published an International Travel Report outlining key recommendations, calling upon Government to:
- discourage all international leisure travel to prevent the importation of new variants into the UK.
- provide adequate financial support to businesses operating in the travel industry.
- improve Covid security in arrival halls at all UK entry points, including airports, ports and international train stations.
- lead calls for an international standard for proof of negative Covid-19 test and/or proof of vaccination.
- maintain funding for international research projects assisting the global fight against Covid-19, including those which support the genomic analysis and tracking of new Covid variants in other countries.
Government shares roadmap to recovery for general aviation
The Department for Transport has published a General Aviation Roadmap setting out a programme of activities including the short-medium term priorities around the recovery from Covid-19, and priorities to support the sector.
The aviation industry has been one of the hardest hit during the pandemic and the impact has been felt amongst those vehicle rental companies whose businesses rely heavily on tourism and passenger travel through airports.
Heathrow Airport passenger numbers fell by 83% in March 2021 compared to the same month last year, and during Q1-2021 passenger numbers were down 91% on the same period two years ago. Heathrow reported a £329 million loss in Q1 as only 1.7 million passengers travelled through the airport, bringing their total losses since the start of the pandemic to nearly £2.4 billion.
ONS indicators show signs of economic recovery
Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show green shoots across a wide range of economic indicators with more people starting up new businesses, more companies resuming trade, more jobs being advertised, and more spending in shops.
Highlights from the report include:
- There were 14,292 company incorporations in the week to 24 April, down 9% on the previous week (15,771) but 21% higher than the equivalent week in 2019 (11,907) according to Companies House.
- The volume of UK online job adverts was at 103% of its average February 2020 level. The first time it has exceeded its February average since the pandemic began.
- Overall retail footfall in the UK was at 80% of its level in the equivalent week of 2019.
- The CHAPS-based indicator of credit and debit card purchases for delayable goods (such as clothing and furnishings) saw a second successive sizeable increase of 21 percentage points from the previous week and is now 110% of its February 2020 average.
83% of businesses are now trading, up from 77% in the previous reporting period, and a further 4% of businesses intend to restart in the next two weeks.
Motor vehicle traffic is now close to pre-pandemic levels and on Monday 26 April 2021 was reported to be at 93% of the level seen in the first week of February 2020.
Guidance update for international hauliers
Guidance for hauliers has been updated to reflect that HGV or van drivers no longer need proof of a negative Covid-19 test to enter the Netherlands.
Trial assesses whether daily testing can replace isolation
The Government has announced the launch of a pilot scheme to check whether daily testing could be used as an alternative to self-isolation for those in close contact with a person testing positive.
Currently, anybody who has been notified through NHS Test and Trace as a contact of someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 must self-isolate for 10 days. The new scheme will see close contacts of people testing positive being contacted by phone and sent 7 days’ worth of lateral flow tests.
They will be required to test themselves each morning for a week and those who test negative and develop no symptoms will be exempt from the legal duty to self-isolate that day.
The announcement comes shortly after the Office for National Statistics reported that approximately one-third (32%) of survey respondents stated that self-isolation had a negative effect on their well-being and mental health, and 27% reported having lost income because of self-isolation.
Use of the BVRLA Amersham office
The BVRLA has confirmed that for the remainder of 2021, meetings, working groups, committees, and training courses will continue to be conducted remotely for the remainder of this calendar year.
Use of the BVRLA Amersham office will be restricted to a limited number of staff at any one time once the office re-opens on 1 July, and staff attendance will be on a voluntary basis as working from home will continue.
Office use will adhere to Government restrictions on meeting others outside the home and could be subject to change in accordance with those rules.
12 March 2021
New timetable for border controls on imports
The Government has announced a new timetable for introducing import border control processes to enable UK businesses to focus on their recovery.
Full processes for some imports will now not be required until January 2022, six months later than planned, including:
- Customs import declarations, which will still be required, but the option to use the deferred declaration scheme, including submitting supplementary declarations up to six months after the goods have been imported, has been extended to 1 January 2022.
- Safety and Security Declarations for imports, which will now not be required until 1 January 2022.
Access to international trade advisers
The Government is offering support for exporters via a network of around 300 International Trade Advisers located across all regions of the UK.
Enter your postcode into the online portal to get details of where to find your local trade office and how to contact your local international trade adviser.
Transferring goods into Northern Ireland tariff-free
HMRC has updated its guidance for those who transfer goods into Northern Ireland to include that organisations without a fixed place of business in NI will be authorised under the UK Trader Scheme until the end of October.
This will give some businesses more time to consider the options and adapt to the new requirements under the NI Protocol. However, the details of the extension make it unworkable for parts of BVRLA membership.
The BVRLA will continue to lobby Government to try to secure a workable long-term solution.
Grants to help SME’s new to importing or exporting
Applications for grants of up to £2,000 are due to open this month for businesses that transfer goods between Great Britain and the EU or move goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The grants, designed to support businesses that are new to import or export processes, are to contribute towards the cost of training and professional advice on customs, rules of origin, and the VAT aspects of imports and exports.
Members are encouraged to keep an eye on the guidance page as applications are due to open this month (March 2021).
Look up tariffs, taxes and rules to trade with the UK
The Government has published an online portal to help businesses to find out the UK rules and taxes that apply to goods being imported from overseas into the UK. It includes:
- product-specific standards and regulations
- if there’s duty and VAT to pay
- duty relief schemes
- if an import licence is needed
- your UK commodity code, for example if you do your own import declarations.
BVRLA publishes new Business Impact Survey
Findings from Wave 1 of the association’s Business Impact Survey have been published, showing that the most common concerns being expressed by members following the UK’s departure from the EU relate to increased costs.
Increased cost of vehicles, followed by increased cost of parts, are the two issues that members feel will have the greatest impact on their business.
The survey, which canvass members’ views on the impact of both EU Exit and the Covid pandemic, is being carried out quarterly.
Guidance for employers hiring from the EU
The Home Office has published a 13-page guidance document and a useful one-page at-a-glance-guide to provide employers with information on what they need to know and do to become a licensed sponsor of skilled migrant workers under the UK’s new points-based immigration system.
Additional information for devolved administrations
Business Support Helplines are also available:
- Wales: 0300 060 3000
- Scotland: 0300 303 0660
- Northern Ireland: 0800 181 4422
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