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:
09 April 2021
Plans for safe return to international travel
The Government’s Global Travel Taskforce has set out recommendations to support the safe return of international travel, announcing the launch of a new traffic light system and ‘green watchlist’, and the introduction of travel certification.
The new 20-page report includes recommendations to support:
- Progressing a risk-based reopening of international travel
- Ensuring readiness for international travel restart
- Building consumer clarity and confidence
- Supporting a transition to future travel
This follows on from an earlier report published in November 2020. Although international travel ‘could’ resume from 17 May, the Government will not yet confirm this and advises that further details will be provided by early May.
New Business Rates relief fund
A £1.5 billion Business Rates relief fund has been made available for businesses affected by Covid-19 outside the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors. The fund will be allocated to local authorities in England based on the stock of properties in the area whose sectors have been affected by the pandemic.
Local Authorities will use their knowledge of local businesses and the local economy to make awards.
New Recovery Loan Scheme launches
From 6 April 2021, businesses can access loans from £25,000, up to a maximum of £10 million. Invoice and asset finance is available from £1,000. The scheme is open until 31 December 2021.
Loans will include 80% government guarantee and an interest rate cap. The new scheme can be used as an additional loan on top of support received from the emergency schemes, such as the Bounce Back Loan Scheme and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.
A full list of financial support available for businesses is published on the Gov.UK website.
Fourth round of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
Self-employed individuals and people in a partnership, whose business has been impacted by the Coronavirus may be eligible for the fourth Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, covering the period 1 February 2021 to 30 April 2021.
Guidance has also been updated on how trading conditions affect eligibility for the scheme.
The online service to claim the fourth grant will be available from late April 2021, and claims must be made on or before 1 June 2021.
Transport usage figures
The Department for Transport has published its latest weekly transport usage figures, showing that vehicle usage peaked at 88% of pre-pandemic levels, during the first week of April.
The return to public transport remains slow, with national rail usage peaking at 26% and London Underground usage peaking at 30%.
Government seeks views on commercial rents
The Government has launched a consultation to better understand how landlords and tenants are responding to the build-up of rent arrears caused by businesses being unable to trade normally during the Covid pandemic.
The consultation, which closes on 4 May, hopes to attract input from small to medium sized businesses including small commercial landlords, independent businesses and sole traders with leased premises.
The BVRLA would like to hear members’ views, so please email email@example.com.
Free Covid testing for everyone in England
Guidance on Coronavirus testing has been updated to reflect that from Friday 9 April, everyone in England will be eligible for free rapid Covid-19 tests, twice a week. The Government has announced that rapid testing will be delivered through:
- a home ordering service, which allows people to order lateral flow tests online to be delivered to their home
- workplace testing programmes, on-site or at home. Businesses must register interest by 12 April to access free tests.
- community testing, offered by all local authorities
- collection at a local polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test site during specific test collection time windows
- testing on-site at schools and colleges
- collection from participating pharmacies
Around 1-in-3 people with Covid-19 do not experience any symptoms and may be spreading the virus unwittingly. A campaign is being launched to encourage people to regularly take tests.
The easing of lockdown enters its next phase
Step 2 of the roadmap takes effect on Monday 12 April, marking the next milestone in the easing of lockdown restrictions across England.
Rules on what you can and cannot do provide full details of what will change, and many businesses will be able to reopen their doors, including:
- non-essential retail
- personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons
- public buildings such as libraries and community centres
- outdoor hospitality venues, with table service only
- self-contained accommodation will be able to open for overnight stays
- indoor leisure and sports facilities
Guidance on working safely has been updated to reflect the rule changes.
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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