Business News England - 13.09.2021

Welcome to our round up of the latest business news. Please contact us if you want to talk about how these updates affect your business. We are here to support you!

Back to school - Remind employees about HMRC support with childcare costs!

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With children starting to go back to schools and nurseries in September, and more employees going back to work full time due to the withdrawal of CJRS support, they may need to start thinking about childcare. HMRC have issued a reminder that there is support available for families towards their childcare costs. If they haven’t already done so they should set up a “Tax-Free” Childcare Account to help pay towards the cost of childminders, breakfast and after school clubs, nursery fees and approved play schemes. For every £8 an eligible family pay into the special account the government adds £2, up to £2,000 a year, or up to £4,000 a year if a child is disabled.

The scheme is available to parents or carers who have children aged up to 11, or 17 if their child is disabled. Parents can get Tax-Free Childcare in addition to 30 hours free childcare if they are eligible for both. If the employee or their partner have an expected ‘adjusted net income’ over £100,000 in the current tax year they will not be eligible. This includes any bonuses they expect to get.

For more details see: HMRC can help with childcare costs as children head back to school - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Intellectual Property renewal service goes digital

A new digital renewals service that reduces bulk renewal time for IP rights from 5 days to 5 minutes has now been opened up to all customers by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO).

Customers who need to renew a registered design can do so online. Customers can also renew up to 1,500 IP rights - including combinations of patents, trademarks and designs - in a single digital transaction. The IPO say that they will bring forward these design principles to their One IPO Transformation Programme, which will provide a single, integrated system for all registered IP rights.

See: Renew a patent, trade mark or registered design - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Businesses given more time to apply new product safety marking

The UKCA marking replaces the product safety labelling the UK previously used while a member of the EU, such as the CE mark.

Businesses will have an additional year to apply new product safety markings for most products placed on the market in England, Scotland and Wales. The UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) marking allows the UK to have control over its goods regulations, maintaining the high product safety standards expected in the UK.

Recognising the impact of the pandemic on businesses, the UK Government will extend this deadline to 1 January 2023 to apply UKCA marks for certain products to demonstrate compliance with product safety regulations, rather than 1 January 2022.

See: Businesses given more time to apply new product safety marking - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Queen’s Awards for Enterprise 2021

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are the most prestigious awards for UK businesses of all sizes and sectors. The awards can provide:

  • excellent marketing opportunities and press coverage
  • worldwide recognition as an outstanding British company 
  • increased turnover and international trade
  • a boost to staff morale, and also to partners and stakeholders 

The awards are a self-nominating process and are free to enter. The application period is currently open and will close on 8 September 2021.

See: The Queen's Awards for Enterprise - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Digital Leaders 100 Awards

These awards celebrate the individuals and organisations from the public, private and non-profit sectors who are demonstrating a pioneering and sustainable approach to digital transformation in the UK.

The categories are:

  • Digital Leader 
  • Young Digital
  • Digital SME 
  • AI Innovation 
  • Digital Skills or Talent Initiative 
  • Big Data Innovation 
  • Digital Public Service Innovation 
  • Geospatial Innovation 
  • 5G Innovation 
  • HealthTech Innovation 

You can nominate yourself or your organisation in any relevant category, entries and nominations close at midday on Friday 10 September 2021.

See: Digital Leaders 100 (digileaders100.com)

Brexit - International HGV and trailer, bus or coach services and tours: vehicle documents

From 28 September 2021, you will need a UK sticker instead of a GB sticker on your vehicle to drive abroad.

For HGV see: International road haulage: HGV and trailer documents - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

For bus or coach services see: International bus or coach services and tours: vehicle documents - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Brexit - New rules for international road haulage in 2022

Prepare for new rules for transporting goods to or through Europe using cars and trailers, vans and HGVs from 2022. The rules are part of the UK’s deal with the EU (The Trade and Cooperation Agreement).

The new rules will affect you if you transport goods using:

  • cars and trailers
  • vans or other light goods vehicles (for example, if you run a European courier service)
  • heavy goods vehicles (HGVs)

The new rules mean that you might need:

  • to register some journeys within Europe on an online service from 2 February 2022
  • a vehicle operator licence if you use vans or car and trailers to transport goods to or through Europe from 21 May 2022

Check which types of journeys you will need to register online if you transport goods within Europe using a car and trailer, van or HGV from 2 February 2022.

See: New rules for international road haulage in 2022 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Managing drug and alcohol misuse at work

Employers have a legal duty to protect employees’ health, safety and welfare. Understanding the signs of drug and alcohol misuse (or abuse) will help you manage health and safety risk in your workplace. The Health and Safety Executive website has step-by-step guidance to help you manage drug and alcohol misuse at work. This includes advice on how to develop a drugs and alcohol policy and what you can do to support your employees

See: Managing drug and alcohol misuse at work - Overview - HSE

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