Business News England - 19.08.2021

Accounting for Import VAT on your VAT return, Funding scheme to reduce plastic packaging’s environmental impact

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!

Accounting for Import VAT on your VAT return

HMRC have recently updated their guidance on accounting for VAT on goods imported from outside the UK which, since Brexit, includes the European Union.

Businesses registered for VAT in the UK can account for import VAT on their VAT Return for goods imported into:

  • Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) from anywhere outside the UK
  • Northern Ireland from outside the UK and EU

Businesses can also account for import VAT for goods moved between Great Britain and Northern Ireland that are declared into a customs special procedure, when they are removed from that special procedure.

You do not need HMRC approval to account for import VAT on your VAT Return.

Accounting for import VAT on your VAT Return has significant cash flow benefits as you declare and recover import VAT on the same VAT Return, rather than having to pay it upfront when the goods are imported and recover it later.

For details see: Check when you can account for import VAT on your VAT Return - GOV.UK (

Commercial rent debts: policy statement

The government will legislate to ringfence rent debt accrued during the pandemic by businesses affected by enforced closures and set out a process of binding arbitration to be undertaken between landlords and tenants.

This is to be used as a last resort, after bilateral negotiations have been undertaken and only where landlords and tenants cannot otherwise come to a resolution. Ahead of the system being put in place, the government will publish the principles which they will seek to put into legislation in a revised Code of Practice, to allow landlords and tenants time to negotiate on that basis.

Section 82 (England and Wales) and Section 83 (Northern Ireland) of the Coronavirus Act 2020, which prevents landlords of commercial properties from being able to evict tenants for the non-payment of rent, will continue until 25 March 2022, unless legislation is passed ahead of this, to provide sufficient time for this new process to be put in place.

Government is clear that those tenants who have not been affected by closures and who have the means to pay, should pay. Additionally, government expects commercial tenants to begin paying rent as per their lease from the point of restrictions being lifted for their sector.

As soon as legislation is passed, the commercial tenant protection measures will only apply to ringfenced arrears. This includes rent debt accrued from March 2020 by commercial tenants affected by COVID-19 business closures until restrictions for their sector are removed.

This means that landlords will be able to evict tenants for the non-payment of rent prior to March 2020 and after the end of restrictions for their sector and who have not been affected by business closures during this period.

For the full policy statement see: Supporting businesses with commercial rent debts: policy statement - GOV.UK (

Going electric: building talent for the future

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £250,000 for innovative skills, talent, and training projects, that quickly fill immediate gaps in skills, talent and training for the power electronics, machines and drives (PEMD) industry.

This competition is open to single applicants and collaborations.

To lead a project or work alone your organisation must be a UK registered and a business of any size, charity, public sector organisation or research organisation

Competition timeline:

  • 9 August 2021 9.30am – opening date
  • 10 August 2021 10am – online briefing date
  • 15 September 2021 11am – closing date

See: Competition overview - Driving the electric revolution – building talent for the future - Innovation Funding Service (

Customs Declaration Service to become UK's single customs platform

HMRC will be closing its Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system on 31 March 2023. From this date, all businesses will need to declare goods through the Customs Declaration Service (CDS). CDS is currently used for Northern Ireland and Rest of World declarations.

Ahead of the 31 March 2023 complete closure, services on CHIEF will be withdrawn in two stages:

  • 30 September 2022: import declarations close on CHIEF
  • 31 March 2023: export declarations close on CHIEF / National Exports System (NES)

See: Customs Declaration Service - GOV.UK (

Funding scheme to reduce plastic packaging's environmental impact

UK Research and Innovation's Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging (SSPP) challenge has announced a new £7 million fund. This competition is open to projects solving the sustainability of plastic packaging. SSPP is looking for ambitious research and development projects that focus on solving the well-known issues with the sustainability of plastic packaging. Aligning with SSPP's remit, the aim is to drive a true shift from a linear to a circular economy solution for plastic packaging.

The competition closes at 11am Wednesday 8 September 2021.

See: Competition overview - ISCF smart sustainable plastic packaging: business-led R&D - Innovation Funding Service (

Visa-free short-term touring for UK musicians and performers

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport has confirmed that visa-free short-term touring is allowed for UK artists in 19 European Union member countries.

These countries are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden. Talks are ongoing with the remaining nations that do not allow visa and permit free visits for short-term tours.

See: Visa-free short-term touring allowed in 19 member states - GOV.UK (

Automotive Transformation Fund Expression of Interest: Round 13

Registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £1 billion for capital centric investment projects that help industrialise the electrified automotive supply chain at scale in the UK.

  • Competition opened: Friday 30 July 2021
  • Competition closes: Wednesday 18 August 2021 11:00am

The programme focuses on companies involved in batteries, including cells, electric machines and drives, power electronics, fuel cells, upstream supply chain for any of the above, recycling any aspect of the above

Round 13 of this funding is currently open for expressions of interest (EoI).

To be considered, your project should be looking to transform the automotive industry through significant business or production expansion, centred on a product, process or technology that you have already demonstrated and have confirmed as technically and economically feasible.

You can apply for capital investment only or capital and associated R&D activity.

Your proposal must prioritise the scale-up in areas mentioned in the Automotive Transformation Strategy for an electrified supply chain.

This is an EoI competition, which is the first stage in a two-stage process. Before you submit your EoI, you can first check the project's eligibility for funding through the ATF funding tool.

The ATF team will contact eligible projects to provide guidance on how to submit a formal EOI application. If your application is successful, you will be invited to progress to a full application for the ATF competition.

See: Competition overview - Automotive Transformation Fund Expression of Interest: Round 13 - Innovation Funding Service (