Sirius News Bulletin - 4th May 2021
This bulletin provides a summary of topical news, announcements and policy developments affecting business across the UK.
Funding to encourage self building
A £150 million ‘Help to Build’ scheme has been announced to make it easier and more affordable for people to build their own homes. The scheme will provide an equity loan on the completed home, similar to the Help to Buy scheme. It will benefit small building firms as part of the Government’s Plan for Jobs.
Read more about the scheme at: www.gov.uk/government/news/over-150-million-funding-to-kickstart-self-building-revolution
Shortage of kitchen and bathroom fitters
Over the next ten years the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom industry could face a shortfall in skilled installers. This is according to a survey by the British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom Installation (BiKBBI) which has revealed that a third of sole trader installers plan on retiring from the industry within the next ten years. Of those planning to retire, only 16% have plans in place for someone else to take over their business.
Read more about the survey at: www.bikbbi.org.uk/news/bikbbi-survey-reveals-stark-scale-of-installer-skills-gap/
Green Homes Grant paid out less than 10% of total
The Green Homes Grant scheme paid out £196 million, less than 10% of the original £2 billion before it was scrapped in March 2021. The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee has said the scheme’s poor implementation has had devastating consequences for many of the builders and installers that can do the work but have had orders cancelled.
Read more about the scheme at: www.publicfinanee.co.uk/news/2021 /04/green-homes-grant-paid-out-less-10-totaI
Introduction of plastic bag charge in small shops delayed
Defra has confirmed that changes to plastic bag charges in England will not come into force on 30 April 2021 as planned. Under the changes, the minimum charge for a plastic bag will rise from Sp to 1Op, and all businesses will be included within the rules. Defra will publish a new timetable for implementation in the coming weeks.
Read more about the delay at: www.acs.org.uk/news/introduction-plastic-bag-charge-small-shops-delayed
Retail prices fall in April
Retail prices continued to fall in April as non-essential retailers reopened. Food prices fell for the first time since January 2017, down by 0.6% in April, compared to a 0.3% rise in March.
Read more about the fall at: www.retailgazette.eo.uk/blog/2021/04/shop-prices-fell-in-april-as-brits-return-to-non-essential-stores/
Sales of books increase
The invoiced value of UK publisher sales of books, journals and rights/co-editions combined rose by 2% to £6.4 billion in 2020. Sales of digital books increased by 12% to £3 billion.
Read more about the increase at: www.publishers.org.uk/publishing-in-2020/
UK’s investment in nicotine technologies earns country £805m
The vaping sector supports nearly 18,000 jobs in the retail supply chain and contributes £805 million per annum to the UK economy. The success of the sector has been attributed to the UK investing in vaping and other alternative nicotine products.
Read more about the investment at: www.retailtimes.eo.uk/uks-early-investment-in-alternative-nicotine-technologies-is-earning-country-800m windfaII-every-year-new-report-shows/
Self-driving vehicles could be legal on UK roads
The Government has set out how vehicles fitted with automated lane-keeping system (ALKS) technology could legally be defined as self-driving. ALKS enables a vehicle to self-drive in a single lane, while maintaining the ability to easily and safely return control to the driver when required.
Read more about ALKS at: www.gov.uk/government/news/government-paves-the-way-for-self-driving-vehicles-on-uk-roads
Value of petrol and diesel cars remains strong
The National Association of Motor Auctions (NAMA) has found that 78% of its motor auction members believe the value of petrol cars will increase in the coming months, with the remaining 22% expecting values to stay the same. The value of diesel cars is expected to stay the same, according to 55% of members, while the remaining 45% predict an increase.
Read more about the expected increases at: www.alphabet.com/en-gb/auto-digest/nama-finds-petrol-and-diesel-values-remain-strong-first-round restrictions-are-eased
Government scraps Pick for Britain programme
The Government has announced that the Pick for Britain programme will end. Under the programme as few as 5% of the 70,000 seasonal picking and packing roles in 2020 were filled by British workers. The British Growers Association fears that recruitment in the sector could get worse this season due to Covid-19 and the impact of Brexit.
Read more about the programme at: www.theneweuropean.co.uk/brexit-news/westminster-news/brits-reject-pick-for-britain-campaign-7916574
Food and drink
World lager, wine and cocktails lead drinks sales
CGA has reported that despite being limited to outdoor service, like-for-like food and drink sales from 12 April to 18 April were down by only 21% on the equivalent week in 2019. Sales of sparkling wine and Champagne were up by 24% and 25% respectively on April 2019. Draught beer, cider and cocktail sales also increased but sales of soft drinks fell by 50%.
Read more about the figures at: http://catererlicensee.com/world-lager-wine-and-cocktails-lead-drinks-sales-as-hospitality-returns/
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