Need To Know: Your Business Updates for November 2021

  • 01 Nov 2021

Welcome to the November 2021 'Need to Know' update. You'll find the latest key information on supplying issues for Tesco, Welsh Food and Drink latest, Net Zero plans falling short, your tax self-assessment deadline, changes to payment processing for Government contracts, and new demands for private landlords to conform to.

Tesco issues new environmental demands that suppliers must meet

Suppliers of products to supermarket giant Tesco must meet new demands to ensure the retailer succeeds in reaching its pledge to be net zero by 2050.

Chief Product Officer at Tesco, Ashwin Prasad, outlined four key actions it wants suppliers to take, including providing the retailer with details of their current greenhouse gas emissions by the end of this year.

Tesco suppliers are also being asked to establish their own net zero ambitions by the end of next year and set themselves science-based targets to support the delivery of these ambitions by the end of 2023.

The fourth strand urges suppliers to switch to renewable energy now “as a simple initial win”.

Prasad said support would be available through the Tesco Supplier Network. While the supermarket will be strengthening supplier requirements and data collection on this issue further in the coming months and years, he said he did not see a situation where suppliers would be penalised.

 

Prasad added that Tesco had shared this plan with about 40 of its biggest suppliers at its office last week and their response had been universally positive.

200-plus new Welsh food and drink products as major event is back

More than 200 new food and drink products have been showcased by Welsh businesses at BlasCymru/TasteWales, which returned at the end of October

The number of products developed during what has been an incredibly challenging year is clear proof of the resilience and innovation within the sector in Wales.

The event is took place at the International Convention Centre (ICC Wales) in Newport and provides a crucial platform for producers from across Wales to show their products to trade buyers from retail, foodservice and export consolidators from across the UK. A virtual meet also took place with the international buyers following the event.

Further new products, which have been produced over the last 12 months, include new yoghurt flavours, seasonal craft ales, a range of flavoured oat crackers, organic fermented smoked kraut and Beet Slaw packaged in sustainable, fully recycled packaging.

Food and Drink Wales, the Welsh Government’s food division, which organises the event, and Food Innovation Wales have also played an important role in supporting businesses to develop these products including bringing companies together to share and develop new ideas.

This has been boosted further by a wealth of support on offer including start-ups through Cywain and training and skills development through Food Skills Cymru.

You can read more here.

Government not sufficiently grappling skills gap needed for net zero

Inconsistent Government policy on green jobs and a knowledge-gap in necessary skills are resulting in missed opportunities, the Environmental Audit Committee has warned.

In its latest report, Green Jobs, the Committee expresses disappointment that despite announcements committing millions of pounds to green jobs initiatives, the Government is yet to define what a ‘green job’ is, and how it will evaluate the perceived demand.

 

The Net Zero Strategy, which claims to support up to 440,000 jobs by 2030, would have been the ideal opportunity to offer clarity on how to define and measure what ‘green jobs’ are. While the Strategy set out the Government’s green jobs and skills ambitions, what is needed now is a detailed, actionable delivery plan. Delay in clarifying this information could lead to the Government’s ambitions amounting to an aspiration, and failing to prepare the UK for the future. This lack of understanding was apparent in the Green Homes Grant voucher scheme, where the Government failed to engage with the sector to develop the skills required, resulting perversely in contractors making staff redundant as consumers awaited confirmation of vouchers.

During the inquiry, the Committee heard that climate change and sustainability risked being seen as a ‘tick box exercise’ in education. It is imperative that current and future workforces are both climate and sustainability literate: criteria that must run through all education and training. To achieve this, the Committee recommends that environmental sustainability be embedded across all National Curriculum and A Level courses, and a module on sustainability included in every apprenticeship and T Level course.

You can read the full report here.

Self Assessment deadline countdown begins

There are 100 days to go until the deadline for online tax returns on 31 January 2022. Last year, 96% of customers completed their tax return online.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is reminding Self Assessment customers that on Sunday 24 October, they have one week left to submit paper tax returns and 100 days to go for online tax returns.

The Self Assessment tax return online deadline for the 2020 to 2021 tax year is 31 January 2022 - if customers complete their tax return online.

 

More than 10.7 million customers completed a tax return by 31 January 2021, of those 96% submitted it online. Completing it online is the quickest method and with around 100 days to go, customers have plenty of time to get it done.

Even if customers submit their completed tax return now, they do not have to pay any tax owed until 31 January 2022. Anyone who is worried about how to pay their bill can access support on GOV.UK. Various payment options include:

  1. paying through a customers’ tax code (PAYE customers only)
  2. Payment on Account
  3. setting up an online monthly payment plan (self-serve Time to Pay)
  4. pay by debit or corporate credit card
  5. pay at a bank or building society

Visit GOV.UK for a full list of payment options and the eligibility criteria. Customers should contact HMRC if they have concerns about paying their bill.

Cabinet Office updates how payment approaches can be taken into account in major Government contracts

PPN 08/21 will come into effect from 1st April 2022.

Government has published a new Public Policy Note to update and replace PPN 07/20, which will come into effect from 1st April 2022.

The new PPN 08/21 sets out how payment approaches can be taken into account in the procurement of major Government contracts above £5 million per annum. This is further to Government’s pledge to use its buying power to ensure contractors comply with the Prompt Payment Code; and that businesses have a healthy cash flow.

The key change to PPN 07/20 is that Government suppliers will have to demonstrate they pay 95% of their invoices within 60 days, which is an increase from the current 85%. Indeed, bidders must demonstrate that they meet the required standard in at least one of the two previous six month periods.

Those who do not meet the required standard, showing that they have effective payment systems in place to ensure the reliability of their supply chains, may be excluded from contracts worth more than £5m per annum.

Suppliers whose performance is between 90% and 95% will need to continue to submit action plans detailing how they will improve their performance to 95%. 

 

The guidance published alongside PPN 08/21 has also reiterated how the Government expects supply chain finance to be treated when being assessed as part of a bid.

You can view the PPN, its supporting documents and the answers to Frequently Asked Questions here.

Clampdown on private landlords renting less energy-efficient homes

Families living in cold draughty rented properties in England and Wales can expect warmer homes thanks to a new campaign to help councils clamp down on landlords.

Over 40,000 families living in cold and draughty rented properties across 59 local authorities in England and Wales can expect warmer homes thanks to a new campaign to help councils clamp down on errant landlords.

Since April last year privately rented homes must meet a minimum energy performance rating of EPC Band E, making it illegal to rent out homes below that unless landlords have a limited exemption. Landlords caught failing to fulfil their obligations can be fined of up to £5,000 per property and per breach.

Badly insulated properties often leave those renting their homes struggling to keep warm and with higher energy bills. The rule change is expected to see energy efficiency upgrades such as loft insulation, double glazing and cavity wall insulation being installed by landlords in around 290,000 properties – with an estimated average bill saving of £180 a year for each home. This move forms part of the government’s actions to protect consumers, particularly those on lower incomes.

The £4.3 million of extra funding from the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to councils across the country is designed to support them make an extra 100,000 engagements with the most difficult to reach landlords with the worst performing properties.

 

The money will support innovative measures including local radio ads, roadshows and workshops with landlords to raise awareness of the rules, free property surveys, as well as enhanced and targeted mail reminders and translation services to reach those not currently complying. One council will even invest in a drone with thermal imaging capacity to help with on the ground inspections.

You can read more here.

 

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