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Need To Know: Your Business Updates for October 2019

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Welcome to the October 2019 'Need to Know' update. You'll find the latest key information on Brexit, exporting, Intellectual Property and the Groceries Code

No-deal preparations coming at a cost for small firms

Small businesses are in urgent need of more government support to overcome a worrying lack of preparedness for a no-deal Brexit on 31 October, according to new research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

In the first UK-wide small business assessment of no-deal preparedness ahead of 31 October, FSB’s research shows that among those small firms that believe a no-deal scenario will negatively impact them (39%), only one in five (21%) have planned or prepared for anticipated issues. Nearly two thirds (63%) don’t think they are able to plan.

You can find out more about the research here; http://bit.ly/2mFIxCu

Small firms call for coordinated effort to protect free cashpoints as 8,700 shut or start charging

Fresh figures from the consumer group Which? indicate that one in 10 free UK cashpoints have either closed or started charging fees since January 2018, with deprived communities disproportionately impacted by the changes. 

Anabel Hoult of Which? and Natalie Ceeney of the Access to Cash Review have written to the Chancellor to urge the Government to do more to protect consumer access to cash across the country. Responding to the intervention and findings, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chairman Mike Cherry, said: “Millions of small business owners still have customers that want to pay in cash. Often these customers are among society’s most vulnerable: the elderly, those on tight budgets and those with disabilities.

“It’s vital that banks, regulators and the Government work together to arrest the decline of our cash network. Otherwise we risk yet another blow to our high streets: reduced footfall as bank branches and ATMs are lost and less cashflow in local economies.

“There’s no silver bullet here. The drop in ATM interchange fee certainly seems to have had an impact, but we need to think bigger and more collaboratively when addressing this challenge.

New guidelines released from Groceries Code Adjudicator

The Groceries Code Adjudicator has released a new webinar outlining;

  • The designation of an additional retailer
  • Variation of supply agreements
  • Delay in payments
  • De-listing

The 13 minute long broadcast can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/2nnu5PN

 

Exporting GM food and animal feed products if there is a no-deal Brexit

The UK Government has released new guidance for GM food and animal feed exporters, in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Businesses that hold or seek authorisations for GM food or feed or animal feed additives, or export animal feed to the EU, will be affected if there is a no-deal Brexit.

If you are holding EU authorisations for GM food or feed, or for animal feed additives, you will need to designate a representative established in the EU or EEA. You will need to provide details of the representative to the European Commission. This could be a branch of your business which is established in the EU or EEA or another business. Changes to holder-specific authorisations for GM food or feed, or for feed additives, require amendments to EU legislation which would need to be in place by exit day. Businesses in the process of such changes need to approach the European Commission as soon as possible.

Exporters of feed products to the EU will require representation in the EU or EEA. As a guide only, current UK procedures on becoming a representative are available on the Food Standards Agency (FSA) website. EU countries will each have their own systems for this and businesses should consult with the relevant competent authority in the EU country for further advice on gaining recognition for their representative. The requirement for non-EU country representation would apply to all feed products exported to the EU.

You can read more about the requirements here; http://bit.ly/2oQDDDe

New Government report reveals the state of IP crime and analyses threat posed by counterfeiting and piracy

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has published the Annual IP crime and enforcement report: 2018 to 2019.

Top findings for the year are that millennials are the most likely of all age groups to fall victim to counterfeit scams. Around half of 25 to 34 year-olds buy fake electrical goods online unintentionally.

The most counterfeited or pirated products are tobacco, clothing, cosmetics and footwear. This is according to Trading Standards.

The IPO’s next report will evaluate consumer attitudes to counterfeit goods. It will be published in November 2019.

You can read the IP Crime report here; http://bit.ly/2mxk420

Home Bargains now bound by rules on treating suppliers fairly

The CMA has announced that industry rules setting out how retailers should treat their suppliers will now apply to discount retailer TJ Morris (Home Bargains).

TJ Morris’ annual groceries turnover now exceeds £1 billion and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has decided that it is appropriate that the company is designated.

The Groceries Supply Code of Practice (The Code) sets out how such grocery retailers should treat their suppliers and aims to make sure that they do not abuse their commercial power. For example, retailers bound by the Code cannot make changes to the terms of supply retrospectively and must provide notice of and reasons for no longer using a supplier.

Other retailers subject to the Code are Ocado, Asda Stores Limited, Co-operative Group Limited, Marks & Spencer PLC, Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC, J Sainsbury PLC, Tesco PLC, Waitrose Limited, Aldi Stores Limited, Iceland Foods Limited, Lidl UK GmbH and B&M Retail Limited.

You can read more about the decision here; http://bit.ly/2noknMY