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Friday Brief Archive

2020

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Friday Brief

Welcome to the MTA Friday Brief covering what has been a very busy week on a number of fronts.

The most obvious highlight, perhaps because it is the most recent, was the Chancellor’s Winter Economic Plan speech in the House of Commons (we have only just started Autumn!) and we cover the main details of that for business.  Most notable of these is the Job Support Scheme which we welcome (it would be churlish not to as we asked him for a scheme like this in our letter last week) although it only extends to 31st March 2021, a much shorter period than similar schemes in France and Germany which last to the end of that year.  There is also a separate article about other Coronavirus related topics such as the social restrictions that were implemented this week alongside a reminder about the current (and changing) travel restrictions, including a note about Ireland,

The other major topic of the day is Brexit.  The readiness campaign is ramping up with Mr Gove telling the House of Commons that 43% of business think that the transition period will be extended.  If we take only one thing from this week on Brexit it must be that there will be no extension to the transition period and businesses must prepare.  We have some details on how you can access the information you need, led by a useful “survey” on the Government’s transition web-site that leads to pointers of what you need to do.

There are also details of a couple of webinars covering the UKCA mark and the new Border Operating Model (this is not just for shippers and hauliers) which MTA members can access.  We would recommend these to members and point out that if you have only ever dealt with EU companies, either for exports or imports, you will face a whole new regime from 1st January 2021.  On the topic of the UKCA we also have a short piece which clarifies some of the details;  while the regulations provide for an overlap regarding the use of the CE and UKCA marks, actions that UK importers will have to take come into effect on 1st January 2021.

There is a reminder of an important member benefit included in your MTA subscription in the former of the helpline operated by Croner which can give guidance on HR, health & safety and tax issues.

Linking back to the Covid-19 notes above, we have news of some updates from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) in the areas of mental health and wellbeing, creating a Covid-secure workplace and, in a separate item, details of a webinar on the topic of safe working with metal working fluids.

The economic news this week focuses mainly on the latest results from the CBI Industrial Trends Survey which continues to paint a fairly gloomy picture of the manufacturing sector in the UK with output and order books still well below their long-run average levels despite some improvement from earlier in the year.  We also reflect on the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak using the data for exports and imports for the 2nd quarter of 2020 analysed by industry sector;  looking at the trends for our key customers can give a valuable insight to the economic activity in their markets and, by extension, for MTA members.

Finally, we have a couple of notes covering a new standards work stream on enterprise service modelling and an update on support being provided by the Government for the trade credit insurance market.

That’s it for this week – we will be back next Friday (or before if there is something important to pass on) with more news from and for the manufacturing technology industry.  Until then, from the whole Team at MTA, stay safe and have a relaxing weekend.

ECONOMIC NEWS

ECONOMIC NEWS

CBI Industrial Trends Survey, September 2020:  The latest results form the CBI Trends Survey  show that manufacturing activity remains weak in “September” [note – the data collection ran from 26th August to 14th September so the results mostly refer to August, with the latest 3 months being the June to August period].  Output volumes over the past three months continued to fall and, although this was at the slowest pace since before the Covid-19 outbreak, it remains significant in historic terms.

NEW JOB SUPPORT SCHEME

NEW JOB SUPPORT SCHEME

The main headline from the Winter Economic Plan (WEP) announcement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on Thursday was the new Jobs Support Scheme (JSS).  This is similar to the schemes that operate in European countries such as Germany and France and was something that MTAS called for when we wrote to Mr Sunak last week.

We will return to this next week once the details have been published, but the highlights of the JSS are:

BREXIT UPDATE - UK TRANSITION

BREXIT UPDATE - UK TRANSITION

In all the media noise this week about the potential (or was it a forecast?) for long queues for lorries in Kent, the overriding message from the UK Government is that the transition period WILL END on 31st December.

There is a good overview of 7 key things that will change on 1st January 2021 at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/explainers-54195827 and this article (and others in the coming weeks) look to provide more information for members in specific areas.

UKCA - IMPORTANT NOTES FOR IMPORTERS

UKCA - IMPORTANT NOTES FOR IMPORTERS

We have received points of clarification around the overlap period for the CE and UKCA mark that apply particularly to importers of goods.  In general terms, the CE mark and the requirements of the distributor/importer are separate issues and the waiver applied to whether the UKCA just needs to be physically on the product/packaging or with accompanying documentation applies for 2021 and, in a different way, through 2022.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

The announcements at the start of this week focused mainly on the social aspects of society with one of the headlines in the Prime Ministers statement being that “we are not issuing a general instruction to stay at home”.  However, the official Government web-site advice (see https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-guidance-launched-to-help-get-brits-safely-back-to-work which has not been updated since May) for some time has been to “work from home if you can” and this was not altered

HEALTH & SAFETY UPDATE

HEALTH & SAFETY UPDATE

We also have news in two areas from the HSE.  The first area concerns work-related stress, worker wellbeing and mental health.  They have resources to help employers support staff with work-related stress and mental health conditions.  Planning, training and support can all reduce pressure and bring stress levels down.

TRADE CREDIT INSURANCE

TRADE CREDIT INSURANCE

One issue during the Coronavirus outbreak has been a diminution in the terms of trade credit insurance.  To address this market failure, BEIS has developed the trade credit reinsurance scheme which will allow coverage to be maintained across the market with up to £10bn government backing.