Government’s winter Covid contingency plan and transit declarations

Businesses will be encouraged by this week’s announcements around measures being taken to protect people from Covid and reduce its spread as we move into the winter season.

But they will be frustrated by the inability of the Government to give them any detail around what circumstances could lead to new restrictions and what support firms could get.

Many businesses have adapted and adjusted to keep our economy moving forward, getting on with the job, despite a lack of clarity around guidance which means they are still negotiating a legal minefield.

Furlough

Businesses want to know what support they will be offered if the worst happens. We would also like to see furlough – and other support measures – put permanently on the shelf so they can be activated if there is a further lockdown. It’s a system that is proven to work in Germany and ensures business has the confidence to keep investing.

We are not expecting the government to have a crystal ball and predict the future in minute detail. We are simply asking that they give businesses the assurance as to what will happen if the pandemic spikes again and that they will not be left behind.

International Travel

It is also vital that any changes to the traffic light system for international travel are communicated to the aviation industry as soon as possible, and well before 1st October. It remains one of the few sectors unable to fully reopen and government must find additional ways to support it.

The British Chambers of Commerce’s (BCC) latest economic forecast suggests business investment is falling, and with the new national insurance levy introduced last week, firms need to know there aren’t going to be any more surprises.

A proper contingency plan should give businesses the confidence they need to move on from just surviving to growing, thriving, and leading the way out of the coronavirus crisis.

If you have any concerns around these measures, contact us: info@staffordshirechambers.co.uk

The UK’s exit from the European Union has thrown up a range of challenges for companies which trade internationally but the approach of Staffordshire Chambers has been to work around barriers to trade ensuring businesses are still able to sell and send goods to EU based customers.

Firms have been able to continue trading overseas through the process of customs declarations, however they may now require further paperwork in the form of a transit declaration to certify that duties need only be paid in the destination country, and not in countries through which goods pass.

We were the first chamber in the UK to offer a transit declaration service, due to us taking the lead in the national training for the service through the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).

Our customs team leader, Allison Tomlinson is part of the BCC team delivering the transit documentation training which has led to 40 UK chambers now being able to offer the service.

We were the first chamber in the UK to go live with a transit declaration service on 1st June and we have been extremely busy issuing certificates, known as T1’s, since then.

Prior to the issue of the T1’s drivers were being help up at ports for up to 24 hours, increasing costs and in some cases, causing delivery deadlines to be missed.

Firms are also benefitting from a guarantee to cover unpaid duties and can benefit from becoming an ‘authorised consignor’.

Authorised consignors can print their own T1 declarations and drivers can head straight to the port and avoid costly hold-ups on arrival. To date a quarter of all the UK’s authorised consignors are based in Staffordshire.

Anyone wanting more information on transit declarations can contact the international trade team on 01782 202222 or visit www.staffordshirechambers.co.uk/internationaltrade

If you want to talk to us about any other business issues, including funding, you can call our switchboard on 01782 202222 or call the Stoke and Staffs Growth Hub Helpline on 0300 111 8002 or email: info@staffordshirechambers.co.uk

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