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INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Preparing your business to import from the EU in a no-deal Brexit

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Preparing your business to import from the EU in a no-deal Brexit

The United Kingdom (UK) will leave the European Union (EU) on October 31. If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, there may be changes that will almost certainly affect the design industry – the most obvious of which will be the shift in rules and regulations in regards to importing goods. In an attempt to cut through the noise, Hotel Designs has highlighted what businesses need to do in order to be ready… 

Let’s face it, none of us want to be here discussing how things will change come October 31. However, despite the conflicting opinions, Government statements and sensational news stories, things are about to change – and we are, unfortunately, required to confront the changes that are imminently on the horizon, whether we agree with the politics behind them or not.

So, here is a guide, published on the Government website, highlighting what you need to do if your business imports goods from the EU.

1) Make sure your business has an EORI number that starts with GB

You’ll need an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number starting with GB to continue importing goods. You this to move goods into or out of the EU (including the UK). Not having one may result in increased costs and delays. For example, if HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) cannot clear your goods you may have to pay storage fees.

Click here to get an EORI number (the process takes five minutes).

2) Decide who will make the import declarations

You can hire someone to deal with customs for you, or you can do it yourself. If you do hire a person or a business, they and/or the business will need to be established in the EU.

For more information about this, click here.

3) Apply to make importing easier

You can apply to use ‘transitional simplified procedures’ to reduce the amount of information you need to give at the border.

You may also be able to use the Common Transit Convention (CTC) to simplify how your goods pass through customs and when you pay customs duties. Find out if you are eligible to use CTC.

4) Set up duty deferment account if you import regularly

Set up a duty deferment account if you want to be able to make one payment of customs duties a month instead of paying for individual shipments.

You must set one up if you plan to use transitional simplified procedures.

5) Check the rate of tax and duty you’ll need to pay

You’ll need to pay customs duties and VAT on all imports.

You’ll also need to pay excise duties if you’re importing alcohol, tobacco or biofuels. Find out the rate of excise duty on imports.

6) Check what you need to do, and which regulations you need to follow, for the type of goods you import?

Depending on what you’re importing, there might be other things you’ll need to do to get your business ready.

For example, you might need to change the labelling on your goods, apply for licences, or find and approved UK border inspection post where your goods can enter the UK. Check what you need to do for the type of goods you import.

Main image credit: publicdomainpictures.net/CC0 Public Domain

UK Trade associations react to the Autumn Budget Statement 2018

Hamish Kilburn
UKinbound, Hotel Booking Agents Association and the British Property Federation comment on The Budget 2018…

Following Philip Hammond’s delivery of his third Budget as chancellor, UKinbound, Hotel Booking Agents Association (HBAA) and the British Property Federation have commented on the key points that will affect building infrastructure and tourism in the UK.

UKinbound

UKinbound – the trade association that represents nearly 400 of the UK’s top tourism businesses – has cautiously welcomed some of the new policies and initiatives outlined in the chancellor’s 2018 Budget but urges the Government to re-consider its decision not to change VAT or APD regimes, particularly in Northern Ireland.

New policies that will have a positive effect on the UK’s tourism industry include:

  • The opening of e-passport gates to citizens from the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan which will help to reduce queues and waiting times for these visitors.
  • Funding to help restore historic high streets and for Coventry to help it prepare for hosting the UK City of Culture in 2021.
  • The roll out of full fibre broadband for rural areas, which will help tourism businesses to connect and market their businesses more effectively to visitors.
  • Funding to repair and improve roads and extension of the Transforming Cities Fund, which will help to improve connectivity and transport links in cities.  This will help to encourage tourists to visit and further explore the UK’s cities, likely resulting in increased economic benefit across the whole of the UK from enhanced visitor spend.

“We are pleased that the Budget includes several policies that will have a positive impact on the UK’s tourism industry,” said Chairman Mark McVay. “These include the welcome introduction of e-gates for more of our international visitors, improvement of  transport links in our cities and digital connectivity in rural areas and funding to help restore and sustain our historic high streets.

“However, it is disappointing that there will be no change to APD and VAT regimes at this point, even though there is strong evidence that cutting these taxes will in fact generate more revenue for the Government in the long term.”

HBAA

Louise Goalen, HBAA Chair, comments on on the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget Statement: “While we welcome many of the Chancellor’s initiatives and the benefits they will bring to the UK hospitality and events industry, there is not enough to address the major talent gap we are facing.

“On a more positive note, it’s good to see a reduction in business rates for smaller companies.”

“The changes in the apprenticeship levy are good news and we hope that venues and agencies whose levy has been reduced to 5% will take advantage of this, and take on more trainees under this scheme.”

“UK business events will ultimately benefit from the £30 billion spend on roads and the freeze on fuel duty. However, when it comes to overseas events, a rise in long haul APD is definitely unwelcome, as this will impact the incentive market. On a more positive note, it’s good to see a reduction in business rates for smaller companies as this will help reduce the overheads of some HBAA agency members.

“Let’s hope there is good news in the Chancellor’s ‘red books’ – the important small print that goes with these headline statements.”

The British Property Federation

Melanie Leech, Chief Executive, British Property Federation comments:

Business Rates

It is good to see the Chancellor acknowledge that many small retailers are struggling against powerful headwinds and provide additional relief from business rates. However, Monday’s announcement does not change the fact that at almost 50 per cent, the rate of business rates is simply too high for occupiers of all sorts. It is time to recognise that business rates are unsustainable in their current form and causing untold damage to our economy; time for a fundamental review.

Digital Tax

As the UK economy evolves, so must the tax system – and we welcome that the Government is taking steps to respond to this. However, this is not an alternative to much-needed support for our high streets, which still require urgent support in the form of fundamental business rates reform. They will also require local plans that can drive adaptation, incentives to encourage town centre investment and more flexibility around change of use and we are pleased that the Chancellor recognised this.

“A new tax relief for commercial property owners is a real surprise.”

 

Structures and Buildings Allowance:

A new tax relief for commercial property owners is a real surprise. This move brings the UK more closely in line with the many other countries that already provide tax relief for the cost of building commercial property, making the UK more attractive to invest in. It makes investing in new and refurbished buildings cheaper from a tax perspective, and is a welcome move.

Town centres and high streets

The announcement of additional investment into a Future High Streets Fund is welcome, and when combining with the proposed planning reform and a High Streets Task Force has real potential to be a game changer for urban centres facing a change in the way that people shop, how they spend their leisure time, and where they want to live.

However, it’s crucial not to forget some of the other knotty issues that property owners have to grapple with. We support the proper use of CVAs to help businesses in genuine distress and are keen that CVAs continue to achieve these objectives. There is, however, increasing frustration about the practice of some recent CVAs. The BPF has called on Government to conduct an independent urgent review of CVAs.

Land value uplift

We welcome the Government’s sensible, measured approach to land value uplift. In a noisy environment with multiple views on land value capture being aired, it is pleasing to see such a considered response providing more certainty for developers and local authorities, and enabling more infrastructure provision for local communities.

The Letwin Review

We welcome Sir Oliver Letwin’s recommendations, and in particular, his focus on the need for a more diverse, multi-tenure approach to large sites. The benefits will be three-fold, both helping to address market absorption rates and deliver properties quicker and help to create more sustainable places home to different demographics, socio-economic backgrounds, fostering a greater sense of community. In addition, adding a tenure such as build to rent to a development site brings with it an investor with a long term interest.

The Review also recognised the skills crisis in which we find ourselves. Time is of the essence, and whilst we applaud the Government’s intention to take a few months to consider the response to the wider Review, this is an area in which we need urgent action to sure that we can hit the 300,000 target.

Main image credit: Pixabay

British Hospitality Association responds to UK's EU migrants policy

British Hospitality Association responds to UK’s EU migrants policy

750 467 Daniel Fountain

The British Hospitality Association (BHA) has released a response to Theresa May and the government’s plans to ‘assess the economic contribution of EU migrants’ in the UK.

The Home Office launched an independent review into the impact of EU migrants on the UK economy after suggestions that new rules could be made for different industries.

Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association, said: “Over 700,000 Europeans work in hospitality and tourism and although we are determined to rely less on EU service workers over the coming years it will take time. In March KPMG published a report, commissioned by the BHA, which showed that in the event of free movement ending and no successor regime being put in its place the industry would need to recruit an additional 65,000 UK workers each year in addition to the ongoing recruitment of 200,000 workers to replace churn and to power growth.

“Our industry recognises that immigration policy needs to change however at a time when unemployment is at its lowest since 1975 we will still need access to the European workforce.

“The BHA has been campaigning for several months for an enlarged role of the Migration Advisory Committee and welcome the government commissioning the MAC to undertake a detailed study on EU workers with businesses throughout the country. We believe this should go further and the MAC should advise government on the number of visas for all strategically important sectors including hospitality and tourism, the fourth largest industry in the UK. Britain needs services workers as well as scientists and engineers and we look forward to having a serious dialogue with the Home Secretary as we get into the detail of a new immigration law,” she added.

Dave Hart Redefine|BDL Hotels - opinion on business rates

Opinion: Hotel specialists focus on returns and reform after business rates increases

909 597 Daniel Fountain

Keeping calm and focusing on the job at hand whilst lobbying for change should be top of the agenda for hospitality businesses in the wake of increasing business rates, says Redefine|BDL Hotels’ (RBH) Chief Financial Officer, David Hart.

The UK’s leading independent hotel management company oversees a portfolio of more than 50 properties facing business rate hikes averaging 29% – with increases for individual hotels of up to 142% – in the coming financial year.

But RBH’s Chief Financial Officer says the business will be focusing on what it does best – transforming hotels and striving to increase returns for their owners to lessen the impact of increasing costs – while lobbying for change in the background.

He said: “The hotel owners we work with will be directly, and significantly, impacted by changing business rates – just one of many rising costs facing the hospitality industry. It’s not a cost that can be easily offset by directly-related price increases for the end customer, so we’re taking a pragmatic approach and continuing to focus on generating healthy returns for our owners by looking at how we can transform every part of their hotel’s business so that any increases won’t hit them as hard.”

David continued: “All owners – particularly smaller independent properties – are going to feel property rate increases bite, mainly because of what we see as fundamental flaws in the system. The approach to revaluation is very much ‘one size fits all’ in a given region or industry, and doesn’t necessarily account for factors that are important for hospitality businesses, like presence of new hotels and the impact of third party booking agent commissions on net revenue.”

Lobbying for system reform is high on the RBH agenda but, with operating hotels being its area of expertise, it engages third party business rates experts to negotiate with valuation officers, and to make RBH’s views known to the people who matter – the policymakers.

David explained: “Our use of experts to negotiate the business rates position leaves us free to focus on what we do best, while letting our hotel owners benefit from the expertise of those firms.

“This approach has already paid immediate dividends for us with an initial group of hotels having significantly improved on their 40% increases that were originally communicated to a revised average increase of 26%. One hotel in particular had a draft increase of 33% which has been successfully negotiated down to only a 2% increase.”

And while politicians have sought to address the wide-ranging feelings of frustration, this doesn’t go anywhere near far enough.

David said: “The measures announced by the Scottish and UK Governments only offer temporary relief to select groups – or leave the final decision on who gets help to local authorities. While every little helps, it doesn’t address the core issue, which is the perception of the existing system for revaluing business rates as a non-transparent, blanket approach used to impose increasing, unexplained costs on all businesses no matter their circumstances.

“We’re keen to see fundamental reform, with a more bespoke approach taken by evaluators that really takes account of individual circumstances and which gives businesses certainty over their cost base in the longer term.

“In the meantime, we’ll be rolling up our sleeves and focusing on what we do best – transforming hotels and generating superior returns for our hotel owners.”

www.redefinebdl.com

BHA

BHA calls for immediate CMA inquiry into online travel agents

929 407 Daniel Fountain

Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association (BHA) welcomed the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union Report calling for an urgent review of online travel agents.

She said: “The BHA welcomes the House of Lords Report which recommends greater accountability and transparency of online travel agents. These OTAs wield vast power and hold our industry hostage by commanding punitive rates of commission. We are pleased that this influential committee is proposing Europe wide steps to enable our industry to challenge anti-competitive online practices when they arise. The BHA calls upon on the government and policy makers in the European Commission to support our lobbing in this area and get engaged – this is a significant step forward for our industry and we want to see the momentum continue.”

Background

The Report by the House of Lords Select Committee is called Online Platforms and the Digital Single Market. It is a response to the EU Commission consultation on how the largest online platforms use their market power and whether current regulation and competition law is effective in the digital economy.

The British Hospitality Association has called for:

  • an outright ban on rate parity clauses – which prevent hotels from offering lower rates than those on the online booking sites where they are listed. This practice impacts directly on consumers since it means less competitive pricing with similar room rates offered by online travel agencies and hospitality venues across the board. Rate parity clauses are already illegal in France and were found to be anti- competitive in cases brought against Booking.com and HRS in Germany;
  • more effective and speedier methods for resolving competition and consumer protection issues and codes of practice for online platforms;
  • transparency for consumers in rankings, ratings, reviews.

The Report recommends:

  • critical scrutiny by competition authorities of parity clauses and recommends that the Competition and Markets Authority urgently order a market investigation into the online travel sector;
  • a speedier process for resolving competition law questions, proposing interim measures be used to stop anti – competitive practices, time limits be applied to negotiations and the development of sector based codes of practice;
  • recommends the European Commission amend the Unfair Consumer Practices Directive so that platforms are required to provide the criteria on which they provide ratings and search results and their policies for handling negative reviews, as well as clearly distinguishing between user reviews and paid promotions.

The British Hospitality Association has worked on behalf of the industry to persuade government to take a long, hard look at anti-competitive behaviour in the digital travel sector.

The next step is for the Competition and Markets Authority to adopt the Report’s recommendations to make sure that the travel and hospitality sector is a truly competitive marketplace, which is, after all, in the best interests of the consumer.

Budget 2016

BHA: What George Osborne’s Budget 2016 means for British hospitality

1000 502 Daniel Fountain

The BHA is pleased to see the abolition of the Carbon Reduction Commitment energy efficiency scheme in George Osborne’s Budget 2016 which was very bureaucratic and cumbersome and caused difficulties for franchise arrangements.

Devolved powers to regions to improve transport and connectivity will support job creation and local tourism. We are pleased that English counties and regions will get elected mayors. Tourism should be a top priority for these mayors especially in coastal and rural areas.

We were also pleased to see the support for tourism and cultural activity with the announcement of cathedral investment, tax breaks for museums and travelling exhibitions.

We were disappointed not to see a reduction in National Insurance and a delay in the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy which would have been helpful in reducing the total impact of the National Minimum Wage and the introduction of National Living Wage in April this year.

Small businesses will be pleased to see the business rates reductions.

Despite the catastrophic effects of recent flooding, our industry has – and continues to – rally together to support local communities and the people living in them. The BHA welcomes the Chancellor’s announcement to support flood struck businesses with the investment in flood defence and resilience measures.