The most important budget for decades – a few predictions

The most important budget for decades – a few predictions

23.2.2021 | tax

The most important budget for decades – a few predictions

Beatons’ Andrew Diver looks at some of the rumours and whispers surrounding next months budget.


It can be difficult making predictions on upcoming budgets – but this year is harder than ever.

With the news we will slowly be coming out of lockdown over the next few months, businesses are eager to discover the Chancellor’s plan to pay for the pandemic.

It will be a balancing act, recouping some of the expenditure while giving businesses the chance to open stronger than ever.

And with the end of the furlough scheme possibly being extended past April, employees seek clarity on what the future holds.

Here, Andrew Diver, head of taxation at Beatons Group, looks at some of the rumours and whispers surrounding March’s budget.

Capital Gains Tax
There is a lot of speculation whirling around capital gains tax (CGT).

It was the subject of a review by the Office of Tax Simplification recently, which came up with 11 recommendations to how it should be reformed.

It is likely CGT could be used as a source of tax revenue by the Chancellor as it is expected to affect the wealthiest in society and is unlikely to create a drag on the economy’s recovery.

At the moment, the capital gains tax rates are significantly lower than the income tax rates.

Expect these differences to be reduced and the capital gains tax annual exemption frozen at the least, but potentially halved.

Corporation Tax
Rumours abound about a proposed increase in corporation tax as the UK has one of the lowest rates in the G7 at 19%.

However, coming out of Brexit, the government will be keen to attract business to the UK, so the Chancellor may think this is not the best time for a rise. There are whispers of a series of 1% annual increases over the next four years to a high of 23%.

Personal Tax
Before the pandemic hit, the government sought to reduce income tax rates, or at least increase the personal allowance and higher tax threshold. However, this now looks not to happen.

I do not see the government bringing any direct tax rises in terms of rate increases, but rates will not rise with inflation which would raise around an extra £1billion a year.

Fuel Duty
Fuel duty has been frozen for many years, but there are distinct rumours that fuel duty will rise again at this budget – fitting in with the green drive from Rishi Sunak to reshape the economy.

Fuel duty brings inflationary impact to almost all aspects of business as any goods that require transportation will have increased costs due to the fuel duty increase.

Industry-specific/employment incentives
We may see specific initiatives launched to help those hit hardest by lockdown restrictions, as well as others to kick start the economy.

I could see a scheme involving the hospitality sector being introduced – although I do not anticipate another Eat Out to Help Out as this was only thought to be around 5% effective in stimulating activity. The extension to the reduced rate VAT for the hospitality sector should also be continued until the sector can trade free of restrictions.

We could also see a reinforcement to the Kickstart Scheme supporting new apprenticeship and self-employment incentives to give some encouragement for those who lost their jobs to launch their own businesses.

The next budget is always the most important, but this one certainly is the most important for years; the first post Brexit, dealing with significant unemployment and a changing economic landscape.
The balance between encouraging the economy’s growth and tax revenue generation is more finely balanced than ever. It is hard to say exactly what we will see – what I can be sure of, however, is I will be watching the announcement with bated breath.

For more information on Beatons Group, visit

Port of Felixstowe Ro/Ro Upgrade Complete

Port of Felixstowe Ro/Ro Upgrade Complete

9.2.2021 | Ports

Port of Felixstowe Ro/Ro Upgrade Complete

Work allows port to accommodate larger Ro/Ro vessels and improve efficiency of vessel operations.


The completed upgrade to facilities at the port includes the lengthening of No.3 Ro/Ro berth and the replacement of the previous hydraulic ramp at No.4 Ro/Ro berth with a larger floating linkspan.

Commenting on the improvements, Chris Lewis, Chief Executive Officer at the Port of Felixstowe, said:

“The completion of this upgrade is well-timed. After an initial dip following the end of the Brexit transition period, Roll-on/Roll-off volumes have been increasing in recent weeks and we are seeing certain flows switching to Felixstowe as a result of new import requirements. The new Ro/Ro ramp complements earlier work to increase the number of trailer parking bays at the port and boosts the capability of our Ro/Ro operations.”

Although best known as a container port, the Port of Felixstowe is also one of the East Coast’s major Ro/Ro ports. It handles predominantly unaccompanied trailer trade with Europe via the Netherlands. Ferry company DFDS operate three sailings per day to Vlaardingen in Rotterdam using vessels of 190-250 trailer capacity.

Mark Woodard, DFDS General Manager Felixstowe, said:

“We are delighted with the outcome of these works. Unaccompanied trailer traffic is becoming ever more cost-effective for traders. We expect to see a further increase in demand as heavy goods driver shortages intensify and full import controls are implemented on goods from the EU from 1 July. The improved facilities give us greater flexibility in vessel deployment and will improve the reliability and consistency of service on the route.”

The Port of Felixstowe, with Hutchison Ports Harwich International, Harwich Haven Authority and a number of local councils and local enterprise partnerships has recently submitted a bid for freeport status. Freeport East will offer a unique inward investment opportunity for companies looking for a base from which to take advantage of the range of shipping connections linking the deep-sea container traffic at Felixstowe with European Ro/Ro services from Felixstowe and Harwich.

For further information visit

TALE grant scheme helps over 250 SMEs become more efficient

TALE grant scheme helps over 250 SMEs become more efficient

9.2.2021 | Logistics

TALE grant scheme helps over 250 SMEs become more efficient

33 TALE and TALE LITE non-repayable grants still available.

The Transport and Logistical Efficiencies (TALE) team are pleased to announce they have passed their initial target, helping more than 250 small and medium-sized businesses in Suffolk Norfolk, Essex, Kent and East Sussex, to better use their logistics data – becoming more efficient, introducing or enhancing their services, improving profit margins and reducing costs.

Each SME initially benefitted from a free 3-hour 1:1 diagnostic support package offered by the TALE business support facilitators. Many also took further support in the form of workshops, grants of referrals to Growth Hubs.

There are still 33 TALE and TALE LITE non-repayable grants available. TALE grants are worth up to £10,000 for a data analytics project of up to £25,000 and can be used for software and low-value kit for data collection and processing. TALE LITE grants are worth up to £2,000 for a project of up to £5,000, and can be used for software, and initial consultancy advice related to data.

TALE Programme Director, Lisa Brazier said,

“2020 was a challenging year from SMEs, there has never been a better time to get involved with TALE. We are pleased to meet our target and look forward to helping more businesses over the coming months.”

TALE is an ERDF-funded programme.

Contact TALE to find out if your business is eligible.

VARTAN expands its compliance services

VARTAN expands its compliance services

9.2.2021 | Risk Management

VARTAN expands its compliance services

Peter Bennett appointed Operator Licence Compliance Consultant with immediate effect.

Risk management specialist, VARTAN Consultancy, has appointed Peter Bennett to the role of Operator Licence Compliance Consultant with immediate effect.

Based in Vartan’s Felixstowe office, Peter’s responsibilities include operator licence and systems audits to determine the current level of compliance and to provide a comprehensive report and any recommendations.

Miles Vartan, Managing Director of VARTAN, says: “Peter joining the business is a considerable asset. We will be able to use his detailed knowledge as to how to manage fleets of LGVs both efficiently and safely. Our understanding of the benefits of improving company performance and looking after the health and safety of employees in relation to improving business performance will complement Peter’s abilities to support our ongoing development as a company. His previous 35 years’ experience as a transport manager, commercial vehicle dealer point manager and qualified motor engineer will prove invaluable to us and our customers as we grow and develop our compliance services.”

Peter Bennett comments: “The hard work begins once an operator’s licence is granted. We work with transport companies, transport/fleet managers and owner-drivers to manage their commitment to continuous compliance from operator licence applications and updates through to external transport manager provision.”

Miles concludes: “During these challenging times, it’s vital that vehicle operators remain compliant in the eyes of The Traffic Commissioner if they are to thrive. We can provide a mix of solutions to ensure they legally meet their Operator Licence promises and obligations.”

For more information visit


Recruitment opens for ABP Apprenticeship Programme 2021

Recruitment opens for ABP Apprenticeship Programme 2021

09.2.2021 | Ports

Recruitment opens for ABP Apprenticeship Programme 2021

Applications are now open for a number of different Apprenticeship roles, split across different locations, including East Anglia, Southampton, South Wales and the Humber.


To celebrate the beginning of National Apprenticeship Week, Associated British Ports (ABP), the UK’s leading and best-connected port operator, has launched its popular Apprenticeship Programme, which is looking to find the next generation of colleagues in the maritime and logistics industry.

Applications are now open for a number of different ABP Apprenticeship roles, covering a variety of specialisms such as marine, engineering, pilotage, commercial, credit control, procurement, planning and HR, which will be split across ABP’s different locations, including the Humber, East Anglia, Southampton and South Wales.

The port industry in the UK is the second largest in Europe and Associated British Ports (ABP) is the largest port operator in the country, with 21 ports around Britain. ABP’s ports include Immingham, the UK’s largest port by tonnage, and Southampton, the nation’s second-largest container port, as well as the UK’s number one for cars and cruise ships.

Every year, ABP handles around 25% of all UK seaborne trade – more than 85 million tonnes of cargo. Collectively the ports handle around 1.4 million containers, 1.7 million vehicles and around 3 million cruise and ferry passengers each year. ABP also owns and runs Britain’s busiest inland rail terminal, Hams Hall.

Kerry Thompson, Head of ABP Academy, said: “We are delighted to open this year’s Apprenticeship Programme for applications. I would like to wish all applicants good luck and we look forward to finding the generation of ABP colleagues to help us keep Britain trading.”

ABP sees apprenticeships as playing an important role in supporting its future talent pipeline. Whilst it is difficult to predict precisely what the future holds in 2021 and beyond, in the light of the current pandemic, the company remains committed to continuing to support current and future apprentices to ensure that they complete their training successfully.

The closing date for applications is Sunday, 21st February. Candidates are invited to apply here.

For more information about the different Apprenticeships available at ABP, please access our brochure, available here.