Drivers’ hours relaxation rules extended

Drivers’ hours relaxation rules extended

11.1.2022 | Haulage

Drivers' hours relaxation rules extended

DfT has announced that it will continue its relaxation of drivers’ hours rules until midnight on 10 February 2022.

If you used the previous relaxation, you must complete and submit the follow-up notification form by 16 January 2022, the Department for Transport (DfT) said.

The DfT said the temporary relaxation of the rules reflects the urgent situation arising from the impacts of Covid-19, including the recent highly infectious Omicron variant. This is resulting in increased absence rates and outbreaks in specific workforces, including in respect of the carriage of goods by road and the supply chains of which they are a part, the government said.

Additionally, the DfT was keen to stress it was: “not related to the previous temporary relaxations that lapsed on 9 January 2022, which were put in place to address the cumulative impacts of Covid-19 coupled with an acute shortage of HGV drivers.”

Boxing Bout Bonanza

Boxing Bout Bonanza

11.1.2022 | Charity

Boxing Bout Bonanza

Following the success of Felixstowe Rotary Club’s last charity boxing dinner, they’ve decided to do it all again – 20th May 2022.

In what will be Rotary’s seventh boxing evening, this year’s event will take place on Friday 20th May at The Brackenbury Sports Centre, Felixstowe.

Richard Bugg, of Felixstowe Rotary, says: “With eight to ten bouts of top-class boxing planned along with a three-course dinner, auction and raffle, this event is not to be missed.”

In conjunction with Suffolk Boxing, matchmaker and England boxing team coach Martin Webb will be pitting the regions’ boxing talent against Tyne and Teesside’s finest.

Richard continues: “Our last boxing evening in 2019 raised over £11,000 for deserving local individuals and charities, and we’re hoping to improve on this figure in May. And with sixteen of the thirty tables already reserved, we recommend booking early to avoid disappointment.”

An excellent event for entertaining clients and networking, a range of profile-raising sponsorship opportunities are also available.

To reserve your table at this night to remember, or to find out more about sponsorship packages, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Mandy Tyler 07813 650071 or 07736 564110.

Picture credit: Rainywood Photography

Credit Rainywood Photography

2021 – A year in review from a tax expert

2021 – A year in review from a tax expert

11.1.2022 | Tax

2021 – A year in review from a tax expert

From bumper pandemic budgets to freeports and the furlough scheme, it has been a busy year in the world of finance.

So, another pandemic year is behind us. 2021 has been a year of turbulence, for sure, but also one of resilience, of heart – of keeping (relatively) calm and carrying on.

Here, Andrew Diver, Head of Taxation at Beatons Group, takes a look back at the big financial goings-on of 2021.

The situation
This was a chaotic year for the freight and shipping industry as container chaos crossed the world.

From the Ever Given blocking the Suez Canal to a shortage of containers in Asia, this has been a turbulent time for the industry.

Although it was a turbulent time, it has left businesses with sky-high profits – and headaches over how to deal with higher tax liabilities, expansion to meet demand or whether to cash in their chips.

But it hasn’t all been plain sailing.

Brexit really does mean Brexit
While Brexit officially happened on January 31, 2020, the transition period meant the benefits of EU membership continued to apply throughout the year. But from December 31, that all came to an end.

More changes are now on the way from the New Year with the end of the delayed customs declarations period. All goods entering the UK from the EU will need a full declaration, meaning there will be more customs work for firms to manage.

The Spring Budget
In March, Rishi Sunak delivered his first budget since the pandemic began, with the Chancellor of the Exchequer committing an extra £65billion to protect jobs and livelihoods.

All eyes were on Mr Sunak ahead of the budget, with the locked-down nation clutching at straws over how it could recover the costs of the coronavirus.

The budget included the much-needed extension of the furlough scheme and introduced two new grants to help the more than 600,000 people who became self-employed in 2020.

The freight and logistics industry was also given a helping hand through the freezing of fuel tax, while the super deduction has and will continue to give businesses the ability to reinvest in their future while reducing tax.

One question many will hope the chancellor will address in his Spring budget is bounce-back loans and how businesses will repay them. Paying back these loans could put a lot of pressure on businesses as they look to recover post-pandemic.

The Spring budget also included some important news for Felixstowe…

The Freeport
Announced in Mr Sunak’s Spring Budget, the Port of Felixstowe and Harwich International Port are set to become the new Freeport East.

Goods arriving in the new economic zone will be exempt from tariffs unless moving elsewhere in the UK, while customs documentation is simplified.

The project is expected to create up to 13,500 jobs in the region over the next 10 years – and bring in an additional 1.3million tonnes of international trade volume.

Should things stay on track, the freeport is set to begin operations before the new year, while the poised Gateway 14 business park has also been given the green light.

Making Tax Digital
As well as affecting businesses through lockdown and restrictions, COVID-19 has also led to a delay in HMRC’s Making Tax Digital scheme for income self-assessment.

The initiative, outlined by George Osbourne in 2015, is part of the Government’s tax-modernisation programme and seeks to make tax reporting simpler and reduce errors.

Among those affected include self-employed workers such as freelancers and contractors, as well as landlords with rents totalling more than £10,000.

It was set to be implemented from April 2023, but due to the pandemic, it has now been put back by a year.

The Autumn Budget
While Mr Sunak announced a host of spending in October, there were no new big tax changes announced as he unveiled further plans to rebuild the UK economy through growth.

More positives were revealed for the freight and logistic sectors, including grants for improved lorry parks and the delay of the Heavy Goods Vehicle Levy until 2023.

Corporation Tax rates increases were announced to finance Mr Sunak’s plans, starting from April 2023. Likewise, a new health and social care levy from 2023 was unveiled to help fund the welfare state.

Before then, a 1.25% increase in National Insurance for employees and employers will come into force in April next year.

The year ahead
With the new Omicron Covid-19 variant sweeping across the globe, it can feel a little like we are back to step one going into 2022.

But with the booster campaign in full swing and the infrastructure necessary for handling the pandemic in better shape than it was a year ago, 2022 could be the year life gets back to some semblance of ‘normal’.

If you or your business needs guidance through any of the changes introduced this year, visit the Beatons website or call their friendly team on 01473 659777.

Key appointment to support growth and customer success

Key appointment to support growth and customer success

11.1.2022 | Recruitment

Key appointment to support growth and customer success

Port Side Solutions expands workforce to meet demand for its managerial, operational and driver recruitment solutions.

Joe Blackman joins as a trainee consultant, providing dedicated support to existing customers in addition to administering the company’s compliance and documentation processes and procedures.

Miles Powell, Port Side Solutions’ general manager, says of the appointment:
“Client success is at the heart of everything we do, and we’re delighted to have Joe on board. We’re developing our team with the very best people who will support our customer’s plans for growth and expansion, placing the right candidate in the right role.

In addition to Joe’s appointment, Port Side Solutions currently has a range of vacancies at both its Ipswich and Southampton facilities with opportunities across East Anglia and Hampshire, including HGV1 drivers, traffic operators, parcel sorters and counterbalance forklift drivers. Click here to find out more.

Joe Blackman

New year sees launch of new rail connection

New year sees launch of new rail connection

11.1.2022 | Rail

New year sees launch of new rail connection

Felixstowe is at the heart of the intermodal revolution.

The 38th daily rail service has been introduced at Hutchison Ports Port of Felixstowe. Operated by GB Railfreight for Maritime Transport, the service connects the port with Birch Coppice in the Midlands.

The new service is the fifteenth, operated by GB Railfreight and impressively, the twelfth daily rail connection from the port to destinations in the Midlands.

Commenting on the latest addition to the port’s roster of rail services, Robert Ashton, operations director at the Port of Felixstowe, said:

“Increasing the proportion of traffic moving by rail is an important part of our strategy to offer the widest possible range of sustainable transport options through the Port of Felixstowe. We are investing in new plant and equipment as part of our own drive towards net-zero and are working with partners, including GB Railfreight and Maritime Transport, to help others remove carbon from their supply chains.

“With three dedicated rail terminals at the port, we offer more rail services to more inland destinations with greater frequency than any other UK port.”

Julie Garn, Intermodal’s general manager, said:

“Working closely with Maritime Transport and the Port of Felixstowe, this new service will play an important part in alleviating some of the pressure facing the UK supply chain. Increasing the number of services from Felixstowe is an efficient and environmentally friendly way to meet growing consumer demand, with an average freight train removing up to 76 HGVs from the road.”

John Bailey, Managing Director – Intermodal and Terminals, Maritime Transport, added:

“We are thrilled to launch this new service with GB Railfreight. Our investment in new routes, new equipment, and our terminals enables us to provide the most advanced logistics solutions and reflects our drive to deliver increased resources at a time when the industry is facing huge challenges. We have achieved unrivalled success in the intermodal sector in a very short period of time, but we are only at the start of a journey that will continue to see us challenge the industry norms and accelerate modal shift.”