CURRENT ISSUES
Business Regulation

In the high volume, low margin wholesale model, increases in operating costs cannot easily be absorbed and can result in increased costs in the food and drink supply chain. FWD makes the case to the government and regulators for better regulation of businesses in this sector and for it to be necessary, effective and proportionate.

FWD members support the National Minimum Wage (NMW) although members are concerned about the wider impact of frequent above-inflation rises in NMW. We are concerned that the National Living Wage could severely restrict the profitability of our members, should the proposed target of over £9 by 2020 be pursued.

 

Our report, Delivering Employment, outlines the added cost to our sector, and explores how wholesale distributors would be forced to cut jobs and services to meet the rises.

FWD engages with the Low Pay Commission to look at how the lowest-paid can be fairly rewarded without imposing costs on employers that would ultimately result in a reduction of head count.

FWD believes that current Sunday trading regulations, which limit the number of hours larger stores can open, should be maintained. This will benefit our high streets and local communities.

On the horizon
Policy in the pipeline

Cash and digital payments in the new economy

A consultation on how digital payments could be supported, including looking at the cost to business, and the future of cash, to ensure that the ability to pay by cash is available for those who need it, whilst cracking down on those who use cash to evade tax and launder money.

Threshold for VAT registration

A further consultation on the threshold for registration for VAT has been published, looking at further simplification options, and in particular at why businesses choose not to grow beyond the current £85,000 threshold. The paper looks at three options, one a harmonised EU approach, one involving administrative changes and one that involves a smoothing of the cliff-edge currently experienced at the threshold.

Business rates

The Government announced that the next business rates revaluation will take place in 2021, one year earlier than previously planned. Subsequent revaluations will take place every three years. In practice thismeans that the revaluation process will begin from around April 2019 with rental value/business performance based on the financial year 2018-19.

Corporate tax and the digital economy

The Government stated that in the absence of an agreed international framework on digital taxation, “there is a need to consider interim measures such as revenue-based taxes”.

Apprenticeships

A proposal to support small businesses with the apprenticeship regime, with additional funding of about £80 million. Funding will additionally be made available to support businesses with the introduction of the new T-levels and the work placement element. Departmental funding allocations were also announced as part of the Brexit contingency fund, to allow changes to be put in place to get the UK prepared for leaving the EU.

More from the Chancellor’s Spring Statement