Chief Executive’s Weekly News for 10th August 2020

Dear All,

Detailed below is the Weekly News/Covid Update for 10th August.

Hope you are able to keep cool.

Have a good week.


Gordon Polson

Chief Executive

Federation of Bakers Ltd

Barclays Economic Update: UK manufacturing pmi increased to 53.3 in jul’20

According to the data published by IHS Markit/CIPS seasonally adjusted UK manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) increased to 53.3 in jul’20 from 50.1 in jun’20. The output growth in jul’20 has been the highest in 32-months.

The report indicated that manufacturing output growth is supported by an improvement in operating conditions faced by the UK manufacturers and an increase in new order volumes. manufacturing production increased for the second successive month in jul’20.

Growth in production has been witnessed in all three sub-sectors, supported by an increase in inflows of new work orders. Growth was especially marked in the consumer and intermediate goods industries. Investment goods production also increased for the first time in 15 months.

Business sentiments among manufacturers improved during jul’20, due to an increase in client confidence and signs of economic recovery. Only 12% of firms expected a contraction and sentiment improved across the consumer, intermediate and investment goods industries.  

Eurozone manufacturing pmi increased to 51.8 in jul’20

Data published by HIS Markit/CIPS seasonally adjusted eurozone manufacturing pmi for jul’20 increased to 51.8 compared to 47.4 in jun’20. The euro area’s manufacturing economy recorded its first growth in a year-and-a-half during jul’20 as output and demand continued to recover in line with further easing of covid-19 restrictions.

The report indicated improvement in demand from both domestic and international markets. New export orders increased for the first time since sep’18. Despite growth in both output and new orders, firms continued to operate below capacity. Also, employment has declined for the fifteenth successive months as firms continued to make job cuts during jul’20.

Additionally, output growth in jul’20 was widespread, with all sectors registering pmi readings above neutral 50.0. Consumer goods recorded the highest pmi amongst the sector groups.

In terms of regional output, Spain recorded the highest manufacturing pmi in jul’20 at 53.5, followed by Austria at 52.8, France at 52.4, Italy at 51.9 and Germany at 51.0. Only two countries, Greece and Netherlands, registered a pmi below 50.0 in jul’20, while the majority of countries recorded output growth.


Major £650 million investment for Northern Ireland

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis, announced a major £650m package of investment to help traders in Northern Ireland, and support peace, prosperity and reconciliation projects on the island of Ireland.

The funding package includes:

  • A new free-to-use Trader Support Service backed by funding of up to £200 million will complete digital processes on behalf of businesses importing goods into Northern Ireland.
  • £155m to fund the development of new technology to ensure the new processes can be fully digital and streamlined.
  • £300 million confirmed funding for the PEACE Plus programme will help to support peace, prosperity and reconciliation projects on the island of Ireland.

The new, free-to-use Trader Support Service (TSS) – an end-to-end support service to deal with import and safety and security declarations on behalf of traders will be available to businesses bringing in goods from Great Britain or the rest of the world, providing guidance as well as dealing with their requirements for moving goods into Northern Ireland.

Businesses in Northern Ireland can sign up for further information about the scheme from today, before it becomes operational in September.

The service is outlined as part of the publication of new guidance on the Northern Ireland Protocol for businesses moving goods into and from Northern Ireland.

CBI Covid Update: Everything your business needs to know about furloughing employees through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Read factsheet

Agriculture Bill: The Agriculture Bill as amended in Committee and amendments to be moved on Report have now been published, but no date has been set yet for the Bill’s Report stage.  Baroness McIntosh of Pickering has tabled an amendment to be moved on report concerning the Trade and Agriculture Commission (TAC) with the support of Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick and Baroness Henig.  This New Clause would require the TAC to establish criteria for maintaining standards as high as, or higher than, standards applied within the UK at the time of import for agricultural goods imported under a trade agreement between the UK and any other state. It also defines agricultural goods as including, but not limited to, standards relating to animal welfare; protection of the environment; food safety, hygiene and traceability; and plant health.  It further stipulates that the UK Government “may not make any international trade agreement that contains provisions relating to the importation of agricultural and food products into the UK unless the TACT has expressed in writing to the Secretary of State that it is satisfied that these standards criteria have been met in relation to the draft of the agreement.  The Bill’s future progress can be followed on its website.

EFSA risk assessment of dietary sugars delayed: The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has announced that its assessment of the safety of dietary sugars has been delayed due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the review of the exceptionally high volume of scientific information being considered.  A public consultation on the draft scientific opinion is now scheduled to take place in the middle of 2021, with final adoption later that year.  EFSA’s nutrition experts are attempting to set a tolerable upper intake level for total/added/free dietary sugars, if the available evidence supports this.




Product recalls impact consumer trust in food firms: According to GS1 UK, more than one-third of UK consumers believe that food & drink firms are not adequately transparent in relation to product recalls.

The research conducted by You Gov on behalf of GS! indicated that traceability and transparency in the food supply chain were highlighted as major concerns among food consumers.

Out of the total people surveyed, 37% stated that brands and retailers lack transparency with customers about the occurrence of product recalls. Further, 45% stated that they would change their future shopping preference, in cases of product mislabelling or contamination. This indicated that brands would be four times more likely to be negatively impacted following a product recall.




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Working safely during the coronavirus outbreak

HSE is calling businesses by phone and you could be the next business to get a spot check on your business.  You need to make your staff aware that HSE can call by phone or turn up on at your premises to conduct a Covid Secure spot check or inspection.


Cooperation and engagement with HSE spot checks and inspections is not voluntary, if you or a member of your staff gets a call from HSE, you must answer the questions being asked.


Being COVID-secure is important in the fight against the spread of Coronavirus.  HSE will take appropriate action where they find employers are not implementing the appropriate measure to deal with the risks posed by Coronavirus in the workplace.


If you are unsure about what you need to do, act now. We have information on social distancing and cleaning and hygiene practices to help your workplace put appropriate measures in place to help manage the risk.

Coronavirus guidance and advice

HSE has published a range of guidance and information, which you may find useful.

It includes:

For all the latest information and advice visit our coronavirus microsite.

Take action to prepare for 1 January 2021

While the Government continues to negotiate a free trade agreement with the European Union, there are actions your business can take now to prepare for the end of the transition period after Brexit.


You can use a checker tool at  to identify the specific steps you need to take to be ready on 1 January 2021.


You can also sign up to receive a regular Business Readiness Transition Bulletin for major announcements and recently published guidance.

Being COVID-secure: stakeholder feedback required

We want to hear about measures you have put in place relating to social distancing, cleaning and hygiene and risk assessment.


Tell us about what you have done by emailing us here