FOB Chief Executive’s Weekly News for 12th October 2020

Dear All

Detailed below is the Weekly News and Covid Update for 12 October.

Have a good week.

Gordon Polson

Chief Executive – Federation of Bakers Ltd

Barclays Economic Update: UK Manufacturing PMI Decreased to 54.1 in sep’20

According to the data published by IHS Markit⁄CIPS, the seasonally adjusted UK manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) decreased to 54.1 in sep’20 from 55.2 in aug’20.

The report indicated that manufacturing output increased for the fourth consecutive month in sep’20, with the rate of growth easing slightly. Higher production was supported by improved inflows of new work, companies reopening and staff returning to work. Additionally, new export businesses reported growth in sep’20, primarily due to increased demand from Europe, Asia and North America.

An increase in production has been reported across all three sub-sectors i.e. consumer, intermediate and investment goods sectors. Growth was especially marked in the intermediate goods industries. Large manufacturers registered the fastest growth and small-sized firms the slowest in sep’20.

Input cost inflation increased in sep’20, primarily due to higher raw material costs, demand for inputs and the resulting supply shortage. This has led to increased selling prices by manufacturers.  

Eurozone Productivity PMI Stood at 53.5 in sep’20

According to the data published by IHS Markit⁄CIPS, seasonally adjusted eurozone productivity PMI decreased to 53.5 in sep’20 from 54.4 in aug’20. The report indicated improvement in the workforce efficiency at the private sector companies in the eurozone.

In sep’20, the eurozone manufacturing PMI stood at 58.7 and services PMI at 51.5. manufacturing recorded strong growth, due to improvements in workforce efficiency in the sector. Similarly, service providers also recorded efficiency improvements, though the growth rate was modest in the overall sector.

Improvement in efficiencies was reported across the private sector of the three eurozone nations for which productivity data are published. Germany recorded the highest increase in productivity, primarily due to an expansion in factory production. In sep’20, productivity PMI for Germany stood highest at 56.7, followed by France at 52.2 and Italy at 51.6.

Quarterly productivity trends improved across the private sectors of Germany, France and Italy during q3’20, following a decline in q2’20.

Bread and Flour Regulations Post Brexit: A joint industry including FoB has been sent to Defra outlining concern and the need for clarity particularly with regard to the acceptance of UK statutory fortified flour containing products on the NI market.  Defra has confirmed that they are actively seeking clarity with regard to NI and will communicate directly as soon as we obtain this. It is understood that FSA NI are building their impact assessment on the BFR NI post-exit and are expecting their legal opinion on this national legislation to be finalised very shortly. They are also putting together a case study to try to get a derogation from the European Commission to continue to apply the BFR NI.

Updated Border Operating Model publication: The Government has ramped up preparations for the end of the transition period by publishing an updated Border Operating Model, which provides further detail on how the GB-EU border will work and the actions that traders, hauliers and passengers need to take.

Protecting food and drink names from 1 January 2021 – new UK GI logos: New UK GI logos were made available to download on GOV.UK. These logos, and the rules for using them, were shared with GI producers, retailers and enforcement bodies via email. The GIs policy team will be hosting an online teach-in session on the new UK GI schemes for any interested stakeholders. Please contact the team at if you would like to attend

Useful Reminders:

Booking process for Covid-19 Tests

DHSC has now digitised the process for booking Covid-19 tests. The portal enables individuals to book a test themselves, accessible via

Alternatively, employers can refer staff using an employer portal. Accounts for this portal can be requested by emailing

Number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and risk in the UK

Find out the latest statistics, risk level, what to do if you have symptoms, and what the government is doing about the virus here.

Latest guidance from Public Health England can be found here.

This bulletin provides information for employers and businesses on Coronavirus (COVID-19). All guidance, information and announcements can be found at GOV.UK.

MEPs object to EC proposals on food, titanium dioxide & acrylamide: The European Parliament (EP) has objected to European Commission proposals on food products containing titanium dioxide and acrylamide.  MEPs’ first objection concerns a proposed amendment to the legislation laying down specifications for food additives as regards titanium dioxide (E171).  The EP called on the Commission to apply the precautionary principle and to remove E171 from the EU list of permitted food additives. The second objection concerned the Commission’s proposal to amend the rules setting maximum levels of acrylamide in certain foodstuffs for infants and young children.  MEPs asked the Commission to lower the proposed maximum level of acrylamide allowed for certain food products often given to infants and young children. Without the EP’s support, the Commission cannot proceed as it proposed and must now amend or withdraw the proposed legislation.

Promotion of HFSS foods: Responding to a question from Philip Davies on the Government’s proposal, to restrict the promotion of foods high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) in stores, the Public Health Minister, Jo Churchill, said that the Government’s response to the consultation and impact assessment will be published shortly. Mr Davies had questioned the Minister about a possible exemption from the proposal for small stores, pointing out that the Association of Convenience Stores estimated that refitting convenience stores under the proposals to restrict promotions by prominent location will cost the sector up to £483 million.

Agriculture Bill

The Agriculture Bill as amended on Report was considered at Third Reading by Peers on 1 October, when it was passed and  sent back to the Commons with amendments.  The Government is expected to seek to overturn Lords’ amendments to the Bill which aim to protect domestic UK food and animal welfare standards by enshrining them in the legislation, having argued that these amendments are unnecessary and that they could make it difficult to secure any new free trade agreements.  MPs will consider Lords’ amendments to the Bill on 12 October.  The Bill’s progress can be followed on its website. [Source: Parliament website 8 Oct. 2020]

Trade Bill

Peers continued detailed scrutiny of the Government’s Trade Bill (Explanatory Notes) in Grand Committee on 1 October, 6 October and again today (8 October). By convention amendments tabled by Peers in Grand Committee are not pressed to a vote, although they may be brought back at Report Stage if Peers are not satisfied by the Government’s response to the arguments made for them.  It seems likely that Peers will re-table amendments requiring Parliamentary approval of free trade agreements (FTA) before they can be signed on behalf of the UK, as well as on greater transparency of UK trade negotiating objectives and the progress of free trade negotiations. The Bill’s progress can be followed on its website.

UK Internal Market Bill

The Government’s controversial UK Internal Market Bill was introduced in the House of Lords on 30 September and has been scheduled for a Second Reading debate on 19 October, just after the EU Summit at which the progress of EU-UK negotiations on a free trade agreement will be discussed. The Committee Stage is scheduled to begin on 26 October, with the Report Stage debates starting on 16 November. The Bill as introduced (Explanatory Notes) includes measures related to the provisions of the Northern Ireland Protocol relating to trade and state aid and authorises the provision of state aid in certain circumstances.  The Bill’s progress can be followed on its website.


Monthly AHDB miller usage statistics for July-August 2020


The following key points are worth noting:

  • The data for the cumulative period (8 weeks) show that flour production was up 54,100t (7.7%) on the same 8 week period in 2019/20, driven by increases in flour for human consumption and ‘Other’ flour production.
  • The production of flour for human consumption (excluding ‘Other’) was up 17,800t (+3.1%) on the same period in 2019/20. There were increases in production across all flour categories except brown and wholemeal breadmaking.
  • White breadmaking (+10,000t) and biscuit (+8,800t) flour accounted for the majority of the season-to-season increase, although the production of household flour increased the most in percentage terms at +23.5%.
  • August showed a significant shift to imported wheat usage at 77% against 87% in July. nabim wheat usage survey figures for August are not yet complete, but the data gathered so far indicate that flour millers (not just starch and bioethanol producers) are also responsible for this increase in imported use.



The Federation of Bakers (FOB) is delighted to welcome Ferguson Engineering (Northern) Ltd as a new associate member.

Ferguson Engineering (Northern) Ltd based in Pendle, Lancashire, designs, manufactures, installs and commissions bespoke equipment for the bakery industry both nationally and internationally, ranging from single components to a full bread manufacturing plant.  They are suppliers to the UK’s leading large-scale bakeries including many FOB members.  Since the start of trading in 1985, the company has grown steadily to become a major supportive force within the UK baking industry.


HSE MSD Design Awards 2019/20

Introduction & Article on the 2019/20 HSE MSD Design Awards

You may recall that HSE ran a successful HSE MSD design awards in 2019/20, which culminated in Severn Trent Water being announced this year’s winners at the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors (CIEHF) virtual conference back in April. Their success was celebrated in an article in the Ergonomist in June. The article emphasises the important part risk reduction through design plays when employers are trying to address MSD issues in the workplace.


Nominations for the 2020/21 MSD Design Awards

HSE’s Annual musculoskeletal risk reduction through design awards 2020/21 are now open for nominations. Last time round we received nominations from employers in railways, construction, transport and logistics, manufacturing, utilities and health care settings. We would like to broaden this to cover a wide range of industry sectors and workplace settings this year and wish to welcome and encourage entries from ALL sectors of the workplace. In practice, MSDs don’t restrict themselves to just a few sectors – they are widely spread out across the vast majority of  work place sectors. There are no restrictions on the size of the employer who may make a nomination and both large and small employers are welcome – small scale /low cost solutions are just as welcome as large scale/high cost design solutions.

  • Nominations can be sent to:  and details of how to enter can be found on the HSE website
  • The closing date is 31st January 2021


Cross Cutting Case Studies (illustrating what a design change could look like)

We have also developed new poster case studies for the 2019/20 winners Severn Trent Water and commended entry Network Rail   to illustrate what design change can look like (before and after the design changes). Whilst these case studies are set in the utilities and railways sectors respectively, the principles they capture are cross cutting  and relevant across any industry or workplace setting.


Updated HSE MSD Design Award Web Page – Including how to make a nomination

Link to web page:

Our design awards web page includes:

  • Details on how to make a nomination for this year 2020/21.
  • Details on what to include in the submission:
    • Entries to be on no more than 2 sides of A4 paper.
    • Tell us about the MSD problem/design solution/ the MSD benefits of the change/ what your workforce think about the changes and contact details.
    • The emphasis is on design solutions that have or can reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders for workers. We are also interested in novel, innovative or niche solutions that tackle difficult-to-solve problems.  Involving the workforce in developing the solution is also an important element.
  • Details on where to send the nomination(s)
  • Details on the closing date for nominations which is the 31st January 2020.