FOB Chief Executive’s Weekly News for 24th August 2020

Dear All,

Detailed below is the Weekly News and Covid Update for 24th August.

Please note there will be no Weekly News for the next two weeks as I take a break.

Have a good week.

Gordon Polson

Chief Executive – Federation of Bakers Ltd

Barclays Economic Update:

UK output producer price inflation at -0.9% during the 12-months to jul’20

According to data published by the office for national statistics (ONS), output producer price inflation (PPI) was recorded at -0.9% during the 12-months to jul’20. Petroleum products provided the largest downward contribution to the output PPI, with an annual price inflation of -17.6% during the same period.

The monthly rate of output inflation was recorded at 0.3% in jul’20. Petroleum products provided the largest upward contribution to the monthly output PPI at 3.4% in jul’20.

Meanwhile, the annual rate of input PPI, i.e. inflation for materials and fuels purchased by manufacturers, was recorded at -5.7% during the 12-months to jul’20. Crude oil provided the largest downward contribution to the input PPI, with an annual price inflation of -31.9% during the same period.

The monthly input PPI rate in jul’20 was recorded at 1.8%, compared to 3.0% in jun’20. Crude oil provided the largest upward contribution to the monthly input PPI at 11.5% in jul’20. Prices for both petroleum products and crude oil have increased in jul’20 due to recovery in global demand and easing of lockdown and travel restrictions.  


GDP decreased by 12.1% and employment by 2.8% in q2’20 in the euro area

According to the flash estimates published by Eurostat, in q2’20, seasonally adjusted gross domestic product (GDP) decreased by 12.1%in the euro area and by 11.7% in the European Union (EU), compared to q1’20.

In q2’20, seasonally adjusted GDP decreased by 15.0% in the euro area and by 14.1% in the EU, compared to q2’19.

In terms of employment, the estimated number of employed persons in the euro area in q2’20 decreased by 2.8% and in the EU by 2.6% compared to q1’20. These are observed as the largest decreases since the records began. In q1’20, employment decreased by 0.2% in the euro area and by 0.1% in the EU.

In q2’20 employment numbers decreased by 2.9% in the euro area and by 2.7% in the EU, compared to q2’19.



Transaction volumes in the UK logistics industry declined by 50% in q2’20

According to BDO LLP the UK logistics industry has recorded a 50% decline in activity in q2’20.

The report titled ‘UK logistics: building resistance’ indicated that eight deals were completed during q2’20 compared to 16 during q1’20. Recorded values for deals in q2’20 stood at £131m, a decrease of £79m compared to q1’20. The cumulative figures for first 6 months of 2020 were also down by a third compared to 2019.

Despite a decline in transaction volume, notable deals were executed in the sector including the acquisition of Fowler Welch by Culina, the acquisition of Return Loans by Mandata and Connexus by Addesecure. These deals reflect upon the merger & acquisition (m&a) activity in the industry.


NHS Test and Trace successfully reaches over 80% of close contacts since launch: More than 272,000 people have now been reached by NHS Test and Trace.

Legally binding targets to help “build back greener”: On Wednesday 19 August the government set out how it will underpin key environmental commitments with legally binding targets. These will cover priority areas, including air quality, water, waste reduction and biodiversity. The full target policy paper can be found here and you can read the press release here

Covid 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

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

New National Institute for Health Protection to lead response to Covid-19

The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, has announced that Public Health England (PHE) will be replaced by a new body – the National Institute for Health Protection (NIHP) – as the body leading the operational response to Covid-19 in the UK.  He said the NIHP will have a “single and relentless mission”: protecting our people from external threats to their health, including biological weapons, pandemics and infectious diseases of all kind.  Although it will combine “the science, analytics and scale necessary to operate effectively”, he said it will work “very much locally” including with Local Authorities’ Directors of Public Health and with the Devolved Administrations, supporting all 4 Chief Medical Officers with their analytics and advice. The NIHP is expected to be established formally and operating from spring 2021, but the Government is immediately bringing together PHE, the Joint Biosecurity Centre and NHS Test & Trace, operating under the single leadership of interim Chair, Baroness Harding, and interim CEO, Michael Brodie.  The NIHP will report directly to Ministers.  The aim is to create a stronger, more “joined up” response to protect people.  Prior to further consultation on its remit, it appears that PHE will focus on health improvement, including supporting the Government’s obesity strategy.  A number of stakeholders, including the NHS Confederation, have expressed concern both about the risks entailed in carrying out a major re-organisation while responding to the pandemic, and the implications of the reform for PHE’s work on obesity, food reformulation and other public health issues.  The King’s Fund said “it is unclear what problem Government are hoping to solve by carving up PHE and redistributing its responsibilities”. The Labour Shadow Public Health Minister, Alex Norris, described the reform as “a desperate attempt to shift the blame after years of cutting public health budgets”.


Nutrition labelling on food

Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle has asked the Government for its assessment of remarks made by its National Food Strategy review leader, Henry Dimbleby, that the packaging of Marks and Spencer Percy Pigs makes “wilfully misleading” health claims.  In response the Defra Minister, Lord Gardiner of Kimble, said he had noted the comments about the use of “natural fruit juice” and “no artificial colours or artificial flavourings” on Percy Pigs.  He added that it is the responsibility of Local Authority trading standards officers to consider the whole label when making a judgement as to whether or not it is misleading.  He also reiterated the Government’s commitment to undertaking a wide ranging review of food labelling, following the end of the EU-UK transition period to ensure that consumers can continue to have confidence in the food they buy.  The Government will ensure that in collaboration with DHSC the issues raised by Mr Dimbleby in his National Food Strategy are evaluated, along with the impact of potential policy options, as part of this labelling review.


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HSE reminds businesses to take five steps to become COVID-secure

HSE continues to remind businesses in the Blackburn with Darwen and Oldham and Pendle areas to make sure workplaces are COVID-secure to help tackle the local outbreak of coronavirus cases.

Following work in other regions, HSE is working alongside local councils and local public health authorities to support the understanding of any patterns in the confirmed coronavirus cases in the area.


HSE is contacting businesses to provide advice and guidance to manage risk and protect workers but, where some employers are not managing this, HSE will take immediate action. This can range from providing specific advice, to issuing enforcement notices and stopping certain work practices until they are made safe. More information is available on our website.


Businesses and workers need to be aware that HSE can call by phone or turn up at your premises to conduct a COVID-secure spot check or inspection at any time, and you must cooperate and engage with our inspectors.


Being COVID-secure is important in the fight against the spread of coronavirus. Businesses can do this by following these five practical steps.


You can find more HSE advice on making your workplace COVID-secure.

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Your help will inform our approach to communicating key information to ensure businesses continue to comply with the law using proportionate risk management.


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HSE’s role in test and trace

HSE has written to stakeholders with guidance for public health bodies explaining HSE’s role in test and trace.


It sets out our role in support of the public health bodies which lead on schemes to identify outbreaks of COVID-19. It also outlines our role supporting duty holders to protect people including our enforcement policy.

Test and trace update from Department for Health and Social Care

Below is an update on the latest guidance and materials for NHS Test and Trace.

New Campaign Launch

A new campaign – Let’s Get Back – has been launched in England to drive awareness of the need for anyone, even with mild symptoms, to get a free test now.


Business plan released
NHS Test and Trace has released their business plan for the months ahead, to stop the spread of the virus over the summer and into the winter. It sets out how it aims to double testing capacity, make testing easily accessible to everyone, launch an app, expand local public health teams and launch backwards contact tracing.

New self-isolation guidance

An extension of the self-isolation period to 10 days for those in the community who have coronavirus symptoms or a positive test result, has been announced.


Guidance is also available outlining the COVID-19 contact tracing arrangements for workplaces in Scotland and Wales.

Home working safely with display screen equipment

If you have staff working at home, you must still manage the risks to their health from display screen equipment (DSE).

We have specific DSE advice for those employees who are:

Employers have the same health and safety responsibilities for employees working from home as for any other employees.


Find more advice here.