Craft Focus - December 2021/January 2022 (Issue 88)

12 “It is good news that the Chancellor has announced a rise in the Department for International Trade’s budget, in particular the allocation of £45m in funding for the Export Support Service holds out the prospect of really making a difference to how the Government can help businesses to export. “There is funding too for radical improvements at the border to streamline traders’ interactions with agencies. The introduction of a Single Trade Window, the funding for which, to the tune of £180m, has now been announced, is an opportunity for a step change in how trade is done. “Having an efficient, effective border is a big part of facilitating international trade and so the £838 earmarked for upgrading how people and goods get into and out of the UK should signal a big step forward. Digital technology can offer a lot in terms of removing barriers and enabling companies to get what and who they need to their customers quickly and predictably. If admin can be done in advance away from the border itself it reduces the likelihood of the last-minute snags and snarl ups that cost businesses so much. “In the light of the skills shortages, from which we know internationally trading companies are suffering, the commitments of an additional £554m Adult skills and an uplift for apprenticeships are very welcome. Training people to do roles such as customs compliance or logistics management is essential if we are to boost the UK’s international trade performance. “And as eyes turn towards COP, and the scale of the climate challenge becomes ever more apparent, the moves to green shipping by attracting more carriers to the UK’s stringent standards is to be applauded.” - Marco Forgione. New sales manager appointed for Scotland’s Trade Fairs Springboard Events, organisers of Scotland’s Trade Fairs, has just appointed a new sales manager. Jak Kelly-O’Donnell will manage the sales and bookings for the 500 or so exhibitors who are taking stands at this Scottish Show which takes place at the SEC, Glasgow from 23rd-25th January, 2022. With a background in exhibition sales, most notably eight years in sales for The Wedding Show at the SEC, Jak brings a wealth of experience in selling stands and organising shows. She’s also worked on the Baby Show and is well versed in events at the SEC in Glasgow. On 27th October, 2021, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, announced the 2021 Autumn Budget and Spending Review in the House of Commons. The statement set out the Government’s spending plans for each government department for the next three financial years. The following statements are comments from Chris Brook-Carter, chief executive of the retail industry charity the Retail Trust; and Director General of the Institute of Export & International Trade, Marco Forgione, respectively. “Financial stress can cause a range of mental health issues so we very much welcome the increase in national living wage in today’s budget. This has the potential to provide much-needed relief for thousands of retail workers who have faced extraordinary financial, physical and emotional pressures over the last year and a half. “As a charity, the Retail Trust has given out £1.2million of non-repayable financial aid since the start of the pandemic to help people working in the industry to pay bills and keep a roof over their heads. We have also run more than 11,000 counselling sessions for those struggling with mental health challenges. “Our only hope is that the increased wages bill that will follow doesn’t lead to more job losses or retailers having to close more stores. Retail employment is absolutely vital in tackling issues like social mobility and supporting young people into jobs and training so the measures announced around business rates will be really important when it comes to helping retailers’ ongoing recovery from the pandemic.” - Chris Brook-Carter. Comments from the Autumn Budget