12 April 2022

Latest NHBF update – 12 April 2022

This week's update covers:

  • Energy Security Strategy published
  • NICs holiday for small businesses employing veterans
  • Workplace infection reduction guidelines
  • Minimum wage changes
  • Commercial rent code of practice

Energy Security Strategy published

The Government has published its Energy Security Strategy setting out how Great Britain will increase the use of diverse sources of homegrown energy for greater energy security in the long-term.

Alongside ambitions for increased use of wind, solar and hydrogen, the strategy will see a significant increase in nuclear reactors, with an ambition for around 25% of the country’s projected electricity demand to be met by nuclear power by 2050.  

Other plans include:

  • cutting the approval time for new offshore wind farms and consulting with communities that wish to host new onshore wind infrastructure in return for guaranteed lower energy bills;
  • licensing new North Sea oil and gas projects to launch this autumn;
  • launching a Heat Pump Investment Accelerator Competition to make British heat pumps, reducing demand for gas;
  • consulting on rules for solar projects to increase the UK’s capacity, and
  • increasing low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030, with at least half coming from green hydrogen.

A recent sector energy survey showed that the vast majority of businesses have taken steps to reduce their energy costs and are implementing a number of energy saving measures: Personal Care Sector Calls for Energy Bill Rebate if COVID Recovery is to Succeed - National Hair & Beauty Federation (nhbf.co.uk)

NICs holiday for small businesses employing veterans

Since 6 April, employers who hire former members of the British armed forces in their first year of civilian employment can claim National Insurance relief for 12 months. This is also available retrospectively for veterans hired during the 2021-22 tax year.

Workplace infection reduction guidelines

The UK Health Security Agency has issued updated guidelines on reducing the spread of respiratory infections (including COVID-19) in the workplace for businesses in England.

Minimum wage changes

Following the increases (1 Apr) to the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage, Acas has released a video explaining the changes. Employees can check their wages via the Government's CheckYourPay site.

Commercial rent code of practice

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have published the revised Commercial Rent Code of Practice, which the Government says it hopes will help "tenants still reeling from the effects of the pandemic to confront their debts, come to an agreement with their landlord on rent arrears and start to grow their business again" by ringfencing rent arrears and creating a "binding arbitration system" to deal with those debts.

Below are links to the recently updated Code of practice, a list of approved bodies and guidance to arbitrators:

Read further information from the NHBF on the Commercial rents bill and code of practice.