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news BHETA update


Bladed items legislation, plastic packaging tax and the ongoing freight campaign - the British Home Enhancement Trade Association (BHETA) is lobbying hard to represent its members on urgent industry issues. Read on to find out the latest updates from the association.


CMA response to freight prices Early responses received from the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) to BHETA’s lobbying campaign to secure CMA intervention in the freight costs crisis suggest that it is now actively looking at the issue. In correspondence from the end of September, Andrea Coscelli, chief


executive of the CMA acknowledged the impact of the freight cost hikes on the UK economy and reported that the CMA is in ongoing discussions with the Department for International Trade, the Department for Transport, the European Commission and the World Shipping Council as it considers the best approach going forward. Due to the international nature of the problem, the current view is that continued talks are likely to be more fruitful than a market investigation into the possible existence of cartel-like behaviour and other restrictive practices, although formal investigative work has not been ruled out. Prices for container transport in the international shipping market have


increased by unsustainable percentages in the last year. BHETA chief operating officer Will Jones said: “With freight costs now


exceeding the value of goods being shipped, it is clearly an untenable position. Suppliers will only be able to absorb a certain percentage of the increased costs, which in turn will lead to higher costs for the end consumer. Smaller suppliers may not be as successful in passing increases onto the trade and this will result in the supplier base reducing or consolidating, which will impact on competition, employment and ultimately the whole economy. We are already seeing significant gaps on shelves, company closures and inflationary pressures… I urge all members to write to their local MP; and join with the BHETA campaign.”


Three month notice for bladed items legislation BHETA has received details of the Government’s current position and attended a meeting with the Metropolitan Police to discuss its thinking on the most recent update to the timing and scope of the proposed Offensive Weapons Act (OWA), which affects the sale of bladed items in the housewares, DIY and garden sectors.


The Home Office Serious Violence Unit has again confirmed that it is


the Government’s position that these measures should be commenced as soon as possible’, but that it remains aware of the desirability of a three month notice period – which BHETA lobbied for in 2020 - to enable suppliers and retailers to adjust. It is anticipated that guidelines for the Act may be confirmed before Christmas for commencement ahead of April 2022.


This would mean that suppliers of the following items will need to adapt their packaging, presentation and, where remote sales are involved, delivery systems: any kitchen knife regardless of size or design; cutlery knives; bread knives; butcher knives, including meat cleavers. In all cases, appropriate age verification systems are required for all


retail and online sales such that the system employed ‘is likely to prevent persons under 18 from buying a bladed article.’ While the courts


October 2021 • HousewaresLive.net


will be the final arbiter, all sellers including online sellers will be held responsible for the efficacy of the system. In store, it is likely that the use of Challenge 21/25 will be sufficient to avoid prosecution, leading to significant changes in packaging, presentation and POS as well as the training of retail staff. For online sales, clearly marked packaging will need to be supported by correct delivery procedures including age verification of recipients, no locker or ‘safe place’ deliveries and collection point only where in-person verification can take place.


Plastic packaging tax implications On 10 November, BHETA is hosting a webinar for all UK housewares, DIY, garden and small electricals suppliers on the implications and preparations required ahead of the forthcoming plastic packaging tax legislation which comes into force in April 2022. Key speakers Paul van Danzig and Alyce Morris from BHETA business service provider Wastepack will be outlining everything that supplier companies need to do to comply with the forthcoming legislation. Under the new legislation, from April 2022 all plastic items used in the packaging of products must include a minimum of 30% recycled content, or face taxes of £200 per metric tonne of chargeable plastic packaging components. All suppliers whose products include any plastic component – recycled or not - must submit details to HMRC from April 2022.


To find out more about BHETA or about any of these issues, contact Zara Miah at the BHETA member services team on u0121 237 1130 or uzm@bheta.co.uk


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