Weekly Events Blog: 11 September - 19 September | IPT

Unpacking Waste Regulation: Extended Producer Responsibility

On Monday 11 September 2023 the Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) hosted a dinner event for parliamentarians and industry representatives on ‘Unpacking Waste Regulation: Extended Producer Responsibility’. This discussion was chaired by Derek Thomas MP, Member, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee, with guest speakers Steve Carpenter, Senior Public Affairs Manager, Pernod Ricard and Jim Bligh, Director, Food and Drink Federation. The event considered the future of recycling across the UK.

Key discussion points:

  • Educating consumers is key to ensuring they are engaged with waste disposal and understand how to treat different materials. They want to help, but differing regulations across the country make it difficult.
  • EPR implementation needs to be designed in partnership with businesses to ensure it is easy to understand, has clear goals, and strives to avoid unintentional inflation as a result.
  • Reporting waste places a significant burden on businesses. It’s important to keep a focus on the main goal: meeting environmental targets- EPR won’t stop littering.
  • There is a need to assign value to plastic. A Deposit Return Scheme would achieve this and encourage consumers to recycle rather than litter, thanks to the financial incentive.
  • EPR could potentially bring millions of pounds to the economy through the creation of green jobs, among other benefits. However, we need clear, long-term plans to instill confidence in investors. For example, investing in chemical recycling plants so that food-grade plastics can once again be used for food packaging instead of being repurposed as traffic cones.


The Future of Work     

On Tuesday 12 September 2023, the Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) hosted a breakfast event for parliamentarians and industry representatives titled ‘The Future of Work’. This discussion was chaired by The Rt Hon Lord Knight of Weymouth, Chair of the Future of Work All-Party Parliamentary Group, with guest speakers Oli de Botton, CEO of The Careers and Enterprise Company, and Ben Harrison, Director of The Work Foundation, Lancaster University.

Key discussion points:

  • New ONS employment statistics show the challenges for the labour market. Including 2.6 million off from work with long term sickness and 6.5 million people in ‘insecure’ work, with women being twice as likely to be in insecure work.
  • The current education system is too university focused. More importance should be placed on linking schools and employers. This should also include training teachers in career progression, changing the curriculum and creating more accountability for how schools deliver careers advice.
  • Work readiness advice will play a big part in supporting people back into work. Does the welfare system need to focus more on skills rather than job applications?

What next for Business Rates? Evaluating the effect of Business Rates on the Retail Sector

On Tuesday 19 September 2023 the Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) hosted a breakfast event for parliamentarians and industry representatives on ‘What next for Business Rates? Evaluating the effect of Business Rates on the Retail Sector’. This discussion was chaired by Saqib Bhatti MP, Vice-Chair Small and Micro Business APPG, with guest David Peach, Head of Tax, Sainsbury's and Tom McCarthy, External Affairs Advisor, British Retail Consortium. The event considered the future of Business Rates.

Key discussion points:

  • High tax burden harms retail which is low profit and high volume- 6000 store fronts lost in the past five years and 2/3 of them list business rates as the main reason.
  • If business rates are lowered what will plug the funding gap for local authorities?
  • A lower multiplier of no more than 30p in the Pound would provide a more sustainable solution than rate reliefs by allowing business to plan for this and make long term investments.
  • Could use instead a tax on profits as lowering business rates on regional levels may lead to competition with the more affluent areas being able to offer lower rates thus attract more business. Also, could consider a tax on online purchases.
  • Hospitality and retail help grow GDP and bring life and vibrancy to town centres, supporting them at a time when two pubs a day are closing is vital as closures are likely to increase in April.
  • Transparency and clear communication can help solve issues for businesses that fall between the cracks, as well as long term consistent planning to enable confident investments by business and look internationally for examples.