15th April 2020
COVID-19 DAILY UPDATE
There have been some interesting developments in the past 24 hours
- Job Retention Scheme – alongside yesterday’s clarifications the Chancellor has today announced that the qualifying date for inclusion in the scheme will be the 19th March (from 19th February). This will bring more workers, particularly seasonal workers, into the scheme. Click here for details of the JRS https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme.
- Self Employment Income Support Scheme – There has been some additional clarification around the treatment of losses, calculations of profit and further clarifications on what can be done under the scheme. Click here for the latest iteration of the guidance https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme.
- Small Business Grants (Scotland) – The Scottish Government has announced additional support for small businesses through the small business rates relief scheme, offering 75% grant funding to subsequent eligible properties of a qualifying business. Grants will be available from the 5th May. A £100 million fund has been established for SME businesses in Covid-19 distress. This will be available from the end of April.
These changes show that our lobbying is paying off as we join forces with others, or speak directly with Government. I get the sense that there is unlikely to be any more substantial changes to the business support schemes but we will keep fighting.
Attention is now turning to what we need to do to get out of this crisis. The amusement machine sector, its customers and suppliers will want this to be asap, and bacta is working on a series of ideas and potential protocols to which you can sign up and which will have as their effect, hopefully, an influence on the speed with which we are allowed to reopen. This could include limits on the number of people permitted entry, staff training on sanitation, protocols on distances between machine users, the use of dividers between machines, etc. Any thoughts on this are welcome as are thoughts on the support measures our seasonal businesses will need to get through the winter. Members have suggested VAT and MGD cuts, continuation of current business support schemes and the announcement of new Autumn bank holidays.
An interesting document emerged today from the EU. Even though we are no longer members the thinking will be watched by the UK Government. It is outlining phased and staged openings of various sectors with close monitoring of the impact on health. Of the four groups, businesses such as arcades and pubs, fell into the EU’s third category. That is to say third in line to be reopened. If you are interested in the document you can read it here. https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/communication_-_a_european_roadmap_to_lifting_coronavirus_containment_measures_0.pdf.