17th April 2020
COVID 19 UPDATE
A number of updates have arisen over the past twenty-four hours:
- Job Retention Scheme – it has just been announced this will be extended by another month to the end of June – Good News.
- The scheme goes live on Monday. Before accessing the portal it would be worth ensuring that you have all the necessary information to hand by reference to the Government’s guidance on the scheme. As noted on Wednesday, the qualifying date has been extended to 19th March. However please note that it will be the date of submission of your RTI that will be relevant to your application. Furthermore, the scheme extension does now seemingly cover employees taken on after the 28th February and made redundant subsequent to 19th March. You will not be able to reemploy and then furlough them as you can with employees on the payroll before 28th February. We believe this is not correct and are asking for further clarification on this point.
- Access to Finance– The CBILS loan scheme has now been extended to larger companies with a turnover in excess of £45 million and this will go live on Monday.
Details can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/news/chancellor-expands-loan-scheme-for-large-businesses?utm_source=e1eae5d2-6726-4b01-a7b4-29c502d3659a&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate. More generally there is deep frustration at the banks by applicants for loans. Many lenders seem to have taken ages to process applications and then in some cases refused the loan. One bank, Lloyds, refused a loan on the basis the applicant was in the gambling industry. As I pointed out, I do not think the Government in guaranteeing 80% of the loan set by any conditions to which sectors of the economy can benefit. Thankfully there are other lenders out there. Please keep feeding back your experiences. They go straight through to the Treasury. I will send more about CBILS on Monday.
- Import VAT – it has been announced that import VAT due on 15th April was deferred however this came from the Institute of Taxation and is not currently part of the Government guidance. I am trying to get more information.
- Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grants – we have got a result in Scotland. Grants are now being paid to venues, as opposed to businesses, at 75% of the full grant for the second and subsequent property. This applies to those benefitting from the RLH grants and will help a number of Scottish members. Applications can be made from the 5th May. Click here for the details. https://www.mygov.scot/non-domestic-rates-coronavirus/grants-to-help-businesses-during-coronavirus/. It’s still a mixed picture in Wales but we are continuing our lobbying and helping members with their local councils on a case by case basis. In both countries we are still seeking clarity around applicability of the 100% RLH rates relief but no member has told me that it has been refused. Please let me know if that is not the case.
Our on-going lobbying continues. James and I had our weekly call with DCMS today. It seems unlikely we will see any government on supply chain relief or any uplift in the £51k cap. Government will want to see how its business support measures bed down over the coming few weeks before plugging any gaps. We will keep making the point and again, I am grateful for all those members who have kept up a dialogues with their elected representatives as they are making their own representations to relevant Ministers which all helps the cause. On LA fees DCMS have fed this into their legal team to see if there is anything they can say to Local Authorities about rebating any Premises Fees. This will take some time to work through the system. We continue to reinforce the point that next year there are no constraints on LAs setting allowed fee. Members are encouraged to press that point home to your LA contacts.
Please, if you can, enjoy the weekend. Stay safe and do not hesitate to get in contact with me at any time.