23rd April 2020
I have earlier today sent you a copy of the paper on re-opening up the amusement machine industry after the current lockdown.
Please check your junk mail folder if you didn’t receive it.
There have been no relevant major announcements on the business support schemes to report. However:
- You might be interested in the Scottish Government’s post lockdown transition framework. Click through from www.gov.scot to read it.
- The Chancellor has announced further protections for commercial tenants. Also, landlords will be prevented from using commercial rent arrears recovery unless they are owed at least 90 days rent.
- The Chancellor also announced a new Bill that will ban the use of statutory demands and winding up orders when a company is unable to pay their bills as a result of coronavirus related financial difficulties. This will be in place until June 30th but may be extended.
We have fed in members concerns about the application of the JRS to certain seasonal workers that were on fixed term contracts that were terminated and on the requirement for employees to have been notified to HMRC via the RTI prior to 19th March. Many businesses across various sectors have been impacted and the issue has been picked up by the CBI too.
We are preparing our submission to both the Hospitality and Leisure All Party Parliamentary Group and to the DCMS Select Committee. Members might also be interested to dial in to the hearings of the Public Accounts Committee into the Gambling Commission next Wednesday afternoon. I’ll send a link through to Parliament TV next week if they are covering it.
We are still not getting any response from the Welsh Government on the eligibility of AGCs in particular both for rates relief and leisure sector grants. Can I encourage members to write to their AMs on this to put pressure on the Minister to respond to our enquiries.
I am still interested to hear members experiences of the CBILS schemes. It still seems to be slow in getting money to businesses and I heard this week of an extraordinarily high interest rate being charged. This evidence all gets fed in to Government so do let me know. I had a call with bacta member and finance broker, Claratus, this week. They explained that High Street lenders will lend to customers but not others. Also a number of lenders are existing business sectors. Others have moved into replace them. If you want me to send you their subsequent note on the situation please get in touch.
I also mentioned on Tuesday that we are continuing to push on getting rates relief for the supply chain. I suggested Division 2 and 4 members write to their MPs. Here is a template letter you can use. This is a guide. Please delete or add for your personal business circumstance. Please endeavour to use your own language – it carries more weight. If you need help identifying your MP please get in touch.
IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON INSERT NAME OF BUSINESS
Describe your business emphasising the products and your customer base.
As you will appreciate, my business came to a complete standstill the day that amusement arcades/pubs and clubs were shut. We have had no income since then and the prospect of these venues opening any time soon is remote. For seasonal businesses the loss of the Easter to Summer season in real terms means they will have received no meaningful income from October 2019 to Easter 2021. If arcades, pubs and clubs are receiving no income I will not get paid for the machines I have supplied. In my case many of those machines will have been purchased well in advance of the season.
Whilst my customers have received very welcome support from Government in the form of rates relief, and grants, the leisure industry supply chain, which is in exactly the same boat has received no additional support other than the Job Retention Scheme available for all businesses. I and businesses like mine need to get the same help as the customer end of the leisure industry supply chain through the expanded Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Rates Relief Scheme.
I continue to carry all the normal costs of business save salary costs. These represent X% of my normal cost base. I am therefore burning my cash reserves. It is clearly unsustainable. The whole leisure sector I know has been pressing hard for help but the Treasury seems to be deaf to our plight. There is a very real risk that many in the leisure industry supply chain will go bust before we get anywhere near economic normality.
That very real risk will result in further consequential and unnecessary business failures as those at the consumer end of the supply chain will be unable to access supplies and meet renewed customer demand post-crisis, making the money spent to support them through the crisis a complete waste.
Can I please ask you to raise this with the Chancellor. It is a matter of serious urgency for my business.
Finally Coin Slot has asked me to remind you that the industry’s weekly newspaper is available in a digital format straight to your inbox. To obtain your copy and keep up to date with the latest developments impacting the industry simply go to firstname.lastname@example.org and leave your name, company and email address.