1st May 2020
Divisions 1 and 3 held extremely well attended Zoom meetings today and yesterday. Apologies to those who couldn’t get on. We had to limit numbers to keep it manageable on what was our first attempt to do this. I think everyone on the calls thought they worked very well and we will be running more meetings like this, as well as Regional, Divisional and National Council meetings like this in the future.
The meetings provided member feedback on the Re-Opening paper I circulated earlier in the week. There have been some further revisions. The paper is attached and will be submitted to Government, who will announce a re-opening framework early next week. This is why we have to get our paper in today. I would like to thank everyone for their input.
We will be very interested to hear what the PM says next week on restarting the economy. Of particular concern is what support measures are going to be maintained. Government understands that there can’t be a cliff edge and that schemes will have to be wound down. We have made it clear that they will have to continue for sometime whilst businesses rebuild their balance sheets and for seasonal businesses that will stretch to and beyond Easter 2021. The FT carried an interesting article today that suggested the furlough scheme would be redesigned to be more flexible going forward. Our lobbying will become increasingly focused on the issues around reopening and the support we need.
We are still nevertheless trying to win some further concessions on rates and grants for the supply chain and businesses over £51k rateable value as well as get clarity on the application of the JRS to employees for whom an RTI was submitted post 19th March.
The rates and grants situation in Scotland Wales remains a mess. We are now going to up the pressure by engaging specialist help and getting some legal support. It is especially galling for affected members when bingo halls get the rates relief and grants. South Wales Regional Chairman will shortly be writing to all members in Wales with a template letter members can use to contact your AMs and MPs.
We raised these on our calls with the Shadow Tourism Minister, Alex Sobel on Monday and with the Minister, Nigel Huddleston, on Wednesday. We also had our regular call with DCMS this Friday and Scottish Chairman, Joseph Cullis and I met with the Scottish Office on Thursday to keep the pressure on.
We are also looking at producing some wording for signs to go on digital machines, or elsewhere, just reminding our customers of the broad safety messages around coronavirus.
Finally, as members prepare for re-opening, whenever that may be, I have been asked about sourcing PPE, signage, sanitiser and other things that might help in keeping staff and customers safe. I’d like to use these updates as a hub for companies that might want to supply the industry. If you know of any or have come across any good suppliers then let me know and I will give them a name check so you can check them out if you need to. So far I have:
PMS – PPE
Delta Leisure – signage
Instance Automatics signage
Concept Games – Screens
Also please keep feedback on any of the government schemes coming. I am particularly keen to hear if the Bounce Back Loans are working.
On insurance, you may have seen that the FCE is looking at getting legal clarity on Business Interruption insurance.