Government has now established a number of Task Forces to help plan for the re-opening of England only, Scotland and Wales have different approaches. There are two of interest to us. One under the Business Department looking at non-essential retail, and one under DCMS looking at leisure and hospitatlity. The latter currently covers gambling and lists indoor arcades. We will be pushing Government to consider AGCs as non-essential retail rather than indoor arcades as part of the lobbying to get members open as soon as we can. The earliest this could possilbly be would be June 1st, but it is important to emphasise that the PM, in announcing the re-opening plans on Sunday, said the process would commence from June 1st (and from July 4th for some hospitality businesses). You can read the detailed announcement here. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-roadmap-taskforces/covid-19-roadmap-taskforces. Can I urge members again who haven’t done so to write to your MPs, Mss and MSPs to explain that you need to reopen asap and to enclose your plans for social distancing and public hygiene as well as our requests for continued support contained in bacta’s re-opening paper.
Grants. We are simply not getting any traction on our request for supply chain relief or for tapered relief over £51k rateable value. I just wanted to remind members affected, that local governments across the UK have been given additional funding for grants to those businesses that have been seriously affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. The rules are slightly different in England, Scotland and Wales and it is a discretionary grant. There is absolutely no harm in trying to get a grant if you haven’t already. Here are relevant links.
- The Pivotal Industries Resilience Fund https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/coronavirus-advice/sources-of-funding/pivotal-enterprise-resilience-fund
- The Creative or Tourism Hardship Fund: https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/service/coronavirus/creative-or-tourism-and-hospitality-enterprises-hardship-fund
- Economic Resilience Fund. (last time I looked this was on pause due to the number of applicants) https://businesswales.gov.wales/news-and-blogs/news/economic-resilience-fund-0
We are still arguing with a number of local authorities in Scotland and Wales that are refusing to give rates relief to members businesses.
Self-Employed? You should have been invited to make a claim under the self-employed support scheme. If not, here is a link to the scheme https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-self-employment-income-support-scheme
JRS. The Government has published some detailed guidance on holiday pay and entitlement during the pandemic that members will find helpful. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/holiday-entitlement-and-pay-during-coronavirus-covid-19
Trade Credit Insurance. The Government has announced that it will support the trade credit market. There are growing signs that insurers were withdrawing or premiums were unaffordable. The guarantee should prevent this happening. You can read the announcement here. Details are to follow. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-to-support-businesses-through-trade-credit-insurance-guarantee
Mini or Crazy Golf. I have had a number of discussions with members about crazy golf or similar following the Government’s announcement that golf courses can be opened. As long as your crazy golf is outside and you have conducted a risk assessment and put in place necessary social distancing and health measures in line with Government guidance, I see no reason why you can’t open up if you want to. It may be worth advising your local authority and/or police first given the level of confusion that exists around government advice at the moment.
Finally, the various tourism bodies with which we are currently liaising are reporting that some local communities and local councils in tourist areas are being ambivalent or even hostile to the prospect of visitors. High level conversations are taking place to find ways to reassure communities and councils. If anyone has any experience of this please let me know.