18th August 2020
- Members in Scotland are awaiting the First Minister’s statement on Thursday. The Scottish Road Map contains a 24th August indicative date, but with the Covid outbreak in Aberdeen the Scottish Government has become even more cautious. The Government has also seemingly tied together all locations where machines are found: pubs, bookies, clubs as well as arcades, making the assessment we are told ‘complex’. We have been pressing the case for re-opening directly with the Government and members have been writing directly to their MSPs and to Ministers. We are certainly getting heard but previous experiences lead us to be wary of indicative dates. On Friday, Scotland Chairman, Joseph Cullis wrote to 120 MSPs to make the case again for re-opening from 24th August.
- On Friday the SG also turned some of its hospitality guidance into ‘Statutory Guidance’. This included implementation of Test and Protect but also a ban on the provision of background music and the volume on TVs, which was new. Further information is being gathered on the impact of these measures. We have received clarification that the status of Statutory Guidance means that operators are legally obliged to consider the guidance that is issued. It does not mean that every element of the guidance has to be followed. It is a fine distinction.
- Members in England are advised that a further iteration (4.4) has been issued by bacta to incorporate the latest advice on face-coverings from the Government and is available below
- It is also good to see that casinos and bowling alleys were at last allowed to open last week.
Rates related grants in Wales
- The Welsh Government is simply refusing to engage with bacta on this issue any more. It is frankly outrageous that a government can behave in this way. We would be making formal protests if it happened in another part of the world as undemocratic and unjust – which it is. To rub salt in to the wound another member has been asked to pay back a previously awarded grant. It is hard to conclude that this is anything other than vindictive.
Business Interruption Insurance
- A free to attend Zoom Clinic run by Hospitality Insurance Group Action on the failure by insurance companies to pay out on Business Interruption policies is being held this Thursday 20th August at 10.30 a.m. Run by Mishcon de Reya solicitor, Sonia Campbell, this event will bring members up to date on current legal action on this issue and interestingly suggests there may be action that could be taken. Please email HIGA@mishcon.com to register to attend.
- The DCMS are surveying the industry again on how on the impact of Covid-19. I would be grateful if members could take 10 minutes to complete the survey as it helps with our lobbying efforts. The survey can be accessed here: https://dcms.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_42Y4OEsGEUcx48Z
Save our Seaside
- Thank you to members who have written to their MPs setting out the case for a VAT/MGD rate of 5%. We are continuing to press on this.
As always I am available on the end of the phone or email if members want to discuss any of the above. I am also keen to know if any member has received a payment from HMRC in respect of the recent Appeal Court ruling in Rank/Done Bros v HMRC?