19th October 2020
Welsh First Minister, Mark Drakeford, today announced that the Country will be put back into a short lockdown with all but essential shops required to close as from 6.00 p.m. Friday evening. This is another blow to our hard pressed sector and we are studying the details at the moment to see whether the promised support extends to the AGC sector as some local councils had previously denied rates relief and grants to members. Similarly we want to understand what support is available to the hospitality sector supply chain. This is what we know so far:
- From 23 October to 9 November:
- Everyone in Wales will be required to stay at home. This means working from home wherever that is possible
- People must stay at home but exercise will be permitted
- All non-essential retail, leisure and tourism businesses will close, as well as community centres, libraries and places of worship (except for funerals and wedding ceremonies)
- Hospitality outlets such as bars and restaurants will also close, apart from for takeaways
- In Terms of Support:
- There will be an economic resilience fund worth almost £300m.
- Retail, leisure and hospitality places that have to close will get a one-off payment of up to £5,000
- Every business covered by small business rate relief will get £1,000
- The £80m Business Development fund that was announced last week to help businesses will be increased to £100m – and of that, £20m will be ringfenced for tourism and hospitality businesses.
- The funds will open in the first week of the firebreak
There is an FAQ site here https://gov.wales/coronavirus-firebreak-frequently-asked-questions#section-53253
This site details the support that is available and to whom https://businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice/?_ga=2.124286415.411445739.1603117365-454279897.1603117365
Regulations requiring the wearing of facemasks in all public settings came into effect today. This now means staff using public areas, such as corridors, will have to wear masks around the office. The Business Support Fund will also take online applications from tomorrow (Tuesday).
The expected inclusion of Greater Manchester in Tier 3 is still under negotiation between the Council and Westminster. A move to Tier 3 in the North East will be discussed again later this week.
In other news, bacta organised a Parliamentary Question of the Treasury to ascertain why pre 2005 VAT repayments following the Rank/DoneBros case earlier in the year had not been made. The question and answer is published below. They have started to make payments.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the outcome of HMRC v The Rank Group PLC; Done Brothers (Cash Betting) Ltd and Others, what steps HMRC has taken to make appropriate repayments to operators; and whether HMRC is prioritising the repayment of operators in a particular order.
Answer, Jesse Norman, Conservative, Hereford and South Herefordshire Commons
Answered on 16 October 2020
Revenue and Customs Brief 5 (2020): VAT treatment on fixed odds betting terminals and gaming machines published on 26 May 2020 (updated on 26 June 2020) sets out the process for claimants in relation to the Rank Group PLC and Done Brothers (Cash Betting) Ltd and Others litigation to be repaid the sums due to them. Repayments have now started and will continue. There has been no prioritisation of any particular claimant.
The Bank of England has provided bacta with details of the new £50 Polymer Note due to be introduced in June 2021. They have asked that this date is not made public at this stage so this information is for internal member consumption only and I would ask that this is not broadcast outside your organisation. I have been given further details. If any member is interested then please get in touch and I will forward on to you.