29th January 2021
Wales – First Minister, Mark Drakeford today confirmed that lockdown in Wales will be extended for the next 3 weeks. This will be reviewed on the 19th of February. He added that there would be further financial support available to businesses as below. We continue to fight for the extension of support to AGCs which have been quite wrongly denied it. This week Caroline Jones MS has asked a number of questions in the Senedd on our behalf and is now seeking a meeting with Economy Minister, Ken Skates.
- Further £200m available through the Economic Resilience Fund to help non-essential retail, hospitality, leisure and tourism businesses with their operating costs
- Funding to be linked to the non-domestic rates system
- Firms which have previously received support will not need to apply again. It is also open to new applicants.
- Businesses receiving Small Business Rate Relief with a rateable value of £12,000 or less will be eligible for an additional £3,000 payment.
- Businesses with a rateable value of up to £150,000 will be eligible for an additional £5,000 payment.
- Supply chain businesses will be able to apply for support if they have had a reduction in turnover of more than 40%.
- A further £30m is being put into the discretionary fund to provide up to £2,000 grants for businesses not on the non-domestic rates system.
Scotland – On Thursday, Finance Cabinet Secretary, Kate Forbes presented her budget. Some of the key points announced include:
- Extending the current 100% non-domestic rates relief available to properties in the retail, hospitality, leisure and aviation sectors for at least the first three months of the financial year.
- £51.9 million of dedicated help for the Scottish tourism sector including doubling the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund.
- Guaranteeing £11.6 billion for local government, including £90 million to deliver a national council tax freeze.
She has also written to UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak with a number of proposals for the UK budget, to be set forward in March.
We are studying the detail to make sure members currently receiving rates relief will continue to do so.
We also have our proposal for a separate support fund for single site operators being put to the Cabinet Secretary next week.
England – PM, Boris Johnson, told us this week that a plan for re-opening businesses will be announced in the week commencing 22nd February. Our lobbying on ensuring AGCs open in Tier 3 continues and moves to the MHCLG. We also held a meeting with Treasury officials today regarding VAT. Members may have seen a whole series of Parliamentary Questions tabled over the past few weeks on these topics. We will be asking members to write again as we get closer to 22nd February. Support for the supply chain remains a central plank of every ask – particularly on rates relief.
For members’ information the lion’s share of bacta’s response to the call for evidence has been prepared following a special meeting of National Council last week. We will be taking the document through the Divisions in early February and I am looking to hold an all member webinar on our submission in about four weeks’ time.
Gambling Commission Fees – DCMS today launched a consultation on GC fees. There is a proposal for an increase to come in a year and a bit’s time in April 2022. Members can contribute directly here. https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/proposals-for-changes-to-gambling-commission-fees-from-1-october-2021. Bacta will make a response in due course.