26th May 2021
Covid-19 – Re-opening. With everyone now largely open, albeit with Social Distancing and Masks, it is important we feed back to government, intelligence about how things are going so we can continue to evidence our asks, especially around additional support. I would therefore be grateful if you could answer a couple of surveys. The first is bacta’s, the second is a Survey Monkey for the Tourism Alliance, of which we are a member.
I would be grateful if you could reply by return with answers to the following questions:
- Are you an FEC, AGC, single site operator or manufacturer/distributor (please answer separately for each if in different sectors)?
- Have you experienced any difficulty getting staff to return to work and if yes what percentage of your total workforce have left?
- What has been the uplift in your insurance premiums?
- What is your percentage increase or decrease in income compared with the comparable period in 2019?
- Any other observations or comments on re-opening?
For tourism businesses can I also ask you to complete this survey:
Covid-19 Support for Supply Chain – I have mentioned before how persistence with local authorities pays, and offered up Interel, our public affairs advisers, as a pair of hands to help badger local authorities for the still undistributed money they have for discretionary grants. It is worth it. One single site operator this week managed to get another £8,000 for their council on top of the £4,000 they had already obtained.
Covid-19 – rates relief for the supply chain. You may recall that we advised previously on a class action you were invited de facto to join, that was looking as though it would provide a mechanism for businesses that were not classed as retail leisure or hospitality to get some rates relief. You will recall that Government said that it would legislate to prevent the thrust of the action from succeeding but instead would introduce a mechanism to allow rate relief to be claimed through other formal mechanisms. The Bill to provide for that relief has now been introduced into Parliament. I will keep you posted of its progress. Once approved, local authorities will have to set local relief schemes.
Covid-19 Guidance (England) – I have tweaked the bacta guidance to reflect new Government advice on the Indian variant. As usual it is on the bacta website if you wish to download a copy https://bacta.org.uk/2021/05/24/bacta-re-opening-guidance-for-fecs-and-agcs-in-england-v6-1/
Super deduction – We have this week written to the Chancellor requesting that the Super Deduction (130% Capital Allowance) applies to machines that are then leased/hired. Whilst this criterion has always been part of the Capital Allowances framework, we jumped on the back of representations made by other sectors. It is unlikely the rule will change but we have registered the point.
Linnewebber – I have also this week written to the Financial Secretary, Jesse Norman, to complain about the ridiculous amount of time it is taking to process VAT refund claims (for the period up to 2005) following the Rank/Done Bros case last year. Some members have been paid. Many have not. If the boot was on the other foot, HMRC would be all over members if they owed VAT. Not only that, we have been through the worst year on record and the money is vital for many businesses. We are still awaiting written judgement on the subsequent case relating to 2005-2013 claims. That was expected months ago.
bactaPortal – we have and will hold a couple of webinars this week on the launch of the new bactaPortal, which will be the way you access newly developed member tools for recording customer interactions and performing self-exclusions. If you were not able to attend, don’t worry. When we send out a link to a demonstration version of the Portal, you will also receive a training video and User Guide you can use to get yourself and staff up to speed on the product. Our MSOs, Simon Bradbury, David Miller, Murray MacDougall and Tony Waldron will as usual be available to help members with any questions they may have.