From business rates holidays and grant funding to the simplification and cost reduction of licenses, the government have introduced several support measures to help businesses in the retail, hospitality and tourism sector negatively impacted by COVID-19.
A business rates retail holiday has been introduced for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.
Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019 to 2020 tax year will be re-billed by their local authority as soon as possible.
The rates holiday will continue until June 2021 with a 66% discount after that.
Your business must be based in England and your business must be in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector. Specifically, your property must be wholly or mainly being used as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues, for assembly and leisure or as hotels, guest and boarding premises and self-catering accommodation. Bingo halls have now also been included.
You do not have to take any action to benefit from this measure as it will be applied to your next council tax bill in April 2020. However, local authorities may have to reissue your bill automatically to exclude the business rate charge. They will do this as soon as possible.
An estimate of the charge you will no longer have to pay can be found here.
Guidance for local authorities on the business rates holiday has been published and can be found here.
Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs and grants (see below) should be directed to the relevant local authority.
The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme provides businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.
Please ensure that your local authority has the required details to make payments to you. If not, we are seeing that local authorities are issuing forms to provide this information to ensure that swift payments are made.
Your business must be based in England and is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector. This includes properties that are wholly or mainly used as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues as well as those being used as hotels and boarding premises and self-catering accommodation.
Businesses which are not ratepayers in the business rates system are not included in this scheme.
You do not need to do anything, other than ensure your local authority has the information required to make payment to you.
If the cash flow need is urgent, it would be advisable to contact your bank to see if a short-term arrangement can be reached until the funding is received.
On 1 April the Government announced that grants had started to be paid into the bank accounts of high street businesses.
In support of the relaxation of lockdown restrictions announced on 23 June 2020, the government have announced further support for businesses serving customers outdoors.
The government will simplify and reduce the costs of the licensing process for outdoor seating and stalls, making it easier for people to safely drink and dine outside.
Proposed planning freedoms will mean that outdoor markets, pop-up car-boot sales or summer fairs will not need a planning application, which will transform the way people shop and socialise.
Pubs and restaurants will be able to use car parks and terraces as dining and drinking areas, using their existing seating licenses.
Temporary changes to licensing laws will allow many more licensed premises, such as pubs and restaurants, to sell alcohol for consumption off the premises. Customers will be able to buy their drinks from a pub and consume them elsewhere, making social distancing easier.
Further details can be found on the government’s website here.
The charges paid by airlines for air navigation services while flying through European airspace can now be deferred for up to 14 months which could save UK airlines tens of millions of pounds a month.
The Government continues to work closely with the aviation sector to support airlines affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Tourism Minister launched a £1.3m fund to support DMOs. The funding has provided immediate financial support to DMOs who are at severe risk of closure due to the pandemic.
The funding is available to any DMO which usually receives at least 50% of its income from commercial sources.
Further details can be found here.
The information herein is general in nature and does not constitute professional advice. For professional advice and guidance, contact our team or your usual Duncan & Toplis adviser.