The Government has announced a series of measures to provide economic support to businesses and their staff to help to mitigate the economic impacts of COVID-19. Further detail can be found on gov.uk.
The UK government is aware that COVID-19 presents unprecedented challenges to many UK businesses. In the 11 March Budget, the Chancellor set out a £12bn package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, individuals and businesses through the economic disruption caused by COVID-19.
On 17 March the Chancellor went further and announced an unprecedented £330bn support package for businesses and workers to protect against the economic emergency caused by the coronavirus. This included the introduction of a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5m for SMEs through the British Business Bank, and a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms. The total of the available guarantees are equivalent to 15% of UK GDP. The package also included giving all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England a 100% business rates holiday for the next 12 months; and, increasing grants to small businesses eligible for Small Business Rate Relief from £3,000 to £10,000.
The 17 March announcement on business rate relief was supplemented by expanded guidance from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government to Local Authorities administering these business rates relief. The guidance indicates that a number of event venues are eligible including, live music venues, hotels, sports grounds and clubs and public halls.
The guidance is also clear that not every eligible venue can be listed. The list set of eligible venues is not intended to be exhaustive as it would be impossible to list the many and varied uses that exist within the qualifying purposes. There will also be mixed uses. However, it is intended to be a guide for authorities as to the types of uses that the Government considers for this purpose to be eligible for relief. Authorities should determine for themselves whether particular properties not listed are broadly similar in nature to those above and, if so, to consider them eligible for the relief. Conversely, properties that are not broadly similar in nature to those listed above should not be eligible for the relief.
On 20th March, the Chancellor announced further economic support for businesses, employees and individuals: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses. The announcement included a new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, VAT deferral for all businesses until the end of June, Income Tax deferral for the self-employed, changes to the Business Interruption Loan Scheme to make it more generous and further information on the previously announced grant scheme. Furthermore, the Universal Credit standard allowance and the Working Tax Credit were each raised to £1,000 per year; the minimum income floor for those who are self-employed and are affected by COVID-19 was suspended; and, income tax payments for the self-employed will be deferred until January. This is not an exhaustive list of the support measures announced by the government to date. Businesses, employees and self-employed individuals who are impacted by COVID-19 are encouraged to visit the UK government’s website for information and updates.
Further detail can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19