WHAT GOVERNMENT SUPPORT IS AVAILABLE TO HELP PUBS THROUGH THE COVID-19 CRISIS?
LAST UPDATED: TUESDAY 24TH MARCH.
We’ve built this Hub as a free resource, packed with information and tips which aims to help pub owners, managers and staff negotiate the COVID-19 crisis. Pubs are at the heart of our communities and we want to make sure that is still the case, even after the coronavirus crisis has been brought under control.
In March the Government called on all pubs and restaurants to close to prevent the spread of the virus. But it also announced a string of emergency measures designed to help pubs keep afloat financially, and reduce the need for staff lay-offs.
Full details of the support package set out by the Chancellor can be found by clicking here. But we’ve identified several measures which will be particularly attractive to those in the pub sector, and where you need to go to find out more.
Click on the questions below to learn more.
How do I receive a business rates 'holiday' and how much will this save me?
As an integral part of the hospitality industry, pubs in England will receive a business rates holiday in the 2020 to 2021 tax year. The good news for pub owners is that no action is needed to benefit from the scheme, it will automatically be applied to your council tax bill in April 2020.
If you’re wondering exactly how much this break will save you, the Government has developed a tool which can be used to calculate the figure. You can find it by clicking right here.
Are there any cash grants available for the hospitality sector and who is eligible?
Cash grants, set out by The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme, will be made available to pubs in order to ease the financial burden caused by closures. As a grant, this money will not need to be paid back, but eligibility will be dependent on the size of the property.
Pubs in England with a rateable value of under £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000, while pubs with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000. This is another financial measure which requires no action on your part to get the ball rolling. Your local authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant and outline the next steps. All questions relating to these grants should be directed to the councils themselves but you can read more about the funding by clicking right here.
In addition to these grants, there is a Small Business Grant Scheme available to pubs which are already in receipt of small business rate relief (SBBR) or rural rate relief (RRR). This is another one-off payment being dispersed by local authorities and will be to the value of £10,000. Guidance on this grant can be found by clicking right here.
What is the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme and how does it work?
In addition to grants being made available, the Government has also announced that interest-free loans of up to £5 million - for pubs and small to medium-sized pub chains - will be made available through the British Business Bank. A word of caution though; you will be expected to pay these back in full, and you should not consider borrowing any amount of money without some confidence that you will be able to pay the money back eventually.
Loans can be accessed through working capital such as loans and overdrafts and the Government will cover interest payments for the first 12 months. Unlike some of the schemes detailed above, the loan scheme is open to all pubs in the UK. You can find more information about it by clicking right here.
How can I avoid laying off employees and get help covering their salaries?
This is the most radical measure announced by the Government, and it is designed to prevent a wave of job losses.
Under the scheme, employees whose work is no longer needed - for example in a pub which has closed - will be considered ‘furloughed workers’. Their employers will be able to claim 80% of their salaries back from the Government, in order to keep them from being laid off.
Open to all pubs in the UK, the scheme will be administered by HMRC. The scheme is still a work in progress, with more details due to be released shortly. You can find more details about the scheme as it stands by clicking right here. As this is unveiled, we will be sure to keep you updated with the details required.
The same can be said for all of these measures. Be sure to check back for further details of the help available to pubs up and down the country, as we brace for the coming weeks and months.
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