Attached a copy of the lobby pack that supports the Queen’s speech. Here are some…
- New BEIS FAQ on the Grant Schemes
BEIS has published a new FAQ for Councils regarding the administration of, and eligibility for, the various grant schemes. There is a range of information in here that will be helpful for tourism businesses when applying for a grant or in circumstances where a grant request may be declined. Some of the useful questions are:
- If a mixed-use premises is evenly split between services that are required to close and services that can remain open, how should Local Authorities distribute grants to the business?
In order to qualify for the LRSG (Closed), businesses will be required to declare their main service themselves. Its main service should constitute more than a 50% proportion of the overall business. If a business is unable to demonstrate that its main service has been required to close, it may be able to apply for a grant through the discretionary LRSG (Open) or ARG schemes.
- Where a business operates seasonally and was therefore closed on the date before local restrictions were introduced but remains an active business, can it still qualify for a grant under the LRSG (Closed) scheme? Can occasional use by owners during the period of closure be discounted?
Yes, as long as the business was not insolvent, in liquidation or subject to a striking off notice on that date, it can be considered to be trading and is therefore eligible to receive grants under this scheme. Any occasional use by owners during the period of closure, must be lawful under the terms of the restrictions applicable within the Local Authority.
- If a business operates for only part of the week and was therefore closed on the day before relevant restrictions began, is it eligible to receive grants under this scheme?
Yes, as long as the business was not insolvent, in liquidation or subject to a striking off notice on that date, it can be considered to be trading and is therefore eligible to receive grants under this scheme.
- Are self-catering accommodation operators and similar businesses, which do not own the accommodation they manage and do not ordinarily serve customers on site, eligible to receive grants under this scheme?
In order to qualify for this grant, the business must be part of the business rates system. Therefore, businesses that manage the accommodation remotely must be the eligible business rates payers for that hereditament to receive a grant through the LRSG (Closed) scheme. If they are not, then they would need to apply for a grant through the discretionary LRSG (Open) or ARG schemes.
- Why is there a presumption that under ARG, Local Authorities should not be supporting the self-employed when so many self-employed and company directors paid dividends are excluded from SEISS & CJRS? If Local Authorities were to check that these businesses declare that the money was to go towards fixed costs would that be acceptable?
Discretionary grants, including the ARG, can be used to support the self-employed. However, the ARG must not be used as a wage supplement, rather as a support to the business that the self-employed person runs. In addition, the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) is available to support self-employed people who are liable for business rates.
- Can ARG funding be allocated to BIDs?
The ARG funding can be provided to Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) bodies to support them with the shortfall in their levy income, provided that the BID body is not the Local Authority, or a company under the control of the Local Authority.
- Can Local Authorities make multiple payments to the same customer for ARG?
As the ARG is a discretionary scheme, Local Authorities may decide to pay multiple grants to the same business. However, Local Authorities may wish to focus on businesses that are not already receiving support through other Local Restrictions Support Grant schemes.
- Test to Release FAQ
I’ve attached a copy of a FAQ on the Test To Release scheme to reduce the quarantine period for people entering the country from Non-Travel Corridor countries. This FAQ provides more details on how the scheme will work and covers issues such as whether people can opt in or out of the scheme.
- Traveler Sentiment Survey
I’ve attached the results of an Oliver Wyman survey of attitudes to travel across nine countries including the UK and many of it’s core overseas market. This provides a wealth of information about the perceived risk and willingness to travel when Covid restrictions are relaxed. Some of the main findings are:
- People are more willing to travel by air than use a long-distance train or public transport
- 43% of business travelers said that they would undertake less travel after restrictions end (a figure that is rising) compared to only 35% of leisure travelers (a figure that is decreasing)
- European is cited as the destination of choice for both European and North American travelers
- VFR and short haul Leisure are the sectors with the most demand
- Price is the top criteria when selecting flights – as the importance of cleaning has declined (modestly)
These are important considerations in the development of a tourism recovery plan.
- Eat Out to Help Out Analysis
The Government has published an analysis of the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme which contains a number of very interesting findings. Among these are:
- over 52,000 businesses registered for Eat Out to Help Out (EOHO) and over 49,000 of these had made a claim for the scheme by 30 September.
- the average discount per meal claimed for was £5.24
- the number of meals discounted and total value of claims increased each week throughout August – which showed that it increased confidence in going out
- 55% of the discount was claimed by businesses operating primarily as restaurants with a further 28% claimed by pubs.
- 93% of claims and 52% of the total discount claimed was for businesses with just one participating outlet.
- The number of businesses using the furlough scheme dropped from 83% to 61% in August – meaning that the cost of the scheme would have been largely offset by savings to the furlough scheme
- CJRS Analysis
As well as the analysis of the East Out to Help Out Scheme, the Government has also published an updated analysis of the CJRS. The main findings of this are:
- At the beginning of October there were still almost half a million people in the accommodation and food services sector still on furlough
- More people are on furlough in this sector than any other sector of the economy
- Of the 2m people on furlough in England, almost 25% of these are in London. One of the main factors for this will be the decline in international travel
- SEISS Analysis
Completing a trifecta of analyses, the Government has also published an analysis of the uptake of the Self Employment Income Support Scheme. This analysis, in comparison to the CJRS, indicates the tourism related businesses are not one of the highest beneficiaries of this scheme. By way of comparison, there are 800,000 people in the construction sector and 217,000 in the transport and storage sector that made claims compared to just 72,000 is arts, entertainment and recreation, and 54,000 in accommodation and food services. This could well indicate the problems that many self-employed people in the tourism and hospitality sectors have experienced in terms of eligibility.