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COVID-19 Update 24th March 2021

  • Welcome Back Fund

The Communities Secretary has announced a new £56 million Welcome Back Fund to boost tourism, improve green spaces and provide more outdoor seating areas, markets and food stall pop-ups. Part of this funding will be allocated specifically to support coastal areas, with funding going to all coastal resorts across England to safely welcome holiday makers in the coming months. The funding can also be used by councils to:

    • Boost the look and feel of their high streets by investing in street planting, parks, green spaces and seating areas to make high streets as beautiful and welcoming as possible
    • Run publicity campaigns and prepare to hold events like street markets and festivals to support local businesses
    • Install signage and floor markings to encourage social distancing and safety
    • Improve high streets and town centres by planting flowers or removing graffiti


Here is a link to how much from this fund has been allocated to each council in England


  • Restrictions on Temporary Structures Eased Again

The Communities Secretary has also announced plans to ensure that businesses such as pubs and restaurants, including where these premises are in listed buildings are able to make the most of the summer, by allowing them  to use their land more flexibly to set up marquees and provide more outdoor space for diners as restrictions ease. To this end he is proposing that these businesses erect temporary structures for the whole summer rather than the 56 days currently permitted.


  • Guidance on Outdoor Sports and Facilities

New guidance has been issued related to the relaxation of rules on social contact that comes into effect on Monday 29th March as part of Step 1b. This relaxation of social contact rules to allows people to meet in groups of up to six people or two separate households. This allows the restarting of certain sorts activities and facilities. So, from Monday:

    • Outdoor sport for adults and children is permitted in larger numbers, provided it is formally organised (for example, by a national governing body or a qualified instructor
    • Where the sport is informal, it is limited to the Rule of 6 or two households
    • Personal training is permitted outdoors, in outdoor sport facilities, and in private gardens, where it is formally organised and follows COVID-secure guidance.
    • Organised sport participation events such as races and organised walks can take place outdoors and are exempt from legal gathering limits provided they are managed in a Covid Secure manner
    • Outdoor sport facilities can reopen, and can be used for sport, physical activity and exercise. This applies to all outdoor sport facilities, including but not limited to outdoor gyms, swimming pools, courts, pitches, golf courses (including mini-golf), water sports venues, climbing walls, driving and shooting ranges, riding arenas at riding centres and archery venues.
    • Outdoor skating rinks and trampolining parks must remain closed.
    • Changing rooms should not be used, except by people with disabilities, although toilet facilities can be accessed.


  • Transport Select Committee Session on Coach Tourism

The Transport Select Committee held a session today on the impact of Covid on coach operators. On the Government side, the Minister for Roads, Baroness Vere, and Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston presented evidence on the Government’s approach to the sector. One worthwhile thing that can out of the session was that Nigel Huddleston again emphasised the need to councils to include coach operators in the ARG funding rounds. Here is a link to the video of the session


  • VAT Deferral Scheme Guidance Updated

HMRC has updated the guidance on the VAT Deferral Scheme to clarify the maximum number of instalments that a business can make is related to when they joined the scheme. Here’s the table from the Guidance that clarifies this:


If you join by Number of instalments available to you
19 March 2021 11
21 April 2021 10
19 May 2021 9
21 June 2021 8


  • Westminster Support for Businesses In Scotland

The Government has produced a new publication that highlights the support available for businesses in Scotland that has come from Westminster in the form of national initiatives. This includes schemes such as:

    • CJRS
    • SEISS
    • Kickstart
    • Business Loans
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