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    Coronavirus - Financial Package for Business

    Please note that this information represents the situation as understood by the RYA as at 21 March 2020.

    Further updates will be issued as we receive clarity from Government on the outstanding matters referred to below.

    This information relates to the financial position in England. We are liaising with our Home Country colleagues in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to provide additional information on country specific devolved government financial packages. The RYA and Home Country teams are collaborating closely and country specific information for the current position in Wales, Scotland and NI is set out below. 

    The devolved nations will be receiving an additional £3.5 billion funding in order to provide support to businesses in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.  

    Our current understanding is that the Government’s financial package which is stated to apply to the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors extends to sports clubs. However we are seeking confirmation of this crucial point.  We are also seeking clarification that the package extends to RYA recognised training centres (RTCs).

    Government’s financial package (which can be accessed via this link - sets out the following measures in order to support people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19:

    • A Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
    • Deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
    • A statutory sick pay relief package for SMEs
    • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support long-term viable businesses who may need to respond to cash-flow pressures by seeking additional finance
    • The HMRC Time To Pay Scheme
    • Business Rates package

    Job Retention Scheme:

    Under the scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying 80% of their employees' salary, up to a cap of £2,500 per employee, per month, for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.  All UK businesses regardless of size are eligible to apply to the scheme.  More details can be found on the link above.  

    Business Rates Package:

    • Clubs/RTCs will be entitled to business rata relief for the tax year 2020/2021 irrespective of their rateable value.
    • Clubs/RTCs eligible for Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief will receive a one off grant of £10,000. If your club/RTC is eligible for SBRR or RRR, your local authority will contact you direct. Funding for the scheme will be provided to local authorities by government in early April. Government is due to provide guidance for local authorities on the scheme on 20 March 
    • Clubs/RTCs with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000 will be entitled to one off grant of £25,000. Enquiries in relation to eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs should be directed to the relevant local authority. Guidance for local authorities on the business rates holiday will be published by 20 March.


    In his speech on 17 March 2020, the chancellor announced that for those businesses that have pandemic insurance the government’s action is sufficient to enable them to claim on their policies. However, we are seeking clarification from Government that this has been agreed with the insurance industry regardless of policy terms, as many policies are likely to limit an indemnity based on an interruption to ‘the business’ is as a consequence of a direct order from a ‘competent local authority’.

    The devolved nations will be receiving an additional £3.5 billion funding in order to provide support to businesses in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

    There are a number of aspects of the package that require clarification and we are working with the Sport and Recreation Alliance on an approach to Government to ascertain the position and, where necessary, challenge/influence its decision making on the following elements:

    • Whether CASCs/charities are eligible for full 100% relief and make the case that they should be

    The initial response from the Treasury is that organisations eligible for the current discount will be eligible for the rates holiday. Guidance on the additional property types will be published shortly, and this will include those involved in providing sport, leisure and facilities to visiting members of the public.

    That being the case it appears that CASCs will be included but we still await confirmation that charities will also benefit from the additional relief. We are seeking explicit confirmation that the relief extends to both charities and CASCs.

    • Whether clubs/RTCs with no rateable value are eligible for the £10,000 grant
    • How clubs/RTCs with multiple properties will be treated, given they are not eligible for SBRR
    • Whether the government will be issuing clarity to insurers that the government’s actions are sufficient to trigger business interruption insurance
    • Whether the mortgage holidays announced for individuals will also apply to businesses/organisations

    Business Interruption Loan Scheme

    This is a temporary scheme. The government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee, and the Scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value. Businesses can access the first 6 months of that finance interest free, as government will cover the first 6 months of interest payments. 

    The Treasury has provided the following information on the scheme:

    In the first instance, clubs facing short-term cash flow difficulties should engage with their existing finance providers to see what assistance they might be able to provide.

    Government will be providing an 80% guarantee on finance facilities up to £5 million. Government will not charge clubs or banks for the guarantee, and will cover the first 6 months of interest payments for clubs. Clubs will remain responsible for repaying any facility they may take out.

    Facilities supported by the guarantee will be provided by participating commercial lenders in the usual way. Full eligibility criteria will be published shortly, and clubs interested in applying for a finance facility (such as a loan), supported by the scheme should speak to their lenders.

    The new scheme will be up and running by the start of next week. The British Business Bank will publish the list of lenders that provide Coronavirus Interruption Business Loan Scheme loans. More information on the scheme will be on the British Business Bank website at

    Devolved Nations

    Currently we have the following information from Sport NI:

    Our department, the Department for Communities of the Northern Ireland Executive, has helpfully provided clarification from Land and Property Services on the ‘rates holiday’.

    Rate bills are being delayed until the beginning of June 2020. The purpose of this is to avoid placing financial pressure on ratepayers during what are expected to be the peak months of the COVID-19 outbreak. 

    There will be a three month rate holiday for all business rate payers. The effect of this is that no rates will be charged for April, May and June 2020.

    The ‘rates holiday’ will apply to every business bill, including properties where industrial de-rating, sport and recreational, small business rate relief, vacant rating relief or partial exemption has also been given.

    Despite what some people are saying on social media, this does not mean that the same rate bill has to be paid in a shorter period of time – no rates are being charged for April, May and June. This means that the rate bill will be 25% smaller than it would normally be for the year.

    You do not need to do anything or contact LPS – the reliefs will all be applied automatically to the bills. The amount of the discount for the rate holiday will appear on the rate bill.

    Further update [31/03/20]: Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey MLA announced on 30 March 2020 that Sport NI will act this week to give security to funded Sports Governing Bodies by facilitating the immediate release of remaining year 2019/20 grant balances sending £1m into club and high performance programmes. In addition, Sport NI will move to ensure early release of 50% of year 2020/21 grant awards into the club sector and 25% of awards into the high performance sector.

    The package includes emergency financial relief addressing immediate sustainability impacts during the lockdown period including ongoing costs associated with the closure of facilities to ensure that grassroots sports organisations can continue to function. Government officials and Sport NI are to work with Sports Governing Bodies to establish the longer term financial challenges that sporting organisations face and how we can provide support.

    Currently we have the following information from the Welsh Government:

    Finance Minister Rebecca Evans and the Minister for Economy, Ken Skates have announced a new £1.4bn business support package to help businesses across Wales.

    The new package provides retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in Wales with a year- long business rates holiday. A grant of £25,000 will also be offered for businesses in the same sector with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £51,000.

    It also provides a £10,000 grant to all businesses eligible for Small Business Rates Relief with a rateable value of £12,000 or less.

    This support – extending the package announced this week – is comparable with the measures in England providing a much‑needed boost for small businesses struggling to cope with the impact of the Coronavirus crisis.

    Currently we have the following information from the Scottish Government:

    Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop has announced a £2.2bn business support package to help businesses across Scotland. The package includes:

    • a full year’s 100% non-domestic rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure
    • £10,000 grants for small businesses in receipt of the Small Business Bonus Scheme or Rural Relief
    • £25,000 grants for hospitality, leisure and retail properties with a rateable value between £18,000 and £51,000
    • 6% relief for all properties, effectively freezing the poundage rate next year
    • urging local authorities to relax planning rules to allow pubs and restaurants to operate temporarily as takeaways
    • extending the go live date for the deposit return scheme to July 2022
    • halting the introduction of the Visitor Levy Bill

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