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    Coronavirus - Financial Packages for Business

    Please note that this information represents the situation as understood by the RYA as at 19 May 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 - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses) 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 gov.uk link above.  

    Coronavirus Business Support Finder Tool:

    The Government has launched a valuable new resource to help businesses and self-employed people across the UK to quickly and easily determine what financial support is available to them during the coronavirus pandemic. 

    The simple online questionnaire takes under a minute to complete and will signpost business owners and the self-employed to relevant Government financial information.

    The new business support finder tool can be accessed on the GOV.UK website, or for further details please click here.

    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.

    Insurance:

    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 www.british-business-bank.co.uk/CBILS

    Bounce Back Loan Scheme:

    The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced on 27 April that the Government will be launching a new loan scheme, Bounce Back Loans, which will be offered to small and medium sized businesses from 4 May. Details of the scheme are as follows:

    • Businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000
    • The government will guarantee 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months.
    • No repayments will be due during the first 12 months. 

    For more details and how to apply for a loan please visit the GOV.UK website.

     Local Authority Discretionary Fund: (previously called Top-up Grant Scheme)

    On 2 May the Government announced that a new discretionary grant had been set up for small businesses that may have been outside of the scope for previous financial schemes. Local authorities will be responsible for delivering grants to eligible businesses:

    • Only businesses which were trading on 11 March 2020 are eligible for this scheme
    • Businesses have to be small or micro businesses with ongoing fixed costs.
    • Grants will be for £25,000, £10,000, or any figure below £10,000 – it is expected that many of the grants will be less than £10,000.
    • Each authority will receive 5% of the funding they received under the RHL grants. 
    • Businesses who have used the Job Retention Scheme are eligible Businesses who have received funding through RHL grant, Small Business Grant or Self Employment Income Support Scheme are ineligible.
    • Grants are subject to tax.

    Local authorities have discretion to determine how they allocate the funding and which type of businesses they want to prioritise. It will be for local authorities to tailor their approach to local circumstances, such as providing support for micro-businesses with fixed costs or support for businesses that are crucial for their local economies. In taking decisions on the appropriate level of grant, local authorities are encouraged to take into account the level of fixed costs faced by the business in question, the number of employees, whether businesses have had to close completely and are unable to trade online and the consequent scale of impact of COVID-19 losses.

    Whilst the discretion afforded to local authorities in operating this scheme will inevitably mean there is something of a postcode lottery we would encourage you, provided you meet the eligibility requirements, to apply to your local authority. 

    Devolved Nations

    Currently we have the following information for those affected in Northern Ireland:

    Over the Easter period, the Northern Ireland Executive announced a number of initiatives designed to help the sports sector. This follows the initial announcement of a 25% reduction in rates fees from April to June with immediate effect.  RYA Northern Ireland has welcomed the announcement from the Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey MLA who launched a £500,000 Hardship Fund for the sports sector in Northern Ireland. Grants of up to £2,000 have been distributed to help with immediate financial commitments to maintain their facilities during the COVID-19 restrictions. 

    Please note: Sport Northern Ireland have currently suspended new applications to the Sports Hardship Fund pending confirmation of additional funding.

    Microbusiness Hardship Fund 

    On 5 May, £40 million was announced by Economy Minister, Diane Dodds, as being secured for the Microbusiness Hardship Fund. This fund is aimed at businesses which have not been able to benefit from the existing support schemes and require financial support due to the impact of COVID-19. It has been confirmed that social enterprises and charities will be able to access the fund if they meet the eligibility criteria. Details of the fund including eligibility criteria and the arrangements for applying are expected next week.   

    Further details of NI emergency funds and related announcements can be can be found at https://www.rya.org.uk/newsevents/news/Pages/ni-emergency-funding-announcements.aspx 

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    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.

    Visit also: https://businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice/

    On 6 May the Welsh Parliament pledged an additional £26 million as a support package for charities. The fund is aimed at supporting small charities and organisations that are registered as Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs), this includes charity shops, sports premises and community centres. The new package will support an additional 2,600 properties with a rateable value of £12,000 or below. More details on the fund’s eligibility criteria and how to apply will be announced shortly.  

    Visit: https://gov.wales/ps26m-help-small-charities-wales

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    Latest update from RYA Scotland:

    RYA Scotland are acutely aware that clubs and centres in Scotland will be worried about what is currently happening and what support they can access due to the Coronavirus pandemic. We would recommend that clubs and centres look to use the available information on the Scotland specific FAQs web page at as it has a variety of Scottish and UK legal information and support that should help in the running of your club or training centre.

    Visit also: https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/coronavirus-advice

    On 23 April a new £100 million fund was announced by the Scottish government which is to be made available to support the self-employed, micro-operators and small to medium businesses. The funds have been allocated as follows: 

    Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund 

    £34 million has been dedicated for the Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund which is to be managed by Local Authorities. Funds will be allocated to the newly self-employed facing hardship through £2,000 grants. To be eligible you must have become self-employed on or after 6 April 2019 and be ineligible for support through other schemes. Payment of approved applications can be expected within 10 working days of the completed application being received by your Local Authority.  

    Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund

    £20 million has been secured by the Enterprise Agencies in partnership with Creative Scotland and VisitScotland for creative, tourism and hospitality companies not in receipt of business rates relief. The focus is to help companies manage cash flow commitments for the next three months and eligible companies can apply for funding up to £25,000. For a business to be eligible it must be able to show evidence of at least a 50% loss of current or projected revenue as a result of the impact of COVID-19.

    Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund 

    The Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund is managed by the Enterprise Agencies for vulnerable small and medium sized enterprises who can prove that they are vital to the local or national economic foundations of Scotland. Businesses must be able to show evidence that they are either an essential supplier, can drive economic prosperity or can use the government’s grant to contribute to cash flow items. More details of the eligibility criteria and how to apply can be found on the Scottish Enterprise website. 

    (Page updated on 13 May 2020)

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