Here you will find all of the SBPA’s briefing on COVID-19 and how to access Government support.

Please click here to find out how to access the various support initiatives from the UK Government.

Please click here to find out information on access to the support initiatives from the Scottish Government.

Coronavirus Job Retention Fund

  • Any employer in the country – small or large, charitable or for profit – will be eligible for the scheme.
  • Employers will be able to contact HMRC for a grant to cover most of the wages of people who are not working but are furloughed and kept on payroll, rather than being laid off.
  • Government grants will cover 80% of the salary of retained workers up to a total of £2,500 a month. This will be initially for 3 months at least and then reviewed
  • System will be administered by HMRC and should be fully up and running by end of April, but once up and running will be backdated to the beginning of March
  • This will cover everyone on PAYE including those on zero hours contracts – further detail is expected to be published today.
  • To be eligible, you will need to:
    • designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change – changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation
    • submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC will set out further details on the information required)

    HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.

  • Government guidance for employees on how to access the Coronavirus Job Retention Fund should be available here.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

  • The new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme supports SMEs with access to working capital (including loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance) of up to £5 million in value and for up to 6 years.
  • The government will pay to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees, so smaller businesses will not face any upfront costs and will benefit from lower initial repayments.
  • The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs.

This scheme is being delivered through commercial lenders, backed by the British Business Bank.

Non-Domestic Rate Relief for Hospitality Sector

  • All retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in Scotland will get 100% rates relief (property has to be occupied).
  • The SBPA are currently pushing for an extension to this for Brewers.
  • The Scottish Government are working with Scotland’s 32 Councils to make sure this relief is administered in the most effective way. You can check this page for updates, including information on any application process.

£10,000 and £20,000 Grants

  • Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value between £18,000 and up to and including £51,000 will be able to apply for a one-off grant of £25,000.
  • A one-off grant of £10,000 will also be available to small businesses who get the Small Business Bonus or Rural Relief.
  • Information on how to apply for the grant is available here.

Low paid workers and self-employed

  • Additional support around increasing working tax credit, suspending minimum income floor and deferring tax self-assessment until 2021.
  • Further announcements of support are expected this week.

Permission for Pubs and Restaurants to Operate as Takeaways

Many public houses and restaurants do not currently have planning permission to operate as takeaway premises selling food and drink for consumption outside the premises. However, the Scottish Government consider that, as a matter of urgency, planning authorities should not seek to undertake planning enforcement action which would result in unnecessarily restricting public houses and restaurants providing takeaway services on a temporary basis during the current exceptional circumstances. The understanding is that Local Authorities have reacted positively to this.

More information is available here.

Information relating to the businesses outside Scotland is available here.

The Enforcement of Business Closures

  • The legal requirement forcing listed businesses to close, including pubs, came into force on 21st March in England and Wales. Legislation in Scotland will be in place very shortly, however all Pubs should immediately close.
  • These do not prohibit accommodation providers from selling food and drink as part of room service, or from selling for consumption off the premises.

Emergency Licenses for Brewers to Sell Directly to the Public 

  • Licensing Boards are reacting positively to requests from Brewers seeking to sell directly to the public.
  • In order to sell directly to the public, a license is needed from the respective Licensing Board. Glasgow Licensing Board has granted licences to Hidden Lane Brewery (Finnieston), Simple Things Fermentation (Muirend), and Ride Brewery Co (Laurieston) after support from TLT Solicitors.
  • If anyone would like discuss with TLT, they can contact Stephen McGowan or Niall Hassard.

Treasury Committee Call for Evidence

  • The Treasury Committee has announced it will be holding a hearing on the effectiveness of support to business for Covid-19. BBPA are drafting a reply to this which is due by 17:00 Monday, 23 March.

Other Support for Businesses

  • Information on the Covid Corporate Financing Facility, including which lenders to contact, is available on Bank of England’s website and will be updated in the course of Monday 23 March. Businesses can talk to their lenders from the start of the day about accessing these loans.
  • Next quarter’s VAT will be deferred until the end of June for all businesses, and businesses will have until the end of the year to pay