Welcome to the Coronavirus Hub (Last Updated: 24/09/20)
Accessible to all, it is here that we will be sharing the very latest Government advice, together with business support tools, guidance and best practice.
This webpage is being updated constantly. So please keep an eye on the information categorised to the right-hand side, where you will find FAQs and where applicable, a list of British Marine members who are able to provide you with 1-2-1 support.
Don't forget, our Membership Services team is also fully operational and on standby to take your calls (01784 223663/ email@example.com). We offer a wide range of services including legal advice, technical guidance and crisis management support.
Government announcement 24/09/20
The Chancellor of the Exchequer had made a statement setting out further economic measures to support businesses and workers as we enter the winter period. Please see the keys point below.
VAT reduction extended for tourism and hospitality businesses
- The VAT reduction for the tourism and hospitality sectors is being extended. The level of VAT will now stay at 5% for eligible businesses until the end of March 2021.
New Job Support Scheme
- The Chancellor announced a new Job Support Scheme to support businesses facing falling demand as a result of the pandemic.
- Businesses in every part of the UK must pay employees their wages for the time they spend working. The rules will say that employees must work at least one third of their usual hours. The support scheme will then see the Government and employer pay a further third of the hours not worked.
- All SMEs will be eligible; however larger firms must be able to evidence that the pandemic has had a significant impact and led to reduced turnover.
- Scheme will start on 1st November.
Self-Employed Income Support
- British Marine understands that the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme is being extended and will cover 20% of average monthly trading profits. This will be provided in the form of a Government grant.
Delays to VAT and loan repayments
- The announcement also confirmed that businesses will be given more time to pay back coronavirus loans, including Bounce Back Loans and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans.
- Businesses will also be able to pay the VAT they deferred and, instead, make a series of interest free payments and extend their outstanding bill over 12 months from next January.
New Restrictions and the 'Rule of Six'
Earlier this month Boris Johnson announced new restrictions on social gatherings in England, introducing the so-called rule of six. This new rule limits the numbers of people that can gather in social settings. It took effect on Monday 14 September - meaning it is now not possible to gather in groups greater than six.
The new rule replaces the previous advice on the size of gatherings and covers both indoor and outdoor social settings. Some businesses are now legally required to collect contact details for their staff and customers, and to retain these for a period of 21 days. More information on the requirements and the NHS QR code and app which should be used wherever possible can be found here.
Our members in England should note that following the statement from the Prime Minister on 22 September, face coverings have become mandatory in more settings and the advice is, once again, to work from home wherever possible.
These measures apply in England, and in the devolved nations there is some divergence. You can find more information about the situation in the Devolved Administrations on the related pages.
British Marine successfully campaigns for VAT reduction to apply to hire holiday boat sector
British Marine has secured a welcome win for the holiday hire boat sector as HMRC reverse their decision on the applicability of the VAT rate reduction. HMRC have now confirmed that the temporary reduction to 5% for holiday accommodation does apply to those hiring out boats (inland and coastal) which are to be used for overnight accommodation.
On 14 July, confirmation was received from HMRC that the reduction of VAT to 5% for holiday accommodation would not apply to those businesses hiring recreational craft with overnight accommodation. British Marine immediately mobilised to challenge this position taken by HMRC with the belief that by not including the leisure marine industry within the scope of holiday accommodation for VAT purposes, HMRC would be supporting anti-competitive activity by favouring other industries in the tourism sector.
An emergency meeting hosted by British Marine along with representatives of the trade formed the basis for lobbying HMRC to ensure a level playing field for all holiday accommodation providers.
HMRC have now officially published official confirmation in VAT Notice 709/3, specifically under section 5.1, which says:
“The hire of a boat will qualify for the temporary reduced rate provided that it is suitable for holiday accommodation and is being held out in this way. Boats being hired for a day to enjoy the activity of sailing for example will not qualify for the temporary reduced rate as they are not being used for holiday accommodation."
British Marine and HMRC continue to work together to develop further leisure marine industry guidance to ensure that other parts of our industry, such as mooring providers, are not treated unfairly and are aligned with other sectors, such as caravan parks.
Further information for eligible businesses
For those members who are eligible to reduce their VAT to 5% for qualifying goods and services (such as holiday accommodation in houseboats or food in restaurants), British Marine’s VAT advisors, PKF Francis Clark have provided a useful update for members.
Members can also contact PKF Francis Clark directly for further assistance. Please follow the link below for more information and to take advantage of this service.
For the sake of clarity the new VAT rate is applicable is on all invoices raised on or after 15 July 2020. Any invoices raised prior to this date a 20% VAT rate is applicable.
Where a price has been agreed with a customer, but no invoice raised, British Marine believes that the price should now be the agreed price plus 5% VAT. To ensure that customers are treated fairly there should be no alteration of the price (excluding VAT) to reflect the change in VAT. During this time, members should also remind themselves of British Marine’s code of practice which requires members to treat customers fairly and courteously.
Schedule 3, Section 2.2 Dealing with Customers states:
i) Members should strive to maintain the best practicable standard of service to their customers, having regard to the nature and price of the goods and services supplied, at all times. Customers must always be treated fairly and courteously.
ii) Members shall not deliberately mislead their customers in any way and must ensure that all promotional material is accurate.
iii) Members shall provide their customers with accurate and reliable information as to price, specification and time of delivery of their products or services.
To view our full Code of Practice, please visit https://www.britishmarine.co.uk/Membership/Code-of-Practice
What help is available from the Government?
British Marine would encourage its members to visit our list of Frequently Asked Questions for further information on the support available and details of how they should access this support.
Full details of the measures announced by Government can be found here.
How British Marine can help you
We would encourage our members to read the most up to date information and advice from the Government. Members can visit the dedicated NHS webpage which provides further information on symptoms and what to do if you think you might have the Coronavirus.
For advice on hire conditions and cancellations related to COVID-19, members should contact our membership services team for details of the Epoq legal helpline.
Please contact us If your business is affected to ensure we can discuss the support available with you.
The information on this webpage is provided as general guidance. Although British Marine tries to ensure that all of the information is accurate and up to date, this cannot be guaranteed owing to the very fast moving situation. Members should review the Government’s full guidance themselves by following the links in this webpage and should keep up to date with the Government’s latest announcements. The information on this webpage should not be construed as constituting professional advice and we would always advise that members consider seeking appropriate professional advice before taking or refraining from taking any action.
24 Sep 2020
Today, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak made a statement setting out further economic measures to support businesses and workers impacted by COVID-19.
17 Sep 2020
BOATS2020 which was due to take place from 11-20 September 2020 and was cancelled on the evening of Thursday 10 September, despite having a licence which was issued on 28 July, and having been setup to the strict requirements of Southampton City Council’s Public Health England COVID-19 secure requirements, has failed in its appeal to the Secretaries of State for Public Health and Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
16 Sep 2020
The recent announcement and implementation of the new ‘rule of six’ in England has reversed the private hire side of the passenger vessel industry’s exemption of the 30-person cap on gatherings.
15 Sep 2020
British Marine understands that this week the High Court ruled that some insurance companies should have made pay outs to businesses in relation to COVID-19.
15 Sep 2020
From Friday 18 September some types of businesses will have an additional legal requirement to collect contact information for staff, customers and visitors.
15 Sep 2020
The Government has announced that grants from £50,000 to £5 million are now available to help the nation to recover in a greener way from the COVID-19 pandemic.
15 Sep 2020
Earlier this week the UK Government published the statutory instrument which sets out the ‘rule of six’ requirement.
14 Sep 2020
The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) is looking to gain feedback around outcomes for furloughed apprentices and how to sustain apprenticeships over the coming months.
09 Sep 2020
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published guidance this week on the use of fog, mist and vapour chemicals and equipment.
26 Aug 2020
As BOATS2020 presented by Southampton International Boat Show Ltd approaches, British Marine is delighted to report that the event is receiving exceptional support from the industry in many ways.