COVID-19
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Are directors of a family company eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme?

The key issue here is whether the individual was paid via PAYE and on the payroll at the correct time.

The Government’s guidance says that as office holders, salaried company directors are eligible to be furloughed and receive support through this scheme. Company directors owe duties to their company which are set out in the Companies Act 2006. Where a company (acting through its board of directors) considers that it is in compliance with the statutory duties of one or more of its individual salaried directors, the board can decide that such directors should be furloughed. 

Where one or more individual directors’ furlough is so decided by the board, this should be formally adopted as a decision of the company, noted in the company records and communicated in writing to the director(s) concerned.

Is my business classified as a Leisure Business / Does my business qualify for the Governments 12 month Business Rates Holiday?

The Rates relief is a billing authority (Local Authority) matter and not set by central Government.

Government guidance to Local Authorities outlines which properties will benefit from the relief.  These include hereditaments mainly used:

a. as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues,
b. for assembly and leisure; or
c. as hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation.

Chandleries and boat showrooms would fall within the scope of shops. The Government has published updated guidance on the application of business rates relief for the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors. British Marine has been working closely with Tourism Alliance to ensure that many of our members, although not mentioned in the guidance, are recognised by local authorities as eligible recipients which fall into the intended category and receive this relief.

We are pleased that following our work with Tourism Alliance, the Local Government Association has subsequently confirmed that marinas, boat hire and passenger facilities do fall into the intended category and should, in its view, be eligible for this relief. This advice applies in England and Wales. 

British Marine would advise its members to contact their Local Authority if they are unsure on the classification of their business or would like further clarification.

Can commercial boating resume?

On 1 July the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs confirmed in a statement to British Marine that all forms of boating could resume from 4 July. This includes skippered charter and passenger boat operations, subject to all relevant COVID-19 guidance being followed.

Overnight stays on boats, both hire and private, were also permitted and allowed to resume from 4 July, subject to the same guidelines. 

Self-drive day hire is currently permitted as are all form of watersports. 

Members based in the Devolved Administrations should check the advice in their respective nation. 

Can I claim on my insurance as a result of COVID-19?

On 17 March 2020 the Association of British Insurers (ABI) issued a statement on COVID-19. It confirmed that most firms would not have purchased the cover required to allow them to claim on their insurance as a result of COVID-19.

The statement said that standard business interruption cover does not include forced closure by authorities. However, it notes that a small minority might have purchased an extension to their cover to include closure due to an infectious disease. In this instance, the ABI recognises that some parties might be able to claim where infectious disease cover is accompanied by an enforced closure.

However, in September the High Court ruled that in some circumstances they considered insurance companies should have paid out for COVID-19 relate claims. British Marine would therefore advise its members to check the details of their cover directly with their insurer.

Can I defer tax payments?

There was a three month VAT deferral period which came to an end in June 2020.

However, on 24 September, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that payment of the VAT due earlier this year would be extended. This means that payments for the VAT deferral period can now be made over 11 smaller repayments, with no interest to pay. Before this announcement, businesses were required to pay any VAT they deferred in one lump sum by 31 January 2021. For more information, contact HMRC’s Time to Pay helpline by calling: 0800 0159 559.

Can I require my staff to take or cancel holiday?

Employers have the ability to tell employees when they should to take holiday. For example, an employer could shut their office and require staff to take time off to coincide with this closure. The advice from ACAS says that if an employer takes this decision, they must tell staff at least twice as many days before as the amount of days they need people to take as holiday.

The advice from ACAS also says that employers can cancel pre-booked paid holiday if they wish. In the event they decide to do this, they must give staff at least the same number of days’ notice as the original holiday request.

British Marine would encourage employers to work closely with employees to manage holiday entitlements effectively and ensure the wellbeing of staff. More information can be found here.

Can recreational boating resume?

Whilst some further restrictions have been introduced across England, it is still possible to go boating. This is provided that all parties follow the relevant guidance from the UK Government on social distancing and the 'rule of six'. 

Members in other parts of the UK can check the position in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland by clicking here

 

Can someone that is working but in receipt of state pension use the Job Retention Scheme?

There is currently no direct guidance on this, however British Marine understands from its conversations with officials that this is likely. 

This is because a furloughed worker is not entitled to an employment related statutory payment at the same time as furlough pay – e.g. Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Adoption Pay, Paternity Pay, Shared Parental Pay, and Statutory Sick Pay. These are all paid via the employer - a state pension is not.Therefore it is likely that anyone in receipt of state pension would be eligible, however we would advise our members to clarify this with HMRC. 

Can staff carry over holiday?

We know it may not be possible for all staff to take their holiday entitlement during the current holiday year. Employers should work with all staff and encourage them to take their paid holiday during the current holiday year - if they are able to. Employees should also make requests for paid holiday throughout the year, if possible, to enable the employer to balance this effectively.

The Government has introduced a temporary law which enables employees to carry up to 4 weeks of paid holiday over a 2-year period across key sectors. The law itself refers to any holiday which employees do not take for one or more of the following reasons: 

  • They are self-isolating or too sick to take holiday before the end of the current holiday year
  • They had to continue working and could not take paid holiday during the current holiday year
  • The employee has been furloughed and they cannot take paid holiday because of coronavirus

It is possible that some employers will already have an agreement in place which sets out their position on carrying over paid holiday. This law does not affect any agreements already established and in place.

Employers in key industries must decide whether they will allow any extra holiday (in addition to the 4-week period) to be carried over. More information can be found here.

Do I have to pay Statutory Sick Pay to staff off work because of COVID-19?

This depends on the number of staff employed. For businesses with fewer than 250 members of staff, the Government has said it will, for a period of up to two weeks, refund the cost of each employee which is off work due to COVID-19. 

The repayment scheme is live. The repayment is payable if a current or former employee was unable to work on or after 13 March 2020 and is entitled to SSP because they either:

  •   Have COVID-19
  •   Are self-isolating and unable to work from home;
  •   Are shielding because they’ve been advised that they’re at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19

You must have had a PAYE payroll scheme in operation before 28 February 2020 to claim for employeesMore information on Statutory Sick Pay, including the documentation you will need to claim can be found here.

For companies with more than 250 members of staff, the Government has announced other financial measures which may be more applicable.

Has the UK Government published a timeline of when normal activities may resume?

The UK Government has introduced further restrictions in an effort to reduce the number of COVID-19 related infections.

Whilst it did ease restrictions over the summer, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he expects some of the restrictions around socialising and social distancing to be in place for approximately six months.

Our members in other parts of the UK can check the position in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland by clicking here

Has the UK Government announced loans specifically for smaller businesses?

Yes. The Government has announced a new ‘Bounce Back Loan’ for smaller businesses.

The scheme is designed to help small and medium-sized businesses by allowing them to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. These loans will be interest free for 12 months and will include a 100% Government-backed guarantee.

The loans will be delivered through a network of accredited lenders.

British Marine understands that businesses which have received a loan of up to £50,000 under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme can transfer onto the Bounce Back Loan scheme if they wish to do so.

For information on these loans and details of how to apply can be found here.

Have additional discretionary grants been announced?

Yes. At the beginning of May the Business Secretary announced further funding for small businesses. 

Local authorities may, through this scheme, provide three types of grant - £25,000, £10,000 or a figure under £10,000.

The additional grant funding is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs. Funds will be allocated at the discretion of local authorities. More detail on the scheme, which applies in England, can be found here

Further advice was published to help local authorities deliver the discretionary grant. This guidance confirms that the additional fund is aimed at businesses which were not eligible for the Small Business Grant or the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grant.

British Marine would advise its members which found themselves ineligible for the other types of grants to contact their local authority to discuss their eligibility for discretionary funding. 
 

How is holiday entitlement managed during the furlough period?

In most situations paid holiday (‘statutory annual leave’) should be used in the current leave year.

If an employee is furloughed, they can still request and take holiday in the usual way. This includes bank holidays. Employees must receive their usual pay in full, for any holidays they take regardless of whether they are furloughed.

How do I look after my staff and ensure their health and wellbeing?

British Marine understands that the Government’s advice which says we should all avoid non-essential contact could be difficult and stressful for many people to follow.

We know how important mental health is to our overall wellbeing. We would strongly encourage our members to visit the charity Mind, The World Health Organisation and the Mental Health Foundation for more information and details of what you can do to improve your own mental health and wellbeing during these times.

How will COVID-19 affect my business?

The Office for Budget Responsibility believes that Coronavirus will have a significant impact on the UK economy and expects COVID-19 will bring temporary disruption to supply chains, exports and global markets.

British Marine recognises how concerned its members are at this time and is working closely with industry and Government to ensure these concerns are fully communicated and understood.

We want to hear from all affected businesses to enable us to build a clear picture of the challenges facing the industry and discuss the support available with Government, councils and other public bodies. Please contact us directly by calling 01784 223663 to discuss the support available.

I accepted a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan on commercial terms, now it’s available to me on the Government’s CBIL terms – is this correct?

This is correct. There have been a series of changes to the eligibility criteria for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, which is open to viable businesses with a turnover of no more than £45 million.

On 6 April 2020 the Chief Executive of UK Finance, Stephen Jones, took part in a webinar with the CBI where access to the CBILS scheme was discussed. He confirmed that businesses which, in the first two weeks of the scheme, had to borrow on commercial terms because they were not eligible under the original Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will now be re-booked on CBIL terms with interest free credit. 

British Marine would encourage its members which have taken out loans to contact their respective banks to discuss the terms of the loan and re-book themselves on CBIL terms if they are not on these already. Our members can re-watch the CBI webinar and find more information here.

I am a small boating business with no premises, and I don’t pay business rates. Do I qualify for any of the grants?

The UK Government has announced a package of grants for businesses in the leisure and hospitality sectors. These grants are intended for businesses which have premises and, under normal circumstances, would be required to pay Business Rates. Regrettably, businesses in these sectors which do not have premises (and therefore do not pay Business Rates) are ineligible for these grants.

British Marine recognises the importance of providing financial support to businesses in the industry which do not qualify for these grants. This is why we are lobbying Government to request specialist financial support for the industry, which takes into account the costs that our members do have to pay. More information can be found on our lobbying page.

 

I am applying for a loan which is less than £250,000 do I have to provide a personal guarantee?

No. As part of the changes announced by the Government, banks are now prevented from asking for personal guarantees on loans under £250,000 through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

It is possible that banks may ask for guarantees for loans above this amount, however this will only be applied to the share of the loan which is not guaranteed by the Government. This means that any guarantee would be capped at 20% of the outstanding balance of the CBILS after the proceeds of business assets has been applied.

The changes also prevent and exclude the use of Principal Private Residence as a form of personal guarantee. More information is available from the British Business Bank.

If an employee is receiving National Minimum Wage – will their 80% they receive through the Job Retention Scheme be based on the new rates as of 1 April 2020 or the rates as of 28 February 2020?

Whilst on furlough, the employee is entitled to 80% of earnings as of 28 February 2020. This figure is capped at £2,500 per month. This continues for the whole period on furlough and does not change on or after 1 April 2020.

The employer guidance is as follows:

You’ll need to claim for:

  •   80% of your employees’ wages (even for employee’s on National Minimum Wage) - up to a maximum of £2,500. You should not claim for the worker’s previous salary. Employers are not required to provide more than 80% of an employee’s wages, even if they receive NMW.
  •   minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on the subsidised wage

Employers can choose to top up their employee’s salary, but you do not have to. The same is true for employees who currently receive NMW. The exception to this is where training is undertaken by furloughed employees, at the request of the employer. In this instance, employees are entitled to receive at least their appropriate national NMW at this time

Employees must not work or provide any services for the business while furloughed, even if they receive a top-up salary. Grants will be prorated if employees are furloughed for part of a pay period.

Claims should be started from the date that the employee finishes work and starts furlough, not when the decision is made, or when they are written to confirm their furloughed status.

The way you work out your employees’ wages is different depending on what type of contract they’re on, and when they started work.

Our members should be aware that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the percentage payable by the Government is changing. You can find more information on the changes here

I’m not eligible for most of the support announced by Government, can British Marine help?

British Marine is fully aware that some of the measures announced by the UK Government and the Devolved Administrations do not necessarily apply to some of its members.

We are absolutely committed to supporting our members throughout the COVID-19 outbreak and will continue to do all we can to ensure they receive the support they need.

We contacted a number of Government departments requesting urgent financial support for small and medium sized businesses in the leisure marine sector and support for businesses that are ineligible for one the Government’s grants. We also requested assistance with fixed costs including moorings and annual licenses.

For more information on our lobbying activities, and to get in touch with a member of the public affairs team, please visit our Coronavirus Hub.

Is COVID-19 having an impact on the work of Navigation Authorities?

British Marine understands that the Navigation Authorities are monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely. We would strongly encourage our members to contact the appropriate Navigation Authority for further information on the availability of different navigations at this time. 

We understand that most navigations in England should now be open following the Government’s decision to ease some of the initial restrictions on movement and recreation.

Members in other parts of the UK can check the position in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland by clicking here

Has VAT been reduced?

Yes - but only for the tourism and hospitality sectors. The reduction was announced by the Chancellor on 8 July. 

Providers of holiday accommodation are eligible for this reduction. Our members should note that houseboats are included as a form of holiday accommodation, as are holiday hire boats. VAT across eligible sectors was reduced from 20% to 5%. The measure came into effect on 15 July and will end in January 2021.

More information can be found here

Is travel to the EU and other parts of the world still restricted?

This situation is changing quickly as more countries are looking to ease restrictions on international travel. 

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has now dropped its advice which said Britons should avoid all but essential international travel. You can find the latest advice and country specific information here.

The UK Government has announced a series of travel corridors. Passengers travelling to countries named on this list (many of which are within the EU) do not have to quarantine on their return to the UK. 

Our members can view the latest information from ICOMIA on the Coronavirus Hub. This provides an overview of the situation internationally and the restrictions in place in particular countries.  

Is travel to the UK still restricted?

The Home Secretary has announced that arrivals will be required to self-isolate for a period of 14 days on their arrival to the UK. This quarantine took effect on 8 June 2020.

Now all arrivals into the UK will be asked to fill out a contact locator form and provide details of where they will stay during the quarantine period. This could include staying at hotels with family and friends or failing this – accommodation arranged by the UK Government. 

British Marine understands that Border Force is expected to carry out spot checks to ensure the quarantine policy is being adhered to.

The quarantine applies to all arrivals subject to a list of exemptions.

The full list of exemptions can be found here.

UPDATE 6/7/20:

The UK Government has now announced a series of travel corridors. Passengers travelling to countries named on this list do not have to quarantine on their return to the UK. Members in the Devolved Administrations must check their nation's requirements. 

I’ve been refused a grant by my local authority, what should I do?

British Marine is aware that some of its members have been refused the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality grant by local authorities and others are finding it challenging to prove their entitlement. 

We would advise our members to appeal any refusal if they are able toand evidence the statement from the Local Government Association which says that, in its view, marinas, boat hire and passenger boat facilities should be eligible for these grants.

Where this is unsuccessful, we would advise our members to discuss their eligibility for the local authority Discretionary Fund with the council to see if a different form of grant could be obtained. Three types of grant are being offered through this scheme – £25,000, £10,000 and a discretionary figure below £10,000. These grants, each available through the separate discretionary scheme, are for businesses which do not qualify for the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grant or the Small Business Grant. 

This scheme is designed for small businesses and those with relatively high ongoing fixed property-related costs.

Should my business remain closed?

With the exception of the organisations covered by non-essential shops and public spaces, the Government has not required any other businesses to close – indeed it is important for business to carry on. Boat brokers were allowed to resume physical viewings, provided these were outdoors, from Thursday 14 May, and, from Monday 15 June all non-essential retail can be open. 

Employers and employees should discuss their working arrangements, and employers should take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home, including providing suitable IT and equipment to enable remote working.

Sometimes this will not be possible, as not everyone can work from home. Certain jobs require people to travel to their place of work – for instance if they operate machinery, work in construction or manufacturing, or are delivering front line services.

Our members should note that the UK Government has published guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed to work safely during the Covid-19 pandemic. These eight guides cover a range of different work environments – including office based, shops, factories, and outdoor environments. British Marine would encourage its members to familiarise themselves with this guidance. 

We would also advise our members to visit our dedicated Coronavirus Hub for more details on our Back to Business documents which are designed to help businesses resume activities as soon as it is safe to do so.
 

Should I continue to export outside the UK?

The Government has published advice for businesses that export outside the UK and are worried about the impact of COVID-19 on their day-to-day operations.

Businesses concerned about late payments, export insurance and direct lending are advised to contact UK Export Finance in the first instance for more information on the support available to them. UKEF can be contacted by emailing customer.service@ukexportfinance.gov.uk

Should I continue to file my accounts with Companies House?

On 25 March 2020 Companies House issued a statement which said it was granting a three-month extension to all UK businesses to enable them to file accounts later in the year. British Marine understands that businesses must apply online for the extension, however any business which references COVID-19 will automatically be granted this extension. Members can find more information here.

Should I take extra precautions when cleaning the workplace?

The Government has published guidance which sets out what it believes is the most effective way to clean surfaces, communal areas and items of clothing.

British Marine would encourage its members to familiarise themselves with this guidance and to follow advice from the NHS and Public Health England.

On 11 May the Government published further guidance designed to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. The advice is tailored according to each type of working environment such as outdoor spaces, offices and factories, among others. Our members should also read the Back to Business guides we have prepared to help them resume activity once it is safe to do so.

We would encourage our members to familiarise themselves with this guidance and conduct a work-based risk assessment. This is recommended by the UK Government and will help employers to manage the risk of transmission in the place of work moving forward

What action is British Marine taking to help my business at such a difficult time?

British Marine recognises that this is a very difficult time for many of its members and is taking a number of steps to support them throughout the COVID-19 outbreak and beyond.

Since the coronavirus outbreak began in the UK, we have been proactively calling our membership to provide details of the support available to them, including guidance from our in-house technical and training teams, and contact details for our legal helpline EPOQ.

We have also created our own dedicated Coronavirus Hub on the British Marine website, which is accessible to all and includes answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. We continue to post updates to the website, issue weekly updates through Latest News and hold webinars giving you, our members, the opportunity to ask further questions and provide feedback on our activities.

We will continue to support our members by lobbying the UK Government and Members of Parliament to ensure the leisure marine industry receives the support it needs. More information on our lobbying activities can be found on the Coronavirus Hub.

What funds are available to firms that are innovating at this time?

The UK continues to invest in highly innovative firms throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The following measures have been announced to provide additional support.

Future Fund

The Government has established a ‘Future Fund’ for innovative companies which are facing financial difficulty following the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Through this fund, the Government will provide loans to UK based companies, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors. These loans will range in value – from £125,000 to £5 million. 

To be eligible, firms must have previously raised at least £250,00 in equity investment from third-party investors in the last 5 years. These loans may be applicable to companies which are ineligible for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan. 

Further support package for SMEs which focus on R&D

The UK Government has also announced a financial package worth £750 million. This is being delivered in the form of grants and loans for SME’s which specialise in research and development. 

More information on these schemes and details of how to apply can be found here.

 

What grants are available?

Leisure, Hospitality and Retail Grants

The UK Government has announced a series of grants for businesses based in England. For businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a rateable value up to and including £15,000 will be entitled to receive a grant of £10,000 per property.

Businesses in the leisure and hospitality sectors with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000 will be eligible to receive a grant of £25,000 per property.

The Government has published updated guidance on the application of the grants for the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors. British Marine has been working closely with Tourism Alliance to ensure that many of our members, although not mentioned in the guidance, are recognised by local authorities as eligible recipients which fall into the intended category and receive this relief.

We are pleased that following our work with Tourism Alliance, the Local Government Association has subsequently confirmed that marinas, boat hire and passenger facilities do fall into the intended category and should, in its view, be eligible for this relief. 

British Marine would advise its members to contact their Local Authority if they are unsure on the classification of their business or would like further clarification.

Guidance issued by the Government to businesses on the grant eligibility can be found here.

For more information on the cash grant for businesses in the leisure, hospitality and retail sectors please click here.

 

Small Business Grant

The UK Government is also providing additional funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates. This is because these firms are either in receipt of small business rate relief (SBRR), rural rate relief (RRF) or tapered relief. Businesses must operate from premises.

This is a one-off cash grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses in England.

For more information on this grant, please click here. Please contact your Local Authority for more information.

For our members based outside of England, please check the information from the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive. This is because some aspects of business support are devolved. More information can be found on our Coronavirus hub.

What guidance is available on the EU Directive on Package Travel?

Many governments have introduced travel restrictions as part of their efforts to prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19. This had led to the mass cancellation of many holidays, which in turn, had led toquestions about eligibility for refunds and opportunities to rebook travel arrangements

The Directive on Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements3 says that the organiser of a package can cancel the trip without penalty if they are prevented from performing the contract because of “unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances”. The organiser must inform the traveller without undue delay about the cancellation (Article 12(3) of the Package Travel Directive).  

The traveller can similarly cancel the trip without penalty if there are “unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances occurring at the place of destination or its immediate vicinity and significantly affecting the performance of the package, or which significantly affect the carriage of passengers to the destination” (Article 12(2) of the Package Travel Directive).

The assessment as to whether the criteria apply is made on a case-by-case basis. For more information on your rights and obligations under this EU Directive, please click hereBritish Marine is aware that the European Commission has specified that it is working with Member States to encourage consumers to accept vouchers rather the seek reimbursement. 

Our members should also visit the FCO website for more information on travel advice. 

What help is available for the self-employed?

In March, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced a new Self-Employed Income Support Scheme. On 13 May the scheme went live.

Self-employed individuals could, under these initial terms, claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their average trading profits. 

This average is calculated using data from the previous three tax years and saw Government pay up to £2,500 per month to those that are eligible. This initial grant was capped at £7,500 and was paid directly into the recipient’s bank account. 

This grant is open to anyone with trading profits or partnership trading profits of less then £50,000. The scheme was not open to individuals that had established a Limited Company or paid themselves through dividends. 
 
If you receive the grant you can continue to work, start a new trade or take on other employment. 

British Marine understands that individuals can still apply for this initial grant until 13 July.

Update 29 May 2020:


The Chancellor announced, at the end of May, that the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme would be extended. Eligible parties will be able to claim a separate, second grant which will be capped at £6,570. 

This second grant will be available from August and will cover the last three months’ worth of profits. We understand this will amount to 70% of average monthly trading profits. 
 
Further information on the second grant will be published in the coming weeks. In the meantime, our members may wish to read the latest guidance from Government on the support available to self-employed.

What help is the Government providing to employers to enable them to furlough staff and safeguard jobs?

The Government is taking additional measures to protect jobs through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. This began in March. 

Employers can claim a grant from HMRC to cover most of the wages of staff who are not working but are furloughed and kept on the company’s payroll system. Individuals on full-time, part-time, agency, flexible and zero-hours contracts are all eligible.

On 12 May the Chancellor extended the scheme until the end of October. Subsequent changes mean that from July staff will be able to return part-time and from August employers will be asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of furloughed staff. The employer will be responsible for paying in work wages; however, they will be able to submit a claim under the scheme for usual employee hours not worked provided all other criteria is met. 

The changes mean that the following will apply for the period people are furloughed:
  •   June and July: The Government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 as well as National Insurance and pension contributions. Employers are not required to pay anything.
  •   August: The Government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500. Employers will pay National Insurance and pension contributions.
  •   September: The Government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50. Employers will continue to pay National Insurance and pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up the 80% total - up to a cap of £2,500.
  •   October: The Government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875. Employers will pay National Insurance and contributions and 20% of wages to make up the 80% total - up to a cap of £2,500.

Our members should be aware that the scheme is closing to new entrants. The last date that an employer could have placed a new employee on furlough was 10 June. As of 1st July, the scheme will only be open to employers that have previously used the scheme.

Further information on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, including details of how to apply and what information you require to make a claim can be found here. You can also use this calculator to help you work out the necessary employer contributions. 

 

What is the advice on social distancing in the workplace?

The Government has published detailed guidance on the use and application of social distancing in the workplace. Sector specific guidance has also been published which includes information for manufacturers, office environments and those that work outdoors. 

Where applicable, staff should work side by side or face away from each other rather than face-to-face. Staff should be assigned to the same shifts to limit social interaction with others and cleaning within the workplace should be done more frequently. 

Employers should prevent staff congregating at break time by staggering break times where necessary so that staff can continue to practice social distancing. 

Staff should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at the beginning and end of every break, when they arrive at work and before they leave. To help with this, employers are encouraged to add additional pop-up handwashing stations or facilities, providing soap, water and/or hand sanitiser.

British Marine has also prepared documents designed to help our members to return to work when it is safe to do so. More information can be found under the Back to Business section of the website. 

 

What is the Bank of England doing to support businesses?

The Bank of England is working closely with the UK Government to manage the economic response to Covid-19.

In March, a Coronavirus Corporate Financing Facility was announced to help larger companies manage their debt in the interim and finance short-term liabilities. Through this scheme, the Bank of England will buy debt in larger companies. This scheme is open for applications and more information can be found on the Bank of England’s website.

What loans are available from the Government to support cashflow?

The Government has introduced three types of loan to support businesses with cashflow. 

These are the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the ‘Bounce Back’ Loans. More information on the ‘Bounce Back’ loan can be found under loans specifically for smaller businesses.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (Business Turnover up to £45m)

This loan was the first to be announced by the UK Government. Businesses must have a turnover of no more than £45m to apply for a loan of up £5m in value. It is intended for businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Eligible businesses will not be required to pay interest for the first 12-month as this, together with any lender levy fees, will initially be covered by the Government.

These loans are backed by the British Business Bank and will be delivered through commercial lenders. This scheme is open for applications and we would encourage businesses to discuss their requirements directly with the banks participating in the scheme, details of which can be found here.

British Marine would also like to clarify that changes to this scheme means that lenders are now prevented for asking for personal guarantees on loans under £250,000, however it is possible that lenders may request guarantees on larger loans.

It is also important for our members to know that even where a guarantee is requested on loans above £250,000 this request will only be applied to the share of the loan which is not guaranteed by the Government. This means that any guarantee would be capped at 20% (as the Government has agreed to back 80%of the loan) of the outstanding balance of the CBILS after the proceeds of business assets has been applied. The changes also prevent and exclude the use of Principal Private Residence as a form of personal guarantee.

On 6 April 2020 the Chief Executive of UK Finance, Stephen Jones, took part in a webinar with the CBI where access to the CBILS scheme was discussed. He confirmed that businesses which, in the first two weeks of the scheme, had to borrow on commercial terms because they were not eligible under the original Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will now be re-booked on CBIL terms with interest free credit.

British Marine would encourage its members which have taken out loans to contact their respective banks to discuss the terms of the loan and re-book themselves on CBIL terms if they are not on these already. Our members can re-watch the CBI webinar and find more information here.

The British Business Bank has produced a set of FAQs which can be read here.

Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (Business Turnover £45m+)

Businesses must have an annual turnover of more than £45m to apply for a loan through this scheme.

The maximum finance amount has been increased and now stands at £200 million. This follows an announcement on 19 May.

Like the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, this larger loan scheme is available through a series of accredited lenders. The Government will provide lenders with an 80% guarantee.

Firms which borrow more than £50 million through this scheme will be subject to restrictions on dividend payments, senior pay and share buy-backs during the period of the loan.

More information on CBILS and CLBIS, including details of how to apply can be found here.

What support is there for businesses regarding commercial tenancies?

The UK Government has introduced emergency legislation which bans evictions for commercial tenants. Initially this policy was in place until the end of June - however the measure has been extended until the end of September. A new code of practice has been developed alongside this which is designed to provide clarity and ensure all parties are supported. 

Our members should note that the measures for commercial tenants do not represent a rental holiday and landlords are still owed rent during this period. Should this rent not be paid once this legislation has lapsed, landlords will be able to claim for forfeiture.

Where can I go for further information on the support available from Government?

The Government has launched a dedicated website with full details of the support available and more information on how to apply for each of the measures. Please click here to visit this website.

Will I have to pay Business Rates?

The Government is introducing a business rates holiday for all businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure businesses for the forthcoming tax year. This will apply to all businesses in those sectors and based in England. We understand that local authorities will contact eligible businesses directly to discuss the business rates holiday and any rebilling required.

Update 02/04/2020

The LGA have published advice for Local Authorities on what additional tourism businesses should be included in the Business Rates Relief Scheme within the flexibility allowed in the official guidance. While this does not compel individual councils to incorporate these businesses into their schemes, we hope that it will both encourage many to do so and to provide evidence for businesses to make the case that they should be included in the scheme.

The business types included on the list are:

  • Amusement Arcades
  • Car Rental Sites
  • Conference and Exhibition venues
  • Travel and Tour Operators
  • Tourism Information Centres
  • Tourism Boards/Destination Management Organisations
  • Coach operators
  • English Language Schools
  • Travel/Hospitality Industry Charities (offices)
  • Marinas/Boat Hire/Passenger Boat Facilities