British Marine recognises that COVID-19 continues to have a profound impact on its members. We continue to lobby the UK Government and the Devolved Administrations to provide further support for waterway businesses and we are pleased that more forms of boating can shortly resume in all parts of the UK.
Throughout the pandemic, we have been in contact with over 50 political representatives setting out our key policy asks and recommendations. We have also engaged with Ministers, submitted evidence to Select Committees and encouraged our members to add their voice to the lobbying effort. The team also created a series of working groups to set out how boating can safely resume.
You can find more information on our lobbying activity below.
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.
Fiscal package for marine businesses which do not pay business rates
Since the support measures were announced we have been clear that many of our member businesses operate from a commercial mooring and do not pay businesses rates. We were also clear that many hire companies operate on narrow profit margins and are not in a position to take on further debt or loans.
British Marine was pleased that the UK Government listened to these concerns and those of other business groups and introduced a series of discretionary grants for businesses which were ineligible for the Retail, Leisure, and Hospitality grants. We were therefore pleased that the Chancellor extended the grants available to businesses in these sectors in his Spring Budget.
Fiscal package to cover the annual cost of mooring and license fees
We continue to work closely with the navigation authorities and have repeatedly supplied information to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs setting out how the support measures could be extended to benefit more our members.
We called for a fiscal package worth £20 million to cover the annual cost of mooring and license fees for our members in the boating tourism industry. We have also lobbied the UK Government to allow the day and holiday hire sectors to be among the first to return to commercial activity, in accordance with the social distancing guidelines. We are therefore pleased that all forms of boating can shortly resume following the publication of the Prime Minister's roadmap out of national lockdown.
VAT reduction for accommodation providers
We lobbied to have the level of VAT reduced for providers of accommodation. This was to support the holiday hire sectors.
We are pleased that the Chancellor has extended the reduced rate of VAT in his Spring Budget - with the 5% VAT rate now due to finish at the end of September.
Furlough extension for seasonal businesses
We recommend an extension to the furlough scheme. We are therefore pleased the scheme has been extended until the end of September 2021.
Extending the business rates holiday beyond the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors
We recommended an extended business rates holiday for business who, in particular, have been forced to furlough staff.
Support for the so called forgotten middle
British Marine wrote to the Business Secretary and other senior politicians to make the case for more support for businesses which were ineligible for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.
We therefore welcomed the UK Government’s decision to introduce further loans to support businesses of different sizes with more immediate cash flow concerns.