Welcome to the Coronavirus Hub (Last Updated: 17/09/20)
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/ firstname.lastname@example.org). We offer a wide range of services including legal advice, technical guidance and crisis management support.
New Restrictions and the 'Rule of Six'
On Wednesday 9 September 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 be 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. From Friday 18 September some businesses will be 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 can be found here.
British Marine is currently seeking further clarification on how the rule of six affects hire boat operators.
We also understand that the measures apply in England, and in the devolved nations there is some divergence. In particular:
In Wales, the “rule of Six” will only apply to people meeting indoors and all six people must all belong to the same “extended household group”. Outside, people will still be able to meet in groups of up to 30 under existing social distancing rules.
An “extended household group” can contain people from up to four separate households.
Children under 12 will be exempt and will not count towards that total.
The Rule of six will not apply in Caerphilly because it is under a local lockdown so stricter rules are in place there.
In Scotland, the six people can only be from a maximum of two households.
However, like Wales, children under the age of 12, who are part of the two households will not count towards the limit of six people.
But, like England, the Scottish Rule of Six will apply in all public and private gatherings, both indoors and outdoors
There will be “some limited exceptions”, covering organised sports and places of worship.
Up to 20 people will be able to attend weddings, civil partnerships and funerals (and the associated receptions)
No announcement on adopting a Rule of Six has been made in Northern Ireland yet.
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
Kick start for tourism businesses - 3 July 2020
New support has been announced by the UK Government. This includes a £10 million fund for SME tourism businesses in England. Eligible parties will receive grants of up to £5,000 to help them adapt their businesses following the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses can use the funds to pay for professional advice such as human resources, legal or financial expertise, to adopt new technology and online systems or purchase new equipment. More information on this new grant and details of how to apply can be found here.
UK Government confirms all forms of boating in England to restart from 4th July
British Marine is delighted to confirm that from the 4th July, all forms of boating, including skippered charter and passenger boat operations can recommence, subject to all relevant COVID-19 guidance being followed.
In a statement issued to British Marine today (1.7.20), DEFRA said:
“Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government’s priority has been, and remains, to save lives. Following the latest announcement by the Prime Minister on 23 June, which marked a significant further easing of the lockdown restrictions to come into effect on 4 July, the Government has decided to withdraw the guidance on ‘Using a boat inland and on the coast’ from 4 July.
Latest Government guidance on COVID-19 can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
Individuals and boating operators are responsible for conducting a risk assessment drawing on the relevant sources of Government guidance on COVID-19. In particular operators and individuals should consider:
• Working Safely during coronavirus
• Staying alert and safe (social distancing) after 4 July
• Meeting People Outside Your House
• Staying Safe Outside Your Home
• Safer transport guidance for operators
• Safer travel guidance for passengers
• Phased return of outdoor sport and recreation
You will also be aware of the local lockdown in Leicester. The Canal and River Trust have issued guidance for waterways in Leicester.
British Marine would also encourage members to visit our COVID-19 Back to Business pages for specific sector guidance as well as the Government’s guidance for the visitor economy.
British Marine understand that from the 4th July, a revised statement on the existing Government guidance website will be made to confirm it does not apply.
Holiday hire set for restart in every region of UK - statement made on 23 June 2020
The Prime Minister has announced a further easing of restrictions across England which will be welcome news for many of our member businesses.
Speaking to MPs, Boris Johnson said that “from 4 July, provided that no more than two households stay together, people will be free to stay overnight in self-contained accommodation.”
British Marine supports the statement from the UK Government and understands that the announcement does include overnight stays on boats. Therefore, overnight stays are permitted from 4 July. At this time, we understand this to include the hire of craft by two households as long as they adhere to the new social distancing guidance. However, we are waiting for the UK Government to confirm its guidance where there is more than one household which intends to hire a boat. We were pleased to see the Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston confirm in a tweet that households can now book a boating holiday.
The revised social distancing guidance says that people should remain two metres apart where it is possible. Where it is not possible, the guidance now says that a distance of one metre or more should be observed and further mitigation should be taken to reduce the risk of transmission.
The announcements made by the UK Government and the Devolved Administrations over the last few weeks mean that more tourism-related activity will recommence shortly.
Every region of the UK now has a timetable and an expected date to work from. In Scotland, the tourism industry is set to reopen on 3 July. In Wales, more self-contained accommodation is expected to reopen from 13 July and in Northern Ireland the re-opening of some self-catering accommodation is set to start on 26 June.
The full statement from the Prime Minister can be read here. Further guidance for the visitor economy has now been published which our members can read here.
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.
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.
26 Aug 2020
The Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) and Department for Transport (DfT) has confirmed to British Marine that passenger vessels taking charter party bookings are exempt from the maximum 30 people gathering under SI 2020 No. 684.