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Coronavirus Guidance for Specialist Sectors

Charities

On 8 April, the UK government announced a £750m package of support for charities throughout the UK. This would appear to be in addition to the funding available to charities in Scotland through the Third Sector Resilience Fund (see here).

The government has published COVID-19 guidance specific to charities, here. This includes information on using reserves and restricted funds, holding AGMs and accounting for charities (the Charity SORP)

HMRC has announced that where the charity is allowed to keep the fee for a cancelled event, the fee will qualify for Gift Aid in certain circumstances.

Following discussions with the government, the Charity Tax Commission has advised that:

  • where the charity has suspended membership subscriptions and an individual continues to pay, the amount received may be treated as a donation for the purpose of Gift Aid (here); and
  • the government have relaxed some of the procedures around Retail Gift Aid (here).

Where it is likely that the charity will not be able to submit its annual report by the deadline, it should consider contacting the Charity Commission for an extension (see here).

Charity Commission website

Culture

The Arts Council England is offering financial to support individuals and organisations working in the cultural sector. The funding takes the form of the following three streams (links are to the Arts Council England’s website):

Creative Scotland has created three new funding programmes (links are to the Creative Scotland website):

Support for individuals and companies involved in the film industry is available from Screen Scotland.

Other guidance: Creative Scotland; Arts Council of Wales; Arts Council of Northern Ireland

Dairy farmers

The Welsh Government has announced that it is to provide grants of up to £10,000 for Welsh dairy farmers who have lost more than 25% of their income as a result of COVID-19.

Exporters

The government has relaxed some of the rules and procedures for moving goods through customs (see the government’s guidance) and with regard to customs authorisations (see here).

UK Export Finance (UKEF) can provide assistance through:

  • guaranteeing bank loans through its Export Working Capital Scheme;
  • offering an export insurance policy that can help the business recover the costs of fulfilling an order that is terminated by events outside the business’ control; and
  • supporting finance for overseas buyers through the Direct Lending Facility scheme.

In addition, UKEF has over £4bn of capacity to support UK firms exporting to China, as well as significant capacity across other markets affected by COVID-19.

For further information, see the UKEF’s section of GOV.UK, here. To contact UKEF, e-mail customer.service@ukexportfinance.gov.uk.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) can:

  • provide assistance with customs authorities to ensure smooth clearance of products;
  • offer advice on intellectual property and other issues with business continuity; and
  • help the business to find alternative suppliers.

To contact DIT’s dedicated business support team, email COVID19@trade.gov.uk.

Government guidance

Fishing industry

There are cash grants for fishing and similar businesses across the UK.

Government Guidance: England Scotland Northern Ireland

Importers

Relief may be claimed in respect of import duties and VAT on protective equipment, relevant medical devices or equipment brought into the UK from non-EU countries during COVID-19 outbreak.

Government guidance

Nursery businesses

There is a business rates holiday for nurseries in England for 2020–21.

A property that is:

  • occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register; and
  • wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage,

will qualify for relief.

The relief will be given automatically by the relevant local authority; i.e. the business does not need to make a claim. Detailed guidance for local authorities on the business rates holiday can be found on GOV.UK.

Government guidance

Innovation

Innovate UK is offering grants of up to £50,000 for projects where the intention is for “realistic and significant benefits for society (including communities, families and individuals) or an industry that has been severely impacted and/or permanently disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic”. The closing date for applications is 17 April. For further details, see here.

The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) has published guidance from HMRC with regard to claims for R&D tax relief and the disruption caused by COVID-19.

Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

The rules in this area differ in some regards depending on whether the property is in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland; therefore, and unless stated otherwise, the rules broadly applying in the UK are summarised below. Links are provided below to the guidance issues by the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments and by the Northern Ireland Executive.

There is a business rates holiday for 2020–21 and a cash grant of up to £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses.

Qualifying properties are those that are used wholly or mainly:

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

The cash grant is given by reference to the rateable value of the property, as set out below:

England and Northern Ireland Wales Scotland
Rateable value Grant Rateable value Grant Rateable value Grant
£0-£15,000 £10,000 £0-£12,000 £10,000 £0-£18,000 £10,000
£15,000-£51,000 £25,000 £12,000-£51,000 £25,000 £18,000-£51,000 £25,000

As the grant is payable by reference to the rateable value of the property, and not the size of the business that occupies it, it is expected that a wide range of businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will benefit.

Advice on claiming the grant is as follows:

  • for properties in England, the local authority will contact the business to inform them that they are eligible for the grant. Any queries with regard to the grant should be directed to the local authority;
  • for Scotland, the business should complete an application form on the relevant local authority’s website (see here);
  • for Wales, the business should confirm information online (see here); and
  • for Northern Ireland, an online portal will be set up for the business to register its details.

The Scottish Government has provided a helpful list of the types of business that do and do not qualify as retail, hospitality and leisure businesses for this purpose. See also the guidance for local authorities published by the UK Government (here for business rates relief and here for the grant).

Government guidance: England Scotland Wales Northern Ireland

Sport clubs and associations

The sporting bodies in the UK have announced a range of measures for sports clubs and associations. For example, Sport England has made £195m of funding available, including £20m for grants of up to £10,000 for local sports clubs and voluntary and community sector organisations who deliver or enable sport and physical activity.

Guidance: Sport England Sport Scotland Sport Wales Sport NI

Suppliers of goods and services to public bodies

The government has published guidance for public bodies on the payment of suppliers, including contingent workers.

Government guidance

Rural Businesses and Farming

Yorkshire Agricultural Society has a page with the latest information for businesses in rural areas here.

NFU have setup a Coronavirus hub here.

Content last updated 21 May 2020

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