The guidance now states up front that:
The guidance for ARG grants has been updated to highlight the businesses that are eligible, and this has been extended to businesses that are being impacted by the delay in moving to Step 4. The guidance now states up front that:
Local councils have the freedom to determine the eligibility criteria for these grants. However, we expect the funding to help businesses that are severely impacted by the restrictions.
Local councils are encouraged to support:
- businesses from all sectors that may have been severely impacted by restrictions but are not eligible for the Restart Grant scheme, including those which do not pay business rates
- businesses from sectors that remain closed or severely impacted by the extended restrictions, even if those businesses have already been in receipt of Restart Grants. This may include the travel and tourism sector, wedding industries, nightclubs, theatres, events industries, wholesalers, English language schools, breweries, freelance and mobile businesses including caterers, events, hair, beauty and wedding related businesses
It should also be noted that there is no limit to the number of ARG grants that a business can be awarded. So businesses that have already been awarded support under the grant can apply for further support.
FSB Tourism Report
The Federation for Small Businesses is launching a new tourism report tomorrow morning called ‘A Menu for Recovery’. This report calls on Government to develop a new hospitality and tourism strategy, overseen by a minister, to focus on the underrepresented small businesses in the sector and help lay out future support plans.
The report asks Government to help small firms in the sector employ and retain skilled staff, which many businesses are struggling to do against a backdrop of Brexit and the pandemic. Cutting Employer’s National Insurance Contributions would play an important role in enabling retention and recruitment. FSB also wants to see more young people encouraged into the sector by ensuring T Levels work for small businesses by extending incentive payments for employers in England to deliver industry placements beyond July 2022.
The business group has also called for urgent action to:
- Extend the hospitality VAT rate reduction to 5% until March 2022, and 100% business rates relief throughout the full financial year for businesses in England. More than half (56%) of small hospitality businesses say further rates relief would support their high street.
- Make the process easier for businesses that sell food and drink to apply to their local authority for a pavement licence, and maintain the right for pubs, cafes and restaurants to operate as a takeaway. FSB research shows 65 per cent of small hospitality and tourism businesses backed the relaxation of planning regulations, allowing them to do so.
- Back restaurants, cafes and bars by reducing alcohol duty on beers, ciders and wines.
I will send you a copy of the report tomorrow when it is released.
Group Friendly Charter
UKinbound has just launched a Group Friendly Charter (attached), which is designed to facilitate collaboration between accommodation providers and tour operators/group travel organisers. The Charter has been developed in response to the difficulties tour operators are facing in securing the availability they need whilst having the required flexibility to respond to ever-changing global travel conditions. The Charter’s competitive terms will allow accommodation providers to offer tour operators and group travel organisers flexibility in good faith, provide peace of mind, and encourage collaboration to aid the industry’s recovery.
The benefits of the Charter is open to all UK tour operators and accommodation providers (as long as they operate a COVID-safe policy) so please do share this with your members. Accommodation providers who sign up to the Charter can be identified by the UKinbound Group Friendly Charter mark, and included in their online listings.