20 March, 9.00 – Financial options for pubs explained
In an in-depth and practical financial guide, The Morning Advertiser asks a financial expert to explain all of the options available to help operators during the coronavirus pandemic.
From recently-announced Government grants and funding to more traditional loans, ABC Finance's Gary Hemming explains what's on offer.
19 March, 16.00 – Interest rates slashed further
After cutting interest rates from 0.75% to 0.25% just over a week ago as the number of positive coronavirus cases began to increase in the UK, the Bank of England has now slashed rates to 0.1%, the lowest level in 325 years.
The cost of borrowing is also expected to significantly dip as the Bank of England increases its UK Government and corporate bonds by £200bn.
A statement from the Bank of England read: “The spread of Covid-19 and the measures being taken to contain the virus will result in an economic shock that could be sharp and large, but should be temporary.”
19 March, 13.19 – Emergency fund launched for hospitality workers
An emergency fund to help zero-hours contracted hospitality staff during the coronavirus pandemic has been launched by TipJar and Hospitality Action.
Those who are capable are being urged to donate to an online emergency fund set up to help pub and other hospitality workers who have been impacted by the growing coronavirus pandemic, with 100% of funds going to the cause.
James Brown, BrewDog retail director and founder of online donations site TipJar, has worked with Hospitality Action to develop a platform for businesses and communities to raise funds from.
“This industry built so many of us, we wanted to do what we could to help in return, and we had access to the technology to do so,” he said.
“We have partnered with Hospitality Action and have built a platform for businesses and communities to donate funds for workers in their city, town or if they want to for raise money for staff in their specific local pub they can apply to do so.
“We were hoping the Government were going to announce something better and our project was a big waste of our time… but sadly I am not sure we got that.”
Donations can be made using this link: https://wearetipjar.com/emergency-fund
More information about Hospitality Action can be found here: https://www.hospitalityaction.org.uk/
More about TipJar can be seen here: www.wearetipjar.com
19 March, 08.25 – No financial support for staff who stay at home to look after kids
Yesterday’s ruling by the Government to close all nurseries, schools and colleges from this Friday (20 March) has the potential to put extra strain on household income.
Despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson making it clear that no one should be penalised for “doing the right thing” to protect individuals and others from coronavirus, employees who take extended time off work to care for out-of-school children have no rights to income.
Current rules state that, although employees have the right to leave work to care for the vulnerable, they do not have the right to be paid. Any salary received is at the discretion of the employer in such circumstances.
18 March, 15.00 – Companies urged not to fire people because of coronavirus
Bank of England boss Andrew Bailey has urged UK businesses to consider the support available to them before making staff cuts due to coronavirus.
Instead of making redundancies, companies should “look at what’s available, come and talk to us, the Government, before you take that position”.
The Bank of England and the UK Government would be there to support the public, he said.
Bailey’s call followed the Chancellor’s promise of a £350bn injection of help for UK businesses on 17 March, including £330bn of business loans.
17 March, 17.00 – Extra financial measures put in place for pubs
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak gave all pubs a business rates holiday, no matter the size of its rateable value.
Helpful financial support links:
Licensed Trade Charity:
Other charities and organisations:
The break will last for the next 12 months and hopes to alleviate some pressure on the trade, which is already feeling the financial burn of the coronavirus.
Other support revealed at the Government’s daily coronavirus press conference on 17 March included a grant of up to £25,000 for pubs with a rateable value of less than £51,000.
As well as financial assistance, Sunak made assurances that businesses with insurance covering pandemics would be able to claim against their policies if affected by corona.
Whether or not pubs with the relevant insurance coverage would be able to claim was woolly, with some insurers and insurance industry bodies claiming it would not be possible.
Sunak said: “As well as access to finances, businesses need support with their cash flow and fixed costs. Following the changed medical advice yesterday (16 March), there are concerns about the impact on pubs, clubs, theatres and other hospitality, leisure and retail venues.
“Let me confirm that for those businesses, which do have a policy for insurance that covers pandemics, the Government’s action is sufficient and will allow businesses to make an insurance claim against their policy.”
17 March, 11.30 – BT and Sky Sports suspend billings
It was announced operators would be given a break from billings for sports.
Sky said it would not charge pubs for live sport service content from 14 March, while BT Sport gave a two-week billing break for its commercial customers.
This followed a series of major sporting fixtures, especially several big football and horse racing events, being cancelled.
Sky Business managing director Simon Raggett said: “We understand that these are challenging times for many of our Sky Business venues, who rely on showing live sport in a social environment to attract customers and revenue.
“Supporting these businesses and doing what we can to help them in uncertain times is very important to us. We would like to reassure our Sky Business venues that, from 14 March, we will not be charging them for their Sky Sports service until a live sport schedule returns.”
A spokesperson for BT said: “We understand this is an extremely difficult time for the hospitality sector and BT Sport has taken the decision to suspend billing for pubs and clubs customers for a two-week period.
“This is a goodwill gesture that we are putting in place while we monitor the situation. We will keep customers updated as the situation develops.”
11 March – Chancellor outlines basic help for some pubs in lead up to coronavirus pandemic
In a Budget that was already marred by the rising threat of coronavirus, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak outlined what he believed was a substantial package of financial support for pubs and other small businesses expected to be impacted by the virus.
The measures included the abolition of business rates for the next financial year for pubs with a rateable value of less than £51,000. Since, the measures have been improved (see above), even though the virus’s presence was low at the time, the trade questioned the impact this would have.
Sunak said: “Our manifesto promised that for shops, cinemas, restaurants and music venues with a rateable value of less than £51,000, we would increase their business rates retail discount to 50%.
“Today, I can go further and take the exceptional step for this coming year of abolishing their business rates altogether.”
He gave pubs with a rateable value of up to £100,000 a £5,000 discount, set up small cash grants for some businesses and halted duty increases on wine, spirits, cider and beer.