Ministers are discussing the £25k grant today (10th March) and it is hoped we will know more about the payment time frame.


We continue to press for payment to be made as a matter of urgency and for the £51k cap to be removed so that all hospitality businesses are eligible.





If your rateable value is changing on 1st April 2020 due to Reval2020 we have lobbied hard to ensure no one loses out and we are pleased to say that the grants will be paid based on the most advantageous NAV.


LPS will undertake a special exercise to identify these cases. This means that:


  • Businesses (other than retail, hospitality and tourism) that will become eligible for SBRR from 1 April will be entitled to £10,000. There are no more than 325 businesses like this and LPS know who they are. They don’t need to apply, but they do need to use the online form to provide their bank account details.

  • Retail, hospitality and tourism premises whose rateable falls will decrease to £51,000 or less on 1 April 2020 will be eligible for the £25,000 grant. The Department for the Economy and LPS are working on identifying these businesses. Again, the businesses don’t need to apply, but they do need to use the online form to provide their bank account details.

  • Retail, hospitality and tourism premises whose rateable value will fall to £15,000 or below on 1 April will still get the £25,000 grant.

  • Retail, hospitality and tourism premises whose rateable value will increase to over £15,000 will get the £25,000 rather than £10,000.





  • Furlough: HMRC has confirmed that the new portal for employers to register a claim for furloughed workers will be open on 20th April.

  • The portal will be open 24/7 and 3500 support staff are available, although it I hoped that most will be self service.

  • The portal will be able to process 450,000 claims per hour and it is anticipated payments will reach companies’ bank accounts 4-6 days after the claim is lodged.

  • Companies will be required to use the portal for online verification of the e-PAYE account and we understand that the decision has now been made to allow agents to do so on companies’ behalf.

  • To register you will need ePAYE reference number, claim period start and end date (min 3 weeks), no of employees being furloughed, amount of claim, bank details


New guidance for employers and employees has been published today and is available by CLICKING HERE and HERE





If you’re eligible for the scheme, there are things that you can do now to be ready when the system is up and running later this month.


You’ll need to provide the following to make a claim:


  • The bank account number and sort code you’d like us to use when we pay your claim.

  • The name and phone number of the person in your business for us to call with any questions.

  • Your Self-Assessment UTR (Unique Tax Reference), Company UTR or CRN (Company Registration Number).

  • The name, employee number and National Insurance number for each of your furloughed employees.

  • The total amount being claimed for all employees and the total furlough period.


If you use an agent who is authorised to act for you for PAYE purposes, they will be able to make a claim on your behalf, so please speak to them now.


However, if you use a file-only agent (files your RTI return but doesn’t act for you in other matters), they won’t be able to make a claim for you and you’ll need the information listed above from them to make the claim yourself.


For more detailed advice, please visit GOV.UK. This guidance is being regularly updated, so please review it frequently.


You may also find this recorded webinar helpful, 'Coronavirus (COVID-19) Job Retention Scheme', available on HMRC’s YouTube channel.


The UK Government Business Department issued a series of updates on key issues raised by HU


  • Rent Enforcement: The Government has clarified that the earlier measures on lease moratorium were designed to support businesses leasing premises by providing for rent deferrals of 3 months and a degree of protection against enforcement in the event of non-payment of rent.  At the time Government was clear that it expected landlords to respond in a way that was in keeping with not just the letter, but also within the spirit, of these measures. The Government is aware that some landlords are placing unreasonable demands on their tenants and pursuing other means of debt recovery and is considering what further action may need to be taken.

  • Loan Covenants: The PRA has issued guidance to lenders setting out the regulators’ expectations about the treatment of covenants and requiring them to treat covenant breaches that arise from Covid-19 differently from those relating to normal trading activity and to look to waive breaches. CLICK HERE and HERE for more detail.

  • Debt Enforcement & Insolvency: Government is looking to make changes to the insolvency regime to help UK companies, which need to undergo a financial rescue or restructuring process, to keep trading by giving firms extra time to deal with the issues as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. The detail is being developed and it will require legislation when Parliament resumes on 21 April but will cover:

    A moratorium for companies giving them breathing space for from creditors enforcing their debts for a period of time

    Protection of their supplies to enable them to continue trading during the moratorium; and;

    A new restructuring plan, binding creditors to that plan.


  • SSP: HMRC has published new online guidance about the new coronavirus (COVID-19) Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme which allows SMEs with fewer than 250 employees, to recover the costs of SSP it includes information about who can use the scheme and the records employers must keep. A new system will be required to facilitate payments and this will be confirmed shortly.





Diageo has written to the industry to provide an update on their ongoing support as the COVID-19 crisis rolls on.


CLICK HERE to read





Hats off to the Head O'The Road on the Clontylew Road outside Portadown. Yet another act of kindness from an industry that could be excused for just looking inwards as it struggles cope with financial impact of the Coronavirus.