HU UPDATE: 24th April 2020
VIDEO MEETING EXTENDING RATES RELIEF WITH FIRST MINISTER AND DEPUTY FIRST MINISTER
£10K CORONAVIRUS GRANTS UPDATE
VIDEO MEETING DISCUSSING EXTENDING RATES RELIEF WITH FIRST MINISTER AND DEPUTY FIRST MINISTER
In partnership with Belfast Chamber, Hospitality Ulster and Retail NI we spoke via video with the First Minister and deputy First Minister to urge the Executive to expand the rates holiday for businesses experiencing the greatest impact on trade as a result of the pandemic.
“We welcome the First Minister and deputy First Minister taking the time out of their hectic schedules to hear from us about the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic and the necessary restrictions being placed on businesses to help stop the spread of the coronavirus is having upon our members.
“We took the opportunity to urge the Executive to extend rates relief beyond the initial 3 months and to do so in a targeted way that gets help to those businesses and sectors hardest hit.
"It is clear that many businesses will be either closed or severely limited in their operations by social distancing for some time to come and it simply isn’t right to issue rates bills to businesses that face such impediments.
"We warmly welcome the news that Ulster University are working with the Department of Finance to develop a targeted rate relief scheme.
"This is exactly what we have called for and look forward to that work producing a positive result soon.
"We also reiterated the need to expand the grants to businesses with multiple sites and for the introduction of an emergency support fund to help those many businesses who have not been able to avail of either of the grants schemes.
“COVID-19 is a public health emergency which is also adversely affecting our entire economy and some sectors in particular.
"We appreciate that the Executive has a huge challenge on its hands in charting a pathway back to normality and we pledged to work with Ministers in the weeks ahead, especially around developing guidance to allow for proper planning as we move towards recovery”.
£10K CORONAVIRUS GRANTS UPDATE
HU CEO Colin Neill spoke to the Head of the NI Finance Department this morning (Friday) and has been reassured that the majority of £10k Grants have now been paid.
The Department are working though the more complex cases including premises where the landlord pays the rates, to ensure that grants go to the actual businesses.
If you are the premises occupier and pay your rates by DD, you should have received payment.
If not, HU members can send their details to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will engage directly with the department on your behalf.
NOTE: Full premises details required:
- Business Name
- Full Business Address
- Rate ID Number
- Bank Details (optional)
In partnership with sister organisation UK Hospitality, HU continues to press the UK Government to intervene and force insurance companies to pay out on legitimate insurance claims.
It is unacceptable that businesses have paid premiums that include pandemic cover and then insurance companies use the excuse of technicalities and small print to avoid payment.
This is an ongoing battle and we will keep you updated.
With the hospitality industry in total lockdown and almost all of its staff on furlough, but still allowed to train, now is the time to make full use of your own online training platform, with over 40 available courses.
Your Hospitality Ulster membership provides you access to the HU Academy Online Training Platform, powered by Flow Hospitality Training as part of your Hospitality Ulster membership at NO ADDITIONAL COST*.
In the coming days, members will receive an email from HU with more information, so watch this space!
*Business with max 100 staff.
New measures have been put in place (CLICK HERE) to protect hospitality leasehold premises facing legal debt enforcement measures and aggressive rent collection.
The measures will have immediate effect to suspend existing statutory demands and potential winding up petitions and there will be an automatic 90 day protection against CRAR.
The measures will be in place for the initial 90 days following rents falling due but are capable of being extended.
We are also expecting additional measures to be brought forward as part of an Insolvency Bill to introduce a new less formal administration process or Chapter 11 protection and hopefully a broader debt enforcement mechanism.
Through our sister organisation, UK Hospitality, we are lobbying Business Ministers about ongoing problems for hospitality businesses in accessing CBILS and CBILS+.
It has been reported that Banks have approved less than half of applications for coronavirus loans (CBILS).
Just 16,624 applications have been approved out of 36,000, although loans for businesses have increased by £1.45 billion in the week from 14th April to 21st April.
In a Labour press release (CLICK HERE) Ed Miliband, the newly appointed Shadow Business Secretary, has said that figures released today showed that the “CBILS scheme is no way equal to the scale of economic distress facing our firms”, calling on the Government to alter the existing scheme.
Register for the next HMRC live webinar (CLICK HERE) about the Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) on Friday 24 April.
The webinar provides an overview of the scheme, including: who can apply and how, the amount you can claim and other support available.
The Employer Bulletin (April 2020, Issue 83) (CLICK HERE) includes the latest update on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, along with updates on the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme and the deferral of VAT payments.
Please go online at GOV.UK if you need further support.