HU UPDATE - LATEST SUPPORT PACKAGE FOR LARGE TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY BUSINESSES - LOCKDOWN EXTENSION
21 January 2021
Reacting to the latest £26m plus support package as part of the Large Tourism and Hospitality Business Support Scheme (LTHBSS) announced this afternoon, Colin Neill, Chief Executive, Hospitality Ulster said today:
“This is very welcome news for a vital part of the hospitality sector that has had to wait for a significant period of time to be supported financially, despite being some of the biggest and best known hospitality venues we have here.”
“Although this is over £26million being announced today, this will be allocated to over as many as 278 hospitality and tourism businesses across Northern Ireland based on NAV and will go towards the fixed overheads of large buildings that are considerable even when closed. We need to ensure that these mothballed businesses stand some chance of opening again as many have not been eligible for other support packages to date.”
“With the extension of the lockdown being announced for a further four week period - which this financial aid will not cover - we now have to work with the Executive to make sure that there is a continued level of financial response for this new timeframe. The issues don’t go away.”
“We will also continue to press for payment of outstanding grants and support for those businesses that have fallen through the funding gaps.”
“It is also good to see the launch of the £4.1million Bed and Breakfast, Guest House and Guest Accommodation Scheme by the Department for the Economy to support tourist accommodation businesses severely impacted through reduced income due to Covid- 19. We would encourage all those eligible to apply at the end of the month when the scheme opens.”
On the extension to the lockdown until 5 March, Colin Neill added:
“Unfortunately the extension to the lockdown announced this afternoon comes as no surprise. The longer this lockdown goes on for, the more costly it becomes for the hospitality industry, especially when our lockdown calendar shows that we have now broken through the 300 day mark of being under severe restrictions or zero trading.
“Whilst another 6 weeks might see a short space of time in the grand scale of the pandemic, it will be the difference in some deciding never to open again, not because they have run out of patience, but because they have run out of money trying to make it through. Business owners can’t wait around forever, especially when they have families to feed and mortgages to pay.”
“This is such a struggle for the entire industry and we now must work towards the start of March to make sure the industry led recovery plan is in place, backed and wholly funded by the Executive. Now is not the time for sitting back, this is the right time to be focused on economic recovery led out by the hospitality sector.”
LARGE TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY BUSINESS SUPPORT SCHEME: IN DETAIL
Economy Minister Diane Dodds today unveiled details of a new £26.1m support scheme for larger hospitality and tourism businesses that have been impacted by Health Protection Regulations to contain the Covid 19 pandemic.
The Large Tourism and Hospitality Business Support Scheme (LTHBSS) will provide support to large businesses in these sectors which have been significantly impacted by the Health Protection Regulations put in place by the Executive.
The scheme will provide additional financial support to help these businesses meet fixed costs and overheads associated with the survival of their businesses and the protection of jobs.
TTHBSS will be open to businesses that have a total Net Annual Value of £51,001 and above which meet the following criteria:
- The business is named within the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No.2) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020 AND The business is eligible for the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme (LRSS)
- The business is operating in Northern Ireland and was trading immediately prior to 16 October 2020
- The grant payment paid to businesses should not exceed the maximum levels of State aid permitted under the Covid-19 Temporary State Aid Framework
- Businesses which have failed to comply with a prohibition notice under regulation 7 of The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020(b)) would not be eligible for support under the scheme
The Department has identified over 250 eligible businesses in Northern Ireland with a total NAV of £51,001 or more. It will follow a tiered payment support structure ensuring that businesses with higher NAV’s receive a higher payment reflecting higher fixed costs.
The scheme will make a one-off payment based on weekly amounts of between £2,400 and £41,900 depending on an individual business’ NAV.
Eligible businesses will receive a single grant payment based on the relevant weekly amounts - eight weeks of support for the period of restrictions to 11 December 2020 (10 weeks in the case of businesses located in the Derry City and Strabane District Council Area) PLUS 6 weeks of support the period of restrictions from 26 December 2020 to 6 February 2021.
For example, businesses where the NAV is £51,001 to £60,000 will receive £2,400 per week. This will increase to £2,900 per week for businesses where the NAV £60,001 to £70,000 and £3,400 per week for businesses where the NAV is £70,001 to £80,000. This pattern continues up to a NAV of£600,000.
From £600,001 onwards the NAV bands are widened to £100,000 with increments of £2,500. For example, £31,900 per week for a business with a NAV of £600,001 to £700,000 and £34,400 per week for a business with a NAV of between £700,001 and £800,000. Finally business where the NAV is £1,000,001 or greater will receive a maximum of £41,900 per week.
The Department will contact eligible businesses to provide an application form (with a unique application number). Once the application form has been fully completed and returned with the required supporting evidence, it will be assessed and a grant payment will issue in March.
PLEASE NOTE: BUSINESSES WHO QUALIFY DO NOT NEED TO TAKE ANY ACTION.
They will be contacted in late February with payment due to follow in March. The Department have indicated that this is due to available manpower and resources. Hospitality Ulster will continue to push the Department for an early payment date.