COVID-19-ADVICE-FOR-VENUES

 

HM Government has now confirmed that following agreement of all the four nations of the UK all Grassroots Music Venues must be closed from Saturday 21 March until further notice.

MVT is offering sector support for Grassroots Music Venues (GMVs) to try and sustain them through the impacts of COVID-19. This takes three forms:

1. Surveys

  • gathering data from Music Venues Alliance members about the financial impacts of venue closure to best inform governments about the support needed to ensure they are sustained through this crisis and able to reopen

2. Information sharing

  • bringing together the most current information about what you must do and what you can do to try and sustain your venue
  • feeding into the European picture (via our membership of Live DMA) and keeping track of industry trends

3. Representation

  • making sure that the needs of GMVs are raised as part of all music industry and cultural sector approaches for support from the governments of the UK
  • as the largest GMV membership body in Europe, feeding into European information collecting and sharing

 


 

Support Announced by UK Government

The following is the latest information available (as of 8am Saturday 21 March) of the various measures that are being made available by Government to support Grassroots Music Venues (GMVs) in England during the COVID-19 crisis. Many of these measures are UK-wide. For national variations, please see below.

In each case, this is the best information that Music Venue Trust has been able to acquire from government at this time. We are in contact with departments across government to ensure that as soon as additional advice on how to access this support becomes available we can deliver it to GMVs, together with instructions on how to qualify for it and access it.

We will continue to update each section with full guidance when we receive it from UK and national governments.

Scottish Government have announced a package of measures to support businesses in 2020/21, please click here for info.

Welsh Government have announced a package of measures to support businesses in 2020/21, please click here for info.

Northern Ireland’s Government have announced a package of measures to support businesses in 2020/21, please click here for info.

Across all nations of the UK, Music Venue Trust will continue to work with government to ensure that the entire sector, wherever located, is able to access a full range of support so that permanent closures are averted.

Wages/Salaries for Employees

The government has announced the creation of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which will run for at least 3 months from 1 March 2020 and will support GMVs to manage the wages/salaries of PAYE employees. Under this scheme HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per worker per month. To access this scheme you will be required to:

  • designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change – changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation
  • submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC will set out further details on the information required)

HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. As this system is not currently in place, those GMVs facing urgent wage bills should consider the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (see below)

We will update this section with full guidance when we receive it from government.

 

Interest Free Loans

The government has announced the creation of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, which will launch on Monday 23 March to support GMVs to access bank lending and overdrafts.

Businesses will be able to access the first 12 months of any loan interest free, as government will cover the first 12 months of interest payments. The full rules of the Scheme and the list of accredited lenders is available on the British Business Bank website. All the major banks will offer the Scheme once it has launched. There are 40 accredited providers in all.

You should talk to your bank or finance provider (not the British Business Bank) as soon as possible and discuss your business plan with them. This will help your finance provider to act quickly once the Scheme has launched. If you have an existing loan with monthly repayments you may want to ask for a repayment holiday to help with cash flow.

We will update this section with full guidance when we receive it from government.

 

Statutory Sick Pay

The government will support small and medium-sized businesses and employers to cope with the extra costs of paying COVID-19 related SSP by refunding eligible SSP costs. The eligibility criteria for the scheme are as follows:

  • this refund will be limited to two weeks per employee
  • employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible. The size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020
  • employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19
  • employers should maintain records of staff absences, but should not require employees to provide a GP fit note
  • the eligible period for the scheme will commence from the day on which the regulations extending SSP to self-isolators come into force
  • while existing systems are not designed to facilitate such employer refunds for SSP, the government will work with employers over the coming months to set up a repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible

Music Venue Trust will confirm details of the SSP arrangements with government and deliver information on this to GMVs as soon as it is available.

We will update this section with full guidance when we receive it from government.

 

Business Rates Reliefs

The government has announced that all Business Rates for all Grassroots Music Venues, regardless of size, will be zero rated for 2020-21.

Music Venue Trust has written to every Music Venues Alliance GMV in this category in England with details of how to ensure they receive this relief.

Scottish MVA members please click here for info.

Welsh MVA members please click here for info.

Northern Ireland MVA members please click here for info.

 

Small Business Grant Funding

Smaller GMVs: If your Rateable Value is lower than £15,000 then you are eligible to apply for the Small Business Grant Fund. This fund will provide a non-repayable grant of £10,000 to around 700,000 businesses currently eligible for SBRR or Rural Rate Relief, to help meet their ongoing business costs.

Small to Medium GMVs: If your Rateable Value is between £15,000 and £51,000 then you are eligible to apply for a grant (title to be announced). This fund will provide a non-repayable grant of £25,000 to help meet your ongoing business costs.

Music Venue Trust has asked for details of how to qualify and how to apply for these grant and will deliver guidance to GMVs on how to apply as soon as we have more information. The government has said it will release this information on Monday 23rd March

We will update this section with full guidance when we receive it from government.

Scottish Government have set-up an £80 million fund to provide grants of at least £3,000 to small businesses in sectors facing the worst economic impact of COVID-19, please click here for info.

Welsh Government has announced a £100m grant scheme for small businesses, please click here for info.

Northern Ireland Government has announced a grant package scheme for small and medium sized businesses please click here for info.

 

VAT and Income Tax Payments

The Government has announced that it will defer Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months. If you’re self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.

VAT

For VAT, the deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020. All GMVs are eligible. This is an automatic deferment with no applications required. GMVs will not need to make a VAT payment during this period. Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020 to 2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.

Income Tax

For Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on the 31 July 2020 will be deferred until the 31 January 2021. If you are self-employed you are eligible. This is an automatic offer with no applications required.

No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period.

Time to Pay

HMRC has set up a dedicated COVID-19 helpline to help those in need, and they may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement. Time to Pay was successfully used in response to flooding and the financial crisis, giving businesses a time-limited deferral period on HMRC liabilities owed and a pre-agreed time period to pay these back. These tailored arrangements will give a business the time it needs to pay HMRC to support their recovery while operating through any temporary financial challenges that occur. HMRC will also waive late payment penalties and interest where a business experiences administrative difficulties contacting HMRC or paying taxes due to COVID-19.

You can learn more about Time to Pay HERE

We will update this section with full guidance when we receive it from government.

 

Mortgage Relief

The Government has announced that Mortgage lenders have agreed they will support customers that are experiencing issues with their finances as a result of Covid-19, including through payment holidays of up to 3 months.

Music Venue Trust has asked for details of how to qualify for this payment holiday and will deliver guidance to GMVs on how to talk to your Mortgage Lender as soon as we have more information. The government has said it will release this information on Monday 23rd March.

We will update this section with full guidance when we receive it from government.

 

Insurance

The Government has announced that its advice to avoid pubs, clubs and theatres etc. is sufficient for businesses to claim on their insurance where they have appropriate business interruption cover for pandemics in place. Music Venue Trust advises that all GMVs should take the following steps:

  1. closely check your Insurance Policy for any Business Interruption Insurance
  2. if your venue has such cover, you must check that this specific area of your policy describes Communicable Diseases and/or Notifiable Diseases and/or Pandemics as a specific peril for which you are covered
  3. in the event you have any doubts about the cover you have available, please contact your insurance provider as a matter of urgency

Music Venue Trust is offering service to GMVs to check policies for any available cover. If you have followed the above steps and have any remaining doubts about the cover you have available, please send a copy of your policy document to [email protected]

 

Self-Employment

  • the government will pay self-employed people a taxable grant equivalent to 80% of their average income over the last three years, up to £2,500 per month per person, for at least three months
  • self-employed people who are eligible can apply directly to HMRC for the grant, using a simple online form; HMRC will then pay the grant straight into your bank account
  • the scheme will be open to those with income of £50,000 or less, who make the majority of their income from self-employment
  • the government expects payments to be made no later than 1 June 2020 and HMRC will work to advance this date
  • this scheme is limited to people who are already self-employed and have a tax return from 2019
  • if you have not filed your tax return for 2019, you have a four week window to now file that return and to qualify for this scheme

How to cover your living expenses until the date of payment:

  • the Coronavirus Business Loan Interruption Scheme is now open to self-employed people – contact your local bank to discuss an interest free loan for the period until this grant payment is made
  • the government has made changes to the welfare system so that self-employed people can immediately apply for Universal Credit in full. You can apply here: https://www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit

 

Scotland

At present all measures in England are also available in Scotland, though the Small Business Grant Funding has a different threshold (see below).

Scottish Government updated their package of measures on 18 March to support businesses in 2020/21:

  • a full year’s 100% non-domestic rates relief for retail, hospitality and tourism (you do not have to apply for the relief, it is automatic so just cancel your direct debit)
  • £10,000 grants for small businesses in receipt of the Small Business Bonus Scheme or Rural Relief (go to this page and then select your local authority from the drop down list – https://www.mygov.scot/non-domestic-rates-coronavirus/)
  • £25,000 grants for hospitality, leisure and retail properties with a rateable value between £18,000 and £51,000 (go to this page and then select your local authority from the drop down list – https://www.mygov.scot/non-domestic-rates-coronavirus/)
  • Scottish Local Authorities have been urged to relax planning rules to allow pubs and restaurants to operate temporarily as takeaways. Speak to your licensing solicitor if you are interested in offering off sales if your licence does not currently include it in your operating plan, as it may be possible to de-licence an area of your premises and relicense it for off-sales on an occasional license. We would only advise this where you think it may be financially viable
  • support for Business Water Bills: relaxation of charges. Scottish Water has agreed to suspend pre-payment charges for licensed providers for two months, beginning with the April payment. This means providers – who supply water services to businesses – can be flexible with their own customers. We urge you to speak to your water provider

 

Wales

Creative Wales have created a Grassroots Music Relief Fund (GMRF). This open fund is available now and GMVs in Wales can apply for funding up to £25,000 to help them deal with COVID-19 related challenges. No matched funding is required (Welsh Government will provide the required money) and this is in addition to the package of support below. To request full details and an application form write to [email protected]

Welsh Government announced an updated package of support on 18 March for small businesses to help them during the coronavirus outbreak:

  • all retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with a rateable value of £500,000 or below will receive 100% non-domestic rates relief in 2020-21
  • businesses with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £51,000 will be offered a grant of £25,000
  • businesses with a rateable value of £12,000 or less will be eligible for a £10,000 grant

 

Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland Government announced a package of support on 18 March for small businesses:

  • an immediate grant of £10,000 will be provided to all small businesses who are eligible for the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme (all businesses with a NAV up to £15,000)
  • an immediate grant of £25,000 will be provided to companies in the retail, tourism and hospitality sectors with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • The Executive has already committed to providing a three month rates holiday to ALL businesses from April to June