Thank you for contacting me about the night time economy.
I appreciate that it has been a particularly challenging time for many sectors of our economy, including those operating in the night time industry, as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak. I sympathise with anyone who is currently facing redundancy during this difficult time.
It is important that as our economy begins to recover, with more businesses reopening and staff returning to work, that there is a welcoming and safe night time economy. The night time economy is hugely important to our entertainment and culture in the UK, and it is the UK's fifth largest sector.
To help the smallest businesses operating in the night time economy, who may be most in need of support, those in the retail, hospitality or leisure industries with a rateable value under £51,000 may be eligible for grants from the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant (RHLG) scheme. The RHLG scheme gives a grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses with a rateable value of up to £15,000, and a grant of £25,000 to an eligible businesses with a rateable value of over £15,000 but under £51,000. The eligibility thresholds for the RHLG have remained the same since the scheme was announced and the Government has worked closely with local authorities who allocated the funds.
Furthermore, all businesses operating in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector can benefit for a business rates holiday for 2020-21 as the Chancellor rightly removed the previous threshold on eligibility for this support.
To support jobs, both the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and the Coronavirus Self-employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) provide a taxable grant worth 80 per cent of an employees’ wages, or a self-employed person’s average monthly profits over the last three years, up to £2,500 a month. I welcome the extension of SEISS which means that self-employed individuals can qualify for a second and final taxable grant, when the scheme reopens for applications in August. This second grant will be worth 70 per cent of average monthly trading profits, capped at £6,570 in total, and according to the same eligibility criteria as the first grant. This extension matches the support available under the CJRS as the Chancellor announced that the CJRS will continue until the end of October, with new flexibility introduced from August to also help get employees back to work. This includes furloughed workers being able to return to work on a part-time basis, with employers being asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of furloughed staff.
Temporary new measures have been introduced to protect tenants renting commercial property from aggressive forms of rent recovery. To achieve this, we have legislated to enact a moratorium on commercial forfeitures due to non-payment of rent, due to end on 30 June; temporarily voided statutory demands and winding up petitions issued to commercial tenants; and changes have been made to the use of Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery.
As you may know, bars may reopen from 4 July provided their premises are Covid-19 Secure. The full details of the guidance can be found online here. Unfortunately, nightclubs, casinos, bowling alleys, indoor skating rinks, and some other venues must remain closed until it can be proven that their premises can be made Covid-19 Secure. I know that the science is being kept under review and Ministers are working with industry representatives to draw up further guidance. The full list of businesses which can reopen is available here.
I will continue to raise industry-specific concerns at the highest level to make sure that the Government is aware and I will follow any developments closely.
Thank you again for taking the time to me.
EDWARD LEIGH MP