COVID-19

On this page you will find all of the BBPA’s briefing on COVID-19 and how to access Government support.

Please click here to find out how to access the various support initiatives from the Government.

Please click here to view the BBPA’s COVID-19 Dispense System Shut Down Guide.

Please click here for the latest guidance, from BEIS and PHE, for employers and businesses on Coronavirus (COVID-19).

BBPA publishes database of Local Authority links to access the Small Business Grant and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant

The BBPA have published a database with a link to the relevant section of each local authorities website to claim the Small Business Grant and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant. There is also information on the action you need to take for every local authority. To view this database please click here.

You will need to log into the Members’ Area of the website to access this document. If you do not currently have log in details or have forgotten your password, please contact Lydia Hall (lhall@beerandpub.com).

HMRC Business Support Helpline – 0800 024 1222

HMRC have opened a dedicated helpline for businesses and the self-employed to answer queries or concerns regarding tax payments and finding solutions including:

  • agreeing an instalment arrangement
  • suspending debt collection proceedings
  • cancelling penalties and interest where you have administrative difficulties contacting or paying HMRC immediately.

National Living Wage & National Minimum Wage

  • The National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates were increased today.  The new rates are set out below:
Previous rate From 1 April 2020 Increase
National Living Wage £8.21 £8.72 6.2%
21-24 Year Old Rate £7.70 £8.20 6.5%
18-20 Year Old Rate £6.15 £6.45 4.9%
16-17 Year Old Rate £4.35 £4.55 4.6%
Apprentice Rate £3.90 £4.15 6.4%
Accommodation Offset £7.55 £8.20 6.4%

HMRC relax rules on Cellar Destruction with Immediate Effect

  • With immediate effect, HMRC are relaxing rules around destruction of beer in cellars. The relaxation of Section 20.13 in Notice 226 means that HMRC will allow designated pub staff to record and destroy beer in order to facilitate getting excise credit back to brewers. Please find the Government’s guidance here.
  • HMRC are working quickly to update language on the Gov.uk website and remove some confusion about what a brewer can do by way of giving credit to pubs which have received written permission for destruction from the brewer.
  • First and foremost, it is critical that any pub that wishes to destroy ‘unmerchantable’ beer due to Covid-19 closures get written agreement from the brewer, or ensure that their supplier has received written agreement. If all the appropriate steps are taken to sufficiently record the destruction and provide an audit trail for HMRC, the brewer may either credit a pub with the value of the excise duty of any destroyed beer or replace the goods​ with fresh stock when available and safe to deliver. The brewer must provide their customer with evidence of this credit or replacement.
  • Failure to record properly means a brewer will not be able to claim back the excise, and therefore will not be able to pass on credit/replace stock. It is vital that NO destruction is carried out until all the necessary steps are understood, agreed to, and able to be carried out fully in accordance with HMRC requirements.

Offer coronavirus (COVID-19) support from your business

The Government has issued a general request to businesses for support and have published a short online survey that asks if you are able to provide support in any of the following ways. Please click here to complete the survey.

  • hotel rooms
  • transport and logistics, for moving goods or people
  • warehouse or office space, for medical use or storage
  • expertise or support on IT, manufacturing, construction, project management, procurement, engineering or communications
  • social care or childcare
  • medical testing equipment
  • medical equipment design
  • manufacturing equipment
  • protective equipment for healthcare workers, such as masks, gowns and sanitiser

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

  • Please click here to read the BBPA’s detailed summary on the Job Retention Scheme.
  • Please click here to view the BBPA’s Q&A on the Job Retention Scheme. To view this document please make sure you are logged in to the BBPA’s Members’ Area.
  • Any employer in the country – small or large, charitable or for profit – will be eligible for the scheme.
  • Employers will be able to contact HMRC for a grant to cover most of the wages of people who are not working but are furloughed and kept on payroll, rather than being laid off.
  • Government grants will cover 80% of the salary of retained workers up to a total of £2,500 a month. This will be initially for 3 months at least and then reviewed.
  • System will be administered by HMRC and should be fully up and running by end of April, but once up and running will be backdated to the beginning of March.
  • This will cover everyone on PAYE including those on zero hours contracts.
  • The Government has published updated guidance on the steps being taken to mitigate the impact upon apprentices and their training as a result of COVID-19, please find it here.
  • In addition, BEIS have published guidance on National Minimum Wage & COVID-19, specifically on the issue of employer loans and pay advances. Please find it here.
  • Government guidance for businesses on how to access the Coronavirus Job Retention Fund.
  • Government guidance for employees on how to access the Coronavirus Job Retention Fund.

Support for self-employed through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) who have lost income due to COVID-19.

This scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. This may be extended if needed. More information from the Government can be found here and you can claim a grant through the self-employment Income Support Scheme here.

  • The Government will be establishing the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, with those eligible receiving a cash grant worth 80% of their average monthly trading profit over the last three years.
  • This will cover 95% of people who receive the majority of their income from self-employment.
  • The Scheme will be open to those with a trading profit of less than £50,000 in 2018-19 or an average trading profit of less than £50,000 from 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19.
  • To minimise fraud, only those who are already in self-employment and meet the above conditions will be eligible to apply. HMRC will identify eligible taxpayers and contact them directly with guidance on how to apply.
  • Grants will be paid in a single lump sum instalment covering all 3 months and will start to be paid at the beginning of June.
  • HMRC will use existing information to check potential eligibility and invite applications once the scheme is operational.
  • Those who pay themselves a salary and dividends through their own company are not covered by the scheme but will be covered for their salary by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme if they are operating PAYE schemes.
  • Additional support around increasing working tax credit, suspending minimum income floor and deferring tax self-assessment until 2021.

List of alternative job offers

  • The BBPA has collated a list of alternative job offers from various companies for beer and pub companies to use, please click here to view the list. Furloughed staff, please note – Before taking a second or alternative job, please check makes sure that this does not affect the terms of your furlough agreement.

New COVID-19 guidance for food businesses

  • FSA has now published guidance to assist food businesses in responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the guidance can be found here. The new guidance has been developed with Defra and covers a range of areas including good hygiene practice, management of employee sickness, and social distancing for specific food business settings.  The BBPA have also published some more general guidance on food safety for food delivery, please find this here.
  • FSA has also reiterated that it is very unlikely that people can catch COVID-19 from food. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness and not known to be transmitted by exposure to food or food packaging.

Pubs can still operate as takeaway’s 

  • Planning regulation will be changed to enable restaurants, cafes and pubs which do not currently offer delivery and hot food takeaway to do so, for a period of up to 12 months. This will be clearly communicated by the government when in effect.
  • People must not consume food or drinks on site at restaurants, cafes or pubs whilst waiting for takeaway food.
  • Those venues offering takeaway or delivery services must not include alcoholic beverages in this list if their license does not already permit.
  • More detail can be found here.

The Enforcement of Business Closures

  • The legal requirement forcing listed businesses to close, including pubs and hotels came into force on 21st March. Environmental Health and Trading Standards officers, with police support if appropriate, will work together to issue prohibition notices challenging unsafe behaviours where businesses do not follow these restrictions. The fines for non-compliance are unlimited.
  • Off-licenses and licensed shops selling alcohol, including those within breweries, are still allowed to remain open.
  • Please find more information from Poppelston Allen here and the Government here.

Support for Businesses

  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will not be interest free, as previously planned, for 6 months – it will now be interest free for twelve months.
  • Information on the Covid Corporate Financing Facility, including which lenders to contact, is available on Bank of England’s website. Businesses can talk to their lenders from the start of the day about accessing these loans.
  • Information on the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan is available through the British Business Bank.
  • Information on the Government’s Grant Funding Scheme, including the Small Business Grant Fund and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund is available herethis guidance is for England only.
  • Wales and Scotland have announced they will be providing similar support, though with slightly different approaches. Government guides for devolved governments can be found here for Wales, and here for Scotland.
  • The BBPA have condensed the recent Government guidance for both the Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund into a one-pager, please find it hereThe grants are worth either £10,000 or £25,000 depending on the grant and your rateable values. The briefing applies to England only, and the BBPA notes ultimately it is distributed by your Local Authority. Please do ensure you get the grant money you are entitled to given the criteria and follow up with your LA.
  • The BBPA recently received information suggesting that the guidance provided by BEIS to Local Authorities on how to access the Small Business and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants will be bound by EU State Aid rules. The State Aid exemption provided by the Commission allows companies to receive up to 800,000 Euros.
  • Next quarter’s VAT will be deferred until the end of June for all businesses, and businesses will have until the end of the year to pay.

Chancellor’s decides to not cancel March Beer Duty Bill

  • The BBPA therefore urge those who have not arranged deferral to do so immediately with HMRC by calling 03000 583 920.

VE/VJ Day 75 Licensing Hours Extensions

  • The Government had previously announced extended opening hours for licensed premises for VE Day in May and consulted on an extension for VJ day in August. The Home Office have announced that, given the official advice to limit the spread of Covid-19, they will no longer proceed with these plans. The national commemoration events to mark VE Day 75 will be scaled back in order to protect the health and wellbeing of the Second World War generation and members of the public.
  • As this is a developing situation, if circumstances allow leading up to VJ day, premises may wish to apply for a Temporary Event Notice to extend their opening hours.
  • The UK Government and the Devolved Administrations are working on new plans to ensure the public can still thank the Second World War generation on VE Day in May and provide the fitting tribute they deserve.

MOT due dates extended

  • From 30 March 2020, MOT due dates for cars, motorcycles and light vans will be extended by 6 months. This is being done to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. More information, from the Government, can be found here.

Companies House – accounts

  • The Government has issued guidance to companies that they will be granted a three month extension for filing their accounts with Companies House. The guidance can be found here.

Changes to Insolvency and Company Rules

  • Wrongful trading: There will be a temporary suspension of wrongful trading provisions for company directors to remove the threat of personal liability during the pandemic, applied retrospectively from 1 March 2020. 
  • New restructuring plan and moratorium: The government previously announced plans to introduce new restructuring procedures in August 2018. New legislation will implement these plans, including the ability to bind dissenting stakeholders to a new restructuring plan (including “cross-class cram-down”) and a short moratorium or “breathing space” that will give companies in difficulty time to explore options for rescue. This will include protection of supplies to enable companies to continue trading during the moratorium.
  • The Government have also announced that companies required to hold Annual General Meetings will be able to do so flexibly in a matter compatible with public health guidance such as holding the AGM online, or by phone using only proxy voting.
  • The UK government has announced changes to insolvency laws in response to COVID-19, giving firms extra time and space to weather the storm. The UK government plans to bring forward legislation to this effect “at the earliest opportunity”. Exact timing remains uncertain. Provisions will be included to enable the changes to be extended if necessary. Parliament is currently in recess until 21 April.

Rules on carrying over annual leave to be relaxed to support key industries during COVID-19

  • Workers who have not taken all of their statutory annual leave entitlement due to COVID-19 will now be able to carry it over into the next two leave years. The Government will amend regulations to allow annual leave to be carried over into the next two years. This will ensure workers won’t lose their leave entitlements and will give flexibility to business at a time when it is needed most. More details can be found here.

PPL PRS – collection of copyright licensing fees

Following the BBPA’s discussions with PPL/PRS they have issued a COVID-19 statement for customers that confirms:

  • They will not be charging customers for their music usage during the period they are closed (temporarily or permanently) due to COVID-19;
  • They will be making changes to their payment policies to introduce further flexibility, including deferred payments, for customers during this difficult period; and they have temporarily suspended late payment surcharges.
  • A copy of the full statement and FAQs can be found on their website here. However, if you have a specific query or request, please contact PPL/PRS in the first instance.

Employers do not have to report gender pay gaps

  • Enforcement of the gender pay gap reporting deadlines are suspended for this reporting year (2019/20) due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The decision means there will be no expectation on employers to report their data.

ACAS advisory webinar – recording available

  • ACAS have published a recording of their recent COVID-19 advisory webinar for employers.  The webinar sets out steps that can help to reduce the spread of the virus and covered the following topics:
  • effective ways of communicating with employees
  • self-isolating, time off, sickness certification and sick pay
  • altering working hours, shift patterns and working arrangements
  • remote working and the use of technology

The webinar can be viewed here once you have registered.

Moving Goods Through Customs

The Government has announced that if you are moving goods through customs and are no longer able to comply with a condition of your authorisation because of Coronavirus, you can get permission from your supervising office in HMRC or Border Force to temporarily vary the conditions of your authorisation.

You can apply to temporarily vary the following conditions of your customs approvals:

  • changes to site opening hours
  • the need for staff to be on site in order to carry out a particular function if that function can be completed remotely
  • the specific areas within an approved location in which customs controls must be conducted
  • reducing dwell times to allow quicker permission to progress
  • time limits for bills of discharge and throughput periods for special procedures
  • how to process goods held in temporary storage over 90 days

You can apply to temporarily change your authorisation by emailing your supervising office with the subject ‘COVID-19 customs easement request’. Applications will be looked at on a case by case basis

Here are the links to the guidance:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/customs-authorisations-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/moving-goods-through-customs-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19

Guidance and advice for those providing hotel and other accommodation in the UK

  • Businesses providing holiday accommodation (including hotels, hostels, B&Bs, campsites, caravan parks, boarding houses and short term lets) should now take steps to close for commercial use as quickly as is safely possible.
  • Full consideration should be given to the possible exclusions for residents that should be allowed to remain. Any decision to close should be implemented in full compliance with the social distancing guidelines.
  • What the exclusions mean: Hotels and other accommodation providers should be able to remain open if:
    • They are part of the response to support key workers or vulnerable groups.
    • There is a specific need for some or all of the site to remain open (for example they are housing people who have been flooded out of their homes, being used by public services to provide emergency accommodation or are not able to return to their primary residence).
    • If businesses are providing rooms to support homeless people, through arrangements with local authorities and other public bodies, they should remain open.

Guidance for hotels serving food 

  • Hotels and accommodation providers that are remaining open to house key workers, vulnerable groups and other exempted groups will still be able to serve food, subject to the social distancing guidelines (for example by providing a takeaway service, ‘grab and go’ service or room service).
  • Workplace canteens can also stay open where required but must adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Guidance on Mental Health and Wellbeing

The Government has produced guidance on how to protect people from the psychological impacts of Coronavirus. Please click here to view the guidance. The key suggestions are:

    • Consider how to connect with others
    • Help and support others
    • Talk about your worries
    • Look after your physical wellbeing
    • Look after your sleep
  • Beer and pub industry welcomes government support package

    20 March 2020

    Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, commented: The Government has been clear that pubs must now shut down. The safety and wellbeing of people is our priority. We stand ready to play our part in the fight against COVID-19 and in the process protecting our communities and employees. As a sector employing nearly one million people, the Chancellor’s support package announced today on staff wages will safeguard thousands of livelihoods and help closed pubs try to get through this difficult period. We stand ready to work with the Government to ensure that the support is accessible as fast as possible. There remain areas where we need further support to sustain our great brewing and pub sector through this difficult time, to ensure that all staff will have jobs to return to and to guarantee all pubs can reopen again when this crisis is over and continue to be at the heart of communities up and down the country.  

    Read more