UK gambling trade body, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), has welcomed Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s economic package, which provides struggling businesses with access to a £330 billion government-backed fund providing loans to overcome COVID-19 disruptions.
Yesterday afternoon, Sunak pledged that the UK Treasury would ‘do whatever it takes’, providing a total of £350 billion in economic support to help UK businesses of all sizes.
The Chancellor’s headline proposals included:
- Providing SMEs with expanded access to £5 million in business loans
- Developing a Bank of England-insured credit facility made available to large-scale enterprises
- Guaranteeing all insurance claims related to leisure, entertainment and hospitality businesses
- Removing all ‘rateable value’ (location-based) costs for UK leisure and retail businesses, set to a £51,000 cap
- Providing small ‘uninsured businesses’ with a £25,000 emergency cash grant bridging any cash flow impacts
The BGC was among several UK trade bodies urging the government to form an action-plan to protect UK retail, hospitality and leisure businesses.
However, despite loan support, the BGC detailed disappointment that the Treasury failed to sanction measures to help SMEs counter day-to-day employment costs, including a suspension of Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and National Insurance Contributions (NIC) liabilities.
Issuing a response this afternoon, the BGC detailed: “We welcome the Chancellor’s package of support for businesses in the leisure and hospitality industry which helps address some of our concerns, but we will study the details and will be seeking urgent clarity on the measures.
“We are however disappointed that there is no direct support for employment costs and remain concerned about the devastating impact on our members and their colleagues. We will continue to work with DCMS and HMT to ensure the financial viability of our members.”