British Equestrian would like to thank the equestrian community for their current support during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. These are unprecedented times for society in general and we all need to play a part in helping to manage and restrict the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). The current Government restrictions mean that some equestrian businesses are unable to run as normal or must close their doors and we recognise that this has far-reaching implications, and that businesses and individuals will be hit financially. The UK Government has announced an initial £330 billion of help through number of measures to help, which we’ve summarised as a guide to help those in need access the assistance available.
For all UK businesses, there is support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme where all employers can access support to continue to pay part of their employees’ salaries for those who would have otherwise been laid off during this crisis. On 20 March, the following measures were announced/expanded upon:
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until 30 April 2021. From 1 November, the government will pay 80% of an employee's usual salary up to a cap of £2,500 per month for the hours the employee is on furlough. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions, and top up employee wages to ensure they receive at least 80% of their wages up to a gap of £2,500 for the hours they're furloughed. Further details are available here.
A Job Retention Bonus of £1,000 is available for employers who continuously employ previously furloughed staff until 31 January 2021. This is a one-off taxable payment and you can claim for each eligable employee that you retain. The bonus can be claimed between 15 Feburary and 31 March 2021. Further details are available here.
On 27 April, the Government announced the Bounce Back Loans scheme, which will provide loans of up to £50,000 to help bolster the existing package of support available to the smaller businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The Government will provide lenders with a 100% guarantee for the loan, and pay any fees and interest for the first 12 months, after which the interest rate will be 2.5% a year. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months. Further details can be found here.
The scheme is open for applications until 31 January 2021.
If you already have a Bounce Back Loan but borrowed less than you were entitled to, from 10 November you can top up your existing loan to your maximum amount. You must request the top-up by 31 January 2021.
We have had confirmation from the Sport and Recreation Alliance that riding schools, livery yards and competition centres fall under the umbrella of those businesses considered to be ‘for assembly and leisure’ – provided they are normally open to the public – and as such are eligible for the help currently on offer from the Government:
You can find additional details on the Scottish Government’s package of reliefs and grants here.
You can find additional details online on the Business Wales website.
If you can’t find your rateable value, you can search for it using your postcode on GOV.UK.
The Equestrian Employers Association has further advice on equine businesses and their employees.
For both businesses and individuals, the HMRC has set up a dedicated COVID-19 helpline to help those in need on 0800 0159 559, in addition to other HMRC phone contact numbers. Opening hours are 8am to 8pm on Monday to Friday, and 8am to 4pm on Saturday.