Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced his 2021 Budget in the House of Commons today (Wednesday March 3). Although some of the detail had already been leaked (including the extension of the government furlough scheme until the end of Spetember 2021), there were some crucial details for the country’s beleaguered food, drink and hospitality industries.
Hospitality and leisure businesses (including gyms and personal care businesses) will be eligible for an £18,000 restart grant when they are able to reopen under the roadmap out of lockdown.
There will be a recovery loan scheme for which businesses can apply, from £25,000 up to £10m.
The 100% business rate holiday will be extended for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses until the end of June, then continue at a two-thirds discount for the remainder of this financial year. This will be worth £6bn in total.
There will be a reduced VAT rate of 5% for hospitality and tourism businesses until September.
A further £150m is available to help communities take over pubs, theatres and sports clubs.
Sunak acknowledged during his Budget speech how badly the leisure and tourism sector had been hit by the pandemic, with 150,000 businesses and 4.2m jobs affected across the country.
Other measures announced are also likely to have an impact on the sector:
There will be an increased incentive for businesses taking on apprentices of £3,000.
Alongside the extension of the job furlough scheme, self-employed support will also continue, with people whose turnover dropped by 30% or more eligible for the full 80% assistance. As this is a new tax year, this will also now apply to the newly self-employed.
Sunak reiterated that this Budget was focused on ‘protecting, creating and supporting jobs’, and said that including his March 2020 Budget, delivered just hours before Lockdown 1.0, this round of measures brings the government’s total spend on Covid support to an eye-watering £407 billion, with borrowing levels not seen since WWII.
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