STATEMENT: COVID-19 BUSINESS SUPPORT SCHEME and UK WAGE AND VAT AID

INFORMATION FOR ALL CLUBS AS ISSUED TODAY 20TH MARCH 2020

The information released this evening by the UK government and all devolved administrations is for ALL pubs, clubs and restaurants to close as of today and not reopen until further notice.  This obviously has a devastating effect on all our clubs, their employees and their families.  The GP committee would just like to give clubs some further information on what financial assistance is now available as per the very recent press releases.

BUSINESS SUPPORT GRANT SCHEME

All clubs will be aware that the Northern Ireland Executive released information on the 18th March in relation to grant aid for small businesses.

  1. Small businesses with a NET ASSET VALUE up to £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000
  2. Businesses with a NET ASSET VALUE of between £15,000 and £51,000 will qualify for a grant of £25,000

Having had correspondence with Land and Property Services and the Department of Finance today it unfortunately looks as though Sports clubs like our own will not be eligible to avail of this financial assistance at this time.  Information can be found at the following web page: https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/content/coronavirus-business-support-grant-schemes.  When you go to this page and click on the SMALL BUSINESS RATE RELIEF guide it does state that those premises which currently get SPORTS AND RECREATIONAL rate relief will not be eligible for SMALL BUSINESS RATE RELIEF and therefore not qualify for either of the above grants.  That said, if the information changes or further assistance is made available, we will obviously convey that information to clubs as soon as possible.  We would perhaps ask clubs to press there local MLAs to see if further assistance can be provided and we can only hope further financial aid will be forthcoming in the near future.

UK WAGE AND VAT AID FOR EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES

We are aware that many clubs will already have taken the decision to close and if clubs have not done so then we urgently ask that you follow the advice released above and close today as soon as possible.  The health and safety of players, members, officials and employees is the most important thing to consider right now.  We know that these measures will mean that club employees – bar staff/greenkeepers etc may well now be wondering what the future brings.  The measures announced this evening by the Chancellor should provide some reassurance to clubs and their employees.  These are:

  1. The Government will pay 80% of the salary of employees not working. The coronavirus job retention scheme will pay up to £2,500 per worker each month to businesses.
  • Businesses will be able to get interest-free loans for 12 months through the coronavirus business interruption scheme. The loans will be available from Monday 23rd March 2020.
  • No business will pay any VAT from now until the end of June.
  • The Universal Credit standard allowance will be increased by £1,000-a-year for the next 12 months. The working tax credit basic element will be raised by the same amount.
  • Self-employed workers can access Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to statutory sick pay for employees.

The GP committee will do all it can to update clubs as soon as we get any further information or if any further financial assistance becomes available.

We urge you all to heed the advice the Government has released today and keep staff and everyone safe.  We will get through this.

On behalf of the GP Committee

Northern Ireland Private Greens Bowling League.