The UK Government and governments in the devolved nations have put in place a number of measures to support the cinema sector during the current Coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak.
The picture remains a developing one, so UK Cinema Association members are encouraged to check this page regularly for updates.
Where there are differing approaches by nation, these are noted below. Otherwise it should be assumed that the measures listed apply to all UK cinemas (although other eligibility criteria might apply).
Throughout the UK there will be a 12 months business rates holiday for all businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector.
CORONAVIRUS JOB RETENTION SCHEME
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (‘furlough’) has been extended to 31 March 2021.
During the extension period, Government will pay employees 80 per cent of their salary for hours not worked. Employers will be expected to cover only National Insurance and employer pension costs, ordinarily around 5 per cent of normal employment costs, until January 2021, when the position will be reviewed.
Businesses required to close in England due to local or national restrictions will be eligible for the following:
- For properties with a rateable value of £15k or under, grants to be £1,334 per month, or £667 per two weeks;
- For properties with a rateable value of between £15k-£51k grants to be £2,000 per month, or £1,000 per two weeks;
- For properties with a rateable value of £51k or over grants to be £3,000 per month, or £1,500 per two weeks.
CORONAVIRUS BUSINESS INTERRUPTION LOAN SCHEME
Across the UK, the temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will support SMEs with access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million and for up to 6 years. The scheme is open to businesses with a turnover of no more than £45 million.
The government will also make a Business Interruption Payment to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees, so eligible businesses will benefit from no upfront costs and lower initial repayments.
The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80 per cent on each loan (subject to pre-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs.
The scheme will be delivered through commercial lenders, backed by the government-owned British Business Bank.
There are 40 accredited lenders able to offer the scheme, including all the major banks.
CORONAVIRUS ‘BOUNCE BACK’ LOAN SCHEME
The Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan scheme provides loans of up to £50,000 (or up to 25 per cent of turnover) for small and medium-sized businesses. The Government will guarantee 100 per cent of the loan and there will not be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. Loan terms will be up to 6 years. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months. The Government will work with lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan.
The scheme will be delivered through a network of accredited lenders.
Those in receipt of a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan cannot claim from the Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan scheme, but may be able to transfer a loan from the former into the new scheme.
In the UK, all small and medium-sized businesses and employers will be able to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid to workers for sickness absence due to COVID-19.
The scheme is available to all of those with fewer than 250 employees as of 28 February 2020 and cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19.
In England, Northern Ireland and Wales, there will be a moratorium on lease forfeiture and debt recovery enforcement, now extended until the end of 2020. This will prevent landlords of commercial properties from exercising any rights of forfeiture that may have been due to the non-payment of rents by tenants.
The provision simply delays the right of forfeiture; it does not otherwise impinge on a landlord’s right to claim forfeiture or recover rent at the end of that period.
In Scotland, legislation has been enacted which required commercial landlords to give tenants 14 weeks (as opposed to the previous 14 days) notice of termination of lease for non-payment of rent.
For further information on any of these elements, please contact the UK Cinema Association on firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Page last updated 5 November 2020]