In response to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak the UK Government and governments in the devolved nations put in place a number of measures to support the cinema sector. While many of these have been removed, there are still some relevant schemes and support in place, as detailed below.

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).


The business rates holiday for all businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector has now been extended in England to the end of June 2021, after which point a discount of 66 per cent will apply until the end of the financial year 2021/22. The UK Government has recently announced that a 50 per cent discount will be applied for 2022/23.

Businesses in Scotland and Wales will enjoy a full discount for the entirety of the financial year.


The UK Government has extended the reduction of VAT on cinema tickets and certain elements of food and drink until the end of September 2021. Until that point, the applicable rate will be reduced from 20 to 5 per cent, and then to 12.5 per cent until the end of March 2022.

More here.


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.

More here.


In England, Northern Ireland and Wales, there will be a moratorium on lease forfeiture and debt recovery enforcement, now extended until March 25 2022. 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.

More here.

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.

More here.


For further information on any of these elements, please contact the UK Cinema Association on

[Page last updated 28 October 2021]