Our response to the Budget 2021
We are pleased to see that the Government has extended furlough until September, which will help to support jobs in our industry. However, on its own this is not enough. Although the Chancellor extended business rates relief for other struggling leisure and hospitality businesses, and introduced a range of restart grants, he has not yet acted to correct the errors in existing eligibility guidance whereby language schools and other 'non-retail' businesses are excluded from this vital support.
With international travel still halted, classrooms will be left empty. This is on top of a catastrophic year in 2020 which saw student numbers fall by 80%, 10% of UK language schools close permanently and 9 in every 10 of their employees released, furloughed or working shorter hours. Many of our members now face insolvency due to large business rates bills. We will continue to campaign vigorously for the support we need to survive and call on the Government to extend business rates relief and restart grants to the UK ELT sector.
Following the Chancellor's budget statement, we are highlighting the most relevant points for English UK members.
We are awaiting the publication of eligibility guidance for restart grants and business rates relief and will continue to fight for the support that UK ELT deserves.
On Thursday 4 March we briefed 60 MPs ahead of debates in parliament on the Budget and the Finance Bill. We are expecting a number of MPs to speak on behalf of the sector. Where possible, we will share updates via social media.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) extension
The CJRS will be extended across the UK for five months until 30 September 2021. Employees will continue to receive 80% of their current salary for hours not worked. There will be no employer contributions beyond National Insurance contributions (NICs) and pensions required in April, May and June.
From July, the government will introduce an employer contribution towards the cost of unworked hours of 10% in July, 20% in August and 20% in September.
Business rates relief
Eligible retail, hospitality and leisure properties in England will receive 100% business rates relief from 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021. This will be followed by 66% business rates relief for the period from 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022, capped at £2 million per business for properties that were required to be closed on 5 January 2021, or £105,000 per business for other eligible properties.
The government will provide 'Restart Grants' in England of up to £6,000 per premises for non-essential retail businesses and up to £18,000 per premises for hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym businesses.
The government is also providing all local authorities in England with an additional £425 million of discretionary business grant funding, on top of the £1.6 billion already allocated.
New Recovery Loan Scheme for UK businesses
From 6 April 2021 a new Recovery Loan Scheme has been announced to enable businesses of any size to access loans and other kinds of finance up to £10 million per business once the existing Covid-19 loan schemes close.
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