The UK's inspection scheme for inflatable play equipment

COVID-19

Updated June 2021

Introduction

Developments surrounding COVID-19 are constantly changing. While this situation is ongoing, PIPA will provide guidance from its partners and reliable third-party sources as best it can.

Here, we have collated information on the current situation to help those in the industry find what they need to know as easily as possible. This page will continue to be updated.

We appreciate that not every home nation is adopting the same principles or time frame.

The main .gov website information can be found here

Rules relating to Northern Ireland can be found here

Rules relating to Scotland can be found here

Rules relating to Wales can be found here

Guidance on returning to work

The UK Government has issued sector specific guidance. Of that guidance, the following are of most relevance to our industry:

  • Construction and other outdoor work - click here to read more
  • Factories, plants and warehouses - click here to find out more
  • Offices and contact centres - click here to find out more
  • Other people's homes - click here to find out more
  • Vehicles - click here to find out more
  • The visitor economy - click here to find out more
  • Providers of grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities - click here

Government support hub

A new tool which helps businesses find the support which is most relevant to them has gone live on the Government's website. It tells you what financial support is on offer to your business, how to claim for wages through the job retention scheme and how the self-employed can apply for grants.

The Government says it will update the tool on a regular base to reflect the latest information and support on offer.

Business rates holiday

A business rates holiday will be introduced for the retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year. Further enquiries should be directed to your local authority. You can check your rates and if you are eligible here.

Grants

Any business receiving small business rate relief (SBRR) will automatically get a £10,000 grant (likely to be early April), irrespective of any other criteria.

Retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will receive a £25,000 grant. Further enquiries should be directed to your local authority.

Time to pay

Businesses can arrange to delay paying taxes by contacting HMRC. Click here for more information.

Statutory sick pay

The online service you’ll use to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is now live.

Businesses with fewer than 250 members of staff will be refunded the cost of providing 14 days of statutory sick pay (SSP) per employee. The current rate of SSP is £94.25 per week.

This will apply for a period of eight months. Further legislation means SSP will need to be paid from the first day of sickness absence. If homeworking during self-isolation, full pay will need to be maintained.

Click here to find out more.

Furloughed workers

Employers are being encouraged to furlough their employees, rather than lay them off through redundancy, and use the job retention scheme.

On 12 May it was announced that the job retention scheme would be extended until the end of October. The scheme will continue in its current form until the end of July before changes are made from the start of August. You can find out more here.

Loans

Loans of up to £5 million for small and medium enterprises are available to UK businesses which have an annual turnover of less than £45 million.

The scheme is open to applications via major banks now. On 2 April, the Government announced changes to the scheme which means government-backed loans will not longer be limited to small businesses which have been refused a commercial loan from their bank. However, no limit has been put on the interest rates banks can charge for loans.

Furthermore, banks are now banned from asking business owners to guarantee loans with their own savings or property when borrowing up to £250,000.

VAT

The VAT payment deferral period ended on 30 June 2020. This means you’ll need to:

  • Set-up cancelled direct debits in enough time for HMRC to take payment
  • Submit VAT returns as normal, and on time
  • Pay the VAT in full on payments due after 30 June

On 24 September 2020, it was announced that businesses which deferred VAT payments due from 20 March to 30 June will have the option to pay in smaller payments over a longer period.

Instead of paying the full amount by the end of March 2021, smaller payments can be made up to the end of March 2022, interest free.

It is necessary to opt-in to the scheme. Click here for more information.

HMRC has also set-up a phoneline to support businesses during this time. Call 08000 241222 between 8am and 4pm, Monday to Friday.