Advice for Accommodation Providers during Coronavirus Outbreak

UPDATE: We have been actively lobbying for more government support for our accommodation providers. Click here to read more about our efforts.

In this difficult time, we’re keenly aware of the difficulties faced by the many accommodations and other small business that we work with on a regular basis to provide our outdoor holidays. We’ve found that much of the information on where to seek help and what provisions are available to different kinds of businesses has been scattered – so we hope this page will provide a helpful starting point.

We’ve provided a bullet-point list of all the main tools; where relevant, there is also more detailed information further down the page. We’ve checked all the info for accuracy as best we can, but given the fluid nature of the situation, please do not take this is a comprehensive guide. We are aware also that many bed and breakfast owners pay Council Tax rather than Business Rates, and therefore may not qualify for some of this support. If there is any change in this situation, we will of course update our information as soon as possible.

We apologise that while we’ve done our best to help by putting this info together, we can’t currently field questions on the information below, as we’re working through our own difficulties – but we hope this will nevertheless point you in the right direction.

The government facilities that we’re aware of now include:

We also want to point you towards a couple of other sources of information and support that you may find helpful.

Retail, Hospitality & Leisure Grants

The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme will provide businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property. Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of £15,000 and under will receive a grant of £10,000. Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.

You do not need to do anything to access this scheme, as your local authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant. Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs and grants should be directed to the relevant local authority. Of course, if you have not heard from them, we recommend getting in touch.

Some more information is available here but you will likely need to look to your local authority for more directly relevant info.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme supports small & medium-sized businesses with access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million and for up to 6 years. The government will also make a Business Interruption Payment to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees, so smaller businesses will benefit from no upfront costs and lower initial repayments.

The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% 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.

To apply, you should talk to your bank or one of the 40 accredited finance providers (not the British Business Bank) as soon as possible to discuss your business plan. You can find out the latest on the best ways to contact them via their websites. Please note that branches may currently be shut down to enable social distancing.

We have also heard that the terms of these loans vary – some banks are not asking for security against these loans, while others are requiring that they be placed against your property – so we recommend looking into this in some detail.

The full rules of the scheme and the list of accredited lenders are available on the British Business Bank website.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

We are aware that many of our B&Bs are operated entirely by their owners. However, if you do have regular employees, the Coronavirus Job Retention furlough scheme may be of use, under which any staff unable to work due to Coronavirus can be placed on furlough – where they will not work, and the government will pay them 80% of their wages. Employers are not required to pay the remaining 20% but can choose to do so. This may make a significant difference to your overheads while your business is forced to close due to social distancing measures. Full guidance can be found here.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

Self-employed people can apply for a taxable grant of up to 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. This may be extended if needed, and will be paid directly into your bank account in one instalment. At this time, you cannot apply for this scheme; HMRC will contact you if you are eligible for the scheme and invite you to apply online. More information is available here.