Foodservice equipment, distributor and dealer associations, CEDA, Cedabond, ENSE and FEA are combining their knowledge, resources and efforts to best represent and inform the sector, while businesses in the foodservice and catering sector are faced with ever growing challenges as Covid-19 spreads throughout the UK.
The organisations are forming a cross-sector working group that will speak daily to ensure that the entire industry is represented to all relevant bodies, to disseminate the correct advice, guidance and support on all matters relating to the outbreak and to engage with the operator sector to offer support.
The associations have already produced two joint letters. The first, as reported by Catering Insight yesterday, calls upon the Prime Minister and the UK government to protect the industry’s supply chains, highlighting the value of the industry to the UK economy and requesting funding support.
The second letter, addressed to the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson MP, presents a request for the government to release the post-April schools procurement funding early, to provide a much needed injection of business into the sector.
The latest letter is as follows:
Dear Mr Williamson,
The market value of the foodservice equipment industry supply chain is £1.3bn and it employs 10,000 people in the UK. Our respective organisations represent the breadth of the sector.
The sector includes equipment manufacturers, importers, distributors, designers and installer consultants and service companies. 10% of business is export related.
Typically, the equipment sector’s equipment comprises cooking and warming, refrigeration, warewashing, beverage, light equipment and tableware, ventilation, spare parts and servicing.
The sector’s customer base comprises 427,627 outlets of which 267,485 (62%) are independent operators.
Foodservice equipment is extensively used for out of home eating and drinking across many key operator sectors and significantly in the Public Sector – Healthcare, Education, Public & Community Services, Armed Forces etc.
We support the government business funding programme, announced by the Chancellor, to support foodservice outlets that are being seriously affected by the requirements caused by Coronavirus. Their vulnerability places significant pressure on the equipment supply chain. The majority of the businesses we represent are SME’s and are similarly unable to survive in the harsh commercial climate we are now in. Operators have, in effect, stopped spending on equipment and the related
Given the significant effects of the requirements on citizens and the operator sector we make the following request:
- In light of the announcement to close all schools from this Friday 20th March, there is an opportunity for Government to release the post-April Schools procurement funding early which would provide an injection of much needed business for our sector.
We support the Government need to manage the safety and health of the nation, but immediate support is required in order to ensure that our members can sustain their businesses through the recession that is being caused by its necessary action.
Adam Mason, Director General, CEDA
Phil Martin, Chairman, Cedabond
Bob Adams, Managing Director, ENSE
Keith Warren, Chief Executive, FEA
Furthermore, the cross-sector group has issued a joint coronavirus business briefing for members.
The text is:
Whilst businesses are adapting to the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) the Government have announced a number of measures which have been put in place to provide support to businesses at this time. The main measures introduced are:
- Income tax, corporation tax, PAYE, VAT payments – more time to pay
Support is available for any self-employed people or businesses struggling to pay their tax at this time. If you are having difficulty making tax payments you should call the HMRC Time To Pay Service to discuss your circumstances and agree a payment plan with them. The helpline telephone number is: 0800 0159 559. We would advise that you make sure you have your unique tax payer reference (UTR), company tax reference, VAT registration number, accounts office and employer PAYE reference on hand when you make the call as HMRC will ask for this information.
- Reclaiming sick pay for absences due to COVID-19
Small and medium sized businesses (defined as employers with fewer than 250 employees as of 28 February 2020) will be able to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absences up to 2 weeks due to COVID-19. This will be available where employees have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or where employees are unable to work because they are self-isolating in line with Government advice. The self-employed can claim for Universal Credit or Contributory Employment and Support Allowance if they have COVID-19 or are self-isolating according to Government advice.
- Support for businesses that qualify for Small Business Rate Relief
Businesses that currently qualify for small business rate relief will be eligible for a one off grant of £10,000 to meet ongoing costs, your local authority will contact you if you qualify for this – there is no need to apply for it.
- Support for businesses that pay business rates
A business rates holiday is to be introduced for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year. In addition to this a £25,000 grant will be provided to some retail, hospitality and leisure businesses. This is for businesses operating from premises with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000. You should contact your local authority for further details on this. Local authorities should have received guidance from the Government on this by 20 March 2020.
- Supporting businesses through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
The British Business Bank will next week launch the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. This will allow access to loans and overdrafts. The scheme is open to SMEs and the Government will guarantee 80% of each loan. Loans of up to £5 million in value will be available. The first 6 months of the finance will be interest free.
The Government and insurance industry confirmed on 17 March 2020 that businesses with cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure should be covered. You should check with your insurance provider what your policy will cover.
We expect that as this is an unprecedented situation other measures may in due course be introduced. For further guidance, please see the Government website which we assume will be updated as necessary if additional support is made available.
As announced in the Budget, the Employment Allowance (available to employers whose National Insurance contributions liability in the previous tax year was under £100,000) maximum will increase from £3,000 to £4,000 from April 2020 meaning that eligible businesses and charities will be able to claim a greater reduction on their Secondary Class 1 National Insurance contributions liability.