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The LGA was very well attended and we were delighted to welcome the Leader of the Council, Cllr Vikki Slade and CEO Graham Farrant attendance.
Graham Farrant gave an update on the impact of COVID19 on the community, the economy and its resultant effect on BCP. As we know the amalgamated Council was created 1st April 2019 and whilst it has been in place for just over a year in time, they have still not completed a full year under ‘normal circumstance conditions’.
With a budget of £283million/year made up of council tax, 50% business rates, and some grant money, the authority has seen a loss of £50-53 million. (Affected by big losses from car parking, trading and more money spent on moving patients out of hospitals and into care homes earlier than necessary.) Graham highlighted that food distribution and shielding were left to Council and with children not attending school, many referrals and safety issues have arisen. However, the Councils relationship with Police and Health have improved over the past few months which benefits the community.
Graham went on to say that before he arrived in post, everything in the Council was paper based and that this has completely been reversed with everything ‘online’, significantly improving planning.
Vikki Slade discussed the Community Response, Business Grants and new Discretionary Grants scheme. The Council were able to very quickly pull together a community hub response called “Together We Can” with the intention that everyone who needed it, got support in terms of food, medicine, shelter etc. Council staff were redeployed to help with essential services and participated in creating a new environment together, as well as 2,000+ volunteers who were matched up with vulnerable people. BCP is now a leading council in the way it has worked during COVID19 and found new ways of communicating with the public, including weekly ‘FaceBook lives’. To date, 6000 businesses within BCP have received £75 million in grants.
Graham and Vikki continue to lobby government to look to accommodate those businesses that aren’t covered by the grants. The Discretionary Grants Scheme has a small budget which will not go far, with the Council allocating £0.3million to business that didn’t meet criteria but were deemed important to the local economy e.g. hospitality & tourism, nurseries, finance, health & social care. Currently, the Fund has had 502 applications, with 650 businesses anticipated to apply.
By Jason Lewis, The Bournemouth Echo
HOTELIERS across the conurbation are ready are raring to welcome back guests when the time is right this summer.
That is the message from the chair of BH Area Hospitality Association (BAHA), the group that represents many of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole’s hotels.
While the hospitality industry has taken a big hit as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and government-introduced lockdown, BAHA chair Tim Seward said hotel owners are remaining upbeat.
“Staff are furloughed still and there are businesses that are very positive about the summer when we can open in July,” he said.
“We are waiting for an announcement on when and where and how.
“It comes back to as and when hotels can open, they can get the rest of the summer and we can be okay.
“Some hotels are looking to close temporarily to be ready for next spring, but they are not closing forever. They are looking at how to keep their business going.
“With the people I speak to, not just in big hotels but in little B&Bs and guest houses, there has been some positive work.”
Lockdown put a stop to the traditional income from visitors but several Bournemouth hotels took the chance to use this time to make improvements.
This includes the Hampton by Hilton creating a new breakfast area, Hotel Piccadilly painting the front of their hotel, Marsham Court creating a new seating area and the Queens Hotel & Spa continuing with a full refurbishment to a four-star standard.
Operations, such as those at Cliff House Hotel, Southbourne, and Oceana Hotel Group, diversified by offering collection or delivery takeaway which have been well received
On Rightmove there are around 18 hotels, guest houses and B&Bs across Bournemouth on the market.
However, Mr Seward said there had not been an increase in sites on the market since the start of the pandemic.
“Those hotels were all on the market pre-Covid-19,” said Mr Seward. “I keep a very close eye on those hotel listings at the moment and those hotels and guest houses were all on the market.”
He added: “When you look at the beach being full, we want everyone to come back safely, but actually as a seaside resort compared to others, we are doing very well.
“There is another resort that has eight hotels for sale on their seafront. We don’t have that. We are in a good place at the moment and I think hoteliers have been careful.”
The UK economy has been met with the worst recession in history due to the outbreak of Coronavirus, with one of the hardest hit sectors being travel and hospitality. There has been a wealth of government resource which has had to be provided to businesses across the country, however none that are sector specific to date. Government announcements have been issued at rapid rates and re-opening dates for the industry remain uncertain, making it difficult for businesses to plan and budget.
Saffery Champness Partner Roger Wareham looks at five key issues that are particularly topical for the hospitality sector at present:
1. Social distancing – a new 1m rule?
The UK government has come under recent pressure from the hospitality sector to reduce the social distancing measures from two metres down to one. Whilst social distancing restrictions in any form negatively impact trade for most businesses within the sector, the reduction down to one metre could be the difference between around 75% of pubs and restaurants reopening and capacity increasing as much as 40%.
The official advice from the World Health Organisation is for people to stay at a minimum of one metre apart during the pandemic and this has seen countries such as France, China and Denmark implementing a one metre rule.
More than half of the Conservative cabinet have shown support for the reduction in distancing measures including business secretary, Alok Sharma, who stated that more than 3.5 million jobs in the hospitality sector would be at risk if the UK didn’t have a “lucrative summer”, hence calls for a one-off autumn bank holiday.
Boris Johnson has stated that the measures are “constantly under review” and we expect to hear more by 4 July 2020 – the earliest date expected for the re-opening of the sector per government legislation at the time of writing.
2. The furlough scheme and the hospitality sector
Changes to the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) have been welcome news for the hospitality sector, which has been one of the hardest hit sectors during the Coronavirus pandemic. It is estimated that only 11% of the sector has been able to operate normally since the crisis began.Rishi Sunak announced on 12 May that the CJRS would be extended from 30 June to 31 October 2020, with employers being allowed to bring furloughed staff back for part-time work as of 1 July 2020.
The government will continue to pay the lower of 80% of the wage bill or a cap of £2,500 a month until the end of July, after which employers will be required to begin making staged contributions towards these wages until 31 October, at which point the scheme will end.
Whilst this offers a short-term ease to cash flow for the country it is expected that, of the 8.4 million employees that have been furloughed since the start of the UK lockdown, one in three works in the hospitality sector.
The sector is one of the last to be able to re-open and with the current social distancing measures in place, full capacity cannot be reached for the majority of businesses. Trade bodies have expressed their concerns in light of the staged cessation of the scheme and have called out for other sector specific support measures to be implemented.
3. Rent standstill
At the start of lockdown, many businesses faced possible eviction over a lack of funds to keep paying their rent bills. Though the government announced that commercial tenants would be protected from eviction for a three-month period, ending 23 June 2020, the rent still remains due, unless otherwise agreed with property landlords. Furthermore, with the June rent quarter approaching at the same time, this could come as a final blow for many.
Trade body, UK Hospitality, has written to the Chancellor to warn that, unless financial support persists, then many businesses will face extinction, jobs will be lost and rent will not be paid.
Proposed schemes so far have included the introduction of tax credits to incentivise rent waivers, property bounce back bonds to cover lost revenue and a furloughed space grant scheme (FSGS).
The proposed FSGS would result in the government making tapered fixed property payments depending on the level of trade that the business is able to undertake. This would require an audited 24-month cash flow to be provided. A similar scheme has been seen in practice in Denmark.
A scheme such as this would however qualify as State Aid under EU law and so must pass onerous tests to be enabled. In addition, the government appears to have avoided providing sector-specific support during the crisis so far, instead urging landlords to obtain loans under the Business Interruption Loan Scheme. As such, it may be that the FSGS is not being considered an option at this stage.
4. Will the UK cut its VAT rates for the hospitality sector?
The UK is now one of the very few European countries not to have cut its VAT rates. Germany is due to reduce its VAT rate for the country as a whole (from 19% to 16% from 1 July to 31 December), and will also make reductions in its reduced rate, due to fall from 7% to 5%.
The UK has made similar changes in the past, notably during the 2008 recession, at which point it cut its standard VAT rate down from 17.5% to 15%. This was costly to the government and done in order to boost customer confidence. However, this reduction was not necessarily met with an overwhelming boost to the economy as hoped with many businesses struggling to pass the costs on to customers.
However, changes to VAT rates are quick and easy to administer and will provide an immediate ease to cash flow for the majority. It is a definite possibility that the government will cut the standard VAT rate to 15% (the lowest it can go while the UK is still governed by EU VAT law) in the near future.
5. Hidden Coronavirus costs and cashflow forecasting
Re-opening hospitality businesses is costly in itself. Not only will there be reduced capacity due to social distancing requirements, but there will also be financial investment required to make spaces safe for customers and staff (“social distancing ready”). These might include the cost of installing protective screens, providing additional staff, staff training and PPE, and sanitiser stations among many other potential costs. Footwear retailer, Kurt Geiger, has suggested that such measures could add an additional £75,000 per store to its costs for the year.
Whatever the level of preparation required, businesses will need to ensure their forecasts include any additional costs expected, as well as reductions to the furlough support scheme and the reintroduction of rent payments. Whilst there may be future hospitality-specific support measures introduced, we strongly recommend businesses forecast as prudently as possible to ensure that they are braced for recommencing trade
At BCP Council we are working hard to ensure our high streets are ready and welcoming for customers to return safely and securely as shops re-open from 15th June and hospitality businesses from 4th July. Whilst we have been out visiting our town and district centres we can see that many of you are taking this opportunity to refresh and refurbish your shop fronts and interiors. Thank you.
We want to work alongside you to reassure visitors that our high streets are more safe, attractive and welcoming than ever.
We are rolling out social distancing signage across our centres and in some areas traffic management measures have already been put in place where pavement space proves difficult to maintain social distancing. We will continue to monitor and respond to social distancing issues as lockdown lifts and businesses reopen. We have been in regular communication with businesses and listed below is a reminder of some of the key messages to help ensure a safe and successful re-opening. By working together we can deliver a positive message to visitors to our high streets and ensure that they feel comfortable and safe to return.
Please follow the links below for more information on topics that may be of interest to you and your business:
COVID-19 Safe guidance for businesses: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19
HSE COVID-19 Guidance and Advice: HSE has posted advice and is also offering an enquiry service for businesses via an on-line form or phone. Details here: https://www.hse.gov.uk/contact/index.htm?utm_source=hse.gov.uk&utm_medium=refferal&utm_campaign=contact&utm_content=home-page-info
ASB & Street begging: Please see the attached flyer for information.
Legionella Legionella advice is posted on the COVID pages of our website https://www.bcpcouncil.gov.uk/News/News-Features/COVID19/Employers-Employees-and-Businesses/Reopening-businesses-support-and-guidance.aspx
Food Business Re-opening Checklist (Food Standards Agency) https://www.bcpcouncil.gov.uk/News/News-Features/COVID19/Employers-Employees-and-Businesses/Food-Delivery-And-Takeaway-Guidance.aspx
Theo Iakimov, General Manager of the Hotel Miramar, Rosie Radwell, Managing Director of the Marsham Court Hotel and Simon Scarborough, Managing Director of SSA Ltd have worked together in a proactive manner to prepare this “code of action” to assist fellow hoteliers in reopening their premises, in line with government legislation within a safe environment for our guests, staff and local residents.
Our unified approach will help us all work together in these unprecedented times and will help us all to make our area a leading example for all. Please note these are guidance notes only, until such a time that government guidance supersedes it.
The Covid (19) Pandemic is an unprecedented crisis and will have an ongoing impact on the Hospitality Industry unlike anything we have ever seen.
It will be up to Restaurant Operators to ensure that they do everything in their power to ensure that they are trading as carefully and responsibly as they are able, guests will almost certainly gravitate towards businesses whom they feel safest dining with on re-opening.
The following Guide will outline Zim Braai’s protocol
in dealing with Health & Safety, Food Safety, Social Distancing, Staff Welfare, Guest Welfare and New Operational Procedures Post Covid (19). The Guide will be made publicly available for download and will also have a Zim Braai; Covid (19) Staff Training Counterpart.
NB: This is a working document. As we enter Phase 2 of the Governments Covid (19) Plans there are likely to be regular additions to information and new legislation outlined for Hospitality Businesses to follow. All references in the Guide regards Government Legislation will be re-written with any new updates and re-released.
For more information, contact Sophie or Andy at Zim Braai
T: Sophie (Operations Director) 07854318411 T: Andy (Managing Director) 07854318411
Calling Southbourne Businesses!
Can you help to keep Southbourne Grove looking lovely, this Summer Season?
In these uncertain times we all find ourselves in, we are finding it very difficult this year to raise the funds to do this. We are desperate to keep Southbourne High Street looking beautiful, can you help us to keep our big tubs and pedestals filled with flowers. All are up for grabs and prices at cost are below. You don’t have to be a business or trader, your family could fund one, or you could have one in memory of a loved one, its open to everyone. You get a plaque with your name on too.
We keep it local and buy all plants from Kings Park Nurseries, who also plant and water the plants dotted around the High Street, so if you fancy sponsoring, contributing, etc., costs are as below. All costs are exactly what we pay for them. Please contact me if you think you would like to help.
Half Pedestal: £102.00
All come with a plaque with your business/family/organisation name.
Large Tub: £148.00 Half Tub: £74.00
Part Contribution of £48.00 will buy you part sponsorship of a tub/planter and your name will be on a plaque with your name.
Wednesday, 18th March 2020
The Hotel Collingwood, Bournemouth at 6:00 pm
The AGM is free to attend for all paid members of the Bournemouth Chamber. Only fully paid members are eligible to vote at the AGM, so please ensure that if you wish for your vote to be included please ensure your membership is paid and up to date for 2020. If you are a paid member and have not received your email regarding the AGM, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following the AGM meeting, you are welcome to join the Executive Board and Chamber President at the annual President’s Dinner.
This year’s Black Tie dinner includes a three-course menu. We are set for an evening of great food and after dinner entertainment, so we hope that you wish to join us at what will be a great night out.
Bookings for the Presidents Dinner are now being taken via the link HERE. Please specify any dietary requirements when booking. Last booking date is 9th March and there are no refunds after that date.
Should you have any questions prior to the event, please contact email@example.com.