Covid 19 Updates 10th March – Budget 2021 and New Guidance on Ventilation of Indoor Spaces

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Budget 2021

A number of measures affecting museums were announced this week as part of the new 2021 budget.

Culture Recovery Fund

The government will provide £300 million to extend the Culture Recovery Fund to continue to support key national and local cultural organisations in England as the sector recovers.

National Museums and Cultural Bodies

The government will provide £90 million for continued support for government-sponsored National Museums and cultural bodies in England.

Changes to the coronavirus job retention scheme from July 2021

  • From 1 July 2021, the grant will be reduced and employers will be asked to contribute towards the cost of furloughed employees’ wages. To be eligible for the grant employers must continue to pay furloughed employees 80% of their wages, up to a cap of £2,500 per month for the time they spend on furlough.
  • Employers can continue to choose to top up employees’ wages above the 80% total and £2,500 cap for the hours not worked at their own expense.
  • Click here to view a table showing the level of government contribution available in the coming months, the required employer contribution and the amount that the employee receives per month where the employee is furloughed 100% of the time.

VAT reduced rate for hospitality, holiday accommodation and attractions

The VAT reduction from 20% to 5% for hospitality and attractions, including museums, and for food and non-alcoholic drinks from restaurants and cafés, will be extended to 30 September.

The government will also be legislating to prepare for a new rate of 12.5% from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022.

Click here to read the full details and check if your museum is eligible.

Restart Grants

£5bn of new grants for hard hit firms – worth up to £6,000 for non-essential retailers and £18,000 for hospitality, leisure, and other sectors that will reopen later.

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.

Recovery Loan Scheme

The Recovery Loan Scheme ensures businesses of any size can continue to access loans and other kinds of finance up to £10 million per business once the existing COVID-19 loan schemes close. Once received, the finance can be used for any legitimate business purpose, including growth and investment.

Launches 6 April and is open until 31 December, subject to review. Loans will be available through a network of accredited lenders, whose names will be made public in due course.

Click here to read the full details.

Ventilation of indoor spaces to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19)

The government has published new guidance on the ventilation of indoor spaces. Click here to read the guidance document.

It may also be useful to read the Health and Safety Executive’s guidance on ventilation and air conditioning during the pandemic.