Special financial measures have been launched by the Government to help those whose livelihoods have been affected by the current outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD). Although attention has focused mainly on farming and tourism, this help is available to all, including the Racing Industry. The cancellation of race meetings is having a serious impact across the board, but particularly on jockeys, transporters, valets, farriers, those businesses that supply goods and services for racedays, as well as racecourses.
The Government’s Rural Task Force, set up to find ways in which to ease hardship in the rural community caused by the FMD outbreak, has been made aware by BHB of the difficulties faced by Racing and its support services. The Rural Task Force has announced a package of measures available to those experiencing difficulties as a result of the epidemic. BHB has already drawn these measures to the attention of those in Racing that are most affected. and takes the opportunity to reaffirm that anyone in the Racing Industry, or who derives income from the Industry, suffering as a consequence of FMD should take advantage of the help available.
For businesses, rates relief is available. Any business that can demonstrate serious economic loss as a result of the epidemic is entitled to apply to their local authority for rates relief. Central Government normally funds 75% of the costs, with the local authority funding the remaining 25%. As an extra measure, the Government has agreed to increase its contribution to 95% for rates relief for small businesses (those with a rateable value of £12,000 or less) in the rural local authority districts. Small businesses will be eligible for a reduction of up to £1,290, over a three month period, which, for some, will represent their entire rates bill for the period. The scheme will be reviewed should the impact continue after three months.
Businesses in those parts of the country directly affected by FMD may be eligible for short term practical help from the £15m extra Government funding being administered by the Countryside Agency. Flexible loans are also available to businesses through the Small Firms Loans Guarantee Scheme (SFLGS).
Help is also available for both businesses and individuals from the Inland Revenue and Customs & Excise. For VAT, extensions to the time to pay can be arranged, with no default charges; claims will be settled faster; and alternative accounting schemes can be implemented. For income tax, the amounts paid on account by the self-employed can be adjusted to reflect current income. Some may also be eligible for income support benefits. The Inland Revenue helpline can advise.
For rates relief, contact the local authority.
The Countryside Agency is on 020 7340 2909
For the SFLGS, contact the Small Business Service helpline on 0845 600 9006
For income tax and VAT enquiries, contact the helpline on 0845 300 157.
BHB Secretary-General Tristram Ricketts said today:
“BHB’s overall aim is to return to the scheduled racing programme as soon as circumstances allow. In the meantime, anyone within the Racing Industry suffering hardship as a consequence of the Foot and Mouth outbreak is urged to take advantage of the special measures on offer. All those affected should talk to their local councils and/or to the Inland Revenue and Customs & Excise helpline before problems build up.”
For further information, contact Annie Dodd on 020 7343 3309.