COVID-19: Practicalities for Companies House accounts filing

Reconsider the practicalities for accounts filing in the light of the COVID-19 restrictions

Apply for more time to file your accounts

Companies House recognises the disruption caused by the current restrictions and has announced that, as of 25 March 2020, businesses may apply for a three-month extension period to file their accounts. This extension will not be granted automatically and companies seeking more time are expected to complete an online application before the filing deadline. Those stating “issues around COVID-19” or “health matters” as the reason for their application will be automatically and immediately granted three months’ extension. No further evidence is required. However, companies that have already extended their filing deadline, or shortened their accounting reference period, may be ineligible for an extension.

If there is a risk that your company may miss the filing deadline, it would be prudent to apply for an extension as late filing penalties will be imposed automatically. This is particularly important for companies whose accounts are filed late two years in a row, as penalties are doubled in the second year.

Late filing penalties

If a late filing penalty is issued to your company, you may appeal against it. The Registrar of Companies already has policies in place to deal with appeals based upon unforeseen poor health. Appeals based upon COVID-19 will be considered under these policies. Each appeal is treated on a case by case basis.

Submitting accounts to Companies House

Standard practices for the signing and filing of accounts should be reconsidered and adjusted to take into account the changed circumstances and extra time that may be required given that Companies House has closed some of its offices and suspended all same-day services for the time being. Companies House London office is closed until further notice and there is no functioning post box for the delivery of documents. Companies registered in England and Wales should send filings directly to the Cardiff office address at: Companies House, Crown Way, Cardiff, CF14 3UZ.

Companies House confirmed that the following signature formats are acceptable on the accounts and on audit reports:

  • Digital signatures provided by DocuSign or similar providers
  • Fonts: This means a font type keyed in word processing packages such as Microsoft Word and similar
  • Images of signatures pasted into a document
  • Rubber stamp
  • Company seal
  • A thumb/finger print

The Registrar will also accept good photocopies of the signed accounts, but if paper filing proves difficult to arrange, smaller and audit-exempt companies should consider whether WebFiling may be an alternative— please note that this requires manual entry of the figures to an online template and the designated person submitting the figures must be registered for WebFiling. Full details can be found here. WebFiling is not available for LLPs. If accounts are compiled through compatible software then direct electronic filing to Companies House through the software package is the quickest option.

COVID-19: Stamp Duty payments and stamping of documents

The temporary processes for dealing with Stamp Duty on shares during the COVID-19 outbreak put in place by HMRC have now been made permanent from 19 July 2020.

Share transfer and purchase of own shares documents as well as Stamp Duty payments are now being processed only electronically.

To avoid delays in the processing of your documents, it is recommended to first arrange electronic payment of Stamp Duty and to confirm your payment reference in the email sending the documents to HMRC.

Pay Stamp Duty electronically

HMRC is asking that Stamp Duty be paid only by BACS or CHAPS or via Faster Payment option for online banking transfers. HMRC will not process documents unless duty has been paid in full and it is important to accept any banking charges for faster payments when arranging payment by bank transfer.

The deadline for paying Stamp Duty on shares has not changed. It is still 30 days from the date when the stock transfer form (or other transfer instrument) was signed and dated. Late payments may incur a penalty or interest charge or both. When making arrangements to pay the Stamp Duty, consider whether the 30 days deadline falls on a weekend on bank holiday and ensure that the payment reaches HMRC on the last working day before the deadline. BACS payments can take up to 3 working days to clear.

Email documents to HMRC

Documents that require stamping should be sent to HMRC in electronic copy by email to stampdutymailbox@hmrc.gov.uk  Ensure that the documents are properly completed, signed and dated before they are sent. Whilst the coronavirus measures are in place, HMRC will accept e-signatures. If there is a reason why it is not possible to arrange the signing and dating of the documents, or pay duty electronically, you should email stampdutymailbox@hmrc.gov.uk to seek further guidance. There is also a postal address to send details and copy documents to if it is not possible to send by email.

Documents submitted electronically will be assessed and HMRC will respond by email within 20 days.

If you have any queries or require any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact your usual haysmacintyre contact or email CV19@haysmacintyre.com.

FRC extends application period for account requirements covering COVID-19 related rent concession

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has issued Amendments to FRS 102 and FRS 105 – COVID-19-related rent concessions beyond 30 June 2021.

These amendments, which were widely expected, extend the application of requirements that cover the accounting treatment of temporary rent concessions occurring as a direct consequence of the  COVID-19 pandemic by one year.

The requirements, originally introduced into FRS 102 and FRS 105 in October 2020, apply to rent concessions that reduce only lease payments originally due on or before 30 June 2022, provided the other conditions for applying the requirements are met.

The amendments respond to the continuing impact of the pandemic and help ensure these concessions are accounted for consistently and in a way that best reflects their substance.

The amendments are effective for accounting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2021, with early application permitted.

VAT partial exemption simplification update

Simplification

In July 2019, the Government launched a call for evidence on the simplification of the VAT partial exemption and Capital Goods Scheme regimes. Many Financial Services businesses were hoping that this would result in simplification of a very complex area of compliance – unfortunately, the outcome announced on the inaugural ’Tax Day’ on 23 March 2021 was somewhat underwhelming! The Government has announced it is setting up a central point to submit applications for partial exemption special methods as well as an application form, but whilst these changes may increase the efficiency with which applications are logged by HMRC, they seem unlikely to increase the speed at which applications are processed and approved.

HMRC is reviewing sectoral frameworks within which such methods may be set and has said it will consider increases to the partial exemption de minimis limit and the threshold at which items fall within the Capital Goods Scheme.

Given that simplification of these provisions was a key recommendation of the Office for Tax Simplification, this is quite a disappointing outcome for the Financial Services sector, which is one of the biggest sectors affected by partial exemption.

Annual adjustment and temporary measures for COVID-19

Unless otherwise agreed in writing by HMRC, the VAT year end for partial exemption purposes ends in the March, April or May VAT return periods. An annual adjustment calculation will need to be carried out following the year end.

On 23 March 2021, HMRC also published a Revenue & Customs Brief acknowledging the impact COVID-19 may have had on VAT recovery rates. The Brief states that HMRC will allow organisations to request temporary changes to their partial exemption method to reflect changes to their business practices as a result of COVID-19. For Financial Services businesses about to carry out their annual adjustments, this could be an ideal time to consider this potential opportunity.

For those using the standard method, HMRC indicates that the standard method override may apply, and for organisations using special methods it advises that it may accept a request to use a method based on figures from the prior year which are more reflective of the normal trading patterns. This could be beneficial for many businesses that have reduced taxable income in the last year.

Amendments to methods will be time-limited with a default limit of one year. Most importantly, HMRC states that it will only allow a change to a method which is requested after the end of the tax year in exceptional circumstances.

The tax year of an organisation is the return period ending March, April or May depending on its return stagger. That means that organisations with calendar quarter VAT returns had until 31 March to request an amendment to their partial exemption methods. Given that this Brief was only issued on 23 March, one must hope that the late issue of this guidance is accepted by HMRC as an ’exceptional’ circumstance for businesses provided that they write to HMRC immediately following their year end.

Partly exempt businesses who have seen their recovery rates drop due to COVID-19 are strongly encouraged to seek advice as to whether they could benefit from this announcement as soon as possible.

Any improvements in the annual adjustment recovery rate would also have a knock-on effect for any Financial Services businesses with assets still within the Capital Goods Scheme. A similar accelerated process will apply to Capital Goods Scheme adjustments and HMRC has also said that where planned events have had to be cancelled that an adjustment to the value of the supply would normally arise in an income-based calculation to reflect refunds. HMRC has indicated that requests not to make an adjustment on this basis will be considered sympathetically, so it is something that should be considered for businesses that have had to issue refunds due to COVID-19.

Telling your story – one year on…

COVID-19 continues to have a widespread impact on the charity sector, and the trustees’ annual report remains an important tool for trustees to demonstrate good governance and the work performed to mitigate this impact. Many charities use the trustees’ annual report as both a compliance document and also a tool to communicate with stakeholders. Our experience so far this year is that striking the right notes within the annual report can be a challenge.

Last year was full of unknowns, however the Charities’ SORP Committee produced some very useful guidance for trustees preparing their annual report. Many of the core messages in this guidance remain relevant: trustees should continue to draft their report and update their risk management and mitigation disclosures to reassure key stakeholders that the charity has reacted to the pandemic and continues to be well placed to deal with the operational impact of COVID-19. For many charities, the report also presents an opportunity to explain how the charity has adapted its work and operations to meet new demands.

A number of charities had to delay strategies and change their messaging at short notice for their annual reports. This year, with the Government CJRS and other incentives such as CBILs, many charities find themselves in the unique position of reforecasting and communicating a worse than actual outturn, and it will be important in the forthcoming year for charities to reassure stakeholders of any reserves usage as well as the operational impact on the demand and delivery of the charity’s work. For other charities, there is a challenge of reporting that the last year has been better than expected from a financial perspective because of the Government’s support and delays to activities, but they foresee difficulties ahead. No matter which position you find yourself in, it is important to remember that the messaging around reserves and financial governance is often as important as the quantity of reserves alone.

The quality of your reserves policy is another vital element to your annual reports. Your reserves policy explains to existing and potential funders, donors and other stakeholders why the charity is holding a particular amount of reserves (including designated and restricted funds). It should give confidence to stakeholders that the charity’s finances are being well-managed and can also provide an indicator of future funding needs. The Charity Commission guidance in CC19 recommends that “the level of reserves should be monitored throughout the year as part of the normal monitoring and budgetary reporting processes.” This is especially salient during the pandemic and if you have not already updated your policy, now may be a good time to do so.

Bringing your Trustees’ Report to life

The Charities SORP (the SORP) outlines the key areas to be covered in the Trustees’ Report for all charities, and there are some additional requirements for larger charities, such as fundraising matters to be included. However, there are lots of ways that charities can go beyond the reporting requirements to bring to life the Trustees’ Report and there is the opportunity to align the messaging with other marketing tools such as the charity annual report and website. The key starting point is thinking about who you are communicating to, what tone you want to set and what messages are important to the culture and ethos of your charity.

Reorder the financial statements

How many of your financial statements include the reference and administrative details at the start of the report? Is this really the most important and interesting section? Most likely the answer is no, so why do we see these as an opening rather than making a stronger first impression that captures the essence of the charity? Whilst the SORP is prescriptive in the information it requires; you do not need to follow the format in the same order. For the non-financially minded (and financially minded), a set of financial statements is not going to be the highlight read of the day, so it is key to make sure you have the important and interesting information close to the start, and use this to emphasise the key messages early on in the document.

Chair’s report

Following on from reordering the financial statements, often a Chair’s Report at the start of the financial statements is the perfect way to provide a concise overview of the year, the achievements, the struggles and the future plans. A personalised message will often have a more pertinent impact and can capture the heart of the charity’s messaging.

Bringing the financials to life

Not everyone reading your financial statements has a financial background, but there are lots of ways to bring to life the financial details. It could be you use charts and other infographics to demonstrate how money was raised in the year, and how the money was spent. It can often be hard to filter through the financial performance when looking through the accounts, but providing a summary in a more visual way within the Report can bring to life the financial performance and make it easier to align with the objectives, activities, achievements and performance for the year.

Beneficiaries’ stories

Do not underestimate the power of using beneficiaries’ stories, photos or images in the Trustees Report. Hearing directly from the beneficiaries, volunteers and staff can not only bring to life a set of financial statements, but it helps to add the personal touch to portray the key messaging from the charity. Much like you will include videos and photos on your website, using this information can help to clearly demonstrate the impact, achievements and performance.

People reporting

A new theme we are seeing in the charity sector is how people report on their people, in particular around remuneration. The people are fundamental for charities and this is reflected by staff costs being a significant proportion of total expenditure each year. Although the SORP requires that remuneration of key management personnel is disclosed, along with disclosure of those earning more that £60,000, expanding this section in the Trustees’ Report will give you the chance to demonstrate the charity’s culture and how you look after your staff and volunteers. Some ideas to consider are:

  • Pay bands for all staff
  • Gender pay reporting
  • Living wage employer
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Professional skills and training opportunities
  • Volunteer contributions

Environment and sustainability

Now more than ever there is a focus on the environment and sustainability with climate change being one of the biggest issues we are currently facing. Increasingly we are seeing this focus by charities and no doubt this will continue to grow. The Financial Reporting Council has recognised this by issuing more guidance over the past few months, and large corporate charities are required to include energy reporting with details on carbon emissions in their Trustees’ Report. I know a lot of trustees are already having these discussions; including a simple sustainability statement will help demonstrate that the charity is committed to the environment and sustainability.

Impact Reporting

There continues to be an increasing focus on impact reporting within the charity sector. Traditional reporting methods look at the inputs and review the outcomes whilst assessing the value of the impact, but there are other ways the impact can be assessed. Here are some other questions that are worth considering:

  • What fundraising events have taken place in the year?
  • What have you done with the resources?
  • How many beneficiaries were helped in the year?
  • What additional services have been offered?
  • How many members of the wider community have benefited from the charity?
  • How is £1 donation spent in the charity?

It is important to give a balanced view of the good and bad in impact reporting for both credibility and authenticity.

COVID-19 reporting

Given the continued restrictions your 2021 Trustees’ Report should again be commenting on the impact and response to COVID-19.  We have seen many charities responding quickly to the pandemic and providing new opportunities of support. From discussions with many of my own clients, I know they are proud of their response to COVID-19 and this expertise should be highlighted. Despite these positive stories, the struggles and constraints of the pandemic should not be forgotten and any reporting on COVID-19 refer to the increased expenditure, risks, uncertainties and impact on the operation of the Charity.

How finances are communicated in the front half of your report is equally as important as the financial statements themselves. The report and accounts should present financial and non-financial information which is clear, coherent, relevant and engaging to its readers.

Governance during the pandemic

Trustee responsibilities

Trustees’ responsibilities remain the same – they are legally responsible for the charity and its governance during this time. The Charity Commission recognises these are challenging times and have issued guidance on sector specific issues faced by charities. The new guidance can be found here.

Meetings

Whilst the government has advised that Charities can hold Trustee meetings of more than six people where necessary, many will want to avoid in-person meetings to comply with the guidance on social distancing. We have all spent more time in virtual meetings than we could have ever imagined with many of us feeling more comfortable with the likes of Zoom and Microsoft Teams as opposed to face-to-face conversation.

The Charity Commission’s ‘Charities and Meetings CC48 Guidance’ sets out the rules for remote meetings and states that Trustees may choose to conduct meetings via electronic means unless their governing document specifically prohibits it. In the context of virtual meetings, Trustees should be able to both ‘see and hear’ each other for them to be valid. It is also important to remember that practices such as taking minutes and declaring conflicts of interest should continue as normal and Trustees should continue to document the basis for any decision.

Where virtual or other types of meetings are not possible, Trustees may consider cancelling and/ or postponing critical meetings. However, before considering this, it is best practise to ensure you review your governing document to so you do not miss key deadlines.The Commission has not issued specific guidance on the issue of postponing meetings, but has indicated that “it will take a pragmatic and proportionate response” if Trustees can demonstrate they are acting in good faith.

Now, perhaps more than ever, support from the Board of Trustees is essential to support charities’ senior leadership teams and the fast-paced changes they are faced with.

CC48 guidance can be found here.

Remote working procedures and controls

COVID-19 has forced charities into remote working, causing a full implementation of flexible working across all operations including support areas such as the finance department. It has been a test for many and brought disaster recovery and business continuity plans to the forefront. As a result, financial and HR controls should also be considered as a priority.

Maintaining your control environment across the entire business at all times is important and reviews should be carried out regularly, especially as internal processes may have changed during remote working. Changes should be documented, reviewed and approved – even if they are only short-term solutions.

The importance of this is highlighted by the increase in attempted fraudulent activity since the pandemic started. Much has been written about the most common frauds and remaining vigilant, particularly with unusual requests for making payments, or changes to supplier bank account details. Fraudsters are quick to adapt, and more recently attempts have extended to falsifying changes to employee bank account details, resulting in the diversion of salary payments.

Whatever the changes remote working has presented, from safeguarding to changing financial controls, all new procedures and policies should be reviewed by the Trustees as it is their legal responsibility to manage risks and implement relevant controls.

Serious incident reporting

The Charity Commission have published guidance on reporting serious incidents relating to any challenges caused by the pandemic. Charities should continue to report serious incidents as soon as possible and this includes any and all incidents relating to COVID-19. The Charity Commission’s usual guidance requires a charity to report financial losses which do not involve a crime where the losses exceed £25,000 or 5% of the charity’s income. However, this threshold has been waived for losses occurring due to COVID-19.

The Commission has stated that Trustees should “focus on the significance of the impact of any losses rather than the amount”.

To support Trustees in deciding whether an incident is serious, the revised guidance provides a number of examples which emphasise the importance of considering the impact on the charity. For example, the guidance states that a charity should not report a single instance of COVID-19 within the organisation. However, if there is an outbreak of COVID-19, resulting in an interruption in service delivery, then this would be reportable.

The guidance can be found here.

Partly exempt businesses and organisations who carry out Business/Non-Business calculations

For organisations using the standard method, HMRC indicates that the standard method override may apply, and for organisations using special methods they say they may accept a request to use a method based on prior year figures which are more reflective of the normal trading patterns.

Amendments to methods will be time limited with a default limit of one year, after which they will revert to the previous method, though an extended period may be requested. Most importantly, HMRC states that they will only allow a change to a method which is requested after the end of the tax year in ‘exceptional’ circumstances.

The tax year of an organisation is the return period ending March, April or May depending on its return stagger. That means that organisations with calendar-quarter VAT returns have until 31 March to request an amendment to their partial exemption methods for the 2020/21 tax year. Given that the Brief was only issued on 23 March, one must hope that the late issue of this guidance is accepted by HMRC as an ‘exceptional’ circumstance.

Partly exempt organisations who have seen their recovery rates drop due to COVID-19 are strongly encouraged to seek advice as to whether they could benefit from this announcement.

A similar accelerated process will apply to the Capital Goods Scheme adjustments and HMRC have also advised that where planned events have had to be cancelled, then an adjustment to the value of the supply would normally arise in an income-based calculation to reflect refunds. HMRC have indicated that requests not to make an adjustment will be considered sympathetically.

The Brief says that this announcement will apply to combined Business/Non-Business methods, but is silent as to stand-alone Business/Non-Business methods. As the legislation states that any fair and reasonable calculation may be used for a Business/Non-Business apportionment then, by extension, it seems likely that a COVID-19 related amendment may be allowed this year.

As annual adjustments for such methods are due to be made during March-May (depending on return staggers), organisations are strongly urged to seek advice as to whether this announcement will benefit them, and what they need to do.

Operational resilience and the ‘new normal’

What is operational resilience?

Operational resilience is not a new concept. Defined as the ability to adapt to changing environments, it historically may have been more of a concern for firms whose operations were affected by conflicts or war, for example.

Now, however, operational resilience is key in a regulatory environment. The global pandemic has impacted almost every business and organisation – and one year on from remote working, individuals and firms alike have had to become more resilient.

Many smaller firms may think of operational resilience as an issue for larger organisations – but in actual fact, it applies to all firms that provide a service to clients. Allan noted that it is particularly important to recognise the difference between a good business continuity plan and operational resilience: the latter being far more outcome-focused than the former, with the purpose of preventing detriment to clients further down the line.

Continuity in a global pandemic

In a COVID-19 context, businesses are being challenged in a way they have never been before. It is no longer enough to have a plan in place for the short-term – staff will continue to work remotely, and the road to recovery will be long and slow.

When discussing how firms can mitigate these challenging times, Currie noted that it can be difficult to plan ahead for real life scenarios – especially when planning for years, rather than days or weeks. For smaller firms, it is far easier to make existing business continuity plans work well in a remote environment than those larger firms that are often reliant upon footfall.

Currie added that firms will only find out if their business continuity plans work when worst-case scenarios become reality. To ensure they have strong operational resilience and a good business continuity plan, firms must identify any challenges and put measures in place to rectify them while remaining as forward-looking as possible.

Regulating operational resilience

The FCA had first started referencing operational resilience before the pandemic, in December 2019. However, the sudden shift in working practices as a result of the onset of COVID-19 posed a significant challenge to the regulator, which has also been forced to adapt.

Despite the challenges the FCA has been grappling with, Currie expects that operational resilience guidance is coming down the track, and will be an issue that the regulator will be looking at closely in due course. The various lockdowns and length of the pandemic may mean that some firms have operational resilience fatigue, constantly adapting to shifting restrictions. Despite this, firms of all sizes will need to continue to ensure they are adept at dealing with their operational resilience as a business continuity arrangement.

When considering the issues that auditors may be expected to focus on, Pittas flagged that auditors have a duty to report any issues that might affect consumers; and have thus increased the work they are doing with the regulators, factoring in stress testing in a financial context. Allan added that operational resilience stress tests must be extreme and plausible, and if it is determined that a firm has ineffective operational resilience in place, the individual responsible could be personally liable for any failings.

Looking ahead to a new normal

No one had envisaged a global pandemic, and forecasting and stress testing have played a more vital role than ever before. Pittas explained that if a firm is projecting an influx of funding, for example, they need to also consider the possibility that there could be rising costs – such as increased entertainment costs when social distancing measures are eased, or returning to rented office spaces. Firms will need to factor these points into their forecasting, as they look ahead to the new normal.

When preparing for operational resilience in the context of a ‘new normal’, Allan recommended that firms should focus on the senior managers responsible, ensuring that their prescribed roles and responsibilities cover operational resilience in some form. Pittas added that ensuring oversight of outsourcing is up to scratch will be key – COVID-19 is not going anywhere, and there will always be new issues and hurdles for firms to overcome.

Lessons learnt

With the FCA expected to roll out its guidance on operational resilience soon, it’s vital for firms to prepare, remain agile, and look at the lessons they have learnt over the past year. Some are already making use of template guidance documents, Currie noted, which provide them with the overarching infrastructure to use when reporting continuity plans and operational resilience.

Curtis added that the pandemic has forced organisations to assess how to be better; firms need to consider how they have coped, beyond their financials, particularly in maintaining open communication with staff. There is much to be taken away from the past year, and this must be used to enhance the systems firms are putting in place for the future.

Whatever the ‘new normal’ will be, it will be different to pre-pandemic. Firms have been forced to maintain the strength of their culture and financial resilience, and as we emerge, they will need to reflect on what went well, as well as what didn’t. The transition to new working practices will not be easy, but as we come out of lockdown, we should be able to have the best of both worlds – and operational resilience will play a key role in this.

If you’re interested in finding out more about operational resilience, the full webinar can be found here.

Hospitality sector generally optimistic for future despite COVID-19 disruption, reports survey

  • 1 in 2 hospitality businesses surveyed were either “confident” or “very confident” for the future of their businesses
  • 2 in 3 believe that trading levels will return to normal levels before mid-2022

Despite the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the industry, hospitality businesses are mostly positive about the future, according to a survey of 141 sector operators by top 25 accountancy firm haysmacintyre.

The 2021 haysmacintyre UK Hospitality Snapshot Survey revealed encouraging signs of confidence amongst the sector, even before the Prime Minister set out his roadmap to recovery and extended support measures were announced in the March Budget.

Hotel businesses are the most positive about the future, with 83% feeling confident, compared to restaurants who were slightly less optimistic at 53%. Pubs and bars were the least optimistic of the group, with 59% either uncertain or lacking in confidence for their prospects looking forward.

The Survey also showed that 69% of businesses believe that trading levels will return to normal either by the end of this year or the first half of next year. However, despite being most confident about the future of their businesses, hotels estimated that their return to normal trading would take longer, in what is perhaps a reflection of the likely slower return of normal tourism and travel. Compared to restaurants, pubs and bars were generally less optimistic about the length of time before a return to normality.

The survey also highlighted that:

  • Three quarters of respondents who set up delivery and takeaway services as a result of the pandemic plan to continue to provide this service as restrictions are eased
  • 78% of businesses who have switched to online sales (including DIY meal kits) plan to continue to offer these
  • Pubs and bars led the charge towards new technologies, with nearly half of those surveyed implementing ordering and payment apps as part of social distancing measures; these technologies are here to stay for 95% of hospitality businesses who have adopted them during the pandemic
  • Looking ahead, changes in working patterns, changes in consumer preferences or behaviours and an ongoing adherence to distancing and hygiene measures, were anticipated to be the three most significant impacts arising from the pandemic

Gareth Ogden, partner in the hospitality team at haysmacintyre, comments: “The hospitality industry has undeniably been hard hit by the COVID-19 crisis. However, despite the challenges, this Survey reveals that many in the sector remain positive. Even before the Prime Minister’s roadmap to recovery was announced, there were operators looking to the future with optimism, confident that trading will return to normal levels within the next year.”

“One of the industry’s greatest strengths has always been its resilience. Now you can add adaptability and ingenuity to that list of strengths. Combined with the announcement in the Budget of extensions to various support measures for the sector, a new recovery loans scheme and hospitality grants, the hope is that this innovation will aid the sector’s transition back to normal trading operations.”