Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s COVID market assistance and economic measures have been welcomed by the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) and other leisure and hospitality trade bodies.
The government extended its much-needed rates relief on highstreet shopping and hospitality venues in Wednesday’s Budget statement, which the BGC applauded on behalf of England’s betting shops.
UK’s employee furlough scheme
The news that Chancellor Sunak would prolong the UK’s employee furlough programme until September was also well received, with the government continuing to pay 80 percent of employees’ salaries for “hours they cannot serve.”
The BGC praised the extensions as necessary relief steps that would help UK gaming companies keep 44,000 people employed as they wait for retail betting shops and land-based casinos to reopen.
Despite the relief steps, the BGC announced that UK gambling still needs clarity on a reopening date of 12 April for betting shops and 17 May for casinos.
As the government continues to review the 2005 Gambling Act, Sunak’s Budget statement made no changes to remote or land-based UK gambling taxes.
Business income tax
Meanwhile, Sunak recommended that business income be taxed at a rate of 25 percent by April 2023, up from the current 19 percent. For businesses with revenues of less than £50,000, the Treasury’s income tax rates will be maintained at 19 percent, benefiting an extra 1.5 million SMEs.
The BGC emphasised that its affiliates will take the safest path to normalised trade, assisting in the revival of a sector that is expected to pay nearly £4 billion in taxes in 2020.
BGC Chief Executive Michael Dugher said: “The extension of the furlough scheme and new grants for businesses are strongly welcomed by the tens of thousands of people who work in high street betting shops and land-based casinos. Without the continued support from the Chancellor, many of these businesses would have struggled to survive.
“We have already seen over 5,000 jobs lost and 375 businesses closed since the start of last year.
“Our industry will continue to play it’s part in the national effort to combat covid, supporting our local communities, and we look forward to contributing to the economic recovery.”