Support the supply chain, urges Bacta

On 15 June, the UK Parliament debates a Bill which could pave the way for significant rate reductions for the amusements industry supply chain.

The Ratings (Coronavirus) and Directors Disqualification (Dissolved Companies) Bill was announced alongside a new £1.5bn business rates relief fund to support sectors that have suffered most outside of those that have already received support. Bacta understands the £1.5bn pot will be allocated to councils and applications for support will open once this legislation, which reforms the business rates relief appeals, is passed.

Bacta is urging MPs take the opportunity during the second reading debate to seek confirmation from ministers that the amusement machine sector supply chain will be eligible for this new fund.

“Government support through the furlough scheme, the retail leisure and hospitality rates relief, and grants has been very welcome during the pandemic. Our customer focusing members benefitted from that support and it provided the lifeline that saw most of them re-open in May. Battered and bruised but still able to trade,” says bacta CEO John White.

“However, the amusement machine supply chain, which includes the manufacturers and distributors of all types of amusement equipment as well as businesses that hire jukeboxes, pool tables and fruit machines to pubs and clubs, was not eligible for the covid-19 retail, leisure and hospitality fund. Some have gone bust as their business evaporated in step with customers in the leisure and hospitality sector.”

Bacta has informed MPs that the amusement machine supply chain contributes £2 billion to the UK economy annually and employs 34,000 people.

“Rates bills have been one of the single biggest bills for the supply chain, which often provides the financial oil for the whole sector to work through trade credit. The financial reserves normally there to provide that support for customers have gone so help, howsoever delivered, is essential. It furthermore stimulates investment,” adds White.

“We hope the Bill can be passed as quickly possible. It is vital that the supply chain is included within this. Clear communication from the Government stating suppliers are eligible will guarantee support for an important sector. The amusement machine industry supply chain has had more than a year of little or no business and urgently needs this money to be made available,” he concludes.

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