The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has joined wider leisure and hospitality trade bodies in welcoming Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s COVID business support and economic measures.
This lunchtime’s Budget announcement saw the government extend its much-needed rates relief on highstreet retail and hospitality venues – a decision welcomed by the BGC on behalf of England’s betting shops.
Also positively received was the news that Chancellor Sunak will extend the UK’s employee furlough scheme until September, with the government to continue paying 80% of staff’ wages for ‘hours they cannot work’.
The BGC welcomed the extensions as vital relief measures helping UK gambling firms maintain 44,000 people in employment, as retail betting shops and land-based casinos await to reopen.
Despite the relief measures, the BGC stated that UK gambling still requires certainty on a 12 April reopening for betting shops, followed by the casinos reopening on 17 May.
Sunak’s Budget statement made no change to remote or land-based UK gambling taxes – as the government continues its review of the 2005 Gambling Act.
Meanwhile, Sunak proposed that tax on corporate profits would be increased from a 19% to 25% threshold by April 2023. However, the Treasury’s corporate tax rates would be kept at 19% for companies with profits below £50,000 – helping an estimated 1.5 million SMEs.
The BGC underscored that its members will pursue the safest route to normalised trading, helping the recovery of an industry that paid nearly £4 billion in taxes during 2020.
Michael Dugher, BGC Chief Executive, 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.”