How Does The Spring 2021 Budget Affect UK Visitor & Tourist Attractions?

On the 3rd of March 2021 The Chancellor Of The Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, announced new measures from the UK government to help tourist attractions, visitor attractions and the hospitality industry get back on their feet following almost a year of COVID-19 interruptions.

The spring budget is hoped to reinforce confidence that UK tourism visitor attractions and a range of UK destinations can not only safely reopen their doors in the coming weeks and months, but will have government support in the form of VAT relief, furlough extension, business rates holiday and a range of accessible grants.

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What support is available to attractions following the March Spring Budget announcement?

Below we’ve highlighted some of the key points that are relevant to tourist and visitor attractions.


Great news for VAT rate in the hospitality industry. Government announced that hospitality businesses will be kept at 5% until end of September 2021 and then rise to 12.5%, before returning to 20% next April.

Business Rates

A 100% business rates holiday will remain until June 2021, followed by a two-thirds discount for the rest of the year. The discount is being capped at £2 million per business for properties that were required to be closed on 5 January 2021, or £105,000 per business for other eligible properties.


Furlough (the word we’d never heard of pre COVID-19) will be extended until the end of September at 80% of wages. From July, the government will begin to introduce an employer contribution towards the cost of unworked hours of 10% in July, 20% in August and 20% in September.

Restart Grants – England

A new restart grant in England will be made available for non essential retail and hospitality businesses. An £18,000 grant applies for those with a rateable value of over £51k, £12,000 for businesses between £15k and £51k, or £8,000 for those less than 15k. These will be paid out via the local authorities.

Additional Restriction Grants – England

An additional £425 million will be provided to local authorities for Additional Restrictions Grants, on top of the £1.6 billion already provided.

Extra allocations for the Devolved Nations

An additional £1.2 billion has been provided to the Scottish Government, £740 million to the Welsh Government and £410 million to the Northern Ireland Executive. The Welsh Government have already confirmed an extra £30 million for businesses in hospitality, leisure and tourism, alongside an additional £150 million if restrictions are extended at the next review. You can read more about that here: Read More About Devolved Nations Support

UK Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

The fourth and fifth SEISS grant have been confirmed. Covering the period February to April, the fourth grant can be claimed from April. It provides 80% of three months’ average trading profits, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £7,500 in total.

The fifth and final SEISS grant covers May to September. People whose turnover has fallen by 30% or more will continue to receive the full 80% grant , capped to £7,500. People whose turnover has fallen by less than 30% will receive a 30% grant, capped at £2,850. This can be claimed from late July. Read More About The SEISS Scheme

New Recovery Loan Scheme

From 6th April, a new recovery loan scheme has been announced to enable all businesses to access loans and other finance of up to £10 million once the existing loan schemes close. The government will guarantee 80% of the finance to the lender. Find Out More About The Loan Scheme

VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme

Any business that took advantage of the original VAT deferral on VAT returns from 20 March through to the end of June 2020 can now opt to use the VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme to pay that deferred VAT in up to eleven equal payments from March 2021, rather than one larger payment due by 31 March 2021, as originally announced. Read More About VAT Deferral Scheme.

Extension of Zoo Animals Fund

The government will extend the Zoo Animals Fund for a further three months until 30 June 2021. The eligibility criteria, however, hasn’t changed.

Culture Recovery Fund

The government will provide a further  £300 million to extend the Culture Recovery Fund.

Extended Loss Carry Back

The trading loss carry-back rule will be temporarily extended from the existing one year to three years. Unincorporated businesses and companies that are not members of a corporate group will be able to obtain relief for up to £2 million of losses in each of 2020-21 and 2021-22. There are limitations to companies who are part of a corporate group. Further details will be announced in due course.

Contactless Payment

From today, the maximum amount that can be paid through contactless payment will be raised from £45 to £100


Employers who provide trainees with work experience will continue to be funded at a rate of £1,000 per trainee. Employers who hire a new apprentice between 1 April 2021 and 30 September 2021 will receive £3,000 per new hire

Free Help to Grow Programme

Management: The government will offer a new UK-wide management programme to upskill 30,000 SMEs in the UK over three years. The programme will be over 12 weeks, and 90% subsidised by the government.

Digital: The government has also announced an Initiative to help and advise businesses on technology saving them time and reducing costs. Businesses may be eligible to vouchers offering up to 50% off productivity enhancing software to a total of £5000 each.

Corporation Tax Rate

This will increase to 25% on April 2023. A Small Profits Rate of 19% will apply to businesses with a profit of over £50,000. There will be a tapered rate for profits between £50,000 and £250,000.

Alcohol and Fuel Duty

There will be no increases this year.

This update has been welcomed by many across the UK tourism and visitor attraction sector as many such as NFAN have spent months lobbying local MPs for further support, leaving many tourist attraction owners felt their cause had finally been heard. Following the spring budget 2021 announcement the British Tourist Authority Chairman Lord McLoughlin commented, “The Chancellor’s statement today shows the UK Government’s continued commitment to the sector and the millions of jobs, businesses and local economies that depend on tourism right across the country. This welcome package of measures, including extending the VAT reduction for hospitality and tourism, will support the industry as the phased reopening gets underway and it starts to rebuild as well as encourage and compete for visitors as restrictions lift.”

In a positive outlook towards the coming months, Visit Britain have already predicted that there will be a slow build up in the UK tourism sector with domestic tourism being the driving force for British holiday makers in 2021. They have forecast that £61.7 billion will be spent on domestic tourim in 2021 this is up 79% compared to 2020. You can read more about there forecasting here.

To find out more about the full budget update please visit

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