Does your business need additional financial support during Covid-19?

Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled a £30 billion package intended to boost the economy during the coronavirus outbreak. The measures are intended to support businesses in England, with Rishi vowing ‘We will get through this together’.

1. Shops, hotels and leisure facilities

The Expanded Retail Discount reduces by 100% business rates paid in respect of certain properties, regardless of their Rateable Value.

Properties that benefit from the relief must be occupied and wholly or mainly used:

  1. As shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues;
  2. For assembly and leisure; or
  3. As hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation.

A property that falls into the above categories and has been ‘closed temporarily due to the government’s advice on COVID-19 should be treated as occupied for the purposes of this relief.’

Importantly, businesses eligible to receive this discount may also be eligible to receive a cash grant from the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund; see below.

How do I access the Expanded Retail Discount?

Individual Local Authorities will adopt a local scheme and determine in each individual case whether to grant relief with reference to Government guidance.

It is, therefore, for Local Authorities to determine whether particular properties are, or are not, eligible for the discount.

Some Local Authorities have already contacted businesses they have identified as eligible for the discount, but there is no need to wait to receive a letter before applying through the Local Authority’s website.

2. Small Businesses

The Small Business Grant Fund provides a payment of £10,000 as a grant to help small business owners meet their operating costs during the coronavirus outbreak.

Eligible businesses are those in receipt of either Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rates Relief, and will be entitled to a payment of £10,000 per property.

The relief does not apply to properties occupied for personal use, such as private stables and beach huts, or car parks and parking spaces. Any business that was in liquidation or was dissolved, as of the 11 March, will also not be eligible.

3. Additional Grant – Retail, Hospitality and Leisure

The Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant provides a payment of up to £25,000 as a grant to help businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors meet their operating costs during the coronavirus outbreak.

Eligible businesses are those in receipt of the Expanded Retail Discount (or would have been eligible as at the 11 March to receive this discount had the scheme been in force) meaning they had property with a Rateable Value of less than £51,000.

The Rateable Value of a property determines the level of grant available:

  • Eligible businesses with a property that has a Rateable Value of up to and including £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000 per property.
  • Eligible businesses with a property that has a Rateable Value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000 per property.

Again, this relief does not apply to properties occupied for personal use, such as private stables and beach huts, or car parks and parking spaces. Any business that was in liquidation or was dissolved, as of the 11 March, will also not be eligible.

How do I access these grants?

Local Authorities are responsible for business rate billing and therefore should be contacting those businesses it believes eligible to receive a grant.

The grant is payable to the person who, according to Local Authority records, is the ratepayer for each property. In the event that the Local Authority record is inaccurate, eligible businesses should ensure the record is corrected as soon as possible.

It is important to note that businesses can only receive one grant per property – i.e. a business cannot receive a grant from both the Small Business Grant Fund and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund.

Next Steps

Local Authorities have a central role in providing the financial support intended to support businesses through the coronavirus outbreak. Do not delay! If you believe that your business may be eligible to benefit from one of the financial measures outlined above, and you are yet to hear from your Local Authority, contact them for advice and get your application in. We understand that so far there has been a great deal of flexibility in the system and that payments are being made quickly.

If you require any assistance, or advice in respect of the financial support that may be available to your business, please contact Ellie Boreham at ejb@furleypage.co.uk or on 01227 763939.