COVID-19 Support for Business Rate Payers

Business Grants –

In response to the Coronavirus, COVID-19, the Government provided support for small businesses, and some businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors which were liable for Business Rates on 11 March 2020.

This support takes the form of Extended Retail, Hospitality & Leisure Relief from business rates, plus three grant funding schemes:

  • Discretionary Grant Fund - please see our Economy Team's web page here for further information on this fund
     
  • Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF); and
  • Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant (RHLG)
    The complete guidance for these two schemes can be viewed here on the Government's website.

We wrote to all business which we were able to identify as eligible for the relief and these two grants at the end of March and early April, and provided access to an online form for completion for the grant. The Government provided the relevant funding for these grants on the 1 April 2020 and payments commenced shortly afterwards.

If after considering the information in the Government's guidance you believe you are eligible for a grant but have not received one then please contact our Revenues' Team on 01962 848 288 for further advice.


Who will benefit from these schemes?

Small Business Grant Fund

Hereditaments included in this scheme are those which on the 11 March 2020 were eligible for relief under the business rate Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) Scheme (including those with a Rateable Value between £12,000 and £15,000 which receive tapered relief).

Hereditaments that were not eligible for SBRR relief (including those only in receipt of the Small Business Rate Multiplier) are excluded.

Hereditaments which on 11 March 2020 were eligible for relief under the Rural Rate Relief (RRR) scheme are also eligible for this grant.

Eligible recipients will receive one grant per hereditament for £10,000.


Exclusions to Small Business Grant Fund

Hereditaments occupied for personal uses. Examples of where there may be personal use include private stables and loose boxes, beach huts and moorings.

Car parks and parking spaces are not eligible.

For the avoidance of doubt, businesses which as of the 11 March were in liquidation or were dissolved are not be eligible.


Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant

Hereditaments which on the 11 March 2020 had a rateable value of less than £51,000 and would have been eligible for a discount under the business rates Expanded Retail Discount Scheme (i.e. “Retail Relief 2020-21”), had that scheme been in force for that date, are eligible for the grant.

Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of up to £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000.

Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.

Businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or over are not eligible for this scheme. Businesses which are not ratepayers in the business rates system are not included in this scheme.

Eligible recipients will receive one grant per hereditament.

 

Exclusions to Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant

Hereditaments occupied for personal uses. Examples of where there may be personal use include private stables and loose boxes, beach huts and moorings.

Car parks and parking spaces are not eligible.

For the avoidance of doubt, businesses which as of the 11 March were in liquidation or were dissolved are not eligible.

Hereditaments with a rateable value of over £51,000 are not eligible.

Only one grant may be awarded per hereditament.

 

Who will receive this funding? 

The person who, according to the billing authority’s records, was the ratepayer in respect of the hereditament on the 11 March 2020.

Where the Local Authority has reason to believe that the information that they hold about the ratepayer on the 11 March 2020 is inaccurate they may withhold or recover the grant and take reasonable steps to identify the correct ratepayer. Local Authorities should make clear to recipients that the grant is for the ratepayer and may be liable for recovery if the recipient was not the ratepayer on the eligible day.

Landlord and management agents are urged to support local government in quickly identifying the correct ratepayer.


Managing the risk of fraud

The Government will not accept deliberate manipulation and fraud - and any business caught falsifying their records to gain additional grant money will face prosecution and any funding issued will be subject to claw back.

The Government Grants Management Function and Counter Fraud Function will make their digital assurance tool, Spotlight, available to Local Authorities, and will offer support in using the tool and interpreting results.


Rating List Changes

Any changes to the rating list (rateable value or to the hereditament) after the 11 March 2020 including changes which have been backdated to this date should be ignored for the purposes of eligibility.

Local Authorities are not required to adjust, pay or recover grants where the rating list is subsequently amended retrospectively to the 11 March 2020.

 

Retail, Hospitality & Leisure Relief for Business Rates (including Pubs)

The Government extended this support and increased Retail Relief from 50% to 100%. This applies to all occupied properties listed in the Government's guidance, irrespective of RV.

“Leisure and Hospitality” sectors were added to the criteria but clearly limited to specific types of property. For full details of this relief, including the properties that Government consider to be included, please see here.

Pub Relief - Pubs that were due to receive this relief now qualify for 100% Retail, Hospitality & Leisure Relief instead.

We applied all of these reliefs to business rates accounts which we identified to be eligible and issued amended bills Ratepayers for 2020-21 at the end of March / early April.

Where you qualify for 100% Retail, Hospitality & Leisure Relief there will be no business rates to pay for 2020-21.

Our Retail Relief application form can be found here.