Business Rates support during Covid-19

Covid-19 Guidance for Businesses 
 
The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced extra help for some businesses in the 2020 Budget and in a statement on Tuesday 17 March 2020.
 
Please see “Government guidance for business” in the Related content section for the all measures announced.
 

Business Rate Relief

 
Further advice is set out below and this page will be updated with any more information as it becomes available.
 

 

Grants for Businesses

Top-up to local business grant funds scheme – Discretionary Business Grants Scheme 

The government has introduced measures in support of Small Businesses, as the country experiences the COVID-19 pandemic

 
Rochford District Council has been allocated just over £900,000 in government funding to support certain businesses and charities who have been impacted by COVID-19, but were not eligible for either the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund or the Small Business Grant Fund. This additional funding is aimed at businesses who have ongoing fixed property-related costs.
 
Grants of up to £10,000 are available. The Council has decided that, for the purposes of this scheme, it wants to support as many businesses as possible and therefore the majority of grants will be an amount up to £5,000. 
 
Please use this link to apply for the scheme. For full details, please refer to the eligibility criteria below, and the policy guidance in ‘Related Content’.
 
Eligibility
 
Central Government, whilst wanting Councils to exercise their local knowledge and discretion, have set national criteria for the funds. In all cases, the Council will only consider businesses for Discretionary Business Grant where all of the following criteria are met:
 
  • Businesses with ongoing fixed building-related costs 
  • Businesses which can demonstrate that they have suffered a significant fall in income due to the Covid-19 crisis
  • Small or Micro Businesses as defined by the Company Act 2006 (see policy document in ‘Related Content’).
  • Businesses that were trading on 11 March 2020.
  • Businesses which occupy property, or part of a property, with a rateable value or annual rent or annual mortgage payments below £51,000.

Priorities

In accordance with Government criteria, the following businesses will be prioritised for grants:

  • Small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces (examples could include units in industrial parks, science parks and incubators which do not have their own business rates assessment)
  • Regular market traders with fixed building costs, such as rent, who do not have their own business rates assessment and who are trading in Rochford District on a weekly basis. 
  • Bed & Breakfast businesses which pay Council Tax instead of business rates
  • Charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief
Ineligible Businesses
 
This grant funding is for businesses that are not eligible for other support schemes (with the exception of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme or the Self Employed Income Support Scheme). Businesses which have received cash grants from any central Government COVID-19 related scheme are ineligible for funding from the Discretionary Grants Fund (see policy document in ‘Related Content’). 
 
Companies that are in administration, are insolvent or where a striking-off notice has been made are not eligible for funding under this scheme. Any grant awarded is required to comply with the EU law on State Aid (see policy document in ‘Related Content’). 
 
How much relief will be available
The Council will prioritise which types of businesses will receive funding and determine the level of award taking account of the level of income reduction due to COVID-19 and the size of the business.
 
Awards will be below or capped at £10,000, with the majority below this to ensure as many businesses as possible in Rochford District can access the scheme.
 
To apply, please use this link to access the form.

 

 

***Business Rates Grants***

Our processing form for the existing scheme is here submit your details here

Please see our Related Content section for the general guidance document and frequently asked questions the about the scheme.

Business Grant Payments Update

The council has now paid out over £16.3m to 1,396 businesses in the Rochford district, which is 89% of the £18.4m total originally allocated by government. 

There remains a small number of businesses who are yet to claim their grant. We continue to reach out to those remaining businesses to ensure they are aware of the scheme and claim what they are entitled to.

 

Small Business Grant

All businesses in England in receipt of 100% Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) in the business rates system will be eligible for a payment of £10,000 in line with the eligibility criteria.

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

Eligible recipients will receive one grant per property.

Eligibility subject to State Aid limits.

Exclusions

Properties that were not eligible for percentage SBRR relief (including those eligible for the Small Business Rate Multiplier) are excluded.

Properties 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.

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

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant

Properties 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 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.

Eligible recipients will receive one grant per property.

Eligibility subject to State Aid limits.

Exclusions

Properties 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.

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

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 these schemes.

Expanded Retail Discount - Leisure, Hospitality and Retail Business 

The Chancellor said that no business in the retail, leisure or hospitality sector will pay rates this year regardless of their rateable value. 
 
Retail properties are already defined within the ‘Retail Properties’ document that can be found in the related content, but 'leisure and hospitality' is a new category. This has now been defined as properties used for the provision of sport and leisure facilities, assembly of visiting members of the public and, the provision of living accommodation as a business. This includes:
 
  • sports grounds and clubs
  • museums and art galleries
  • nightclubs
  • sport and leisure facilities
  • stately homes and historic houses
  • theatres
  • tourist attractions
  • gyms
  • public halls
  • Wellness centres, spas, massage parlours
  • Casinos, gambling clubs and bingo halls
  • clubhouse, clubs and institutions
  • hotels, guest and boarding houses
  • holiday homes
  • caravan parks and sites
 
Properties must be occupied and not empty. Properties which are temporarily closed due to Government advice on COVID-19 will be treated as occupied for the purposes of this help.
 
To clarify, government has provided a list of properties that do not qualify for the relief these are:

  • Financial services (e.g. banks, building societies, cash points, bureaux de change, short-term loan providers)
  • Medical services (e.g. vets, dentists, doctors, osteopaths, chiropractors) 
  • Professional services (e.g. solicitors, accountants, insurance agents/ financial advisers)
  • Post office sorting offices 
  • Properties that are not reasonably accessible to visiting members of the public

Private nurseries

 
The Education Secretary announced on Wednesday 18th March that properties occupied by providers on Ofsted's Early Years Register and wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage would pay no Business Rates in 2020/21.  

We have applied this relief to qualifying Business Rates accounts. You do not have to do anything, an amended bill has been issued.