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 “Business Coronavirus Support Finder” in the Related Content section to see what support is available for you and your business.
 

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

***Small Business Grant and Retail, Hospitality & Leisure Grant***

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 £17.5m to 1,505 businesses in the Rochford district, which is 95% 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.

 

Rochford Discretionary Business Grants Scheme - Round 2

Rochford Discretionary Business Grants Scheme - Round 2 – IS NOW CLOSED FOR APPLICATIONS

Between 1st and 14th June, the Council ran a Discretionary Grants Scheme, allowing businesses who had not previously been eligible for earlier Government grants schemes to make a claim. This was aimed at businesses which could demonstrate ongoing property costs and a significant loss of income due to COVID-19, with the council prioritising applications from small and micro-businesses in smaller premises, due to their critical importance in Rochford District’s economy. 

Following on from a successful first round, in which £640,000 was awarded to 126 local businesses, the Council has opened a second and final round of grant funding, which opened at midday on Friday 3rd July and closes at 5pm Friday 10th July, to distribute the limited amount of remaining funding.

Whilst the first round prioritised businesses in smaller premises, the criteria for this round will be broader to align with the general Government criteria. However, applicants will need to demonstrate they are small/micro businesses trading in the District, have suffered from a significant loss of income, and have significant ongoing property costs (with annual business property costs constituting a rateable value, rent or mortgage below £51,000).  As with the earlier round, the following types of businesses will be prioritised:

  • small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces, such as units in industrial parks or incubators
  • regular market traders
  • bed and breakfasts paying council tax instead of business rates
  • charity properties getting charitable business rates relief, which are not eligible for small business rates relief or rural rate relief

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 note that businesses who have already received funding in the first round, or through the Small Business Grants or Retail, Leisure & Hospitality Grants schemes, will not be eligible. 

For further details, and to check your eligibility against the criteria, please refer to the updated policy document in ‘Related Content’.

Rochford Discretionary Business Grants Scheme - Round 2 – IS NOW CLOSED FOR APPLICATIONS

 

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.