The government is introducing various measures to help businesses during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. Such measures include the introduction of a 12-month business rates holiday for all eligible retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses. Additionally, the government is offering grants to smaller businesses to assist them with ongoing business costs.
Businesses in retail, hospitality and leisure sectors
Coronavirus and the measures introduced to slow its spread have had a devastating impact for businesses within the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, with customers first being dissuaded from visiting such establishments and then premises being closed down.
To assist businesses within these sectors, the Government temporarily abolished business rates if:
- the business is based in England; and
- the business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector.
Properties that will benefit from the relief are those wholly or mainly being used:
- as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues;
- for assembly and leisure; or
- as hotels, guest and boarding premises and self-catering accommodation.
If your business is eligible for the 12-month business rates holiday, there will be no business rates charge on your next council tax bill in April 2020. If your local authority has already issued your bill, this will be reissued to exclude the business rates charge.
As additional support for smaller businesses within these sectors during the coronavirus crisis, those businesses who meet the above criteria and have a rateable value of under £51,000, will also be eligible for a one-off grant from the Government under the Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme. To calculate your business’s rateable value, please follow the link to the government’s business rates valuation calculator (https://www.gov.uk/calculate-your-business-rates).
Eligible businesses with a property that has a rateable value of up to £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000.
Eligible businesses with a property that has a rateable value of between £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.
Businesses which do not pay any business rates will not be eligible for any grant under this scheme.
As part of the Government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, nurseries were closed from Friday 20 March 2020. Nurseries are eligible for the business rates holiday if the nursery business is based in England. Properties that will benefit from the holiday will be those:
- occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register; or
- wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage.
If your nursery is eligible for the 12-month business rates holiday, there will be no business rates charge on your next council tax bill in April 2020. If your local authority has already issued your bill, this will be reissued to exclude the business rates charge.
Small Business Grant Scheme
Small businesses, who generally have less cash reserves, are more exposed than most to the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. In recognition of this, the Government will provide a £10,000 one-off grant to eligible businesses. Businesses are eligible if:
- the business is based in England;
- the business is a small business and already receives Small Business Rates Relief and/or Rural Rates Relief; and
- the business occupies property.
What do I need to do?
If your business is eligible for any of the reliefs detailed above, you do not need to do anything. The business rates holiday will be automatically applied, and your local authority will write to you if your business is eligible for any grants. However, if you are unsure whether you qualify for any of the reliefs or do not receive any correspondence regarding these reliefs in the coming weeks, please contact your local authority directly.
For further information on the Government’s measures to support businesses, please see below a link to the Government guidance.
Our Property Litigation Team are experts in this area. Should you need advice, do not hesitate to contact us.
This blog was written by Joseph Young.
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