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The current situation with Coronavirus/COVID-19 has left a sense of uncertainty and concern for Landowners, Landlords, and Tenants. In order to provide some clarity, comfort and guidance we have set out below the help and support that is being provided by the government.

Despina Theocharis

Business Rates Relief

As part of the measures to support business during the outbreak of COVID-19 the government have issued a 100% discount on business rates. You will not have to pay business rates for the 2020-2021 tax year.

You are eligible if your property is:

  • A shop, restaurant, café, bar, pub
  • Cinema,
  • Leisure property (i.e. a gym or sports club) or
  • Hospitability property (i.e. a hotel)

You will not need to take any action as your local council will apply the discount automatically. However, local authorities may have to re-issue your bill automatically to exclude the business rate charge.

Business Support Granting Fund

The government have announced that there would be support for small businesses and those in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. This support will be provided via two schemes, being:

  1. The Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and
  2. The Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF).

The Local Authority will effectively be issuing grants and be responsible for delivering the funding to eligible businesses, which they shall receive from the Government.

The grant scheme will essentially offer a lifeline for those small business which are struggling to survive in this crisis.

Small Business Grant Fund

All businesses in England who are in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rates Relief will be eligible for the payment / grant of £10,000 but they must have been occupied and in receipt of such relief on the 11 March 2020. This grant also includes those businesses whose premises have a rateable value between £12,000 and £15,000 which receive tapered relief.

There are certain exclusions to the grant of this fund, these include:

  • Premises which are occupied for personal use i.e. private stables;
  • Car parks and parking spaces; and
  • Those businesses which were in liquidation as of the 11 March 2020.

The Local Authority will pay the grant to the ratepayer as held on their records from 11 March 2020.

In most cases you do not need to do anything and your Local Authority will pay this directly to your bank account. Where the Local Authority does not have your bank details you may have to submit a form on their website.

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF)

Businesses in England that would have been in receipt of the Expanded Retail Discount (which covers retail, hospitality and leisure) on the 11 March 2020 with a rateable value of £51,000 will be eligible for the following cash grants:

  1. A grant of £10,000 for those businesses with a property that has a rateable value of up to and including £15,000.
  2. A grant of £25,000 for those businesses that have a rateable value of over £15,000 but less than £51,000.

Eligible recipients will be entitled to receive one grant per property.

But please note the following exclusions:

  • If you are eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund you are not eligible for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund;
  • Car Parks and parking spaces;
  • Property occupied for personal issue;
  • Those businesses that were in liquidation as of the 11 March 2020; and
  • Those properties with a rateable value of over £51,000.

As above, in most cases you do not need to do anything and your Local Authority will pay this directly to your bank account. Where the Local Authority does not have your bank details you may have to submit a form on their website.

For further information on the Small Business Grant and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund and to check the link below to establish if your business may be eligible:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-business-support-grant-funding

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/878807/business_support_grants-local_authorities_guidance.pdf

If you have any queries or wish to discuss feel free to email or call Despina Theocharis or any of our Landlord and Tenant experts.

Disclaimer: this BLOG has been written to give general guidance on key issues on Government support for small – medium size business, but does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied on.   The information is accurate as at 17 April 2020 but  government support is changing as and when necessary to cover new problems that develop.  Should you require our assistance we are happy to provide advice.