It seems from the latest guidance published by Public Health England and Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy that local authorities will be responsible for administering the special COVID-19 business rate relief and grant funding measures recently announced by government. It is understood that the administration of the business rates relief and grant payments will be given the highest priority across local government.
Business rate relief
If your business rates bill for the 2020-21 financial year showed that your business was eligible for 50% retail relief this relief will be increased to 100%. You are not required to contact your local authority and your revised bill will be sent in due course.
If you have a retail business with a rateable value in excess of £51,000 you will now be eligible for 100% business rate relief in 2020-21. This follows the Chancellor’s announcement on 17 March 2020 giving all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England a 100% business rates holiday for the next 12 months. Most businesses will have the uplifted relief applied against their business rate account automatically and revised bills will be issued. Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs should be directed to your relevant local authority.
A £25,000 grant will be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.
The government also announced new funding to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBBR). A one-off grant of £10,000 to businesses currently eligible for SBRR or rural rate relief will be made to help meet their ongoing business costs. If your business is eligible for SBRR or rural rate relief, you will be contacted by your local authority – you do not need to apply.
Further government guidance on the methodology for paying these grants is expected to be published shortly.
Please note, regional variations may apply.