What can we do to help your business
Business Support Grants
Information about measures to provide support to businesses that experience increased costs or disruptions to their cash flow as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including grants that can be applied for, can be found on our Business Rates Grants 2020 to 2021 page.
Central Government guidance deems that an application form is required to be submitted for this grant, as a State Aid Declaration is required and bank details must be verified, however this time a simpler form is required.
Support for businesses that pay little or no business rates
The government will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to all businesses currently eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief.
Support for businesses that pay business rates
Extended Retail Discount 2020-2021 - For those currently in receipt of 50% Retail Relief this will automatically be increased to 100% and expanded to include the leisure and hospitality sectors. This Business rates holiday has been extended to all pubs, clubs, theatres and other hospitality, leisure and retail venues irrespective of their rateable value. If you currently pay your account via direct debit this has been cancelled from 1st April 2020 onwards.
For those businesses which do have a policy that covers pandemics, the government’s action is sufficient and will allow businesses to make an insurance claim against their policy. However many of those businesses do not have insurance so for pubs, clubs, theatres and other hospitality, leisure and retail venues with a rateable value between £15,000 and £50,999 will be able to access an additional cash grant of up to £25,000 per business.
That means every single shop, pub, theatre, music venue, restaurant - and any other business in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector – will pay no business rates whatsoever for 12 months, and if they have a rateable value of between £15,000 and £50,999, they can now get a cash grant as well.
The council has granted this relief to all those that they have identified as being eligible and demands have been issued. If you do not receive an amended demand notice by 25 June 2020 and feel that you fulfil the criteria for Extended Retail Discount 20/21 please contact us by email.
If you are not affected by these changes, your bill is correct and you should make payment as detailed on your bill.
100% Nursery discount 2020-21
The Government are providing support to assist non-local childcare providers such as Nurseries and Day Care Centres. Properties that will benefit from this 100% relief will be those which are occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register and are wholly and mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage. We have identified the businesses eligible for this discount and have applied the reduction and issued amended demands accordingly.
Collection of deferred commercial rents
With the Government now easing lockdown provisions to enable the country to move towards more normal trading conditions the Council is able to set out its approach for recovery of those commercial rents it agreed could be deferred by commercial tenants during lockdown. In doing this the Council’s priority remains to safeguard local businesses by offering flexible repayment arrangements recognising that whilst economic conditions remain fragile some businesses may require long repayment periods For the same reason these arrangements will remain under review should the situation change, for example if further restrictions are introduced.
We would remind tenants that several of the Government’s assistance schemes for businesses remain open to applications, if you have not already looked into these you should do so and details can be found in our Coronavirus section. Some of these schemes are specifically targeted at businesses with fixed costs such as rent.
If you did take advantage of the Council’s deferred rent scheme over this period then the Council would like to agree with you a repayment plan for those outstanding sums. Alternatively if you don’t wish to enter into, or have no need for, a repayment plan then all such sums should be repaid in full by 1 October 2020. Where they are not and where we can’t agree a suitable repayment plan with you, the Council will recommence its usual debt recovery arrangements unless the Government or the Council updates its position in relation to resuming debt collection. Further guidance was issued by the Government on 16 September 2020 which, in general terms, protects commercial tenants from eviction and certain debt recovery measures until the end of 2020. The Council will follow this guidance.
If you want to discuss repayment arrangements or you are unclear as to how these proposals might affect you please contact contact our Assets team.
BID (Business Improvement District) levy payments
In light of the current COVID19 crisis, the council is enabling a three-month deferral period for Business Improvement District (BID) levy payments; during which time the council will not pursue or enforce non-payment of the BID levy. The BID levy can still be paid in the normal way by businesses that wish to. BID levy payers will receive written notification of this within the coming weeks.
If you have any queries, you can speak to the Economic Development team: