Our reaction: Coronavirus business rates & grants

Business Rates Holidays for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Businesses (Expanded Retail Discount)

This is one area which appears to be on track. Bath and North East Somerset Council has published a simple online form and we've been submitting claims very successfully on behalf of clients. It is a straightforward process and the form takes no longer than five minutes to complete if you have a copy of a previous invoice.

How to apply

Any business that has some history of claiming retail business rates discounts is in the system already and the adjustments are being sent to clients automatically. Otherwise, you may have to contact your local authority to make a claim. There still seem to be some grey areas for certain sectors and whether they qualify as “retail” and so, if you have never made a retail discount claim in the past but think you should fall with the new expanded definition, then we suggest you contact your local authority to try to make a claim. We can also refer you to a business rates specialist, if needed.

Please see:

It is also worth referring you to our updated factsheet here for further details on the eligibility criteria, which was widened on 17 March 2020 to other businesses in the “retail” and “hospitality” sector.

Cash Grants for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Businesses

There are no changes to the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF) scheme. The additional grant still being £10,000, where the rateable value of the property is under £15,000 and the grant is £25,000 if the rateable value of the property is between £15,001 and £51,000.

Applications are now open for businesses to apply and if you qualify, your local authority should have written to you. If you think you are eligible, but haven't heard anything, you should contact your local authority urgently.

It is worth also referring you again to our updated factsheet here which summarises the details and eligibility.

Small Business Grant Scheme

For any business that pays little or no Business Rates because you receive Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief, you will be eligible for a grant of £10,000.

If you qualify, your local authority should have written to you. For further details on eligibility, please see our updated factsheet here.

Please note that this is only a summary of the main issues and should not be construed as advice. Every effort has been made to ensure factual accuracy at the time of publication (23 March 2020), however, the government response to the Coronavirus situation is changing 24-7, so it should not be relied upon completely.

For further information or advice on any of the issues raised, or for help with services like bookkeeping, cash flow management or payroll during the Coronavirus pandemic, please call us on 01225 325580, email info@richardsonswift.co.uk, or contact your usual client director.