A package of one-off grants worth between £4,000 and £9,000 for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors is being made available by the Government, following the announcement of a third nationwide lockdown in England.
The new scheme will be accessed through local authorities and offers funding based on the rateable value of a closed business’s premises:
- £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or less;
- £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000; and
- £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000.
This funding comes in addition to the existing Government business support schemes, including grants of up to £3,000 a month for closed businesses.
Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has also recently announced a further £594 million for local authorities and the devolved administrations to support businesses that are not eligible for the new grants.
The devolved administrations will additionally receive equivalent funding to the main grants to distribute as they see fit.
The grants, which do not need to be repaid by businesses, are part of a wider package of support measures being put in place to help struggling businesses.
Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors have also been eligible for a 100 per cent business rates discount since 1 April 2020. The relief applies until 31 March 2021.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has issued a guidance note to all local authorities on this discount, clarifying which properties are eligible.
This list includes: shops, cinemas, restaurants, gyms, music venues, estate and lettings agents, small hotels, sports clubs, night clubs, bingo halls and nurseries.
Local Billing Authorities are administering the application process and they should already have knowledge of which properties are eligible.
A further extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been confirmed until the end of April 2021.
Under the latest extension, workers will continue to receive payments equal to 80 per of their wage, while employers will only be required to pay wages, National Insurance Contributions (NICS) and pensions for hours worked, and NICS and pensions for hours not worked.
The eligibility criteria for the UK-wide scheme will remain unchanged, meaning that those currently benefitting from the scheme can continue to do so.
During his announcement outlining support for businesses, the Chancellor also confirmed that he would be extending all of the Government-guaranteed COVID-19 business loan schemes, including the Bounce Back Loan and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, until the end of March 2021.
Applications for these loan schemes has, to date, seen more than £68 billion in guaranteed loans delivered to businesses.