Budget – Implications for Market Operators

Graham Heilbuth, our Business Advisor, has provided a helpful Budget update.

Graham says “The following is the current position, as I understand it to be:

1) The details of the one year business rates retail holiday is as previously stated _ that is to say 100% relief for all retail property for the period 1.4.2020-31.3.2021.

2) I had previously referred to a grant of £3,000 for properties that qualified for small businesses rate relief. This grant would now appear to have been increased from £3,000 to £10,000. Furthermore, given that the next level of grant for businesses that fall outside of small business rate relief commences at properties with rateable values of £15,000, I think that one can assume that the £10,000 grant applies to properties with rateable values up to £15,000, and not £12,000 as previously suggested by me. This grant is to be delivered by local authorities. The government website states that ratepayers will be contacted by their local authority, and therefore do not need to apply for this grant.

3) The government is now stating that a grant of £25,000 is available to businesses with rateable values between £15,000 and £51,000. I had previously stated that the grant was “up to £25,000”, but the phrase “up to” does not appear on the government’s website, and so one might assume that this is now a flat rate grant of £25,000. The website does not state whether this will be paid by central government or by the local authority. I would assume the latter, but cannot be certain.

4) The government’s website does not define what it regards as an “SME” (small or medium sized enterprise), but I am inferring from its website that this applies to properties with rateable values that are in excess of £51,000. I cannot see any reference to a grant for properties within this category, but the website refers to a possible loan of up to £5 million via the British Business Bank.

Whether the same qualification rules for small business relief apply (having regard to aggregate rateable values for companies with more than one property) is not mentioned, but I think that this is likely to be the case. In which case where several properties are occupied and the aggregate rateable value falls above the threshold, then I imagine that options 3 or 4 above would apply, but clarification from government would be required here.

I have taken the above from the government website. The link is:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

The above is part of a general package which is designed to help businesses. This package also extends to government assistance for businesses who are paying sick pay to employees.

The government has set up a helpline in connection with the above. The number is 0800 0159 559. Alternatively, businesses might contact the business rates section of their local authority.”

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