COVID-19 business support and grants

Last updated: 26 May 2020 at 8am

To help support businesses financially impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19), the government announced a package of support for businesses, including several types of grant funding, rates relief and a loan scheme. Below you will find further information about the available help, including eligibility criteria and how businesses can access the support.

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant

The support announced by the government includes the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant, which is available to businesses that:

  • are located in England
  • are in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector
  • have a rateable value of less than £51,000
  • receive the expanded business rates retail discount.

All businesses meeting the above criteria are eligible to receive a cash grant per property under the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant. The value of each cash grant is affected by the rateable value of the property, as detailed below:

  • Grants of £10,000 are available for businesses with a property that has a rateable value of up to and including £15,000.
  • Grants of £25,000 are available for businesses with a property that has a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000.

Exclusions to the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant:

  • Properties occupied for personal use, for example private stables and loose boxes, beach huts and moorings.
  • Car parks and parking spaces.
  • For the avoidance of doubt, businesses that were in liquidation or dissolved as of 11 March 2020 will not be eligible.
  • Properties with a rateable value of over £51,000.

Small Business Grant Fund - £10,000 for small businesses

The support announced by the government includes the Small Business Grant Fund, which is available to businesses that:

  • receive small business rates relief or rural rate relief
  • have a rateable value of less than £15,000.

All businesses meeting the above criteria will be eligible for a grant of £10,000. Details of your small business rates relief award can be found on your bill.

Please note if you require a copy of your bill please sign up online at www.basingstoke.gov.uk/self-serve-rates the online account can take up to 24 hours to activate. Alternatively you can email rates@basingstoke.gov.uk for additional help.

If you do not currently receive small business rates relief and think you may be eligible, please check the criteria and apply on the website https://www.basingstoke.gov.uk/small-bus-rate-relief.

Exclusions to the Small Business Grant Fund:

  • Properties occupied for personal use, for example private stables and loose boxes, beach huts and moorings.
  • Car parks and parking spaces.
  • For the avoidance of doubt, businesses that were in liquidation or dissolved as of 11 March 2020 will not be eligible.
  • Properties not eligible for small business rates relief.
  • Properties with a rateable value of over £15,000.

Accessing grants

To access the grant funding set out above, businesses will need to provide further details to confirm their eligibility for a grant, as well as their payment details.

Eligible recipients will receive one grant per property. Recipients cannot receive both Small Business Grant Fund and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant on the same property.

The council is directly contacting eligible businesses by post or email, depending on how their business rates bill is usually sent, inviting them to provide the necessary information through an online form on the council’s website.

If you have received information to say that your business may qualify, or you believe that your business may be eligible based on the above criteria, please click the link below to complete an online form.

Apply for a business rates support grant online

Exclusions and considerations when applying for grants

State aid
The United Kingdom left the EU on 31 January 2020. However, under the Withdrawal Agreement, the state aid rules continue to apply during a transition period, subject to regulation by the EU Commission. You must not exceed the state aid limit of 800,000 Euros and your company or business must comply with this.

Please note it is the responsibility of the person or business receiving de minimis aid to make sure they are not over the limit.

Managing the risk of fraud
The council will not accept deliberate manipulation and fraud - and any business caught falsifying their records to gain additional grant money will face prosecution and any funding issued will be subject to claw back, as may any grants paid in error.

Rating list changes
Any changes to the rating list (rateable value or to the hereditament) after 11 March 2020, including changes which have been backdated to this date, will be ignored for the purposes of eligibility.

The council is not required to adjust, pay or recover grants where the rating list is subsequently amended retrospectively to 11 March 2020.

Expanded Retail Discount - 100% relief for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors

The government announced that the existing retail discount scheme would be extended to 100% and include all properties in the retail sector regardless of their rateable value.

In addition to this, the scheme would be extended to include businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors, as well as estate agents, lettings agencies, employment agencies and bingo halls that have closed as a result of COVID-19.

This means that all businesses fitting the above criteria will be exempt from paying business rates in 2020/21. Businesses eligible for this exemption will be provided with a new business rates bill that includes the 100% relief.

Eligible businesses include

  • shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, estate agents, lettings agencies, employment agencies, betting shops, casinos, bingo halls, cinemas and live music venues
  • businesses providing spaces for assembly and leisure
  • hotels, guest and boarding premises and self-catering accommodation.

Businesses that would not receive relief under these measures include:

  • financial services, such as banks, building societies, cash points, bureau de change and short-term loan pro
  • medical services, such as vets, dentists, doctors, osteopaths and chiropractors
  • professional services, such as solicitors, accountants, insurance agents, financial advisors and tutors
  • Post Office sorting offices.

Current status: The annual bills issued to eligible retailers are now incorrect. Affected business rates accounts have been rebilled. Any overpayment due to an award of relief will be refunded. If you have not received a discount and think you may be entitled please apply at https://www.basingstoke.gov.uk/businessrates.

State aid
The government’s assessment is that the Expanded Retail Discount 2020/21 is not state aid.

The government has considered this matter in discussions with the European Commission and is content with this analysis following those discussions. The council will therefore look to provide the relief to all eligible properties.

Pubs discount

A £5,000 discount for pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 was announced for the 2020/21 billing year.

However due to the extension of the retail discount scheme to include pubs, this relief is now redundant as pubs will be eligible for 100% discount.

Current status: We will issue updated bills as soon as we are able to.

Nursery discount

On 18 March 2020, in response to the coronavirus, the government announced that many childcare providers would pay no business rates in 2020/21

This relief will apply to properties occupied by nurseries on Ofsted’s Early Years Register that are:

  • wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage, and
  • subject to business rates in the year 2020/21.

There will be no rateable value limit on the relief.

Current status: If you think your business may qualify please apply at https://www.basingstoke.gov.uk/businessrates

State Aid for Nursey Discount
The Government’s assessment is that, given the impact of Covid-19 in the sectors receiving the relief, that the Expanded Retail Discount 2020/21 is not a State aid. The Government has considered this matter in discussions with the European Commission and is content with this analysis following those discussions. Local Authorities should provide the relief to all eligible properties.

Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan

Delivered through a network of accredited lenders, the Bounce Back Loan scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 with loan terms of up to six years.

The government guarantees 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. The government will work with lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan..

For more information and to apply for a Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan, visit www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-a-coronavirus-bounce-back-loan

Applications for the Small Business Discretionary Grants Scheme has now closed.

We will aim to notify you of the outcome of your grant application by 15 June 2020. If your grant application is successful you will receive your grant by BACs to the account number provided and we aim to do this by the 20 June 2020.

Contact us

  • Contact us online
  • 01256 844844
  • Civic Offices
    London Road
    Basingstoke
    RG21 4AH
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