COVID-19 business support and grants

Last updated: 28 August 2020 at 4pm

To help support businesses financially impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19), the government announced a package of support for businesses. 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

Applications for the COVID-19 Small Retail, Hospitality and Leisure grant Scheme has now closed.

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

Applications for the COVID-19 small business grant Scheme has now closed.

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.

COVID-19 Small Business Discretionary Grants Scheme

Applications for the COVID-19 Small Business Discretionary Grants Scheme has now closed as the funds have been allocated.

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