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Business Grants Funds: programme closure

Following direction of the Secretary of State for Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy all three grant schemes, Small Business Grants Fund, the Retail, Hospitality & Leisure Grants Fund and the Discretionary Fund will close by Friday 28 August.

North Somerset Council will only consider discretionary grants until the 16 August. This is to allow applications to be assess and paid by the 28 August.

Business grants and relief information

Discretionary grant for businesses

Small businesses in North Somerset, which have yet to receive financial support during the coronavirus crisis, can apply from the 26 May 2020 for additional funding following an announcement from central Government.  

A grant of £2.1 million has been awarded to North Somerset Council as part of a new Government Discretionary Grants Fund, and will offer financial support to small businesses that can demonstrate: 

  • they have suffered a significant fall in income because of the Covid-19 pandemic 
  • have fixed property-related costs  
  • employ fewer than 50 employees 

 Organisations applying for the fund must have been trading on March 11, 2020 and not have received any other Government funding.  

Discretionary Scheme Round 3

North Somerset Council are reopening the application process for its final wave of discretionary business grants from the 31 July 2020. 

This grant scheme is designed to provide additional support to businesses that are outside the scope of the mandatory business grant funds scheme, therefore businesses are only entitled to this grant where they have not received the original business support grant or other grants awarded in support of dealing with COVID-19. 

Applications will be open until 16 August. The Council anticipate paying eligible grants shortly after 24 August 2020.  The revised scheme will now consider new applications from a wider range of business than the previous scheme. NSC have expanded the criteria to include those that operate in the following sectors: 

  • Taxi Drivers 
  • Holiday accommodation 
  • Digital or mobile businesses 
  • Leisure and retail business providing enhanced Open Spaces 
  • Education and Child Care 
  • Tourism 
  • Retail 
  • Leisure and Entertainment, and 
  • Wholesalers, including business to business activities 

Businesses eligible under the previous round of the discretionary scheme remain eligible. Revised guidance and eligibility document is published below and details the scope of the new business sectors, the published award values and the eligibility criteria. 

Application form and further information

Businesses can apply here: https://forms.n-somerset.gov.uk/ad/form/cvdsbgrant  from 31 July 2020 until the midnight 16 August 2020.   

For more detail please refer to the Small Business Grants Discretionary Fund Cohort Three   for information on the grant as it relates to North Somerset only.

Business rates grants

What is the purpose of this funding?

This funding is available form government to help small, rural, retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with their ongoing business costs in recognition of the disruption caused by COVID-19. 

What grants are available?

There are two grants: Small Business and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure.

Who will benefit from the Small Business Grant scheme?

Properties included in this scheme are those which on the 11 March 2020 were eligible for relief under the business rate Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) Scheme and properties which on 11 March 2020 were eligible for relief under the Rural Rate Relief (RRR) scheme.  There are some exclusions, including properties used for personal usage such as beach huts and private stables. 

How much is the Small Business Grant?

Eligible ratepayers will receive one grant for £10,000. 

Who will receive the grant?

The person who, according to our business rate records, was the ratepayer in respect of the property on the 11 March 2020.  Where we believe the information we hold about the ratepayer on the 11 March 2020 may be inaccurate, North Somerset Council and Liberata will take reasonable steps to identify the correct ratepayer. 

Who will benefit from the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant scheme?

Properties which on the 11 March 2020 had a rateable value of less than £51,000 and would have been eligible for a discount under the business rates Expanded Retail Discount Scheme (i.e. “Retail Relief 2020-21”), had that scheme been in place for that date.

How much is the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant?

There are two grants: 

  • Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of up to £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000. 
  • Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000. 

Who will receive the grant?

The person who, according to our business rate records, was the ratepayer in respect of the property on the 11 March 2020.  Where we believe the information we hold about the ratepayer on the 11 March 2020 may be inaccurate, North Somerset Council and Liberata will take reasonable steps to identify the correct ratepayer. 

What if I have multiple properties?

If you have responsibility for multiple business properties, please make a separate request for each individual property. 

How do I apply for a grant?

You can request a grant at: https://forms.liberata.com/business-rates/covid19-grant-request/north-somerset 

Please ensure that the information provided is accurate, as the provision of inaccurate information could lead to your payment either being withdrawn, or claimed back at a later date.  

When will the grant be paid? 

We are expecting a large number of applications and the payment of the grant will be made by BACS transfer as soon as possible.  

Reliefs

The following measures will be relevant for businesses who currently receive a business rates bill.  

Retail business rates relief

The government is increasing the retail discount on business rates to 100% for 12 months. This has been expanded to included estate agents, letting agencies and bingo halls.

If your business has received the retail discount in the 2019 to 2020 tax year you will be sent a revised bill as soon as possible. there is no action for you to take.   

For further clarification of what constitutes retail, hospitality and leisure properties please refer to the MHCLG guidance: 

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/873622/Expanded_Retail_Discount_Guidance.pdf

We have suspended all April direct debit payments. Some of these will be replaced by new bills depending on application of the government’s expanded retail discount scheme or nursery discount scheme. For ratepayers not eligible for the discount, the suspended amounts will be collected later in the year and we will notify you in advance of this happening. 

Nurseries discount

The Government has introduced a business rates holiday for nurseries in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year. the relief will be provided to properties occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register or wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage. Properties that will benefit from the relief will be hereditaments.

Please see link for full qualifying criteria: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/business-rates-nursery-childcare-discount-2020-to-2021-coronavirus-response-local-authority-guidance

Next steps

We are currently in the process of reviewing our records, and aim to automatically award reliefs. We will send you a revised bill as soon as possible. There is no action for you to take.

You can estimate the business rate charge you will no longer have to pay this year using the business rates calculator. 

 

 

Grants and Reliefs: Frequently asked questions

Can businesses with multiple properties claim multiple grants?

Businesses can only get one grant under the Small Business Grant Scheme.  Businesses eligible for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure scheme can claim one grant per eligible property, for example, a hairdresser with three separate shops, each with a rateable value less than £51,000, can claim the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure grant for each premises. 

Will businesses be able to claim support from both the grant scheme for retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors and the Small Business Grants fund?

No. If a business receives a Small Business Grant, they will not be eligible for a Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant on the same property. 

How should Local Authorities deal with businesses who are advising them that they have been in occupation of a property for some time?

Any changes to the rating list after 11 March 2020, including changes which have been backdated to this date, should be ignored for the purposes of eligibility. Local Authorities are not required to adjust, pay or recover grants where the ratings list is subsequently amended retrospectively to 11 March 2020. The eligible business is the ratepayer in Local Authority records for 11 March. However, Local Authorities have the discretion to depart from this if they know that record was incorrect. 

Is there any clarification on whether Nursery/Childcare facilities will be eligible for the 10/25k grant?

Properties falling within the Nursery scheme are not eligible unless they were in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief as of 11 March. 

Charities getting Charitable Rate Relief get the Expanded Retail Discount so why not the grant?

Charities receiving Charitable Rate Relief can’t be eligible for Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief and therefore cannot be eligible under the Small Business Grants Fund. They may be eligible under the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grants Fund. 

I am not the ratepayer – my landlord pays the rates on this space. Will I get funding?

This funding is to support small and rural businesses who are ratepayers on a property. These businesses are more likely to have on-going fixed costs. 

Are there any conditions attached to this grant funding? 

Any business who accepts this funding must confirm they comply with all the applicable State aid requirements. Businesses who accept this funding must also provide information requested by the Local Authority to support monitoring and assurance. 

Is this funding taxable?

The default position is that these grants would be liable for tax, as are the business costs this grant is supporting. 

Is this State aid?

Yes. State aid applies to these schemes, and all recipients are required to comply with the maximum permitted funding under the relevant State aid rules – EUR 200,000 over three years under the De Minimis Regulation, or EUR 800,000 under the COVID-19 Temporary Framework scheme for the UK (different thresholds apply to agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture business). 

Grants provided under the Small Business Grant Fund can be made under either the De Minimis Regulation (where the relevant conditions are met), or under the COVID-19 Temporary Framework scheme for the UK (once approved) where for example, the De Minimis threshold has been reached. Grants paid under the Retail Hospitality and Leisure scheme can be made under the COVID-19 Temporary Framework scheme for the UK (once approved). 

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