Government grants and business rates relief during the coronavirus crisis

In this article, we look at how you could receive a £10,000 grant as part of the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF), and existing business rates relief schemes such as SBRR and RRR.

15 April 2020

If your small business has been affected by the coronavirus crisis and you own a commercial property, then you could be eligible for business rates relief and even a £10,000 grant.

This guide will introduce you to the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) and run through the differences between the pre-existing Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) and Rural Rate Relief (RRR) schemes. It will also take a quick look at the charitable rate relief scheme.

This information is based on what's provided on the gov website as of 5 May 2020. We are working hard to ensure that all content on our site is up to date, and will make sure that this page is updated when more information is available.

Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF)

If your business already receives rates relief through either SBRR or RRR, then you could receive a £10,000 grant. The government has set aside additional funding to be distributed via local authorities.

Am I eligible?

In order to be eligible for this grant, your business will need:

  • to be based in England
  • to occupy a property
  • to already be eligible for either SBRR or RRR

How do I apply?

In order to apply for SBRR or RRR, you’ll need to contact your local council. It’s also worth checking that they have your business contact and bank account details up to date.

If you're unsure whether you could already be eligible for SBRR or RRR, click here.

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Eligibility for businesses in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

If your business is based in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland then details of this scheme, eligibility criteria and application processes are different.

Scotland

If your business is already eligible for Small Business Bonus Scheme Relief, Rural Relief, Nursery Relief, Growth Accelerator Relief or Disabled Relief, then you could receive a one-off £10,000 grant from your local authority. You’ll only be able to receive this payment once, and should apply through online forms available on local authority websites.

Wales

If your business already qualifies for SBRR and has a rateable value of £12,000 or less then you could receive a £10,000 grant. You’ll be able to claim for two properties in each local authority area. You should check your local authority’s website to apply.

Northern Ireland

Businesses that are already eligible for the SBRR and have a Net Annual Value of £15,000 or less may be eligible for the SBGF. In order to apply, you’ll need to fill out this form. For more information on this scheme, check out the NI Business Info website.

Government business rates relief during the coronavirus crisis

What are the new measures?

The Government has announced that businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England will not have to pay business rates for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

If you run one of the following businesses, you will be able to benefit from this exemption:

  • a shop
  • a restaurant, cafe, pub or bar
  • a cinema or live music venue
  • a sports club, gym or spa
  • a hotel, guest house or self-catering accommodation

How do I apply for this exemption?

This business rates discount should automatically be applied to businesses that are eligible, but its worth checking with your local authority to make sure that you don't need to take any action.

You should also make sure that they have your most up to date business details, including your contact and bank account details.

If you're unsure who your local authority is, you can find out here.

You can also use this handy business rates calculator to estimate how much of a discount you could be eligible for.

Pre-existing schemes: SBRR & RRR

What is it?

The Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) and Rural Rate Relief (RRR) are pre-existing schemes that around 700,000 businesses in England are eligible for.

SBRR – If your business has one property with a rateable value of less than £12,000 then you could apply for exemption through SBRR. If its value lies between £12,000 and £15,000, the rate of relief will gradually decrease from 100% to 0%.

RRR – The rules of exemption are different for rural properties applying for exemption through RRR. If you live in an area with a population of less than 3,000 people then you could apply for this.

For RRR, you'll also need to check you meet one of the following criteria:

  • You are the only village shop or post office, with a rateable value of up to £8,500
  • You are the only public house or petrol station, with a rateable value of up to £12,500

Check the rateable value of your property here.

Charitable rate relief

If you run a charity or amateur sports club then you could be eligible for up to 80% of business rates relief if your property is used for charitable purposes.

In order to check if you're eligible, you'll need to contact your local authority.

Nursery rates relief

The government has announced that nurseries in England will not have to pay business rates for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

Am I eligible?

In order to be eligible for this exemption, you'll need to:

  • Be on Ofsted’s Early Years Register
  • Provide care and education for children up to 5 years old (early years foundation stage)

How do I apply?

You don't need to take any action in order to benefit from this scheme. Exemptions will be applied automatically to those who are eligible. However, some councils are operating differently, and it may be worth contacting them to make sure you're not missing out.

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Dan is part of the content team at iwoca. He writes for both the insights and finance explained pages, and produces the 9 to when? podcast.

Article updated on: 26 May 2020

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