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Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Support for businesses inc. Business Rates and Grants

Last updated: 3 April 2020

Nottingham City Council understands the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on you as a member of our business community. This is a priority for us, we have increased the number of staff working on this and are working hard to support you during these uncertain times.

Applying for a business support grant

Completing this form should take around 15 minutes.

To help us process your grant, please provide us with:

  • Company details: name, address, contact information 
  • Business rates account number
  • VAT registration number
  • Company Number (if applicable)
  • Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number

Businesses which, as of the 11 March 2020, are eligible for

  1. Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR), who will receive a grant payment of £10,000.
  2. Rural Rate Relief (RRR), who will receive a grant payment of £10,000.
  3. Businesses currently in receipt of 50% retail rate relief will see this increased to 100% for 2020/21, including Leisure and Hospitality sectors.
  4. Those businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will receive the following levels of grant payment:
  5. Businesses with a rateable value up to £15,000 will receive a grant payment of £10,000 whether or not you are entitled to small business rate relief.
  6. If you have a property with a rateable value of between £15,001 and below £51,000, you will be entitled to a grant of £25,000

The government has noted that certain exclusions apply

  1. Businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or over are not eligible for this scheme.
  2. Businesses which are not ratepayers in the business rates system are not included in this scheme.
  3. Hereditaments occupied for personal uses are not included.
  4. Car Parks and parking spaces are not included.
  5. Business which as of the 11 March 2020 were in liquidation or were dissolved will not be eligible.
  6. Only one grant may be awarded per hereditament.

Businesses should be aware that grant payments are currently subject to state aid limits and other conditions.

If you are currently in receipt of the retail rate relief this will be increased from 50% to 100% in 2020/21 and has been expanded to include hospitality and leisure sectors. To be clear, if you are a retail, leisure or hospitality business, you will automatically have had your rates direct debits cancelled or the money will be refunded for 2020/21. In this case, there is no action required to receive the rates holiday.

Applying for a business support grant

Forthcoming support for self-employed individuals

On Thursday 26 March, the Chancellor announced support for people who are self-employed individuals whose income has been negatively affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. The scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

HMRC will use the average profits from tax returns in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 to calculate the size of the grant. The scheme will be open to those where the majority of their income comes from self-employment and who have profits of less than £50,000.

Individuals should not contact HMRC now. HMRC will use existing information to check potential eligibility and invite applications once the scheme is operational.

The income support scheme will cover the three months to May. Grants will be paid in a single lump sum instalment covering all 3 months, and will start to be paid at the beginning of June. The government has indicated that in the meanwhile, those needing financial support should access Universal Credit and local schemes for hardship relief, such as Council Tax relief.

Self-employed people who are eligible for the new scheme will be able to apply directly to HMRC for the taxable grant, using a simple online form, with the cash being paid directly into people’s bank account.

More information about how to access information around the scheme and associated support can be found from the government below.

Information on the scheme, eligibility and access to the scheme

Self-employment Income Support Scheme FAQs

Press release from the government regarding the scheme

Announcement from the Chancellor launching the scheme

Support to find work, claim benefits or get help

Advice on claiming Universal Credit during the Coronavirus pandemic

Contact our Council Tax scheme for support

 

This page will be updated regularly as new information is provided

Last updated: 27 March 2020

Business Rates and Grants FAQs

In March 2020, the Government announced there would be support for eligible small businesses and businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. 

Small Business Grants Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund FAQs

 

Eligible Businesses which, as of the 11 March 2020, are eligible for:

  1. Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR), who will receive a grant payment of £10,000.
  2. Rural Rate Relief (RRR), who will receive a grant payment of £10,000.
  3. Businesses currently in receipt of 50% retail rate relief will see this increased to 100% for 2020/21, including Leisure and Hospitality sectors.
  4. Those businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will receive the following levels of grant payment:
  1. Businesses with a rateable value up to £15,000 will receive a grant payment of £10,000 whether or not you are entitled to small business rate relief.
  2. If you have a property with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000 , you will be entitled to a grant of £25,000

The government has noted that certain exclusions apply:

  1. Businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or over are not eligible for this scheme.
  2. Businesses which are not ratepayers in the business rates system are not included in this scheme.
  3. Hereditaments occupied for personal uses are not included.
  4. Car Parks and parking spaces are not included.
  5. Business which as of the 11 March 2020 were in liquidation or were dissolved will not be eligible.
  6. Only one grant may be awarded per hereditament.

Businesses should be aware that grant payments are currently subject to state aid limits. This limit has recently increased to £800,000 in order to take into account the additional support needed due to COVID-19. If you believe that by receiving this grant payment that you will exceed state aid limits, please contact us.

FAQs

The rateable value of my property is less than £15,000, but I do not qualify for Small Business Rate Relief. Will I get a grant?

Yes, if you are in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector then you will receive grant funding.

I am in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief, but pay £0 in rates, am I eligible for the £10,000 grant?

Yes, properties with a rateable value of less than £12,000, will still get the £10,000 grant where SBRR has been applied. Properties with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £15,000 who receive tapered Small Business Rate Relief are also eligible for £10,000 grant.

My premises have a rateable value of over £51,000, is there any help from government for me?

If you are currently in receipt of the retail rate relief this will be increased from 50% to 100% in 2020/21 and has been expanded to include hospitality and leisure sectors.

The grant scheme is limited to properties with a maximum rateable value of below £51,000 so for businesses above this limit there are other funding options available which can be accessed through this link https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

I feel that I pay too much in rates and want my property re-rated. How do I do this?

The Valuation Office Agency can be contacted to initiate the check and challenge process if you dispute the rateable value of the property on the following link https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-check-your-rateable-value-is-correct

The Valuation Office Agency is also a central government function that councils cannot influence.

Can the Council use their discretion to honour the £25,000 grant if a business does not align to the criteria?

No. The Council does not have discretion.

Central Government set the threshold and require the council to submit details of all grant recipients to ensure they meet the grant criteria.

Can I retrospectively register my business with business rates to receive a grant?

No. The cut-off date for grant eligibility was 11 March 2020.

Who within my business will receive the grant?

We hold a rating record (Non-Domestic Rates Record) for all commercial properties. The name we hold in the NDRR will be the grant recipient – this is usually a business name.

I pay the business rates to my landlord, not to the council, will I get a grant?

No. The grant is for the business that pays rates to the Council, whose details we hold in the premises record (Non-Domestic Rates Record). We recognise this is an issue for some businesses and are trying to find out if there is a solution.

I have a room I rent in premises and pay utilities but no rates as that is covered by who I rent the room off. Am I eligible for a grant?

No. The grant is for the business that pays rates to the Council, whose details we hold in the premises record (Non-Domestic Rate Record). We recognise this is an issue for some businesses and are trying to find out if there is a solution.

I pay council tax rather than business rates for the property I run my business from, am I eligible for a grant?

No. The grants are directly linked to commercial properties. All commercial properties should pay business rates.

I run my business from home, am I eligible for the grant?

No. The grant is linked to commercial premises only.

I am a Charity that gets mandatory rate relief (80%), am I eligible for the grant?

Yes. You will be eligible for the grant if the charity meets the expanded retail discount criteria which is retail, hospitality or leisure,

If you are currently receiving full business rate relief through the mandatory and discretionary schemes you are still eligible to claim the grant.

Does a ‘Beauty salon and premises’ National Non-Domestic Rates description fall within the retail, leisure and hospitality requirement to qualify for a cash grant?

Yes. As long as rateable value is below £51,000.

I am the landlord of an empty property, will I be eligible for the grant?

No. The grant is for occupied premises only and is intended for the businesses trading from these premises.

What should I do to apply for the grant?

We are currently setting up the processes we need to enable the Council to pay the grants. We will announce through the Growing Nottingham newsletter, which you can register with via our newsletter subscription service. Please check back for further details. Please do not contact the council, we will notify you when we have next steps.

Getting the grants to businesses is a corporate priority for the Council. We are busy doing the background work required to ensure grant payments can reach businesses and will be contacting you shortly via the email addresses we hold.

We will be making an announcement publishing when the process commences. If you have not received anything by the specified date (to be announced shortly), please follow the guidance inthe answer to the question below.

What do I do if I think I am eligible for the grants but don’t receive any correspondence?

Please email the business rates team with your 7 digit reference number which starts with a 6 and question on businessrates@nottinghamcity.gov.uk

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

 

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.

You will need to:

  • designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change - changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation.
  • submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC will set out further details on the information required)

HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. The maximum grant available will be £8,412 per furloughed employee (if eligible for the whole of the current 3-month period and the relevant wages are high enough). Please note that if an employee is working but on reduced hours or for reduced pay they will not be eligible for the scheme. Directors can also be furloughed but extreme care needs to be taken that all the conditions are met as the claims will be audited by HMRC retrospectively.

Latest details can be found on the Gov.UK webpage.

Deferring VAT and Income Tax payments

Support to businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months. If you’re self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.

For VAT, the deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020

This is an automatic offer with no applications required. Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period. Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020 to 2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.

Income Tax

For Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on the 31 July 2020 will be deferred until the 31 January 2021.

Statutory sick pay relief package for SMEs

The government will bring forward legislation to allow small- and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:

  1. this refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19
  2. employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible - the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020
  3. employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19
  4. employers should maintain records of staff absences, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note
  5. eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of Statutory Sick Pay to self-isolators comes into force
  6. the government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible. Existing systems are not designed to facilitate employer refunds for SSP.

Cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

For businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of under £15,000, they will receive a grant of £10,000 whether or not you are entitled to small business rate relief.

For businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000, they will receive a grant of £25,000.

If you are currently receiving the retail discount for your Business Rates bill, you will receive a revised bill with 100% relief.

 

If your business occupies a property in the retail sector with a rateable value of £51,000 or more, or your business occupies a property in the leisure/hospitality sectors, you may also be eligible for the 100% discount on your business rates bill.

 

You do not need to do anything.  We are working on the application process and once this is set up, we will provide further details. We are also busy trying to stop the direct debits for eligible businesses for April 2020.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The new Scheme supports SMEs with access to working capital (including loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance) of up to £5 million in value and for up to 6 years.

The government will pay to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees, so smaller businesses will not face any upfront costs and will benefit from lower initial repayments.

The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs.

This scheme is being delivered through commercial lenders, backed by the British Business Bank.

The scheme is now open for applications. You can find out the latest on the British Business Bank website.

Support for larger firms through the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility

Under the new Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility, the Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies.

This will support your company if it has been affected by a short-term funding squeeze, and allow you to finance your short-term liabilities.

It will also support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms.

The scheme will be available early in week beginning 23 March 2020.

Financial distress

All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service.

These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.

If you have missed a tax payment or you might miss your next payment due to COVID-19, please call HMRC’s dedicated helpline: 0800 0159 559.

Support for businesses from the D2N2 Growth Hub

In response to the current situation, Nottingham City Council has increased the number of staff available to speak directly with businesses.

If your query is in relation to rates, please contact businessrates@nottinghamcity.gov.uk . D2N2 growth is for all other queries. If you call D2N2 Growth Hub, they will simply ask you to email Nottingham City Council.

If you would like to speak to a business adviser about any other query not answered on this page, contact the D2N2 Growth Hub enquiry line on 0333 0069178 (lines are open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday) or complete an online enquiry form.

 

Employment support

Nottingham Jobs is the city council’s one stop service for people who are unemployed or looking for work. In partnership with the local Department for Works & Pensions (DWP) Job Centres, we can offer you one-to-one support over the phone or by email. During the Coronavirus outbreak, we are focused on recruitment to the following vital sectors; Health and Social Care, Retail, Logistics and Driving.

To find out more or speak to one of the team, contact 0115 876 4508 (lines are open 9am to 5pm daily) or email jobs.hub@nottinghamjobs.com

More information about employment support can be found here.

Advice Nottingham groups (CAB, Law Centre, St Ann’s Advice, Bestwood Advice, Meadows Advice, and Clifton Advice) are all still providing support with benefits, debt, housing and other difficulties. For the time being it is not provided face to face but by phone and email only. Full contact details can be found here

D2N2 Redundancy redeployment info for employers