COVID-19 business rates and grants

The Budget announced on 11 March confirmed a range of immediate measures to provide further support around business for 2020/21 with the addition of a series of temporary rate reliefs and support for businesses in response to the coronavirus pandemic. This has been followed by a series of statements from the Government on additional measures to be introduced to support business through the current situation.

These new measures mean that some business rates bills already sent to businesses for the coming year will need to be revised and reissued. 

Read the Government FAQ’s on grant payments

What are the new support measures that have been announced?

Businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors (including pubs) will receive 100% rate relief for 2020/21 irrespective of rateable value - subject to state aid limits and qualifying criteria.

  • Businesses who receive small business rates relief (rateable value less than £15,000) are receiving a £10,000 grant in 2020/21 on top of their existing relief.
  • A grant of up to £25,000 is being paid to businesses in receipt of the Retail Relief with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000 (subject to state aid limitations).
  • All qualifying retail, leisure and hospitality properties including public houses, estate agents, betting shops and bingo halls will receive 100% business rates relief.  
  • Registered nurseries will receive a 100% rate relief for 2020/21 irrespective of rateable value. Ealing Council will also make a grant payment to registered nurseries through the Emergency Fund

Grants will apply to businesses which were in receipt of the qualifying reliefs as at 11 March 2020.

Enhanced Retail Relief 

All qualifying retail, leisure and hospitality properties including public houses, estate agents, betting shops and bingo halls will receive 100% business rates relief. This relief is not considered state aid.

2,895 businesses have been awarded £53.7M of relief. This was transferred in to accounts on 21 April and revised bills were issued showing there is no charge payable for this financial year from qualifying accounts. Businesses should check their actual business premises as letters and cheques may have been delivered there.

Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF)    

Businesses who qualify for Small Business Rate Relief (many of whom already have no rates liability) and Enhanced Retail Relief will now get a grant of £10,000 per property. These are businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or less. 

Payments are made automatically to businesses who qualify. Since Monday 6 April, we have issued 3,365 payments to qualifying businesses by BACS or cheques. Businesses should check their bank accounts and post, including their actual premises for payments. Letters have also been issued with full details of payments and how to provide the further information which is required from all recipients. 

We have already paid out £33.6M in grant payments to small businesses and continue to work to identify other cases. Any business receiving small business relief already receives 100% discount with no business rates payable.     

Retail, Hospitality, and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF)    

The properties already identified as being in receipt of Retail Relief, with a rateable value of less than £51,000, will receive a grant payment of £25,000. As at 1 May £36.3M has been issued to 1,723 businesses.

Payments will be made automatically to businesses who qualify. Businesses should check their bank accounts and post, including their actual premises for payments.  Letters have also been issued with full details of payments and how to provide the further information which is required from all recipients.

Further cases are still being identified and verified.

These grant fund payments will be subject to State Aid regulations.

Nursery Relief  

All registered nurseries will receive 100% rate relief which means that they will not pay business rates in the 2020/2021 financial year. Any direct debits due to be taken on Wednesday 1 April will be stopped and revised letters issued. A total of £720,000 in nursery relief has been issued to 62 registered nurseries with more awards still being verified.

Discretionary Business Grants Scheme

The final round of the government’s local authority discretionary grants scheme is now closed. Eligible small and micro businesses in Ealing affected financially by COVID-19 could apply for grants of up to £25,000 by Friday, 28 August.

Ealing Council had £3,342,500 in top-up funding from the government to distribute in grants of up to £25,000 to qualifying business.

For the final funding round the application criteria opened-up to enable larger businesses to apply, this included businesses with up to 50 employees, with a turnover between £25,000 and £10.2million. Businesses must have began trading on or before 11 March.

COVID-19 Emergency Fund

Ealing Council has created a £1.5m Emergency Fund to assist vulnerable residents and aid essential community services across the borough. This fund provides support for organisations, providers and individuals where financial support is needed as a result of the unprecedented challenges created by Coronavirus (COVID-19). 

Childcare provision

Emergency funding has been made available for providers of childcare including nursery schools. Funding for this grant will be applied automatically. If it is not shown on your bill, but you believe you should be eligible, please contact the business rates team at businessratesteam@ealing.gov.uk or telephone 020 8825 7020.

The council also commits to:

  • Continuing to pay existing essential service providers regardless of their ability to deliver the full range of services expected in normal operating circumstances
  • Offering preferential payment terms to pay existing providers and suppliers on zero day terms, or in exceptional cases, up to 12 weeks in advance.
  • Offering support to businesses to pay their bills in a flexible way with payment deferral options.
  • Businesses who wish to discuss payment options can contact the business rates team at businessratesteam@ealing.gov.uk or telephone 020 8825 7020.

Be wary of fraudsters

We have been made aware of a number of scams that are circulating for example people offering to help businesses access grant funding for a fee or contacting businesses claiming to be from official sources stating that they have received funding in error and need to make repayments. Businesses should be wary of scammers and suspicious emails and only provide organisations that you trust and have given consent to, your personal or financial details. Always remember to take a moment to think. Could it be fake? Go to www.gov.uk for more information.