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To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the guidance published by his Department on 23 March 2020, entitled Covid-19: support for businesses, what steps he is taking to ensure that businesses that (a) sub-lease space from others and (b) are run from home are able to access business grants.
Only businesses which as of 11 March 2020 had their own rating assessment / rates valuation are eligible for the Business Grants Funds. The Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund have been designed to support the smallest businesses, and smaller businesses in some of the sectors which have been hit hardest by the measures taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Both schemes have been tied to the business rates system because these businesses are likely to face particularly high fixed costs, such as fixed rents and other building-related costs. The grants schemes are already making a real difference to many thousands of businesses, which have received a total of over £1 billion since the schemes were launched.
Small businesses in shared offices / premises, where the overall building’s rates valuation is too big to qualify for a grant, and where the users of the shared space don’t have their own rating assessment, are not eligible for the grants’ scheme. However, small businesses which are not eligible for these schemes should be able to benefit from other measures in the Government’s unprecedented package of support for business, including:
The Business Support website provides further information about how businesses can access the support that has been made available, who is eligible, when the schemes open and how to apply - https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support/.