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Business: Coronavirus

Treasury written question – answered on 1st May 2020.

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Photo of Lucy Allan Lucy Allan Conservative, Telford

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to support businesses that had applications for grant funding during the covid-19 outbreak declined because (a) their business rates are included in their rent or (b) they have a rateable value of over £51,000.

Photo of Steve Barclay Steve Barclay The Chief Secretary to the Treasury

a) The Small Business Grants Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund have been designed to support the smallest businesses, and smaller businesses in the some of the sectors which have been hit hardest by measures taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The two schemes have been tied to the business rates system and rating assessments, which together provide a framework for Local Authorities to make payments as quickly as possible. Businesses in the business rates system are also likely to face particularly high fixed costs, such as fixed rents.

In some shared spaces, individual users have their own rating assessments and may therefore be eligible for the grants schemes. In these cases, Local Authorities are urging landlords and management agents to support them in ensuring that the grants reach the correct ratepayers. b) This Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund has been designed to support small businesses in some of the sectors hit hardest by the measures taken to prevent the spread of covid-19. In order to ensure that payments can be made quickly and efficiently to businesses which are facing particularly high fixed costs, the scheme is tied to the business rates system. Under the business rates system, small businesses are defined as those with a rateable value below £51,000. The Government continues to review the economic situation and consider what support businesses need. However, there are currently no plans to extend the grants scheme above the £51,000 limit.

Businesses which are not eligible for the grants schemes should still be able to benefit from other measures in the Government’s unprecedented package of support for business, including:

  • An option to defer VAT payments by up to twelve months;
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, now extended to cover all businesses including those which would be able to access commercial credit;
  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, to support businesses with their wage bills;
  • The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, to provide support to the self-employed.

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