News: Business Rates & Retail Discount Guidance

Posted on 19th March 2020

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) has issued guidance to Local Authorities (in our case Mid Sussex District Council) explaining the Expanded Retail Discount 2020/21 for Business Rates in response to the Coronavirus crisis.

MSDC are looking to update their software ASAP in order to get the additional help out to businesses that qualify.  Bear in mind that MSDC have deferred any April 2020 payment from any businesses likely to qualify for the additional help.

There is no need for businesses that qualify for retail rate discount (including the expanded retail discount) to contact the Council as they will automatically amend bills and send the new ones for 2020-21.

HM Treasury have also given additional information about the business grants today.  The full criteria is still being established but more information is available about them at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/chancellor-announces-additional-support-to-protect-businesses

In summary the Government are providing £20 billion of business rates support and grant funding to help the most-affected firms manage their cashflow through this period by:

  • giving all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England a 100% business rates holiday for the next 12 months
  • increasing grants to small businesses eligible for Small Business Rate Relief from £3,000 to £10,000
  • providing further £25,000 grants to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000

This communication has come from MSDC’s Kevin Stewart, Business Unit Leader for Revenues and Benefits. Kevin says that the full criteria to qualify for the grants has not been finalised, but the Treasury are keen for the Local Authorities – who will administer these grants – to get the payments out to qualifying businesses in early April 2020. As such Kevin has promised to continue to keep us updated as he learns more about the above reliefs and grants.

He added “if any business within Mid Sussex has issues due to the current coronavirus situation that is not covered in the information already provided please contact his team by email at revenue@midsussex.gov.uk

Please note in the announcement made on Wednesday about school closures there was reference to a business rates payment holiday in 2020-21 for nurseries. See link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/schools-colleges-and-early-years-settings-to-close?utm_source=ab2c52ba-df74-46bf-a3ab-b18ebfb5a001&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

I have explained to Kevin that BHBPA is undertaking a Members’ Survey on the Coronavirus and how it’s impacting our businesses and that I will share the aggregated findings with him.

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