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CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)

See the latest information and advice in Exeter. We are closely monitoring the situation and working with the government and NHS, who are well prepared to deal with this virus.

Business Grant Support FAQs

Answers to your questions about Business Grant Support

We have contacted all businesses eligible to receive grants so they can access financial help as soon as possible.

Who is eligible for business grants?

Many businesses currently in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief may be eligible for a £10,000 cash grant.

Any retail, hospitality or leisure business in receipt of Expanded Retail Discount with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will be eligible for a cash grant per property based on eligibility criteria below: 

  • Any retail, hospitality or leisure business with a rateable value of £15,000 or below may be eligible for a £10,000 cash grant.

  • Any retail, hospitality or leisure business with a rateable value above £15,000 and below £51,000 may be eligible for a £25,000 cash grant.

Exclusions:

  • Businesses in breach of de Minimis State Aid limits are not included in this scheme. For more information about State Aid please visit www.gov.uk/state-aid.

  • Businesses in receipt of Expanded Retail Discount (which covers retail, hospitality and leisure) with a rateable value of £51,000 or over are not eligible for this scheme.

  • Businesses which are not ratepayers in the business rates system are not included in this scheme.

  • Eligibility guidance is updated on the GOV.UK website.

 

What are the grants for?

The grants are to help small, rural, retail, leisure and hospitality businesses who are ratepayers, with their ongoing business costs in recognition of the disruption caused by COVID-19. These grants are not formally part of the business rates system and therefore cannot be used to offset arrears in business rates.

 

Are there any conditions attached to this grant funding?

Any business who accepts a grant must confirm they comply with all the applicable State aid requirements, and must provide information requested by the Local Authority to support monitoring and assurance.

 

Do I have to accept a grant?

A business who does not want or need funding can decline a grant.

 

Will my grant be taxed?

Yes, both the Small Business Grants and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants will be subject to tax. However, businesses that make a loss this financial year will pay no tax on grants. Only profitable businesses will be taxed.

 

How will I know if I’m eligible?

Businesses that are eligible for this support have been contacted by us by email. Where no email contact information is held, a letter has been sent to the address held for the ratepayer.

 

How do I claim?

You need to complete this secure online claim form.  

To apply you’ll need:

  • Your Business Rates account number

  • Unique identifying PIN number from your email or letter from us

  • An electronic copy or image of your most recent business account bank statement

 

How long will it take to process my claim?

Once you’ve submitted your form you’ll receive a confirmation email to say we’ve received it. The submitted bank statements need to be verified to prevent fraudulent claims. This is a manual process.

We’ll contact you if we require any additional information as soon as possible after receiving your form. We will complete payment to eligible businesses in the minimum possible timeframe.

 

When will I receive the money?

We will aim to make the payment direct into your business bank account within 2 weeks of receiving your form, assuming all necessary information has been received and verified by our anti-fraud checks. Once a claim has been approved, it takes up to 3 working days for the BACS payment to reach a bank account.

 

Can businesses with multiple properties claim multiple grants?

Businesses can only get one grant under the Small Business Grant Scheme.

Businesses eligible for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant scheme can claim one grant per eligible property.

 

Will businesses be able to claim support from both the Small Business Grants Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund?

No. If a business receives a Small Business Grant, it will not be eligible for a Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant.

 

My business is not currently registered to pay business rates because I have not advised the Council about the premises being occupied by the business. Can I still get a grant?

Eligible businesses are those ratepayers showing in Local Authority records for 11 March 2020. The 11 March date was established to avoid businesses being created and registering simply for the purpose of being eligible for grants. Local Authorities have been advised that any changes to the rating list after 11 March 2020, including changes which have been backdated to this date, should be ignored for the purposes of eligibility. Local Authorities are not required to adjust, pay or recover grants where the ratings list is subsequently amended to 11 March 2020. However, Local Authorities have the discretion to depart from this if they know that record was incorrect e.g. a business had told us of their occupation but the rating list had not yet been updated.

 

Will cases already referred to the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) and not yet on the rating list qualify?

This is entirely at the discretion of Local Authorities but in order to manage this and avoid widespread requests/abuse, the guidance says that any change would need to have been factually clear to Local Authorities on 11 March 2020 e.g. the Local Authority has inspected, the error was clear and it has lodged a report with the VOA and knows it is going to be actioned.

 

What if a business has recently moved to new premises and are yet to receive communication in regard to business rates?

If the business was there on 11 March 2020, Local Authorities have discretion to include them, but that discretion will only be used to prevent clear and obvious errors.

If a business has challenged or appealed its rateable value and the challenge/appeal is outstanding at 11 March 2020, how will this be treated?

 

Any changes to the rating list (either to the rateable value or to the hereditament) after 11 March 2020, including changes backdated to this date should be ignored for the purposes of eligibility. However, in cases where it was factually clear to the Local Authority on 11 March 2020 that the rating list was inaccurate on that date, Local Authorities may withhold or award the grant based on eligibility had the list been accurate. This discretion is only intended to prevent clear errors. Any decisions made after 11 March should not affect eligibility.

 

If a business does not resume trading after the shutdown, is it still eligible for a cash grant?

Yes, as long as the business is not in liquidation or dissolved when the grant is awarded, and otherwise meets all applicable conditions.

 

Are sole traders without a Companies House record eligible?

Yes, provided they are an eligible ratepayer with an eligible rating assessment.

 

What happens when there is more than one liable party per property? Do they get a grant each or are they expected to share?

Each hereditament will only have one registered ratepayer and it is that registered ratepayer who will receive the grant.

 

What is the situation on the eligibility of second homes used as holiday lets? Are they excluded on the grounds of personal use?

Properties used for personal use are not eligible. However, if a holiday let is included in the ratings list it has passed assessment to be considered a non-domestic property (i.e. it is available for letting commercially, as self-catering accommodation, for short periods totalling 140 days or more) and would therefore be eligible.

 

I know another business who I think is eligible but they may not be aware, what can I do to help?

Please share this information with any of your fellow businesses who you feel may be eligible for this grant support and encourage them to look for their letter or email, if they are able to do so, or to contact us by email business.rates@exeter.gov.uk

 

Is there a cut-off date for registration for the Grant?

If you were not registered for Business Rates on the 11 March 2020 you may not qualify.

 

I am the ratepayer but I am not tax resident in the UK, am I still entitled to the grant?

Yes, Ratepayers will be eligible if they are not tax resident in the UK.

 

Does State aid apply to these grant funds?

Yes. All recipients of the grants are required to comply with the maximum permitted funding under the relevant State aid rules – EUR 200,000 over three years under the De Minimis Regulation, or EUR 800,000 under the COVID-19 Temporary Framework for UK Authorities (lower thresholds apply to agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture business). A business receiving grant paid under the Temporary Framework must also confirm that they were not an undertaking in distress on 31 December 2019.

Grants provided under the Small Business Grant Fund can be made under either the De Minimis Regulation (where the relevant conditions are met), or under the COVID-19 Temporary Framework for UK Authorities (once approved) where for example, the De Minimis threshold has been reached.

Grants paid under the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund can be made under the COVID-19 Temporary Framework for UK Authorities (approved by the European Commission on 6 April 2020). However where a business has multiple eligible properties for this grant they may reach the State aid limit. All eligible businesses must comply with the grant conditions not to exceed the maximum permitted funding limits.

 

Are there any other sources of information and advice for businesses?

We regularly update our pages with the latest information for businesses

The Heart of the South West Growth Hub provides the latest information and advice plus guidance for employers and local businesses. 

General enquiries info@heartofswgrowthhub.co.uk  Telephone 03456 047 047 

When this content has been updated

Last updated 20 April 2020