We recap on local authority grant funding and the possible timescales involved.
The government has today released guidance for businesses setting out details of the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF). As well as setting out details of the two funding schemes, it also covers their operation and delivery. While it does not go so far as to commit to a date SMEs should hear from their Local Authorities, the guidance issued direct to them hints at early April.
We were advised when the scheme was announced that it would be delivered by Local Authorities, and that if eligible your local authority will be in touch with you to arrange payment.
To recap the funding:
- Under the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) all eligible businesses in England in receipt of either Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) or Rural Rates Relief (RRR) in the business rates system will be eligible for a payment of £10,000
- Under the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant (RHLG) eligible businesses in England in receipt of the Expanded Retail Discount (which covers retail, hospitality and leisure) with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will be eligible for a cash grants of £10,000 or £25,000 per property
- Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of up to and including £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000
- Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000
- Businesses 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
Who receives the funding?
- The ratepayer according to the billing authority’s records on the 11 March 2020.
- If the local authority believes the ratepayer’s information is inaccurate, they may withhold or recover the grant and take reasonable steps to identify the correct ratepayer. Any money paid may be liable for recovery if the recipient was not the ratepayer on 11 March 2020.
- Landlords and management agents are asked to support the local government in quickly identifying the correct ratepayer.
When read in conjunction with the governments guidance for local authorities it seems that the funding was expected from central government around 1 April and the Business Secretary confirmed that funding had reached the local authorities today. It is hoped that local authorities will be in contact with recipients soon. In fact, to date we have seen some authorities suggesting businesses should hear from them by 7 April and one authority that has sent out its letters today. That particular authority has asked businesses to go on to its website and complete an online declaration form.
Wayne Thomas comments:
“Many SMEs need this local authority grant funding as a matter of urgency to plug the cashflow gap that has appeared as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown. We are continuing to support them with advice on tightening cashflow, but the importance of this grant to many, cannot be overestimated. We urge the local authorities to act swiftly.”