I’m a struggling small business owner. What other help can I get to cover Coronavirus-related costs or losses?
The smallest UK businesses that pay little or no business rates, as a result of having a low ratable value, will be eligible to receive a government grant of £10,000 under the Small Business Grant Fund.
What is the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF)?
The Small Business Grant Fund is a £10,000 one-off grant, payable by Local Authorities, to the smallest businesses in the UK. The grant is intended to soften the blow of forced closures and loss of customers caused by the Coronavirus outbreak.
The grant is aimed at the very smallest enterprises that are already exempt from paying business rates. Businesses with a ratable value of under £51,000 were told in the Budget that they will not have to pay business rates in the 2020/2021 tax year. This was just before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold of our economy.
Moves to extend the business rates exemption to businesses with a ratable value of less than £100,000 was met with some criticism, as this move would mostly benefit higher value businesses, of which there are few in towns and cities outside the South East. However, Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement that those who were already exempt would be eligible for a £3,000 grant went some way to make up for this. He later increased the value of the grant to £10,000, further silencing critics.
As well as the Small Business Grant Fund, there is also a Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant that certain businesses can claim. These grants will be paid to businesses in England that receive the expanded Retail Discount and that have a ratable value of less than £51,000.
Those eligible businesses can claim £10,000 in grants if they have a value of less than £15,000 and grants of £25,000 if their ratable value is between £15,000 and £51,000.
How do I apply for the Small Business Grant Fund?
Central government contacted all Local Authorities about the Fund in late March. They were told payments were due to be made from April and that businesses should not have to apply, but that Local Authorities themselves will instead contact the businesses that are eligible.
Businesses that think they qualify will not have to take any action now. Local Authorities will contact them about the grant and make payments. However, to ensure payments adhere to EU rules on State Aid, there may be some forms to fill in if you are already receiving certain aid, Check here for more details.