Following the recent introduction of localised lockdown restrictions across the UK, the Government have announced an additional round of financial support for those businesses which have been forced to close for a minimum of 3 weeks as a direct result of these restrictions.
This funding has been released to support companies that pay business rates on their premises in an attempt to ease the financial losses incurred due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In terms of eligibility for those businesses wishing to make a claim, the following guidelines must be met:
- Your businesses must occupy a property that it pays business rates on.
- Is situated within an area that has enforced local lockdown restrictions and has been forced to close as a result of the guidance, with the first full day of closure being on or after September 9th, 2020.
- The business has been required to close for a minimum of 3 weeks because of the lockdown restrictions in place.
- It has been unable to provide its usual in-person service to customers from its premises.
An example of this would be the forced closure of pubs and restaurants that operate primarily as an in-person venue for customers to sit in and have food or beverages but are now only able to operate on a takeaway basis.
For businesses who are eligible, there will be one grant available for each property liable for business rates within the specified lockdown zone.
Those businesses that have been required to close due to the lockdown restrictions, but DO NOT pay business rates could be eligible for the funding but the decision would be at the discretion of the local council – whom they would need to apply to.
For businesses who are eligible, there will be different tiers of funding available:
- If the business fits the eligibility criteria and has a property with a rateable value of less than £51,000, then a cash grant of £1,000 per 3-week period will be available.
- If the business is eligible but has a rateable value of £51,000 or more, there will be a cash grant available of £1,500 per 3-week period.
The grant will be extended to mirror the lockdown restrictions imposed by the Government in each council area, meaning that the funding will be available if the enforced restrictions are extended.
There will be discretionary funding available of up to £1,500 depending on the circumstances.
The local council will be able to allocate the funding to businesses who meet the following criteria:
- The business has been forced to close but does not pay business rates
- The business is not required to close but has been adversely affected by scenarios like customer businesses closing – if you operate as a supplier for example.
The allocation will be at the discretion of the local council in question and the dates available will be published on their respective websites.
Businesses like nightclubs which are still subject to nationally enforced lockdown measures are not eligible for this round of funding. Businesses that can continue operating and do not rely on in-person customer service will not be eligible. Similarly, businesses which have not been forced to close, but have done so through choice will not be eligible to receive the financial aid.
The Local Restrictions Support Grant will still count towards the state aid limit of €200,000 which businesses are eligible to receive over a 3-year period.
This funding is available via each individual council, so the information will be published on each respective website of that local council area. You can find your local council’s website on the government website here: https://www.gov.uk/find-local-council