Joint Statement for Businesses from Local Authorities in Somerset in response to the Government's Coronavirus briefing

Local Authorities across Somerset are working urgently to appraise the impact of the announcements made by the Chancellor relating to the extensions to business rates relief and the provision of grant funding to eligible businesses.

This is a rapidly evolving situation.  Government guidance to Local Authorities on business rates is due to be published on Friday 20 March.  Local Authorities will then co-ordinate the amendments and applications to existing reliefs and discounts as a matter of priority.

Advice for businesses and employers during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic

Further clarification on the process for Local Authorities to receive funds and process business grant payments outlined by the Chancellor, is currently being sought with further announcements expected shortly.

What support has been announced for businesses that pay little or no business rates?

The government has announced it will provide additional funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of Small Business Rate Relief (SBBR). This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to businesses currently eligible for Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief, to help meet their ongoing business costs.

If your business is eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief, you do not need to apply.

Funding for the scheme is due to be provided to local authorities by government in early April. Guidance for local authorities on the scheme will be provided shortly.

What support has been announced for businesses that pay business rates?

The government has announced it will introduce a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

A £25,000 grant will be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, where the rateable value is between £15,000 and £51,000.

Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019 to 2020 tax year will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible.

To support nurseries at this time, the Chancellor has also decided that they will also now be eligible for a business rates holiday for one year. That means non-local authority providers of childcare will pay no business rates in 2020-21, from 1 April.

Guidance for local authorities on the business rates holiday will be published by Friday 20 March.