Government legislation & local authority support for businesses

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Blog Article | By Knights PLC 23 July 2020

At Simplyhealth, we work with a variety of businesses, from small and medium sized enterprises, such as dental and veterinary practices, to large corporate partners. We understand the importance of keeping up to date with correct and relevant information and the value of guidance, support and advice. In collaboration with our legal partner, Knights PLC, we’ve put together a suite of business resources to help you through this challenging time.

To assist SMEs in ensuring they have enough liquidity to survive the current crisis, the Chancellor announced several measures to support small businesses and those operating in the hospitality and leisure sectors. 


Local Authority grant funding schemes


SMEs will have access to two principle grant funding schemes in the short-term whereby the government will reimburse local authorities that pay grants to eligible businesses:


Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF)


Businesses in England in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) and Rural Rates Relief (RRR) in the business rates system will be eligible for a payment of £10,000.


Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF)


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 the following cash grants per property:


i. Those that have a rateable value of up to £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000 per property;


ii. Those with a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000 per property.


These grants will not be available for hereditaments occupied for personal use, car parks and parking spaces, or where the rateable value is over £51,000.


This principally covers business used as shops, restaurants, cafes, pubs, cinemas, music venues; hotels, guest and boarding houses, and self-catering accommodation.


Guidance for businesses has been provided on the website setting out details of the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF).

Business rates relief


  • All retail, hospitality and leisure, estate agency and nursery businesses across the UK have been granted a business rates/non-domestic rates holiday for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.
  • Eligibility will follow the RHLGF, covering businesses based in the UK used as shops, restaurants, cafes, pubs, cinemas, music venues; hotels, guest and boarding houses and self-catering accommodation. Helpfully, no action is required by businesses as the rate relief will be applied to council tax bills in April 2020.
  • Relief has also been extended to nursery businesses in England occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register or wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage.

What does it mean for landlords?


  • With regards to the March quarter date (25 March), the government has announced commercial tenants who are unable to pay rent as a result of the impact of COVID-19 will have protection from forfeiture of their leases until at least 30 June 2020.
  • The provision will only delay the right to forfeiture – it will not affect a landlord’s right to claim forfeiture or recover rent after the three-month period ends. The government has said it will monitor the impact on commercial landlords’ cash flow.

Coronavirus account filing for businesses


  • From 25 March 2020, businesses will be able to apply for a three-month extension for filing their accounts to allow them to prioritise managing the impact of Coronavirus.
  • Under normal circumstances, companies that file accounts late are issued with an automatic penalty. However, while corporates will still have to apply for the three-month extension to be granted, those citing issues around COVID-19 will be automatically granted an extension. This application must be processed ahead of the filing deadline; otherwise, the usual fines apply.

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