Coronavirus: support for business

Updated 19.01.21 9:45

The Government has confirmed a package of financial measures to support businesses.

Business grants: Coronavirus

New lockdown grants

The Chancellor has announced one-off top up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses worth up to £9,000 per property to help businesses through to the Spring.

All businesses mandated to close as part of measures introduced for the national lockdown on the 5th January 2021 are eligible for this scheme.

The one-off top-ups will be granted to closed businesses as follows:

  • £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under
  • £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value over £15,000 and less than £51,000
  • £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000.

Businesses which applied for the Support Grant as a result of the National lockdown in November do not need to re-apply. Payments will start to be made from Wednesday 20th January 2021.

By accepting a grant payment, the business is confirming that they are eligible for it.

This new one-off grant comes in addition to the existing business support available.

Support grant

The Government has announced further funding to support businesses that are required to close to due to either local or national restrictions.

Businesses that are eligible to claim the grant are those that have a business rates assessment and have been forced to close by the Government, and include non-essential retail, leisure, personal care, sports facilities and hospitality businesses. This will also include those businesses that were required to close under the Tier 4 local restrictions, in place from the 31st December 2020.

To apply for the support grant you must be registered for business rates with Blackburn with Darwen BC and have a business rates account number. Businesses who have been required to close and who do not have a business rates number, or open businesses severely impacted by the restrictions, should go to the “Discretionary grants” section below.

If you have already applied for and received a grant payment, you do not need to reapply.

Apply

Watch a tutorial on how to create an account.

Christmas support payment for wet-led pubs

The Christmas Support Payment for wet-led pubs is a one-off payment of £1000, to support pubs in Tier 2 and Tier 3 areas where less than 50% of their income is from food sales.

We are currently in the process of contacting all businesses who we believe will qualify. Alternatively you can email us at businessrates@blackburn.gov.uk.

Discretionary grant

In response to the current restrictions, the Council’s discretionary grant programme will deliver limited financial support for businesses required to close who do not have a Business Rates assessment (such as those in shared accommodation), as well as those businesses which remain open but are severely impacted.

In line with the guidance provided to Local Authorities by Government, the Council will look to provide financial support to cover fixed property costs, subject to eligibility and available funds, as outlined in the table below. Further detail is awaited from Government regarding any additional discretionary support to be administered by the Council.

The window for applications will be open from Tuesday 5th January until 23:59 on Sunday 31st January 2021. Businesses which applied for a discretionary grant as a result of the National lockdown in November do not need to re-apply and we will make direct contact with you in due course. Further calls for applications will be made subject to local business need and available funds.

Apply
Rateable value Annual rent or mortgage (where no rateable value) Grant value per 14-day period (starting 31st Dec-13th Jan)
Businesses required to close by law Severely impacted open businesses
£15,000 or less £15,000 or less £667 £467

Over £15,000 and less than £51,000

Over £15,000 and less than £25,000

£1,000 £700
£51,000 and over £25,000 and over £1,500 £1,050

Rateable value and amount of support available

If you are successful with your application the payments will be made as soon as possible, based on the rateable value of your property:-

State aid rules

The Local and National Restrictions Support Grant counts towards state aid. The rules are fully explained in the Government state aid guidance.

By accepting a grant you are confirming that you are not in breach of these rules.

Business rates reliefs 2020/21

100% retail discount

100% retail discount will be awarded to all retail, hospitality and leisure properties (such as museums, live music venues, theatres, gyms and hotels) for the whole of 2020/21, meaning no business rates will be charged.
The following hereditaments that are being used for the provision of the following services will not qualify for the relief:

Financial services (e.g. banks, building societies, cash points, bureaux de change, short-term loan providers) Medical services (e.g. vets, dentists, doctors, osteopaths, chiropractors) *The Government has applied to the EU to waive state aid limits that currently apply.
  • Professional services (e.g. solicitors, accountants, insurance agents/ financial advisers)
  • Post office sorting offices
  • Not reasonably accessible to visiting members of the public
Nursery discount

100% discount will be paid to all premises occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register and wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage and which are subject to business rates in the year 2020/21, meaning that no business rates will be charged.

Additional relief information

Where we can, we will award any relief direct to the account. If you believe you are eligible but have not had the relief awarded to your account, please email us at businessrates@blackburn.gov.uk

You do not need to employ rating agents or other organisations outside of the Council to claim the support that is available. These agents will probably take a percentage of any relief or grant they claim on your behalf. Please be extra careful with what you sign and how you respond to organisations that may contact you offering support.

Cash grant for businesses

The Government grant schemes for small businesses and the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors closed on midnight Friday 28th August 2020.

Recovery

We expect that businesses to maintain their direct debits or payment plans and keep up with their payment plan that is on the bill.

If you are having difficulties paying, you must contact us as soon as possible. To speak to an advisor call 01254 588115 between the hours of 10am and 3pm; alternatively you can email us at businessrates@blackburn.gov.uk

We can check that you are receiving all the discounts and reliefs that you may be entitled to, and discuss payment options with you. We may be able to offer alternative payment dates or extend payments to help you.

If you don't pay

Payments are due on or before the date detailed on your most recent business rates bill. If you do not pay in line with the bill, recovery action will be taken and this may incur further costs.

A reminder notice can be issued at any time after a payment becomes due.

If you fall into arrears again, a final notice will be issued and the full balance of your account will become due, following which, if the amount is not paid in full a Summons will be issued.