The pandemic has affected the world, not just in terms of our health but also financially. Ministers have set out plans to provide a targeted ‘support package’ for businesses outside of the hospitality, retail and leisure sectors. This is due to an existing £16 billion business reliefs fund set in place for these business sectors that runs until June 2021, these sectors have not been paying any rates during the pandemic.
Businesses such as shops, restaurants, cafes, pubs, bars, cinemas, music venues, leisure properties, gyms & spas, hotels and accommodation were eligible for the fund but many of the ineligible for this existing fund have been appealing for discounts on their rates leaving many feeling hopeless due to the pandemic. On average, around 170,000 businesses have made claims for MCC’s (Material Change Of Circumstance). The claims were handled by the Valuation Office Agency, but these claims multiplied during the pandemic due to demand.
The businesses that £1.5 billion fund will target will be sectors that have been most negatively affected by the pandemic, making any businesses that are not in any of the listed above eligible. The fund will be shared out across the country by sector, prioritising the businesses that have suffered the most financially, it is aimed to also give businesses certainty over bills and funding so that they can continue to deliver their services.
Our priority throughout this crisis has been to protect jobs and livelihoods. Providing this extra support will get cash to businesses who need it most, quickly and fairly.
– UK Government.
In terms of circulating the fund, it will be done according to official data showing the impacts of the pandemic via sector. This will ensure that all sectors are covered and offered help and will be based off the stock of properties in the areas, who have been affected directly by Covid-19.
The government have made it clear that they will be working with local government to allow business ratepayers to apply for the fund as soon as possible, they are currently waiting on legislation relating to MCC provisions to pass and for local authorities to set up local relief schemes.