Updates from the council on coronavirus

Check the latest advice on COVID-19 →

Applying for business rate relief and other grants due to coronavirus

In response to additional pressures placed on businesses due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Government are providing the following additional Business Rate support to businesses as a temporary measure for 2020/21:

Retail Discount: To support small businesses affected by COVID-19 the government has increased the existing Retail Relief  to 100% for 2020-21. The relief will also be expanded to the leisure and hospitality sectors and is now likely to include museums, theatres, pubs, restaurants, gyms and hotels. We have identified the businesses eligible this relief and have applied the reduction and issued new bills accordingly.

Pubs Discount: To support small businesses affected by COVID-19 the government has increased the existing Pub Relief  scheme to £5,000 however it is likely that most premises will also qualify for 100% retail discount. We have identified the businesses eligible for this discount and have applied the reduction and issued new bills accordingly

Nurseries: The Government are providing support to assist non-local authority child care providers such as Nurseries and Day Care Centres.  Properties that will benefit from this 100% relief will be those which are occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register and wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage. We have identified the businesses eligible this discount and have applied the reduction and issued new bills accordingly.

Business Support grants

The government have set up a website that allows you to check what you may be entitled to. Please visit the Business Support Campaign website for further details before making your application.

Small Business Grant: A £10,000 cash grant is set to be provided to any business with Rateable Value of less than £15,000, already entitled to Small Business Rates Relief.

Retail Relief Scheme 2A: A £10,000 cash grant is available to any Retail Hospitality or Leisure business with Rateable Value of less than £15,000, who do not qualify for Small Business Rates Relief.

Retail Relief Scheme 2B: A £25,000 cash grant is available to any Retail Hospitality or Leisure business with Rateable Value between £15,001 and £50,999. State Aid De minimis limits apply

Local Authority Discretionary Fund: A discretionary fund has been set up to accommodate certain small businesses previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme.  This additional fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs.  Businesses must be small with under 50 employees and must be able to demonstrate that they have seen a significant drop in income due to the Coronavirus restriction measures.  When further guidance is received from the government Sandwell will launch its scheme as well as a method for businesses to apply for this grants.

Information required for accessing potential grants

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy have provided the following guidance around the Small Business and Retail, Leisure & Hospitality Grant Schemes.

In early April Sandwell Council wrote to the businesses it believed qualified for one of the grants. Since sending out letters inviting businesses to apply for Business Grants, Council Officers have attempted to telephone or email those businesses yet to complete a form to remind them to make an application.

 The letter advises that in order to access any available grant, you will need to complete an on-line application form via our MySandwell Portal

  • If you already have a MySandwell account, this link takes you straight to the form.
  • If you don’t, you will need to set up a MySandwell account first (an easy process whereby you provide your name, email address & create a password. You'll then get an email asking you to confirm your registration of the set-up of the MySandwell account by clicking on the embedded link in the email. Once you've created your MySandwell account, which should only take a couple of minutes, you will be able to access the Grant Application Form)

The form will ask a series of mandatory questions which include

  • Your Business Rates account number
  • Confirmation of the ratepayer’s name and property address
  • Company Name (as per Companies House)
  • VAT number
  • HMRC registration details
  • Companies House Registration Number
  • Bank details for payment
    • As part of the application process you will be asked to upload a copy of your business' latest bank statement (For limited companies, this must be a company bank account. We are not be able to pay grants for a limited company into a personal bank account)
  • Confirmation of your correct business entity (Ltd Company, Partnership, Charity, Sole Trader etc)
  • Indication of which potential grant you’re applying for, either:
    • Small Business Grant of £10,000 for properties with a rateable value below £15,000,
    • Retail Grant of £10,000 for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure businesses operating from premises with a rateable value below £15,000, or
    • Retail Grant of £25,000 for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure businesses operating from premises with a rateable value over £15,000 but below £51,000

State Aid

The United Kingdom left the EU on 31 January 2020, nonetheless under the Withdrawal Agreement the State Aid rules continue to apply during a transition period, subject to regulations by the EU Commission.

Whilst the Government have advised that State Aid does not apply to any extended retail, hospitality and leisure relief awarded during the financial year 2020/21, it is still a consideration if you intend to apply for funds via one of the Business Support Grants

The Council must be satisfied that all State Aid requirements have been fully met and complied with when making grant payments including, where required, compliance with all relevant conditions of the EU Sate Aid De-Minimis Regulation, the EU Commission Temporary Framework for State Aid measures to support the economy in the current COVID-19 outbreak, the UK notified and approved Scheme under that Temporary Framework and any relevant reporting requirements to the EU Commission.

Payments under the Small Business Grant Fund can be made under the existing de minimis rules with a state aid limit of €200,000 over three years. Payments under the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund can be made under the UK Covid 19 Temporary Framework for UK Authorities subject to:
a) €800,000 limit; and
b) recipient confirming they were not an undertaking in difficulty (within the definition of Article 2(18) of the General Block Exemption Regulation) on 31 December 2019


Further information on state aid law can be found on the gov.uk website.


Exclusions
The grant is for small business or retail premises only and will not be paid where:

  • The property was empty as at 11th March
  • The property is occupied for personal use e.g. private stables and loose boxes, moorings, or used as a car park and parking spaces.
  • The business was in liquidation or insolvent on 11 March 2020.
  • The property has a rateable value of £51,000 or over
  • In addition:
    • The key date for either grant scheme is 11th March 2020 so if your property is not designated as a Retail or Small Business premises with a Rateable Value under £51,000 as of this date, you will not qualify
    • Only one grant may be awarded per business property
  • If you are not liable for business rates because you pay your rates in with your rent, no grant can be awarded as per current Government guidelines

To help us process your application

•    Payments may be delayed if the details on your grant application do not match the current details on your business rates account. (e.g. Business rates accounts shows in the name of a sole trader or partnership, but the partner(s) have changed, or the business had become a limited company). If this applies to you, then an email to the business rates team at business_rates@sandwell.gov.uk to explain the difference in names may help us process your application faster. Please ensure you quote your business rates account number and the word 'grant' in the subject header

 

Not registered for Business Rates?

If you are calling in order to access possible grants but don't believe you are currently registered for business rates despite being responsible for the premises, please email the team via business_rates@sandwell.gov.uk to provide your full details.

1.    Address of premises concerned
2.    Name of Company

  • If Registered Company: Name of company; Company Registration Number; Registered Office Address and previous business address
  • If sole trader/partnership: Proprietors and Trade Name; home address and any previous business address

3.    Contact details
4.    If owned: Date of occupation (and date of purchase if different to date of occupation)
5.    If leased: Details of lease (if applicable)

  • Start date of lease
  • Length of lease/expiry
  • Actual occupation date
  • Name, address and contact details of owner
  • Name, address and contact details of Managing Agent
  • Please also upload a signed copy of your lease

6.    Please indicate if you occupy another premises, if so provide the address and rateable value(s) of any other premises in England where you are responsible for Business Rates
7.    In order to access any available grant you will also need to provide the details laid out in above under  the heading ‘Information required for accessing potential grants’

Fill in the grant application form

What happens after I complete my grant application?

Business Support Grants: Once we have received your completed online form and bank statement, we are required to carry out some due diligence checks to verify the information you have provided. If it is established you are eligible for a grant, it will be paid into your bank account via BACS. We appreciate that these are difficult times for our business community and we aim to deal with applications as quickly as possible. However due to the high volume of applications it may take up to 10-15 days to check and process your application. All businesses will receive a letter confirming whether or not they are eligible and payment will be made to eligible businesses by BACS.

For further help and advice for businesses during the COVID-19 situation please visit www.gov.uk/business-support.