What about business rates and grant support?
Please note that the following information refers to England only. Business rates are devolved to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and there may be different arrangements in each country.
In recognition of the likely impact of Covid-19, the Budget introduced temporary 100% business rates relief for the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors – including gyms and sports clubs – for 2020/21 for businesses with certain rateable values.
In addition, the Budget provided that organisations eligible for Small Business Rate Relief would receive a £3,000 grant.
The Chancellor’s speech on 17 March extended this temporary 100% business rates relief to all businesses in these sectors, regardless of their rateable value.
This means all businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will receive 100% business rates relief for 2020/21. The guidance issued to local authorities regarding how to apply this relief has been published by the government and can be accessed here.
This guidance states that the following properties, among others, will be eligible for the relief:
- Sports grounds and clubs
- Sport and leisure facilities
Given that there is now no limit on the rateable value of premises to be eligible, it is our understanding that large sports clubs and stadia will also benefit from 100% relief.
In addition to rates relief, certain retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will also receive cash grants through the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant (RHLG).
Those with a rateable value of less than £15,000 will receive £10,000 and those businesses with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000 will be provided with a grant of £25,000.
Small businesses eligible for Small Businesses Rates Relief or Rural Relief will now be provided with a grant of £10,000 through the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF). This has been increased from the £3,000 grant announced at the Budget.
Recipients eligible for the SBGF will not be eligible for the RHLG.
If you are unsure on the rateable value of your property, you can check this here.
On 2 May, the government announced an additional £617m would be made available to local authorities to offer grants to small businesses outside of the grant funding schemes outlined above. For example, this may include businesses who rent property rather than own it.
Councils will also have scope to adapt their approach to meet local priorities. Further information is due to be provided to local authorities shortly and we will update this page once that information is available.
To find out the full range you government support you may be able to receive, you can use the government’s support finder tool.
Are Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) and charities eligible for this support?
Based on the published guidance above, it is our understanding that the additional rates relief is applied after any mandatory relief received, such as that applied to CASCs and charities. Therefore, these organisations should benefit from the full 100% relief.
However, please note that the guidance confirms that it is for local authorities to administer a local scheme and determine in each individual case when to grant relief.
As regards grant support, see below.
How do I claim for business rates relief and grant support?
To access rate relief, you do not need to do anything as it should be reflected in your bill. However, should you have any queries over eligibility for, or provision of, the relief you should contact your local authority.
Local authorities are in the process of contacting all organisations who are eligible for the RHLG or SBGF. This may be done either electronically or through the post, so it is suggested you check the post at your registered address, if it is safe for you to do so.
If you believe you are eligible for either the RHLG or SBGF and you have not been contacted by your local authority, we suggest making contact with them to clarify this.
Funding for the grants has now been made available to local authorities.
What rates category has my property been assigned?
We are aware that a number of local authorities are initially basing eligibility for grants on the category assigned to the property when calculating its rateable value for business rates purposes.
However, in some cases this might not accurately identify the property as being used for sport and leisure purposes.
The guidance states that eligibility for the grants is dependent on what the premises is used for, rather than a category that it may have been assigned.
Therefore, if you have been informed by your local authority that you are not eligible, we suggest highlighting the guidance to them.
You can find out the category assigned to your property by using this online tool.