In a letter to FWD, HM Treasury has said the £1.5bn rates relief fund announced earlier this year will cover the wholesale sector, and that the Government are currently preparing the guidance for local authorities on the distribution of the Covid-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF). FWD has made further representations to the Chancellor, Financial Secretary, Lucy Fraser and Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove on the need for wholesale to be explicitly referenced in the CARF guidance.
The Rating (Coronavirus) and Directors Disqualification (Dissolved Companies) Bill continues to progress through Parliament. The Bill is due to enter Report Stage in the Lords on Wednesday December 1. At this stage Lords would usually consider amendments to the Bill, but as there are none, it should progress to 3rd Reading swiftly. After this it will return to the Commons for consideration of any new amendments from the Lords before receiving Royal Assent. At this point businesses can apply for funds.
In last month’s Budget the Chancellor announced a 50 per cent business rates relief discount in 2022-23, with a cap of £110,000 per business. FWD wrote to HM Treasury about eligibility for this. In reply HMT said it will be “down to local authorities to determine the eligibility criteria for reliefs and set up their schemes, having regard to guidance issued by the Government.” HM Treasury say “the relief will return to pre-COVID-19 eligibility for retail properties, although hospitality and leisure properties will remain in scope. Further details will be set out in guidance in due course.” This implies that only previously eligible businesses should be in scope, although this has not been confirmed. The guidance for the 50% BRR fund will be published before April 2022, when the scheme goes live.