The Government has announced £1.5bn in rates relief for businesses affected by Covid-19 outside the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. The announcement explicitly includes wholesalers as being eligible businesses, and is the first traction we have had on business rates after exactly a year of campaigning by the whole trade. Thank you all for your help and input over the past year, we finally have some good news on business rates. We are working with Government colleagues on the details of this fund and will pass onto members as soon as we have more.
The announcement included the following case study:
Illustrative Case Study 2 – Food wholesaler operating from a warehouse outside of London:
Business rates are devolved, so the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive an additional £285 million through the Barnett formula.
Wholesalers are eligible to claim Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) support via their local authority, and guidance for councils updated this week states: “Local Authorities are encouraged to support businesses from all sectors that may have been severely impacted by restrictions, but are not eligible for the Restart Grant scheme. This may include … wholesalers.”
FWD has been helping members to access ARG funding by engaging with their local councils and MPs, leading to substantial extra funding for those we have assisted.
The £2.2billion funding for Local Authority discretionary grants to businesses affected by the Covid restrictions has now been transferred to councils in England. Members should visit their council’s website to find out how to apply for the Additional Restrictions Grant, which provides support to businesses which have not had to close but which are impacted by Covid-19.
In its guidance to Local Authorities, the Business Department states: “We encourage Local Authorities to develop discretionary grant schemes to help those businesses which – while not legally forced to close – are nonetheless severely impacted by the restrictions put in place to control the spread of Covid-19. This could include businesses which supply the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors, or businesses in the events sector.”
In reply to a parliamentary question on November 16, Minister Kemi Badenoch said: “We have provided Local Authorities with a further £1.1billion across England via the Additional Restrictions Grant. Local Authorities have discretion on how to use this funding to support businesses in their areas, but we encourage them to set up discretionary grant schemes to support businesses such as wholesalers which can remain open, but which are nonetheless severely affected by the enhanced COVID-19 restrictions.
Wholesalers should check their local authority’s website for details of how to apply for the Additional Restrictions Grant.
Guidance has been updated with details of how to claim for periods after November 1, 2020. November 30 2020 is the last day employers can submit or change claims for periods ending on or before October 31, 2020. Claims for furlough days in November 2020 must be submitted by December 14, 2020.