Policy

Discretionary Business Rates Grants Revised Scheme

Last updated 15 June 2020

 

Introduction

This discretionary grant scheme is intended to assist businesses and other organisations in Wyre Forest whose income has been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and which have not received funding from certain other Government support schemes.

This scheme describes businesses that are not eligible for support; those that are potentially eligible and the amount of grant that Wyre Forest District Council will pay you; and a summary of the information that we will require in order to assess your eligibility. 

Deadline for applications

The deadline for applications was 12 noon on Friday 28 August 2020. Late applications will not be considered.

Information on how to make an application.

If you have questions and need to speak to someone before making your application, please contact ctax@wyreforestdc.gov.uk or 01562 732928.

Businesses that are not eligible

Please read this scheme carefully and do not waste your time or ours by applying if your business is not eligible. Please note that there are only very limited circumstances where a business operated from a residential address may qualify for a grant, such as a bed & breakfast which pays council tax or a business where part of the residential property, such as an outbuilding, is subject to business rates. 

Your business will not be eligible if:

  1. It has received or is eligible for cash grants from any of the following central government COVID-related schemes:
    • Small Business Grant Fund
    • Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant
    • The Fisheries Response Fund
    • Domestic Seafood Supply Scheme (DSSS).
    • The Zoos Support Fund
    • The Dairy Hardship Fund
    (Payments under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme or the Self Employment Income Support Scheme do NOT count and do not affect eligibility.)
  2. It ceased trading before 11 March 2020 or began trading only after 11 March 2020. The business must have been trading on 11 March 2020.
  3. It is a company in administration, insolvent or where a striking-off notice has been made.

Potentially eligible businesses and indicative grant allocations

Type of business

Grant amount per business

Small businesses or other organisations in shared offices or other flexible workspaces. Examples could include units in industrial parks, science parks and incubators which do not have their own business rates assessment. This level of grant is available to development trusts constituted as community interest companies.

In the case of business improvement district companies, a higher level of grant of £25,000 may be paid. 

£10,000

 

Regular market traders with fixed building costs, such as rent, who do not have their own business rates assessment

£2,000 for each day’s worth of normal market activity in Wyre Forest in a week, subject to maximum payment of £10,000 (See note 1)

Bed & Breakfasts which pay Council Tax instead of business rates (see note 2)

£10,000

 

Charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief.

£10,000

 

Businesses that are liable for business rates and whose business is wholly or mainly in the supply chain for the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. The rateable value to be used for the purposes of this grant scheme is the rateable value on 11 March 2020. 

£10,000 (Rateable value less than £15k)

£25,000 (Rateable value £15,001k to £75k)

 

Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses that would otherwise have received a Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant but were ineligible because they had a Rateable Value on 11 March 2020 of £15,001 to £85,000 (see note 3).

£25,000

Hospitality and tourism businesses that would otherwise have received a Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant but were ineligible because they had a Rateable Value on 11 March 2020 over £85,000 (see note 3). Only  businesses with a VOA code on the rating list of CH (hotels) and LX (leisure, but excluding any business that consists mainly or wholly of a gym) are eligible for this grant.

£25,000

Registered charities occupying offices (VOA code CO on the rating list), subject to a rateable value limit of £75k.

This grant may be paid in addition to any discretionary grant for another, separate property occupied by the charity, such as a shop.

£10,000 (Rateable value less than £15k)

£25,000 (Rateable value £15,001k to £75k)

A town or parish council occupying a building that falls within VOA code LX in the rating list subject to officers being content regarding proof of loss of income. 

£10,000 (Rateable value less than £15k)

£25,000 (Rateable value £15,001k to £75k)

Note 1: market traders who pay rent or a licence fee for a regular pitch can qualify for a grant of £2,000 for each day in a week that they normally trade in the Wyre Forest area, subject to a maximum payment of £10,000. This is to recognise that many market traders operate in more than one council area and may trade in Wyre Forest for (say) only one or two days week. These arrangements ensure fairness among market traders – that a trader who operates in Wyre Forest only one day a week should not receive the same grant as a trader who operates in Wyre Forest six days a week – and also fairness with other types of business that receive grants under this scheme.

Note 2: For Bed and Breakfasts to be eligible for the grant, they must meet the requirements of section 66(2) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 and, as a consequence, not be liable for non-domestic rates. In summary, the accommodation must be provided for short periods to individuals whose sole or main residence is elsewhere; must not be self-contained self-catering accommodation provided commercially; and must not be provided for more than six persons simultaneously. In addition the person providing such accommodation should have his or her sole or main residence within the building throughout any period when such accommodation is to be provided.

Note 3 – details of the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant scheme may be seen at this link   https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-business-support-grant-funding

Note 4 – for clarification, a business may be eligible if it has only one operating site in Wyre Forest even though it may have operating sites in other areas, regardless of the company structure of the business. However support is subject to State Aid limits and therefore this clarification will not benefit national or major regional chains. 

Summary of information that you will need to provide to support a successful application

You will need to provide information to demonstrate that your business has suffered a loss in gross income as a result of COVID-19 and that it has property-related costs.

 

You will be asked to provide bank statements to show how gross income has fallen since the last set of audited accounts or, if no such accounts are available, bank statements covering the period during which the business has traded to show how income has been affected by COVID-19. We would expect the recent bank  statements to show that income in March 2020 onwards has ceased completely or significantly reduced compared to a previous equivalent period. It does not matter if you have not been trading for more than 12 months and therefore that there are no audited accounts available. Evidence of  a previous equivalent period could take the form of:

  • accounts for the most recent 12 month period that have been audited e.g. financial year 2018-19 or calendar year 2019;
  • draft accounts that have not yet been audited e.g. for the financial year 2019-20;
  • bank account statements for the period March to May 2019;
  • bank account statements for a period before March 2020, but not earlier than March 2019.

 Generally, a “significant reduction in income” would be at least 50% but we reserve the right to look at the expenditure and income of the business in order to reach a view on eligibility in cases where the reduction in income is less than 50%. We would not expect to pay any grant for a business where the reduction in income is less than 25%.

Evidence will be required to show that the business was and continues to be liable for fixed property-related costs, such as  rent, business rates, council tax or a loan in respect of the purchase of the property occupied by the business.

In the case of a business wholly or mainly in the supply chain for the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, evidence will be required to demonstrate that the majority of the business’s gross income was derived from businesses that are eligible for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure grant fund (or would have been so eligible if not precluded by reason of their rateable value).

If applicable, registration number of company at Companies House or charity number issued by Charity Commission.

 

A declaration that, for a business in a shared office or other flexible work space, the owner(s) or director(s) of the business are not among the owner(s) or director(s) of a company or business that is liable for business rates of that hereditament and has received or is eligible for cash grants from any of the following central government COVID-related schemes:

  • Small Business Grant Fund
  • Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant
  • The Fisheries Response Fund
  • Domestic Seafood Supply Scheme (DSSS).
  • The Zoos Support Fund
  • The Dairy Hardship Fund.

 A declaration that, if a grant was awarded to your business, it would not exceed State Aid limits. We will include the detailed information that you need to consider in the application process as well as the declaration that you will need to make. You can see information in paragraphs 47 to 51 of the Government’s guidance and model declarations in Annex B

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-business-support-grant-funding

A declaration that you are providing correct information to the best of your knowledge and belief; and to acknowledge that the council reserves the right to check details (including through fraud-checking and other information services available to it); that the council may take recovery action in the event of incorrect information being provided; and that, in cases of suspected fraud, the council may refer the matter to the police. 

You will not be asked to provide bank account details as part of the application. If the council decides that your business is eligible, we will contact you separately to ask for confirmation of this information as we will pay any grant by BACS transfer.

If you are not happy with the decision that we take on your application

If you are unhappy with the decision we reach, you can ask for it to be reviewed.

A review can result in confirmation of the original decision; a decision to award a grant when one was not awarded by the original decision; a decision to award a different level of grant (which might be higher or lower than the original grant); or, if the review identifies that your business is not eligible, the withdrawal of any grant awarded in the original decision.

The result of any review will be final although you will have the right to complain to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman if you consider that there has been maladministration causing an injustice. You will be sent information about the Ombudsman with the decision on a review.