Health and wellbeing Coronavirus - Businesses and employers

Business rates

Last updated 10.36am, Wednesday 6 May

Government has confirmed a package of financial measures to support businesses. There is more detail about these reliefs and grants below. You should read the guidance below and look at the annual Business Rates bill that was recently issued to see which grant or relief you may be entitled to.

The Government has announced additional funding aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs not eligible for these grants. They are asking local authorities to prioritise businesses in shared spaces, regular market traders, small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief, and bed and breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates.

You do not need to employ Rating Agents or other organisations outside the Council to claim the support that is available. These agents will probably take a percentage of any relief or grant they claim on your behalf. Please be extra careful with what you sign and how you respond to organisations that may contact you offering support.
 

Reliefs in response to coronavirus

Expanded Retail Discount

The 100% retail discount has been extended to all retail, hospitality and leisure properties (such as museums, theatres, gyms and hotels) for the whole of 2020/21. Financial, medical and professional services will not qualify for this relief (e.g. banks, building societies, cash points, bureaux de change, payday lenders, vets, dentists, doctors, osteopaths, chiropractors, solicitors, accountants, insurance agents and financial advisers).

We expect to award the Expanded Retail Discount in the week commencing 13 April 2020. If your business is eligible, you will be sent a new bill showing that you have nothing to pay for 2020/21.

Where possible we have granted this relief automatically and you will have recieved a bill telling you that it has been granted.

If you have not received a bill and believe that you are entitled, you can still apply.

Nursery Discount

100% relief has been paid to all premises, that according to our records are qualifying properties occupied by non-Local Authority providers who are on Ofsted’s Early Years Register, and whose property is wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage and which are subject to business rates in the year 2020/21.

Once this discount is awarded you will receive an amended rate demand showing the relief has been paid.

Grants available

Small Business Grant

If your business is getting Small Business Rates Relief on 11 March 2020 (including those with rateable value between £12,000 and £15,000 getting tapered relief), you may be entitled to a payment of £10,000, subject to government guidance. Properties occupied for personal use do not qualify.

  • If we think you are eligible for the £10,000 Small Business Rates Grant, and we have your bank details (because you pay by direct debit), we may have already paid this into your bank account. For other businesses that are liable for Business Rates on our system, we have written to the address we currently hold with a request form and covering letter. Please read the instructions carefully and remember to forward a copy of your business bank statement. As soon as we receive a response we will be able to consider your application.

Apply for a small business rates grant

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant

If your business is in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector.

If your business has a rateable value less than £51,000 and you do not qualify for the Small Business Rates Grant above, you may be entitled to a grant payment of 

  • £10,000 if your RV is £15,000 or less; or
  • £25,000 if your RV is over £15,000 but less than £51,000.

If we think you are eligible for the £10,000 or £25,000 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant and we have your bank details (because you pay by direct debit), we may have already made a payment directly into your bank account. If we do not have your bank details we will write to you in the week commencing 13 April 2020 asking for them and other essential information. Please read the letter and form carefully and include all the requested information with your response. As soon as we receive a response we will be able to consider your application.

Apply for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant

We are receiving further government guidance regularly and will update this information as we receive it. The initial funding from the government has been received. Where we can, we will award any grant directly to the business’s bank account. If you have made an application for one of these grants, but haven’t heard from us by 18 May, please email us at businessrates@manchester.gov.uk

Recovery

We expect that those businesses that can afford to pay maintain their direct debits or payment plans and keep up with their payment plan that is on the bill.

However, to support businesses that may be struggling at this time, we have agreed the following actions, following the award of the reliefs described above.

  • We have suspended all action by enforcement agents to recover business rates that are overdue until the end of June;
  • For businesses that contact us, we will agree special payment plans so that the business rates due for 2020/21 are split over 9 months from July 2020 to March 2021, meaning that businesses will not have to pay anything until July; 
  • For businesses that are in the retail, hospitality or leisure industry we have suspended all recovery action for an initial three month period. We will consider requests from other businesses and organisations based on their circumstances.
  • We would urge all businesses to pay what they can and seek advice where possible from their bank or other business support.

Direct Debits for those in receipt of Retail Relief

In March, to support Manchester businesses who may be struggling at this time, we agreed that we would not submit a claim to banks for any direct debits that were due in April until the 100% Retail Relief has been applied. 

We agreed that we would not take payments and reprofile payment arrangements over the remaining monthly installments where appropriate.

Now that all Retail Relief has been applied, we will resume direct debits from 21 May 2020. 

If your business cancelled your direct debit arrangements during this time, we would advise you to reinstate them before 20 May or prepare to pay their bill online.

For those businesses paying business rates in 10 monthly installments, payment arrangements have been reprofiled as follows:

  • Payments taken on the 7th of each month have been reprofiled to cover 10 months from June 2020  - March 2021 
  • Payments taken on the 15th of each month have been reprofiled to cover 10 months from June 2020  - March 2021 
  • Payments taken on the 21st of each month have been reprofiled to cover 10 months from May 2020 - February 2021 
  • Payments taken on the 28th of each month have been reprofiled to cover 10 months from May 2020 to February 2021  

For those businesses paying business rates in 12 monthly installments, payment arrangements have been reprofiled as follows:

  • Payments taken on the 7th of each month have been reprofiled to cover 10 months from June 2020  - March 2021 
  • Payments taken on the 15th of each month have been reprofiled to cover 10 months from June 2020  - March 2021 
  • Payments taken on the 21st of each month have been reprofiled to cover 11 months from May 2020 - March 2021 
  • Payments taken on the 28th of each month have been reprofiled to cover 11 months from May 2020 to March 2021  

We would encourage any businesses that are struggling to contact us via email at businessrates@manchester.gov.uk so that we can ensure that you have access to all the support available to you. We will come back to you as promptly as we can.

Businesses not in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief

Government has made available funding packages to support businesses during the Covid-19 outbreak. 

To access this funding, the recipients must already be eligible for, and in receipt of, Small Business Rate Relief.

Unfortunately, businesses that occupy either serviced accommodation, pay inclusive rent and rates to their landlord or are registered at a domestic address - are excluded from the current government scheme. 

This might include: some market stalls, food halls, serviced offices and businesses in enterprise zones.  

This applies in all Local Authority areas and is not a matter of local discretion. 

Leaders at both a local Council and Greater Manchester level are urging the Government to change the current national scheme to ensure it can support all businesses that need it.

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