Thousands of high street firms are beginning to receive £25,000 cash grants and will be exempt from business rates from today (Wednesday 1st April 2020) – as they begin to benefit from a £22 billion package.
As part of a raft of unprecedented measures announced by the Chancellor to support those affected by the coronavirus outbreak, eligible properties, including those in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, will not pay business rates for the next 12 months. The measure comes into force today and will save firms in England £11 billion.
The smallest businesses in these sectors are also beginning to receive one off grants of either £10,000 or £25,000, with money landing in their bank accounts.
Rishi Sunak commented:
High street businesses are at the core of what keeps our economy thriving.
That is why we are taking the unprecedented step to provide businesses with the vital cash they need to ensure their survival during this difficult time, with 300 businesses having already received money in their accounts.
An early payment of £3.4 billion was made to local authorities last week (Friday 27th March 2020) to ensure grants would get to businesses as soon as possible.
The business rates holiday, which also applies to England’s nurseries, forms part of the government’s economic response to Covid-19.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said:
Business rates can often be one of the main fixed costs for small companies up and down the country, which is why today’s suspension of business rates for retailers and our hospitality and leisure industries will offer much-needed support in these challenging times.
The rates relief and grants are in addition to the government’s wide-ranging support for the economy. This includes the government paying the wages of millions of employed and self-employed people by covering 80% of monthly incomes through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self Employment Income Support Scheme.