Some business ratepayers adversely affected by COVID-19 are to get a share of a £1.5 billion discount on their bills. Key features of the scheme include:
- new Business Rates relief fund of £1.5 billion for businesses affected by COVID-19 outside the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors
- targeted support delivered as appeals against rates bills on basis of material changes of circumstance due to the pandemic to be ruled out
- the relief fund will get cash to affected businesses in the most proportionate and equitable way
Ministers have set out plans this week to provide an extra, targeted support package for businesses who have been unable to benefit from the existing £16 billion business rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses. Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses have not been paying any rates during the pandemic, as part of a 15 month-long relief which runs to the end of June this year.
Many of those ineligible for reliefs have been appealing for discounts on their rates bills, arguing the pandemic represented a ‘material change of circumstance’ (MCC). The government has clarified that market-wide economic changes to property values, such as from COVID-19, can only be properly considered at general rates revaluations, and will therefore be legislating to rule out COVID-19 related MCC appeals. Instead the government is providing this new scheme; funds to be distributed across the country according to which sectors have suffered most economically,