Thousands of small retailers miss out on business rates funding due to “anomaly”

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Thousands of small retailers miss out on business rates funding due to
// Thousands of retailers to lose out on £15,000 of government grant funding due to an “anomaly”
// 3657 high street business will only be able to receive £10,000 grants despite not receiving the previous benefit of small business rates relief
// But if these firms were to have their valuations just £1 higher, they would be able to receive a further £15,000 each

Thousands of small retailers in England are each set to lose out on £15,000 of government grant funding due to an “anomaly”, according to real estate experts.

The retailers are among more than 3650 small shops, pubs and restaurants that could be affected, experts at real estate advisory firm Altus Group have said.

An early payment of business rates totalling around £3.4 billion was made to councils last week to ensure that grants of up to £25,000 would get to businesses as soon as possible to help negate the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis.


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Businesses with a rateable value of more than £15,000 will be eligible for the full £25,000 grant.

Meanwhile, retailers with a value of £15,000 or less will only be eligible for £10,000 grants.

The government introduced the threshold as retailers valued below £15,000 had previously been eligible for small business rates relief.

However, this relief was tapered between £12,001 and £15,000, meaning that firms with a rateable value of £12,001 would have their rates reduced by 100 per cent, with the size of the cut reducing until those with a £15,000 valuation receive a zero per cent cut.

Altus Group said this meant there were thousands of companies with a valuation of exactly £15,000, which have previously received no small business rates relief, but will now be ineligible for the £25,000 grants.

It said government figures reveal 3657 high street business will only be able to receive £10,000 grants despite not receiving the previous benefit of small business rates relief.

Altus Group said that if these firms were to have their valuations just £1 higher, they would be able to receive a further £15,000 each, totalling £55 million for all firms.

“This is an anomaly and obvious unfairness in the design of the grant funding scheme,” Altus Group head of business rates Robert Hayton said.

“It is particularly harsh on those businesses occupying a property with a rateable value of exactly £15,000.

“With thresholds there will always be winners and losers and these are found at the upper end too.”

Nevertheless, all high street firms have had their business rates payments waived for the current financial year as part of the Treasury’s package to support firms in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

A Treasury spokesman said: “The Chancellor has outlined an unprecedented package of measures to protect millions of people’s jobs and incomes as part of the national effort in response to coronavirus.

“That means retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will pay no business rates in 2020-21 and will receive grants on top of that to help them cover their bills.

“In addition to that the government is providing cash grants to businesses to pay 80 per cent of the cost of staff wages, up to a maximum of £2500.

“It also includes an enhanced Time to Pay offer to fit the specific impacts of Covid-19 to allow all individuals and businesses more time to pay tax bills.”

with PA Wires

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70 COMMENTS

  1. like many sme’s I am caught in another trap.
    Furniture is a big bulky item, thus I have a warehouse for stock. The shop will not have to pay business rates this year, my warehouse will…reasoning by govt , warehouse is not open to public thus not retail, but I only have warehouse because I am retail. The chancellor said no retail business would have to pay br, the warehouse is part of my business thus I should be exempt but not so. Most of my £25k grant will go on rent for the shop and rent and br on warehouse, never mind other running costs and the fact that when we do reopen business will take a year to recover.

  2. We also miss out on the £25k grant. We are a retail jewellers with two shops that we merged in into one unit on one lease. Because of the high rents in St.Albans we also have high rateable values. The combined rateable value of our units is £53k, £2k over the amount to receive the grant. We therefore receive nothing. £25k grant could save our business and allow us to pay the rent.

  3. We are a Solicitors firm with RV at £21500 but are not entitled as we are not retail industry although rated as A2 professional services. Our office is closed and the police are not arresting many people so we are are hard hit.

  4. Also, small businesses that have not applied for small business rates relief by 11/03/2020 for what ever reason or registered their business with local council, but were running their business at at that date, may miss out.

    Please check if this is correct. Seems unfair.

  5. I’m even worse my 3 business all run off my lap top.no business no money 3000 a month to zero buy because I don’t have rareable premises I’m excluding from the grants altogether I have continued exp but no way of meeting them so I’m busy your lucky that your getting something at least

    • Isn’t the rateable value and what the business is actually charged 2 different things. When the multiplier .499p (20/21)is applied to the rateable value of £15000 it gives a bill of £7485. With a grant of £10000 wouldn’t that more than pay for the bill for the year 2020/21 and leave £2515 for the period 2019/20. If the business was keeping up with their payments, it would seem there should only be March 2019 to pay and £2515 would be more than enough for March 2019 and cover payments for more months in the tax period 2019/20 if they weren’t paying.which they really should have been paying.

      I stand corrected. This is very difficult time for us all including the government.

      • Rateable value is a rough indicator on the amount of rent paid per year. Our rateable value is £14500 but we pay £19500 per year rent. £10000 will not go far when you still have rent and other costs with no income coming in.

  6. I fall foul with a 15k rateable value, although the valuers actual figure is £15042 before rounding down. I have a pub in a coastal holiday village, where many of the holiday homes will be entitled to the same 10k as me because they register them as businesses to avoid paying council tax, the small businesses relief having reduced their bill to zero in previous years. These properties have no where near the overheads that my business has, especially maintaining staff, and I have no income coming in whatsoever. Rate relief went up to £14999.00 and the next tear should have started at £15000. 0% Cannot be counted as a relief.

    • This is the same for us as well. I really don’t understand how this is fair at all. Our local market stall can get the same amount with barely any overheads. I’m so furious and nobody can give clear answer on this.

    • Have you found any further information on this?
      I have sent to my mp and they are taking back to government to discuss.
      My value is listed as £15k but breakdown clearly shows £15202.
      I have not ever received small business rates and should not fall in the same bracket.
      It is a clear oversight that needs to be Resolved ASAP to keep 3500 business running.

  7. What about people that runs businesses from home. Specifically limited companies. Even more so Directors with small pay and making up their wage with dividend payments.

    We don’t seem to count for help under any scheme from the government for any financial help what so ever.

    • if you run a business from home you should be paying business rates not council tax if im correct ? so you should qualify for the £10,000 grant.

  8. One of our staff were used to work for other company and she leave that job on 29 February 2020. She joined us 1st March 2020. In this scenario she is not able to qualify for furloughed. Which is really unfair.

  9. Same for my restaurant, I miss out on any grant funding (as will many others). Our Rateable Value is 56k. We simply will go under. Nine years of a successful restaurant and our entire investment – just gone.

  10. My shop’s rateable value £17000 but I only received £10000. And not sure when this is reduced from 25k.
    Also it seems most Buisness getting the similar grant and some are still trading such as food, post office etc .
    My business being a clothing and classes as non essential.
    We had the loss of trade even before lockdown and it will take lot more time to pick up compare to other’s businesses such as saloon …
    Feel it’s unfair to treat all category of business as same.

    • Hi Sadik, how did you manage to get £10000 as if you didn’t already get small business rate relief ( which is only available up to 15000 ) and your rateable value is 17000 then you not eligible for any money at all. Well done for getting some money but I’d be interested to hear how you managed it.

  11. My business falls short for the £25k by a few quid. I’ve written to our MP but of course have not had a response.
    The viability of businesses should have been assessed. I know of a business which had shut down as not viable which received a £25k grant.
    Also, to add insult to injury, as owner, I won’t receive any income support.
    Very frustrating. And I feel sorry for bigger businesses too who fell outside of the threshold due to being too big.

  12. We have a Self Storage Licence Agreement running an online retail business from a Self Storage Company on an industrial estate.
    A flat Licence Fee is paid on a monthly basis. It does not separately mention of any amount is charged for Business Rates.
    Hence, we are not paying Rates directly to Local Council
    Under the Government scheme, the grants are only payable to the company/person paying the business rates.
    Business like us and they are in hundreds of thousands across the country, are indirectly paying Business Rates via storage Companies but have no excess to government grants. These business have all the same costs and operation situation as one registered with Council for the Rates to the council.
    Is there any guidance one can comment and advise.

    • If you run from a self storage company. You should check with them as when you sign a lease they have to advice the council who the rate payer is and this would be yourself. If you call your local council also and give them the address of your unit they should be able to tell you if you are down as the rate payer even if you pay nothing as you would be eligible for small business rate relief. Give them a call because aslong as you have an address and unit number then by law the storage company need to put you down as the person occupying the unit otherwise they have to pay rates for empty units.

  13. There will always be anomalies.However what concerns me more are that certain rogue business rates firms are trying to charge small businesses a cut of the rates reliefs for this year plus a percentage of the grants.This is pure profiteering and these firms should be given the adverse publicity they deserve and be wound up by the insolvency agency

  14. What about landlords with empty shop premises because the tenants closed. No income and having to pay full business rates when previous tenants got rates relief! Area in Blackpool is deprived already so little chance in finding new tenants before now no chance.

    • We are in the same boat. A large empty commercial premises that is exempt from BR due to it being empty and a listed building.
      No grants.
      A restauranteur was supposed to sign a 20 year lease for it 4 weeks ago after 3 months drawing up the lease with Solicitors.
      He’s pulled out.
      No help.
      Left with a large Solicitors bill.
      We have bridging finance on the same property that expired in March. They have said they will extend by 6 months however its massive interest to find every month and if the pandemic didn’t hit us we would of had a tenant for 20 years with an income and transferred the bridging loan to a commercial mortgage.
      3 commercial lenders have pulled their mortgage offers over the last 2 months.
      So all in all a shit show …….

  15. We are a small high street paying high street rates with no business rates as it is under £12k. Have not received anything from the Local Authority. Not where the money is going to go where local authorities are concerned..local governments are a law unto themselves!

  16. We are a small high street paying high street rates with no business rates as it is under £12k. I have not received anything from the Local Authority. Not where the money is going to go where local authorities are concerned..local governments are a law unto themselves!

    • Hi
      You need to fill in the online form for the local authorities whom your business rates is registered with . They usually make payment with 7-10 days .

      Hope this helps

  17. My business occupies a ground floor office premise and its shared with another business, we occupy two thirds of the office and they occupy only one third.
    The business rates are in their name and therefore we are not able to get any of the grant – does anyone know how we go about ensuring we get what we are entitled to as we pay two thirds of every bill including the lease ! Thanks in advance.

  18. We have received £10k grant, our rateable value is on 15k(rounded down from £15028) I really don’t understand how they can get away with £10k grant instead of £25k this is a huge difference for a small business. Also confused how can they draw the line of on 15000.01 ( clearly nobody can ever have that valuation unless they check the total value…) 🙁

  19. I don’t understand why the grant is based on buisness rates….but not actual expenditure. As some small buisnesses I know only pay small rent, no council tax. so will have lots left over from 10000 pounds. Will they have to pay xtra back. For some the xtra can b as much as 7000. They should b giving Grant’s to nhs workers and people on frontline. Who do actually need it.

  20. I have a small business and i don’t pay business rate. am I still eligible for the 10k grant? if my leases not on my name yet? as the solicitors are still working on the lease to be transferred to our name. i have provided my sale agreement that shows we own the business since 2017. if someone can replay please.

    • Hi

      Yes you do qualify , fill in the online form for business rates grant for covid 19 for the council area you are in and as long as you have the customer number on business rates in your business name you should qualify .

  21. We Pay for utilities, telecoms and insurance at our premises. We are subject to income tax, VAT and corporation tax but because our business rates are included in our rent we do not qualify for a grant. If we are not applicable for government assistance Will we be exempt from the inevitable tax rises that are soon to follow?

  22. Our rent also includes business rates. We are a registered legitimate company operating from the same premises for 6years and yet we have been turned down for the grant as the rates bill isn’t in our name!

    • Hi

      I believe that you need to get the landlord or agent to inform the local authorities in the area you are in that you are the correct rate payer is in order for you to qualify .

      Look at no 35 on covid 18 business rates guide

  23. Our tenant’s Lease expired on March 13. The date for eligibility is March 11. So, tenant has taken £25,000 and waltzed off!

  24. Am also on 15000 rateable value by e valuation office so I couldn’t get small business rate relief.I lose twice as also £1 sort of the £25000 grant.Scandalous and crippling difference.Anything we can do if we club together?.

  25. We fall short of the £15000 rateable value but every year pay nearly £6000 in real money , our neighbors who pay nothing will be getting the same £10,000 seems a very unfair system surely they could have made it 3-4 tiers rather then just 2

  26. I’ve been in business for the last 5 Years as a Limited Company working from a serviced address selling Bathrooms, every year I’ve paid my Taxes never shown a loss, but just because I dont pay business rates i get nothing! it’s a joke of a system..

    @Surgery Group I feel your pain….

  27. i feel they are just letting small businesses go down the drain the criteria for the loans are out of reach for most of use and some of the councils are acting very slowly on the grants it leaves use in a very vulnerable position of not knowing where and how the next lot of money is going to come from to keep the business going to the point to open the doors again.

    we all need to stick together and let the government no where we all stand

  28. So, if this is only applicable to businesses that already receive small business rate relief (meaning they already get large discount on rate, some 100%), I find this rather unfair.
    Business like mine, who needs large premises due to large items, not falling under the £50K limit here, who annually pay large council rates bill + the small business supplement for businesses that get the discount (we pay for them) YET now we are again excluded from any help? So we pay into the system, we receive ZERO help, those who already have 100% relief receive £10K cash grant. Tell me how is this system fair??

  29. I’m a small business owner. I’m an events caterer. Registered with my council and hygiene tested yearly. I do not pay business rates as I only use my garage for storage and trade at events. My business is registered to my address though. I’m down thousands of pounds in event fees already paid and stock costs that I will no longer be able to use. Will i be eligible for the £10,000 grant for the retail and hospitality sector?

  30. I also fall into the category of rv £15,000 all be it that it was rounded down from £15,125. It’s a joke that the government publishes guidelines then changes it so that we miss out by 1p. Anyone else in the same situation then join our Facebook group below. We are trying all we can to get this turned back to the original publishing of 15,000 and over.

    Businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 exactly.

  31. We are the same, we are a B2B selling to the bathroom and kitchen showrooms on the high street. They were all forced to close as they are none essential slashing our sales to almost zero. We rent a warehouse and offices from the local authorities. We applied for a rent holiday only to be told you don’t qualify because your rent is above the 15K limit. We applied for the 10k Small Business rates relief grant to be told you don’t qualify because your rates are bang on 15k. £1 under probably would have got it.
    We are not a cash-rich company and we pretty much work hand to mouth. The local authorities are chasing rent, rates and we just have no cash to pay them. If there is a group fighting this I would like the details.

  32. we are also bang on the 15,000 which means we only get the 10k grant, on many council websites it says the following.
    a £10,000 grant for properties with rateable values of under £15,000
    a £25,000 grant for properties with rateable values between £15,000 and £51,000
    I spoke to the council themselves who agreed that it’s not possible for rates to be 15,001 but nothing they could do but agreed that it seems unfair.
    I believe that if we all came together and put our case across it can be challenged with a successful outcome.

  33. I also won’t be getting the grant even though I qualify for it.
    As a new business that started 1-12-19 I was informed that my landlord had notified the council that we were new tenants. This hadn’t happened as when I called in mid April to find if they had our details was told they hadn’t been notified.
    I’ve since had a bill and got full rate relief but this was after March 11th
    I have to pay the rates from December to April as I can’t have back dated relief but as I didn’t get rate relief on the 11th of March so don’t get the grant. Bye bye investment hello bankruptcy

  34. We have a shop in Nottingham city centre where the rateable value is ridiculous and needed reconsidering in the retail climate before corona and therefore we miss out on any grant because of being over 51k threshold despite being a small business of 5 staff. We have bills to pay and even £10k would have been a massive help. My family have had this business for 45 years and now the government have just abandoned us. I know it’s a difficult process but could it not have been scaled up and reached more businesses.

  35. i rent 2 commercial units so i applied for the grants as we are closed and still paying rent.i have just found out that both units have never been rated by both landlords so the local council don’t know they exist.where do i stand concerning the grants.i am now in the process notifing the cia of the units something the landlords should have done.

  36. I have two premises getting small business rate relief two different units , any one advice me can I apply for both premises separate grant each with. One business name , one is car body shop , one is mechanical car repairs

  37. We are an etaylor rates are 17k, We have a warehouse (Not retail premises) we get no Rates relief and No Grant. Business is very slow…
    Been told by council we get nothing.

  38. My friend have a shop and he did received £10,000 grant but now his landlord is telling him to increase his shop rent £200 more per month but he refuse and they decide to close the business in april. So what happens in this senario?

  39. I have got warehouse doing shipping with business rate value £23000 and I have been rejected for both £10k and £25k grant .
    I contacted council they said I’m not qualified for any grant .
    Is there anyone in similar situation to get me advice please ? What is the best I can do .

  40. These cash free grants are being given to the wrong people or companies. There are companies that pay another business rates- pay no rent – have stayed open and had a Xmas takings every week as they sell food meat- but still they get 10k. That’s NOT right. Cos there are other companies that have missed or are struggling while this happens. The government need to take back this money and redirect it to the REAL folk or companies that need it!

  41. We have 2 holiday let cottages, I’ve always paid council tax And didn’t realise I should of applied for business rates for both. The council will not backdate it as it wasn’t changed edits the government cut off of 11 March.
    We’ve had thousands Pounds of cancellations for each let.
    No help no grants.
    I’m waiting for the extra money the councils have Been given from gov last week for business who pay CT.
    We hope this will help us?

  42. Due rent increase last year I had to sublet section of my shop and although my subtenant had gave me notice last Feb and they are evacuating their section end of this month (may ) I have lost on 25k grant . Due to this unprecedented time I can’t find a subtenant to replace them so I have no choice but to occupy their section since thier rent is my liability and consequencetly my shop rateable value will be above 15 k but I am only entitle to 10k in grant and the subtenant entail to £10 k although they are leaving shortly . How ever the local authority had informed me who ever that time on the 11 March responsible for paying the business rate they are entitle for the grant .

  43. Hi I am renting a small unit since 2018 but for some reason the business rates still is in the name of previous occupier.
    I have emailed the grant department with copy of my lease proofing that I am the occupier but they haven’t come back to me. Do I lose out on the 10k grant because it hasn’t updated on their system?

  44. That’s not fair
    Retail, Hospitality & Leisure Grant Fund – Application
    Thank you for submitting an application for grant funding.
    The scheme is designed to assist small business and businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors whose rateable value of their occupied business premises is shown in the Rating List on 11 March 2020 and is less than £51,000.

    As at 11 March 2020 the rateable value of your premises is shown in the Rating List as £94,000 and as such is outside of the scheme. Therefore I regret that your application has been unsuccessful.

    So we are closing the business and 10 staff losing their jobs

    • very sad to hear this, but i don’t think you will be the last its going to be a struggle for the next 12 months, short sighted by the councils.

  45. My next door neighbour got the full £25,000 and she owns the building!
    She pays NO rent.
    How is it fair that landlords who also own the business in the property also get the grant?

  46. We paid a third party company to gain us Small Business Rates Relief (in hindsight not a smart move) and paid them a % of the savings. They are still billing us for the year 20/21 even though the Govt has extinguished all rates because the SBRR is applied to business rates accounts *before* the coronavirus relief, therefore they are claiming they still made us a saving. This does not seem right, does anyone else have any experience of this?

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