Decision details

COVID-19 support for businesses

Decision Maker: Portfolio Holder for Corporate Services

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: No

Purpose:

As part of its response to the disruption caused by COVID-19, Government has announced several policies aimed at supporting businesses through this economically difficult period including;

-       Implementation of a 12-month business rates holiday for businesses in the retail, leisure, hospitality sectors, and for childcare providers.

 

-       £10k Grants for small businesses which receive small business rate relief or rural rate relief,

 

-       £10k or £25k Grants for business premises in the retail, hospitality or leisure sectors.

 

This decision is to formally adopt these policies to support businesses in Dacorum.

Reasons for the decision:

Business rates holiday 2020/21

To introduce a discretionary business rate relief for the year 2020/21 for occupied properties that are wholly or mainly being used:

 

·       as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas or live music venues

·       for assembly and leisure; or

·       as hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation.

·       for childcare provision

 

The relief will be known as the Business Rates Holiday 2020/21.

 

·         The value of the relief will be the whole of the business rates bill.

 

The relief will be granted in line with detailed guidance issued by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG)

The relief was announced as part of the Government’s response to disruption caused by COVID-19.

 

The awards are subject to state aid regulations, but the Government has advised that this is notified state aid under EU regulations and so is not subject to the de minimis regulations. This means that there are no limits linked to the rateable value of the property, nor to the number of properties throughout England on which a business can receive a business rates holiday.

 

As it is only for a limited period of time the Government will not legislate for this change, and instead expects local authorities to use their discretionary powers under section 47 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988.

 

Small Business Grants

 

·         To award grants of £10,000 to those liable for business rates on 11 March 2020 who have small business rate relief or rural rate relief on their business rates bill.

 

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants

 

·         To award grants of £10,000 per property to those liable for business rates on 11 March 2020 where the rateable value is less than £15,000, and they would qualify for the business rates holiday as a retail, leisure or hospitality business.

 

·         To award grants of £25,000 per property to those liable for business rates on 11 March 2020 where the rateable value is £15,000 or more but less than £51,000, and they would qualify for the business rates holiday as a retail, leisure or hospitality business.

 

The awards will be made in line with detailed guidance issued by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The grants are subject to State Aid rules, with a maximum total award for any company of £680,000 across the whole of England.

 

Cost to the Council

The Government will provide DBC with a full reimbursement to cover the cost of these grant and relief allocations. The business rate holiday relief will equate to circa £20m or reduced costs to businesses and the business grants will equate to circa £28m of additional financial support to circa 2000 businesses across Dacorum.

 

DBC will also be provided with new burdens funding towards the cost of administering the schemes.

 

Authority to make decisions of this type has been delegated to the Portfolio Holder (Finance & Resources) by cabinet decision CA/78/17.

 

 

Alternative options considered:

The only alternative option is not to introduce the schemes. This has been rejected because of the risks to local businesses, and the risk of reputational damage to the Council.

 

Urgent item?: Yes

Publication date: 31/03/2020

Date of decision: 31/03/2020

Accompanying Documents: