Business Rates related Coronavirus (Covid-19) Grant information

COVID-19 GRANT Phishing E-mail

There are currently e-mails in circulation claiming to be from from councils stating the grant payment will not be processed until the ratepayer clicks on a link in the e-mail to authorise the payment.   Gosport Borough Council will NOT send an e-mail asking any ratepayer to do this.  You can report suspicious e-mails here.

It has also come to our attention that there are firms offering to claim the grants for ratepayers for a fee. This is not necessary, you do not need to pay someone to do this for you.  Please contact us first before entering into a contract.

Local Authority Discretionary Grant Fund - open for applications from Monday 15th June 12:00 to Friday 3rd July 23:59 

Background information

This new government funded Coronavirus (Covid-19) related grant is aimed at those Gosport based small businesses and other organisations with proportionally high property related fixed costs that are not eligible for, or have not already been paid, the Small Business Grant or the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grant (as well as some other government funded grants). As per those government funded grants it is also administered by Gosport Borough Council.

To fund this grant scheme we have received £635,000 which equates to 5% of the funding provided for the Small Business and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure grants.  This limited amount means that we, like the other local authorities, will have to prioritise which types of businesses will receive funding i.e. to those that are most relevant to our local economy.  In addition the Government has also asked local authorities to prioritise certain types of businesses and other organisations.  Therefore there is an application process for this grant scheme.

As per the government guidance local authorities may pay grants to the value of £25,000, £10,000 or any amount under £10,000. The value of the payment to be made to a business is at the discretion of the local authority.  However please note that the government expects payments of under £10,000 may be appropriate in many cases.

Who will benefit from this scheme?

As per the government guidance these grants are primarily and predominantly aimed at Gosport based:

  • Small and micro businesses, as defined in Section 33 Part 2 of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 and the Companies Act 2006.
  • Businesses with relatively high ongoing fixed property-related costs.
  • Businesses which can demonstrate that they have suffered a significant fall in income due to the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Businesses which occupy property, or part of a property, with a rateable value or annual rent or annual mortgage payments below £51,000.

To be a small business, under the Companies Act 2006, a business must satisfy two or more of the following requirements in a year:

  • Turnover: Not more than £10.2 million.
  • Balance sheet total: Not more than 5.1 million.
  • Number of employees: a headcount of staff of less than 50.

To be a micro business, under the Companies Act 2006, a business must satisfy two or more of the following requirements:

  • Turnover: Not more than £632,000.
  • Balance sheet total: Not more than £316,000.
  • Number of employees: a headcount of staff of not more than 10.

This grant funding is for businesses that are not eligible for other support schemes. Businesses which are eligible for cash grants from any central government COVID-related scheme (apart from Self-Employed Income support scheme) are ineligible for funding from the Discretionary Grants Fund.  Such grant schemes include but are not limited to:

  • Small Business Grant Fund
  • Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant
  • The Fisheries Response Fund
  • Domestic Seafood Supply Scheme (DSSS)
  • The Zoos Support Fund
  • The Dairy Hardship Fund

In addition:

  • Businesses who have applied for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme are eligible to apply for this scheme.
  • Businesses that are eligible for the Self-Employed Income support scheme (SEISS) are eligible to apply for this scheme as well.
  • Only businesses which were trading on 11 March 2020 are eligible for this scheme.
  • Companies that are in administration, are insolvent or where a striking-off notice has been made are not eligible for funding under this scheme.

Government priorities

The government has asked local authorities to prioritise:

  • Businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces. Examples could include units in industrial parks, science parks and incubators which do not have their own business rates assessment;
  • Regular market traders with fixed building costs, such as rent, who do not have their own business rates assessment;
  • Bed & Breakfasts which pay Council Tax instead of business rates; and
  • Charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief.

For confirmation of the nationally set criteria and local authority guidance for the scheme please see:

Gosport Borough Council priorities

As part of our discretion we will then prioritise payments to other Gosport based small businesses and other organisations according to local economic need.  In summary, as a result we are targeting the following:

  • Businesses of specific criticality to the Borough, for instance they are vital to the Borough's infrastructure, or are the only business of its type in the Borough and provide a vital service;
  • businesses primarily operating in engineering and manufacturing, including marine and aerospace;
  • Businesses based on self-catering holiday accommodation which pay Council Tax instead of business rates;
  • Businesses primarily operating in marine and tourism/leisure sectors that do not have premises with rateable values but still have proportionally significant 'property' costs e.g. mooring/berthing fees and concessions; and
  • Businesses that are suppliers to companies in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector.

Other businesses which are operated solely from domestic premises are also potetntially eligible and for the full details of our scheme please see the Local Authority Discretionary Grant Policy for Gosport Borough Council.

The Gosport Local Authority Discretionary Grant Fund application process

There is an application process which will be open for three weeks from Monday 15th June 12:00 to Friday 3rd July 23:59, after which the scheme will be closed to new applicants.  You are advised to review the information provided above, including the detail via the links, and our grant policy to help inform your application.

After the deadline applications will be assessed against the criteria and we will contact all applicants as quickly as we can to confirm our decision as to whether to award a grant or not.  We also aim to begin to make payments week commencing Monday 6th July.  Those applicants that are deemed to be eligible for the Small Business Grant or the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant will be awarded that grant instead.  The council decision is final and there is no right of appeal.

In addition to describing how the pandemic has impacted your business or organisation we also require certain evidence to be included in your application as document or image file attachments.  This will help enable us to assess and validate your claim and determine the grant payment amount.

Therefore please have the following documentary proof readily available to be attached when you complete the application form:

  • Number of employees and turnover e.g. payroll report and latest accounts.
  • Fixed property costs such as mortgage or lease payments, or other related fixed costs e.g. mooring/berthing fees, concessions etc.
  • Food safety certification (for Bed & Breakfast establishments only).
  • Bank account details and copy of bank statement to prove the nominated account is linked. to the business or organisation making the application.
  • Trading activity between 1st March and 31st May 2020 and the corresponding period in 2019.
  • Ongoing fixed property costs and other costs still being incurred during this pandemic.

Other details required as part of the application include:

  • Trading names and company numbers.
  • Trading names and company numbers of any linked businesses e.g. subsidiaries/parent companies.
  • Website addresses, Facebook page addresses, eBay addresses etc.
  • Addresses of all properties/premises where fixed overheads are incurred.
  • Business rates account number (if applicable)
  • Registered charity number (for applications from charities)
  • Date of Birth (for applications from Sole Traders/Partnerships).

Please do not call the council about your application as we will not be able to give any further information at this stage.  However we will contact applicants via email to formally confirm receipt of their application and, if necessary follow-up to request further evidence/information if insufficient has been provided to make an assessment.

Local Authority Discretionary Grant Fund is now closed - it was open to applications from Monday 15 June 12:00 to Friday 3rd July 23:59

Please complete it including the requested attachments and submit before Friday 3rd July 23:59.

 

Important information to consider if an Enforcement Agent calls at your property