An update for the business-rate support scheme

The government has added £600m to plug the gap in its small business rates relief scheme for businesses in shared-office buildings.

Good news for businesses based in shared-office buildings that have hitherto missed out on financial support. The government has added £600m to plug the gap in its small business rates relief scheme. This is the plan offering £10,000 in cash grants to businesses based in premises with a rateable value of less than £15,000 for business rates purposes. The scheme also pays £25,000 to companies in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors where they inhabit premises with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000.

However, some 10,000 companies based in shared office buildings and other workspace properties were not initially eligible for support, because the Valuation Office Agency, which sets business rate valuations, has never assessed the units they rent. Businesses in premises run by companies such as WeWork (pictured) therefore received nothing. Now the government has extended the scheme to ensure these businesses do, after all, receive support. The grants are managed by local authorities, so if you think you may be eligible, contact your local council for advice.

Small and medium-sized enterprises can also claim financial support for the cost of two weeks’ statutory sick pay if employees are forced to take time off work because they fall ill or have to self-isolate. This benefit, on offer to firms with fewer than 250 employees, could be increasingly important as the government gets its track and trace system up and running. Claims must be made through HMRC.

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