Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF) - PKF Francis Clark
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Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF)

In addition to the update of the published guidance issued on 3 April, we thought we should update for actions (or inaction) by local authorities that appeared contradictory to previously published guidance on how to access the grant funding.

We have therefore updated the following sections:

  • State Aid – further detail added on how the grant will be treated
  • How can businesses access the grant funding – not all local authorities are making contact with potential recipients

There is more information on the associated but separate business rates holiday scheme here

Guidance issued to local authorities on SBGF and RHLGF

The guidance was issued to local authorities to assist them in administering the SBGF and RHLGF as “The Government will, in line with the eligibility criteria set out in this guidance, reimburse local authorities that pay grants to eligible businesses. Central Government will fully reimburse local authorities for the cost of the grant.”

A summary of the schemes:

SBGF RHLGF
Grant £10,000 £10,000 or £25,000 per property
Basic eligibility criteria and grant award(s) Businesses in England with a property that was eligible for a  small business rates relief (SBRR), including those eligible for tapered relief (as of 11 March 2020) or rural rates relief (RRR).  Eligible for a grant of £10,000 Businesses in England with property(ies), eligible at 11 March, for receipt of the expanded retail discount (which covers retail, hospitality and leisure) with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will be eligible for the following cash grants per property.

  • £10,000 – If the property has a rateable value of up to £15,000;
  • £25,000 – if the property has a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000
Exclusions, include
  • Property occupied for personal uses
  • Car parks and parking spaces
  • Businesses which as of the 11 March were in liquation or were dissolved will not be eligible
Interaction
  • Eligible recipients will receive one grant per property
  • Recipients cannot receive both SBGF and RHLG on the same property
Who will receive the funding? The person who according to the billing authority’s records was the ratepayer in respect of the property on the 11 March 2020

How can businesses access the grant funding?

The guidance for businesses appears definite in that “Local Authorities will contact eligible businesses to arrange payment of the grants”.  We are aware of some local authorities writing to eligible businesses, however, others appear not to be doing so and are publicising the availability of the grants and asking businesses to submit details on web portal. As businesssupport.gov.uk web page suggests “Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the grants should be directed to the relevant local authority. To find your local authority, use this search tool.”

When may the grant be available?

We are aware that some local authorities are already making payments to businesses.

State Aid

The guidance for businesses on SBGF and RHLGF now contains a fairly lengthy section on State Aid which to my reading could be paraphrased as follows:

  • The grants will constitute State Aid either as de minimis State Aid and/ or under the Temporary Framework (Temporary Framework applies to SBGF where recipient has breached de minimis and all RHLGF)
  • You may for SBGF/will for RHLGF also need to confirm that your company was not “an undertaking in difficulty” on 31 December 2019. (The definition of an undertaking in difficulty are laid out in the guidance)

Full Government guidance can be found here.

If you have any queries on either of the schemes please do not hesitate to get in touch with Richard Wadman or your usual PKF Francis Clark adviser.

FEATURING: Richard Wadman
Richard qualified as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG in 1993. Since 2006 he has worked in Corporate Finance, firstly with the predecessor firm in Truro… read more
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