Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Support for businesses inc. Business Rates and Grants
Last updated: 01 July 2020
Nottingham City Council understands the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on you as a member of our business community. This is a priority for us, we have increased the number of staff working on this and are working hard to support you during these uncertain times.
One support grant is available for businesses:
- Business Support Grant
Who's it for? If you pay rates to Nottingham City Council and currently receive Small Business Rate Relief or if your rateable value is below £51,000 and your business is part of the retail/leisure/hospitality industry, you may be eligible for a grant of £10,000 - £25,000.
For more information on support with Business Rates or to apply for a Business Support Grant, please see the section below, Business Support Grants, Business Rates Enquiries and FAQ.
Nottingham Small Business Fund
Due to higher than expected demand the Nottingham Small Business Fund is now closed and all the funds have been allocated.
Reopening Nottingham Safely
Information for local retailers and businesses
The City Council is working with the Nottingham Business Improvement District (BID), retailers and other local businesses to ensure the city centre and neighbourhood shopping areas can start reopen safely.
This follows the Government’s decision to ease lockdown restrictions allowing all non-essential retail to open from 15 June.
A range of measures are being put in place to enable people to move around public places safely and to support retailers with safe trading. This will include signage on pavements and outside shops to ask people to maintain social distancing, as well as encouraging people to keep left on pavements and pedestrianised areas.
Nottingham received £294,601 from a total of £50m being provided nationally from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) that the Government is making available to councils to support businesses to re-open safely.
Links to guidance and advice to local businesses:
If you have a question about reopening your business, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme – now open
If you're self-employed or a member of a partnership and have been adversely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) find out if you can use this scheme to claim a grant.
The scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant of 80% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months, and capped at £7,500 altogether. This is a temporary scheme, but it may be extended.
If you receive the grant you can continue to work, start a new trade or take on other employment including voluntary work, or duties as an armed forces reservist.
The grant does not need to be repaid but will be subject to Income Tax and self-employed National Insurance. Check if you can claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
There is other support available if you’re not eligible for the grant.
More information about how to access information around the scheme and associated support can be found from the government below.
This page will be updated regularly as new information is provided
Last updated: 13 May 2020
Business Support Grants, Business Rates Enquiries and FAQs
Applying for a business support grant
Businesses paying rates on a property they were using or trading from on the 11 March 2020, are eligible for
- Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR), who will receive a grant payment of £10,000.
- Rural Rate Relief (RRR), who will receive a grant payment of £10,000.
- Businesses currently in receipt of 50% retail rate relief will see this increased to 100% for 2020/21, including Leisure and Hospitality sectors.
- Those businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will receive the following levels of grant payment:
- Businesses with a rateable value up to £15,000 will receive a grant payment of £10,000 whether or not you are entitled to small business rate relief.
- If you have a property with a rateable value of between £15,001 and below £51,000, you will be entitled to a grant of £25,000
The government has noted that certain exclusions apply
- Businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or over are not eligible for this scheme.
- Businesses which are not ratepayers in the business rates system are not included in this scheme.
- Hereditaments occupied for personal uses are not included.
- Car Parks and parking spaces are not included.
- Business which as of the 11 March 2020 were in liquidation or were dissolved will not be eligible.
- Only one grant may be awarded per hereditament.
Businesses should be aware that grant payments are currently subject to state aid limits and other conditions.
If you are currently in receipt of the retail rate relief this will be increased from 50% to 100% in 2020/21 and has been expanded to include hospitality and leisure sectors. To be clear, if you are a retail, leisure or hospitality business, you will automatically have had your rates direct debits cancelled or the money will be refunded for 2020/21. In this case, there is no action required to receive the rates holiday.
The rateable value of my property is less than £15,000, but I do not qualify for Small Business Rate Relief. Will I get a grant?
Yes, if you are in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector then you will receive grant funding.
I am in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief, but pay £0 in rates, am I eligible for the £10,000 grant?
Yes, properties with a rateable value of less than £12,000, will still get the £10,000 grant where SBRR has been applied. Properties with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £15,000 who receive tapered Small Business Rate Relief are also eligible for £10,000 grant.
My premises have a rateable value of over £51,000, is there any help from government for me?
If you are currently in receipt of the retail rate relief this will be increased from 50% to 100% in 2020/21 and has been expanded to include hospitality and leisure sectors.
The grant scheme is limited to properties with a maximum rateable value of below £51,000 so for businesses above this limit there are other funding options available which can be accessed through this link https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses
I feel that I pay too much in rates and want my property re-rated. How do I do this?
The Valuation Office Agency can be contacted to initiate the check and challenge process if you dispute the rateable value of the property on the following link https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-check-your-rateable-value-is-correct
The Valuation Office Agency is also a central government function that councils cannot influence.
Can the Council use their discretion to honour the £25,000 grant if a business does not align to the criteria?
No. The Council does not have discretion.
Central Government set the threshold and require the council to submit details of all grant recipients to ensure they meet the grant criteria.
Can I retrospectively register my business with business rates to receive a grant?
No. The cut-off date for grant eligibility was 11 March 2020.
Who within my business will receive the grant?
We hold a rating record (Non-Domestic Rates Record) for all commercial properties. The name we hold in the NDRR will be the grant recipient – this is usually a business name.
I pay the business rates to my landlord, not to the council, will I get a grant?
No. The grant is for the business that pays rates to the Council, whose details we hold in the premises record (Non-Domestic Rates Record). We recognise this is an issue for some businesses and are trying to find out if there is a solution.
I have a room I rent in premises and pay utilities but no rates as that is covered by who I rent the room off. Am I eligible for a grant?
No. The grant is for the business that pays rates to the Council, whose details we hold in the premises record (Non-Domestic Rate Record). We recognise this is an issue for some businesses and are trying to find out if there is a solution.
I pay council tax rather than business rates for the property I run my business from, am I eligible for a grant?
No. The grants are directly linked to commercial properties. All commercial properties should pay business rates.
I run my business from home, am I eligible for the grant?
No. The grant is linked to commercial premises only.
I am a Charity that gets mandatory rate relief (80%), am I eligible for the grant?
Yes. You will be eligible for the grant if the charity meets the expanded retail discount criteria which is retail, hospitality or leisure,
If you are currently receiving full business rate relief through the mandatory and discretionary schemes you are still eligible to claim the grant.
Does a ‘Beauty salon and premises’ National Non-Domestic Rates description fall within the retail, leisure and hospitality requirement to qualify for a cash grant?
Yes. As long as rateable value is below £51,000.
I am the landlord of an empty property, will I be eligible for the grant?
No. The grant is for occupied premises only and is intended for the businesses trading from these premises.
What do I do if I think I am eligible for the grants but don’t receive any correspondence?
Please email the business rates team with your 7 digit reference number which starts with a 6 and question on email@example.com
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
UPDATE: Chancellor extends furlough scheme until October 2020
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will remain open until the end of October, the Chancellor has announced. The scheme will continue to apply across all regions and sectors in the UK economy. Furloughed workers across the UK will continue to receive 80% of their current salary, up to £2,500.
From the start of August, furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time with employers being asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff. The employer payments will substitute the contribution the government is currently making, ensuring that staff continue to receive 80% of their salary, up to £2,500 a month.
The scheme will continue in its current form until the end of July. Changes to allow more flexibility will come in from the start of August. More specific details and information around implementation will be made available by the end of this month.
Any entity with a UK payroll can apply, including businesses, charities, recruitment agencies and public authorities. To make your claim you will need:
- a Government Gateway (GG) ID and password – if you don’t already have a GG account, you can apply for one online, or by going to GOV.UK and searching for 'HMRC services: sign in or register'
- be enrolled for PAYE online – if you aren’t registered yet, you can do so now, or by going to GOV.UK and searching for 'PAYE Online for employers'
- the following information for each furloughed employee you will be claiming for: Name, National Insurance number, Claim period and claim amount, PAYE/employee number (optional).
- if you have fewer than 100 furloughed staff – you will need to input information directly into the system for each employee. If you have 100 or more furloughed staff – you will need to upload a file with information for each employee; HMRC will accept the following file types: .xls .xlsx .csv .ods.
You should retain all records and calculations in respect of your claims. You can find more information on the scheme and eligibility to claim on the Gov.UK website.
Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.
You will need to:
- designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change - changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation.
- submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC will set out further details on the information required)
If you cannot maintain your current workforce because your operations have been severely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19), you can furlough employees and apply for a grant that covers 80% of their usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and pension contributions (up to the level of the minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contribution) on that subsidised furlough pay.
This is a temporary scheme in place for 3 months starting from 1 March 2020, but it may be extended if necessary and employers can use this scheme anytime during this period. It is designed to help employers whose operations have been severely affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19) to retain their employees and protect the UK economy. However, all employers are eligible to claim under the scheme and the government recognises different businesses will face different impacts from coronavirus.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – extended eligibility
An important change has been made to the scheme extending employee eligibility:
- Employers can now claim for employees that were employed and on their PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020. This means that the employee must have been notified to HMRC through an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee on or before 19 March 2020.
- Employees that were employed as of 28 February 2020 and on payroll and were made redundant or stopped working for you after that, and prior to 19 March 2020, can also qualify for the scheme if you re-employ them and put them on furlough.
Deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
Support to businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months. If you’re self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.
For VAT, the deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020
This is an automatic offer with no applications required. Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period. Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020 to 2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.
For Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on the 31 July 2020 will be deferred until the 31 January 2021.
Statutory sick pay relief package for SMEs
The government will bring forward legislation to allow small- and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:
- this refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19
- employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible - the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020
- employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19
- employers should maintain records of staff absences, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note
- eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of Statutory Sick Pay to self-isolators comes into force
- the government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible. Existing systems are not designed to facilitate employer refunds for SSP.
Cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses
For businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of under £15,000, they will receive a grant of £10,000 whether or not you are entitled to small business rate relief.
For businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000, they will receive a grant of £25,000.
If you are currently receiving the retail discount for your Business Rates bill, you will receive a revised bill with 100% relief.
If your business occupies a property in the retail sector with a rateable value of £51,000 or more, or your business occupies a property in the leisure/hospitality sectors, you may also be eligible for the 100% discount on your business rates bill.
You do not need to do anything. We are working on the application process and once this is set up, we will provide further details. We are also busy trying to stop the direct debits for eligible businesses for April 2020.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
The new Scheme supports SMEs with access to working capital (including loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance) of up to £5 million in value and for up to 6 years.
The government will pay to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees, so smaller businesses will not face any upfront costs and will benefit from lower initial repayments.
The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs.
This scheme is being delivered through commercial lenders, backed by the British Business Bank.
The scheme is now open for applications. You can find out the latest on the British Business Bank website.
Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme
The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) will support large businesses, with an annual turnover of between £45 million and £500 million, to access loans of up to £25 million.
This scheme will help large businesses affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) to access loans of up to £25 million. Find more information on the Gov.UK website.
Support for larger firms through the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility
Under the new Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility, the Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies.
This will support your company if it has been affected by a short-term funding squeeze, and allow you to finance your short-term liabilities.
It will also support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms.
The scheme will be available early in week beginning 23 March 2020.
All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service.
These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.
If you have missed a tax payment or you might miss your next payment due to COVID-19, please call HMRC’s dedicated helpline: 0800 0159 559.
Support for businesses from the D2N2 Growth Hub
The D2N2 Growth Hub is available to support businesses with recovery, growth, productivity and sustainability. If you would like to speak to a business adviser about any other query not answered on this page, contact the D2N2 Growth Hub enquiry line on 0333 0069178 (lines are open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday) or complete an online enquiry form.
Nottingham City Council’s Business Rates Team is managing all grant applications, payments and queries. If your query relates to any of the business grants or rates, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. If you contact the D2N2 Growth Hub with a query about Business Rates or the Nottingham Small Business Fund you will be redirected to Nottingham City Council’s Business Rates Team which may result in a delay to your query being answered.
Support for employers, employees and job seekers
Nottingham Jobs is the city council’s one stop service for people who are unemployed or looking for work. In partnership with the local Department for Works & Pensions (DWP) Job Centres, we can offer you one-to-one support over the phone or by email. During the Coronavirus outbreak, we are focused on recruitment to the following vital sectors; Health and Social Care, Retail, Logistics and Driving.
To find out more or speak to one of the team, contact 0115 876 4508 (lines are open 9am to 5pm daily) or email email@example.com
More information about employment support can be found here.
Advice Nottingham groups (CAB, Law Centre, St Ann’s Advice, Bestwood Advice, Meadows Advice, and Clifton Advice) are all still providing support with benefits, debt, housing and other difficulties. For the time being it is not provided face to face but by phone and email only. Full contact details can be found here.
Nottingham Jobs also provide group workshops and one to one support on a range of subjects to assist employees to develop their skills and understand their employment options. These can be delivered over the phone, by Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Our partners the National Careers Service and Department for Work & Pensions can also provide support on all aspects of employability.
We specialise in
- Career planning
- Helping to understand the local labour market
- Providing advice on developing new skills
- Supporting people to find employment
- Application form advice
- Interview skills and mock interviews
- Advising on covering letters
- CV support
Support for City Council commercial tenants
Nottingham City Council understands the impact the Coronavirus pandemic is having on our commercial tenants and this link is here to provide whatever support we can for our commercial tenants.
In seeking to address the challenges that the pandemic is causing for our commercial tenants, we have established a process to provide as much direct support, advice and guidance as we are able. Within the main webpage, there are also extensive details about wider support that is available for businesses, and we would encourage you to ensure that you are accessing the full range of support available.
If you are a commercial tenant of Nottingham City Council and currently pay quarterly, we can assist you immediately by moving you to monthly payment terms, and we will not be charging any interest on arrears for the duration of this pandemic.
To change your payment terms or for any other enquiries or requests, please email our dedicated team on firstname.lastname@example.org where one of the team will seek to respond to you at the earliest opportunity. Please note all requests and enquiries will be treated on a case by case basis.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for the charity sector
Understandably, charities are concerned about what to do during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, so we have set out our response to the most commonly asked questions.
We want to assure charities that our approach to regulation during this uncertain period will be as flexible and pragmatic as possible in the public interest, whilst helping trustees to be aware of and think about the wider or longer impact of their decisions on their charity.
Can I open my food business?
Food businesses such as restaurants and takeaways must stop offering food or drink for consumption on the premises. Food businesses selling food and drink for consumption off the premises can remain open but measures to ensure social distancing and personal hygiene must be maintained. Seating areas connected to the business where consumers would eat or drink must be taken out of use.
Under planning rules, a new national permitted development right (PDR) enables pubs, restaurants and cafes to offer takeaway and delivery services for 12 months. Beyond this time, a planning application would be required for continued use as a takeaway.
The government has produced specific guidance for food businesses on coronavirus available here.
For further information about working in your food business, please contact email@example.com.
Should my workplace be open?
With the exception of non-essential shops and some public venues such as cinemas, beauty premises and leisure premises, businesses are permitted to open. Your employer should prioritise working from home and ensure people showing symptoms of coronavirus are kept away from work in accordance with PHE guidance.
Should you go to work, you should follow the PHE guidelines on social distancing (maintaining a distance of 2 metres from others where possible) and washing hands for at least 20 seconds.
Businesses staying open have a duty under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 to protect their staff and should update risk assessments to take account of the changes to working practices as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic.
Further advice is available from the Health and Safety Executive at www.hse.gov.uk/news/coronavirus.
If you have concerns or questions about whether your premises should be open/working during the coronavirus pandemic, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Problems with scams and fake goods
Trading Standards have seen an increase in reports of scams and fake goods circulating in recent weeks. Beware of people offering to sell:
- Virus testing kits
- Vaccines or miracle cures
- Claims of refunds from HMRC
- Hand sanitisers and personal protective equipment
- Help with shopping or collecting medicines from people you don’t know
It is now even more important to be vigilant against potential scams. Never give your personal or banking details to anyone you are not certain of. Do not open links in unexpected emails. Banks and the police will never, ever, ask you to give your details over the phone. More information can be found on https://www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/shopimages/coronavirus.png
To report anything that you are suspicious of, call Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133
During the better weather, more traders call door to door offering their services such as work doing in the home, garden or garden waste removal. They may take your money without doing any work and if work is carried out, it maybe substandard and overpriced. Never open your door to cold callers. If you need work doing, get quotes from three reputable traders – they can be found on trader sites such as Checkatrade.com. For more information and advice, contact Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133.
Offers to shop for food and/or collecting groceries
Beware of individuals knocking on your door offering to help with food shopping or collecting medicines. They may take your money and not return or they may charge you for their services. Do not let them into your home as they may distract you to steal your belongings. They may also use your personal information for other criminal activity. Only accept help from people you know (neighbours, friends or family). If you do not have help, call 0115 9155555
Contracted suppliers providing services to Nottingham City Council
Support for our contracted suppliers
We appreciate the commitment and support from our contracted suppliers to maintain services and supplies to the Council during the COVID-19 outbreak.
During this period we want to work with our suppliers to provide support where we can to those struggling to meet their contractual obligations or those who may have been adversely affected by the need to suspend services or change ways of working.
We want to work together to support our contracted suppliers so that we can all be in a positive position to resume normal contract service delivery as soon as possible once the COVID-19 guidance allows.
The Government has issued 2 Procurement Policy Notes to support this:
- PPN 01/20 Responding to Covid-19 which provides information and guidance on public procurement regulations and responding to the coronavirus
- PPN 02/20 Supplier Relief Due to Covid-19 which sets out information and guidance for public bodies on payment of their suppliers to ensure service continuity during and after the current coronavirus, COVID-19 outbreak.
Every contract has its own unique characteristics and the support needed will vary case by case, however, we may be able to offer support such as:
- Accelerated invoice payment
- Increased frequency of invoicing
- Forward ordering of goods/services
- Payments in advance
- Change to delivery locations, frequency and timing of delivery
- Extension of time for contract performance
- Revised milestones or delivery dates
To discuss how we can help, please get in touch with your usual client contact at the Council.
Please note: there are commitments and conditions applied to the relief being provided, including the need to agree to open book accounting. More details of this may be found in the PPN02/20 document.
Paying Supplier Invoices Promptly
With the current situation in relation to the Coronavirus (COVID 19), it is vital that as a local authority, we are doing the right thing by our suppliers, and paying you as quickly as possible.
This means that we have amended our invoice payment terms to immediate and ensured that our processes are as streamlined as possible to enable invoices to be processed quickly.
We would remind you that following the points below when you submit invoices for payment will assist us in processing your invoices without unnecessary delay.
- Always quote a purchase order number if you have one, or the contact name of your customer at Nottingham City Council
- Note the Purchase Order number/contact name in the top third of the invoice, preferably above/below the customer address (see below).
- Where possible, send invoices by email - to NCCinvoices@emss.org.uk. Please note that every invoice should be attached to a separate email.
- For invoices by post, the postal address is:
Nottingham City Council
PO Box 1475
Please note: this address should be quoted on all invoices, whether sent by post or by email
- Note the purchase order in the body of the invoice as this will be more difficult for our scanning solution to identify. It needs to be in the invoice header, preferably in its own field.
- Send an invoice without a PO number or contact name, as this will delay payment
- Send a second copy of your invoice, as this will be identified as a duplicate and may cause processing delays. If you are unsure if an invoice has been received, please contact email@example.com or call 0300 303 0222
- Send invoices to your contact at Nottingham City Council – this may delay processing and payment.
- Attach more than one invoice to an email, as this will cause problems for our scanning solution. Please remember, one invoice per email