24th March 2020
WE CAN DO THIS TOGETHER - PART 2: What the government's advice means for your business
Jess here again. Last night's news is still sinking in with me, hope you're all doing ok. It is certain to say that we have never and will never see anything like this again in our lifetime. It almost feels like reading a history textbook, when we used to wonder what it would actually be like to live through a crazy time in the world.
That all being said, it is a very scary time for everyone. Especially business owners. With many asking:
- 'Where will my business and I stand in a couple of weeks’ time when all of this passes?'.
- ‘Will I reopen?’
- ‘Will the high street ever be the same again?’
- ‘How can we as retailers and operators adapt?’
The government have announced a plan to protect as many jobs and businesses as possible. Which has been largely welcomed and will be a huge help to many businesses of all sizes. Especially the business rates relief which will be a crucial element in ensuring retail survives this pandemic.
But what does it all mean?
We understand that right now it's so overwhelming to try and truly understand where you stand with everything. It can be hard to process so much information and simplify it to a point where you can understand where you personally stand.
So, we've broken it down for you.
Hopefully the following will help you understand what the government are offering a little bit better…
1. All occupied retail, leisure and hospitality properties are eligible for 100% exemption from business rates for 12 months from 1st April 2020. There is no upper rateable value limit.
This means that from 1st April you are no longer requested to pay business rates on your premises for 12 months (so until 31st March 2021).
When the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced the Budget, there was an upper limit on business rates. Meaning if your property’s rateable value was above £51,000 you would still pay business rates. BUT, considering the current pandemic this has been scrapped. Meaning whether your rateable value is £10,000 or £100,000 you will not pay any business rates at all.
Why? Well this hope is this should be a large saving and help many businesses and their cashflows. In theory, these savings should support operators and help all, both big and small, recover from a period of minimal/ zero trade.
2. On Monday 23rd March, the Prime Minister ordered all non-essential retail premises to close. This was alongside a previous statement requesting pubs, bars, restaurants, cafes and gyms* to close. The government has stated that these properties will still be granted business rates relief from 1st April 2020.
Following last night’s announcement of lockdown from the Prime Minister, if like most operators you have had to temporarily close due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the government has announced your premises is still to be treated as occupied and therefore business rates relief still applies.
So, just because your doors aren’t open, and the lights aren’t on doesn’t mean your premises isn’t occupied. It is! You’ve got a lease signed therefore it is still in possession of someone. This means you will get the relief regardless of how long your doors must stay closed for during this pandemic.
3. Essentially, any property providing services or goods to the public will receive business rates relief.
Here are some examples*: shops, cafes, restaurants, cinemas, pubs/bars, hairdressers, gyms and travel agents.
Ok this one is a little bit more confusing; the government have come up with a list that they believe defines those that offer a service to the public. You can double check this list on the government website just to be clear as there are some operators that are exempt from this relief.
4. We want to help! If you’re confused or would like to chat things through, please do get in touch however is best for you.
We’ve just covered a couple of points there that we believe are pretty important. There is of course still much more than this. If you have a question about something, please do drop us a message. Nothing is too much trouble. We’re all in this together and it is so important that we can provide support to the communities we love to work with.
Feel like someone you know or work with will appreciate this information? Why not share it with them? We also posted it on Instagram here if you want to spread the word!
We are staying as active as we can on all our social media platforms. Sharing positive stories, your businesses and advice where possible. You can find us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
We will continue to share articles like this one for as long as we need to. If you have an idea or topic you would like us to cover do get in touch. We’d love to hear your ideas!
In the meantime, stay safe and stay at home!
*This list is not exhaustive.