Business rates holiday not state aid

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Rates relief: the Government announced a business rates holiday for all pubs last month (17 March)
Rates relief: the Government announced a business rates holiday for all pubs last month (17 March)

Related tags: Coronavirus

The business rates holiday announced by the Chancellor on 17 March will not be subject to a cap, meaning it is not state aid.

Rishi Sunak outlined financial support measures from an economic response​ to the impact of coronavirus, at a press conference less than a week after his Budget (11 March), which also included a grant of up to £25,000 per business for pubs with a rateable value of less than £51,000.

He said: “I can go further and provide those businesses in those sectors with an additional cash grant of up to £25,000 per business to help bridge through this period.

“Additionally I am also extending the business rates holiday to all businesses irrespective of their rateable value.”

No business rates

He added: “That means every single shop, pub, theatre, music venue, restaurant and any other business in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector will pay no business rates whatsoever for 12 months and if they have a rateable value of less than £51,000, they can also now get a cash grant as well.”

Real estate adviser Altus Group says, in England, 37% of all properties liable for business rates fall within the eligibility criteria for the business rates holiday with 731,893 venues across the hospitality, retail and leisure sector set to benefit about £11bn during 2020-2021.

Previously, the one third retail discount for business rates for 2019-2020 was subject to EU state aid rules, which meant a limit of €200,000 (£175,900) in relief for a three-year period.

Grant funding

The new EU’s temporary framework for state aid to deal with the coronavirus increased that limit to €800,000 (£703,700) for grants and select tax advantages.

The grant funding has been confirmed at the €800,000 cap but there were also concerns about the grant funding and rates holiday would both be limited to the cap.

While councils were told to ignore limits, it was subject to approval from the EU with it not being state aid and that has now been received meaning, rates holiday falls outside of the cap so there are no rates and no cap on the rates relief.

Related topics: UnitedWeStand, Property law

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