Petition Extend grants immediately to small businesses outside of SBRR
The cash grants proposed by Government are only for businesses in receipt of the Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Relief, or for particular sectors. Many small businesses fall outside these reliefs desperately need cash grants and support now.
This needs to be made immediately available by every means possible.
Small businesses are dying by the day and jobs are being lost. We need fast, easy access to cash grants for small businesses enabling them to survive COVID-19.
Time is of the essence. Government needs to do more for small businesses, not just the current proposals.
Grant distribution can be done faster. We need to use all resources available.
This response was given on 29 May 2020
The business grants schemes are helping many thousands of small businesses and are just one part of the Government’s unprecedented package of support for business during the Covid-19 crisis.
Read the response in full
The Government recognises that this is a very challenging time for businesses in a wide variety of sectors. Small businesses facing high fixed property-related costs are in particular need of support because they are less likely than larger businesses to have sufficient cash reserves to see them through the Covid-19 crisis. The Small Business Grants Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund are designed to help the smallest businesses, as well as small businesses in sectors which have been especially hard hit by the decline in customer footfall which has taken place since social distancing measures were introduced. The grants schemes are already helping thousands of small businesses in these situations: as of 11th May, over £9.1 billion worth of grants have been paid to over 742,000 business premises.
The Government is aware that some small businesses have found themselves excluded from the existing business grants schemes because of the way they interact with the business rates system. That is why the Government has allocated up to an additional £617 million to Local Authorities to enable them to give discretionary grants to businesses in this situation. The Government has published detailed guidance on how Local Authorities should administer the Discretionary Grants Fund. The Government’s intention is for Local Authorities to prioritise the following types of business when making discretionary grants: small businesses in shared offices or other flexible work spaces such as industrial parks, science parks, incubators etc, which do not have their own business rates assessment; regular market traders who do not have their own business rates assessment; B&Bs which pay Council Tax instead of business rates; and charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief.
Local Authorities may choose to focus payments on those priority groups which are most relevant to their local areas. Local Authorities may also choose to pay grants to businesses outside of these priority groups, according to local economic need, so long as the business was trading on 11th March, and has not received any other cash grant funded by central Government.
Businesses will need to apply to their Local Authority in order to receive grants. Each Local Authority will need to create their own process, and should look to do so as quickly as possible. We encourage businesses to look out for their Local Authority’s version of this scheme, and to contact their Local Authority for more information in due course.
The priority of all business grants schemes continues to be to help the smallest businesses, and small businesses which are facing significant property-related costs and operate in sectors which have been particularly hard hit by the steep decline in customer footfall.
Businesses which can’t receive business grants should be able to benefit from other measures in the Government’s generous package of support for business, including: a twelve-month business rate holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure properties, regardless of their size; an option to defer VAT payments by up to twelve months; the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, which will ensure that small and micro businesses can quickly access loans of up to £50,000 which are 100% guaranteed by the Government; the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, now extended to cover all businesses including those which would be able to access commercial credit; the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, to support businesses with their wage bill; and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, to provide support to the self-employed.
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Other parliamentary business
MPs investigate the economic impact of coronavirus
A group of MPs called the Treasury Committee is investigating the economic impact of coronavirus, including looking at support for businesses, employees and self-employed people.
The Committee launched the first stage of its inquiry on 18 March to look at the speed, effectiveness and reach of the Government’s and Bank of England’s immediate financial response to coronavirus.
During this stage, the Committee pushed the Government on the lack of support for the self-employed, on lenders requesting personal guarantees on business interruption loans, and on the issue of large firms struggling to get support, including in order to retain their employees.
On 24 April the Committee launched the next stage of its inquiry, in which it will examine the effectiveness, cost and sustainability of the Government’s and Bank of England’s support packages. The Committee will also examine the impact on the economy and different sectors, the implications for public finances, and how the Government can work towards a sustained recovery.
You can find out about the inquiry, including how to submit your views and details of meetings the Committee is holding, here: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/224/economic-impact-of-coronavirus/
The Treasury Committee is a cross-party group of MPs and is independent of the Government. The Committee looks at and questions the Government about matters relating to the spending of public money and economic policy.
You can find out more about the Treasury Committee on their website: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/158/treasury-committee
You can follow the Treasury Committee on Twitter: @CommonsTreasury
The Treasury Committee is a ‘select committee’. Find out how Select Committees work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_2RDuDs44c
Has coronavirus affected your business in Wales?
A group of MPs called the Welsh Affairs Committee is looking into the impact of coronavirus on the Welsh economy, and would like to hear your views.
If your business in Wales has been affected by coronavirus, complete this survey to tell the Welsh Affairs Committee how the coronavirus outbreak has affected you: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=nt3mHDeziEC-Xo277ASzSsdf6aRbb_hHi61kcnJ3-KJUNEpKUVQ3ODkxU0tTQUdVV05ZMFhYRFozRy4u
The survey should only take 10 minutes to complete, and closes at 5pm on 15 May.
The Welsh Affairs Committee is a cross-party group of MPs and is independent of the Government. The Committee looks at and questions the Government about matters that have an impact on Wales.
You can find out more about the Welsh Affairs Committee on their website: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/162/welsh-affairs-committee/
You can follow the Welsh Affairs Committee on Twitter: @CommonsWelshAff
The Welsh Affairs Committee is a ‘select committee’. Find out how Select Committees work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_2RDuDs44c
You may also be interested to know that because of the large number of petitions that have been started in relation to coronavirus, the Petitions Committee has been questioning the Government about its response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Find out more and watch the Committee put questions suggested by petitioners to Government Ministers and the Deputy Chief Medical Officer: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/news/145767/committee-question-deputy-chief-medical-officer-and-ministers-on-coronavirus-response/
Read letters from the Committee asking further questions of Government Ministers: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/192/the-governments-response-to-coronavirus/publications/
Visit our website to find news and information on other activity in relation to coronavirus and other issues: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/
You can read impartial analysis of the Government response to coronavirus and policy developments here: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/coronavirus/