Coronavirus previous grants and rates initiatives

5 mins


Please note:

For reference only these initiatives are no longer available. For the current Government support packages available, please read our rolling summary of Government Support.

For any queries relating to below please contact Matthew Hector who will be happy to support.


Small Business Grant Funding

The Government provided funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBRR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief.

It provided a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs.

You were eligible if:

  1. Your business was based in England and
  2. In receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief as of 11 March and
  3. You are a business that occupies a property

Eligible businesses were contacted by their local authority, though some local authorities operated an application process. Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the grants should be directed to the relevant local authority. You can find details on your local authority here.

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure

Arguably the hardest hit sector, the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors were hit quickly and heavily throughout the pandemic; with the Government advising the public to stay away from establishments very early on.

A twelve-month business rate holiday was implemented for the 2020/21 tax year for these sectors. Those receiving the retail discount in the 2019/20 year were rebilled also.

Eligibility for the holiday was that your business is based in England and the business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector. For properties to benefit, they needed to be occupied hereditaments that are wholly or mainly used:

  • as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
  • for assembly and leisure
  • as hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation

Grant funding of up to £25,000 for businesses in retail, hospitality and leisure with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.

Enquiries should be directed to your relevant local authority. You can find details on your local authority here.

Local Authority (LA) Discretionary Funds

Local authorities in England were given a sizeable discretionary fund worth £617m to support businesses that had not been eligible for other small business or leisure grants. The largest grant available was £25k, this then dropped to £10k, and the LA have discretion for any amount under £10k.

The fund was mainly set up to support:

  • Small and micro-businesses (under 50 employees)
  • Businesses with relatively high ongoing fixed property-related costs
  • Businesses that can demonstrate that they have suffered a significant fall in income due to the COVID-19 crisis
  • Businesses that occupy a property, or part of a property, with a rateable value or annual rent or annual mortgage payments below £51,000.

Set up mainly to support property costs in those sectors that have not been eligible for prior Support. Therefore, priority will be given to those in shared offices, market traders, bed and breakfasts and charity properties.

Although it had been set up mainly for the above, the LAs did have the discretion to use their local knowledge to help those in need.

For information on this initiative read our Support for businesses that missed out on Government funding article.

Specific Sector Support

Nursery sector

For nurseries paying business rates, a business rates holiday was implemented for the tax year 2020/21. You were eligible for the business rates holiday if:

  • Your business is based in England
  • Properties are occupied hereditament and are:
    • occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register
    • wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage

Charity sector

In early April the Government announced a specific cash pot for charities worth £750m. This funding supported frontline charities across the UK – including hospices of which £200m of the overall pot was aimed at, and charities helping domestic abuse victims and other COVID related needs.

It was be allocated and raised by:

  • £360m from individual government departments to charities in England based on evidence of service need
  • £310m for smaller, local VCSEs working with vulnerable people in England. This includes a £200m Coronavirus Community Support Fund which will be distributed by the National Lottery Community Fund
  • £60 million in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • £150 million will be unlocked from dormant bank and building society accounts
  • Match funding the public donations to the BBC Big Night In. Including the match funding, this raised £67m. The first £20 million of match funding went to the National Emergencies Trust appeal for smaller, local VCSEs.

For further information relating to the charity sector, please read What should your charity be thinking about amid COVID-19? Or contact Michael Cooper-Davis.

 As well as the above estate agents, lettings agencies and bingo halls will be exempt from business rates in 2020-21.


We always recommend that you seek advice from a suitably qualified adviser before taking any action. The information in this article only serves as a guide and no responsibility for loss occasioned by any person acting or refraining from action as a result of this material can be accepted by the authors or the firm.



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