Coronavirus: support for business

Updated 01.06.21 11:06

Following the announcement on the 22nd February 2021, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council is currently identifying those businesses who remain eligible for grant funding as a result of the continuing national restrictions. The grant payment will cover the 44 day period from the 16th February 2021 to the 31st March 2021. It is anticipated that payments will be made the week commencing the 1st March 2021.

If you have already been awarded a grant from the 5th November 2020 and are legally required to close, you do not need to reapply. The Council will automatically make payments on a recurring basis in line with the government guidelines.

f you have not already been awarded a grant but have been legally forced to close, please complete the Support Grant application form.

Business grants: Coronavirus

Support grant

The Government has announced further funding to support businesses that are required to close to due to either local or national restrictions.

Businesses that are eligible to claim the grant are those that have a business rates assessment and have been forced to close by the Government, and include non-essential retail, leisure, personal care, sports facilities and hospitality businesses. This will also include those businesses that were required to close under the Tier 4 local restrictions, in place from the 31st December 2020.

The Support Grant is split into two periods:

  • 5th January 2021 – 15th February 2021: The scheme will close for new applications on the 31st March 2021
  • 16th February 2021 -31st March 2021: The scheme will close for new applications on the 31st May 2021

The window for new applications closed on midnight Monday 31st May 2021.

Discretionary grant

In response to the current restrictions, the Council’s discretionary grant programme will continue to deliver limited financial support for businesses required to close who do not have a Business Rates assessment (such as those in shared accommodation), as well as those businesses which remain open but are severely impacted. In line with the guidance provided to Local Authorities by Government, the Council will look to provide ongoing financial support to cover fixed property costs, subject to eligibility and available funds, as outlined in the table below. The window for new applications closed on midnight Sunday 31st January 2021.Further calls for applications will be made subject to local business need and available funds.

Following the Prime Minister’s update on restrictions (22nd February), the next payment cycle covers 16th February to 31st March 2021. Businesses which have successfully applied for a discretionary grant since the National Lockdown in November 2020 will be contacted in due course.

Discretionary grant information table
Rateable value Annual rent or mortgage (where no rateable value) Grant value covering 5th January-15th Feb 2021 Grant value covering 16th Feb-31st March 2021
Businesses required to close by law Severely impacted open businesses Businesses required to close by law Severely impacted open businesses
£15,000 or less £15,000 or less £2,000 £1,400 £2,096 £1,467

Over £15,000 and less than £51,000

Over £15,000 and less than £25,000

£3,000 £2,100 £3,143 £2,200
£51,000 and over £25,000 and over £4,500 £3,150 £4,714 £3,300

Rateable value and amount of support available

If you are successful with your application the payments will be made as soon as possible, based on the rateable value of your property:-

State aid rules

The Local and National Restrictions Support Grant counts towards state aid. The rules are fully explained in the Government state aid guidance.

By accepting a grant you are confirming that you are not in breach of these rules.

Blackburn with Darwen Taxi Driver Covid 19 grant

As part of its Covid19 discretionary business grant programme, the Council will award a one-off grant payment of £500 to taxi drivers who have continued to operate but are affected by the current restrictions.

The Council recognises that restrictions on travel, as well as the closure of many venues across the hospitality and leisure sectors, has reduced overall demand for taxi services.

To be eligible, a driver must be:

  • a resident of Blackburn with Darwen,
  • hold an existing Taxi Driver license issued by Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council
  • able to provide evidence of trading since September 2020
  • able to identify the impact of Covid19, such as loss of income
  • able to provide information which allows the Council to verify the applicant’s bank account details

The deadline for applications is 23:59 Sunday 14th March 2021

Given the volume of applications, payments are unlikely to be made until after the application window has closed

The application window for this grant has now closed.

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Please see the full information for taxi drivers and operators.

Restart grants

The Restart Grant scheme supports businesses in reopening safely as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Grants will be available in April 2021.

Eligible businesses will be paid:

  • a one-off grant of up to £6,000 in the non-essential retail sector
  • a one-off grant of up to £18,000 in the hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym sectors

Eligibility

Your business may be eligible if it is:

  • registered for Business Rates with Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council
  • in the non-essential retail, hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care or gym sectors
  • trading on 1 April 2021

You cannot get funding if your business:

  • is in administration, insolvent or has been struck off the Companies House register
  • has exceeded the permitted subsidy allowance

You must notify Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council if your situation changes and you no longer meet the eligibility criteria.

Self-Certification & Payment

Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council are currently in the process of identifying those businesses that are eligible for the Restart Grants.

Please note that there is no application form to complete but you will be required to self-certify that you meet all eligibility criteria.

If you have already applied and been paid a Business Support Grant from November 2020 onwards, you will receive an email around the 6th April 2021 and this will contain a link to your self-certification form. You will be required to complete the self-certification before any payment is made.

Business rates reliefs 2020/21

Retail discount

You could qualify for retail discount if your business is a:

  • shop
  • restaurant, café, bar or pub
  • cinema or music venue
  • hospitality or leisure business - for example, a gym, a spa, a casino or a hotel

If you’re eligible, you could get:

  • 100% off your business rates bills for the 2020 to 2021 tax year (1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021)
  • 100% off your business rates bills for the first 3 months of the 2021 to 2022 tax year (1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021)
  • 66% off your business rates bills for the rest of the 2021 to 2022 tax year (1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022) - up to a total value of £2 million

If your business was legally allowed to open during the national lockdown starting 5 January 2021, your discount for 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022 will be capped at £105,000 rather than £2 million.

You can get the retail discount on top of any other business rates relief you’re eligible for.

If you opt out of the retail discount for the 2021 to 2022 tax year you cannot change your mind.

Nursery discount

You could qualify for nurseries discount if both:

  • your business is on Ofsted’s Early Years Register
  • your premises is wholly or mainly used to provide the Early Years Foundation Stage of education

If you’re eligible, you could get:

  • 100% off your business rates bills for the 2020 to 2021 tax year (1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021)
  • 100% off your business rates bills for the first 3 months of the 2021 to 2022 tax year (1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021)
  • 66% off your business rates bills for the rest of the 2021 to 2022 tax year (1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022) - up to a total value of £105,000

You can get the nurseries discount on top of any other business rates relief you’re eligible for.

If you opt out of the nurseries discount for the 2021 to 2022 tax year you cannot change your mind.

Additional relief information

Where we can, we will award any relief direct to the account. If you believe you are eligible but have not had the relief awarded to your account, please email us at businessrates@blackburn.gov.uk

You do not need to employ rating agents or other organisations outside of the Council to claim the support that is available. These agents will probably take a percentage of any relief or grant they claim on your behalf. Please be extra careful with what you sign and how you respond to organisations that may contact you offering support.

Recovery

We expect that businesses to maintain their direct debits or payment plans and keep up with their payment plan that is on the bill.

If you are having difficulties paying, you must contact us as soon as possible. To speak to an advisor call 01254 588115 between the hours of 10am and 3pm; alternatively you can email us at businessrates@blackburn.gov.uk

We can check that you are receiving all the discounts and reliefs that you may be entitled to, and discuss payment options with you. We may be able to offer alternative payment dates or extend payments to help you.

If you don't pay

Payments are due on or before the date detailed on your most recent business rates bill. If you do not pay in line with the bill, recovery action will be taken and this may incur further costs.

A reminder notice can be issued at any time after a payment becomes due.

If you fall into arrears again, a final notice will be issued and the full balance of your account will become due, following which, if the amount is not paid in full a Summons will be issued.