Business Rates – Mid Sussex District Council

Dear Sir/Madam

I am writing to you as the Business Unit Leader for Revenues and Benefits, with the responsibility of administering and enforcing Business Rates at Mid Sussex District Council.

I know that with the coronavirus impact this is one of the most challenging times for us all including businesses within the district of Mid Sussex and rest assured Mid Sussex District Council will continue to do all we can to help at this time.

As you will know the Chancellor announced three new measures in the budget last week (Wednesday 11 March) and in his statement yesterday he announced further measures to further help businesses minimise the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19).  Please note that we believe that these additional measures are for the 2020-21 financial year only.

Retail Discount will be increased to 100% for any Rateable Value (RV) up to £51,000 and has now been expanded to cover the leisure and hospitality sectors for all businesses regardless of RV (this may be subject to state aid, for which we are trying to establish the rules as I believe a relaxing of this was also announced yesterday).

We are expecting the full guidance from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government shortly.  The measure includes pubs, shops, cinemas, restaurants museums, art galleries, theatres, gyms, small hotels, sports clubs and night clubs. If any business is in doubt about if they are included within this relief please email us at revenue@midsussex.gov.uk.  This is expected to benefit many businesses (we are working on establishing how many) in Mid Sussex. We will identify eligible businesses and automatically apply this relief and issue adjusted bills as soon as we can.  There will be no need to apply.

There is a new one-off grant of £10,000 (this was increased yesterday from £3,000) available to small businesses in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR).  The Council is likely to receive guidance shortly from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy about this grant. It is not yet clear when or how businesses will access the grant. This could benefit up to 2,500 businesses in Mid Sussex.  We may also need to contact businesses to get details (such as bank accounts) of how to pay grants to them once we are able to do so.

We are unsure who will as yet administer the up to £25,000 grant also announced by the Chancellor yesterday for the leisure and hospitality sector. It is not yet clear when or how businesses will access the grant (or indeed whether Local Authorities will administer it) and we do not know how many businesses could benefit from this in Mid Sussex as yet.

We will update our Business Rates webpages – please click on the link at https://www.midsussex.gov.uk/revsandbens/business-rates/ when we have further guidance from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government and/or the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy about this respective additional help.  We will also let you know when we are able to confirm when these new measures will be reflected in the business rates bills and how the grants will be administered and distributed.  Any changes to reliefs and grants (as they are confirmed) will also be shown on the Property Relief Mid Sussex District Council business rates webpages.

May I also ask you to advise other local businesses (who does not believe they are included in the above reliefs and grants) that if they believe that their businesses are affected by the current Coronavirus outbreak please do contact us at revenue@midsussex.gov.uk giving us as much information as you can about the impact.  We will do our utmost to respond to them as quickly as we can.  Where we have identified a business already that may qualify for any of the above that is due to make payment in April including any Direct Debit payments we have deferred these payments.  Rest assured we will continue to do our utmost to try to help businesses in Mid Sussex with their business rates wherever we can at this challenging time.

If you need additional information or clarification at any time please do let me and I promise – should you wish me to of course – to email you again as I learn more.

I am happy for you to forward this email onto businesses within Mid Sussex should you wish to.  Please note arrangements at other Local Authorities may be different.

Thank you

Mr Kevin Stewart, FIRRV, MAAT, MCMI

Business Unit Leader Revenues and Benefits

Mid Sussex District Council

Tel: 01444 477229

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