As announced in the Chancellor’s Budget;
- £700m expected to flow to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland from the decisions announced in Wednesday’s Budget at Westminster to help the economy through the crisis
- Rishi Sunak’s Budget raised expectations that Kate Forbes would follow his lead in Scotland, on support for business and a hardship fund through councils
It is now confirmed that;
- Holyrood is to get a down-payment of about £360m to help Scotland through the coronavirus pandemic. That’s the ballpark figure for the share of funding that will head to Holyrood in lieu of measures being introduced in England, much of that for business
That includes a share of the £500m hardship fund, which the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has announced will be distributed through English local councils.
The consequent £50m or so does not have to be spent in the same way by Scottish ministers, but they will be under some pressure to follow at least that Westminster example.
Some money also heads to Holyrood because small English firms are to get business support grants of £3,000.
But the biggest tranche is in lieu of the one-year business rates holiday being given to smallish businesses in hospitality, retail and leisure.
That’s money that will no longer be raised by English councils. The Treasury compensates local authorities for that loss of income, so the Treasury reckons a share of that compensation should go to the devolved administrations at Holyrood, Cardiff and Stormont.
Scottish Finance Secretary Kate Forbes has announced a £320m rescue package for businesses –
The cash is being made available to support business through the COVID-19 outbreak.
The action has been taken to try to limit the impact of the pandemic on Scotland’s economy.
During the 2020-21 financial year, business will be boosted with:
- 75% rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a rateable value of less than £69,000 from 1 April 2020
- £80m fund to provide grants of at least £3,000 to small businesses in sectors facing the worst economic impact of Covid-19
- 1.6% rates relief for all properties across Scotland, effectively reversing the planned below inflation uplift in the poundage from 1 April 2020
- Fixed rates relief of up to £5,000 for all pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 from 1 April 2020
The Finance Secretary is also to write to the Local Authorities urging them to respond positively to requests from ratepayers for payment deferrals for a fixed period. This may assist those ratepayers above rateable value £69,000 outlined above.
It was also announced there will be a hardship fund of £50m available to people who lose their jobs as a result of a downturn caused by the virus.
You can imagine the huge influx of enquiries to the various Finance Departments as action is needed urgently. This process will require Regulations to be provided to the Local Authorities with advice on how this will be processed. It would appear that it will be Application based but as the Local Authorities will only have recently been advised they will not have procedures in place.
Although not mentioned, we do not believe this relief will offset vacant rates it would appear to be for businesses operating in commercial property.
We will be monitoring the situation as it progresses and we will be circulating more info as soon as available.
Please contact our team via firstname.lastname@example.org for any urgent enquiries.