Whilst nearly 900,000 business properties in England have received Government grants worth upto £25,000, it has emerged that £1.32 billion remains unspent by Councils following a cut off date and is set to be returned to the Treasury.
In July 2020, the Government confirmed a cut off date of 28th August 2020 for the grant schemes introduced to support retail, leisure and hospitality premises negate the economic impact of Covid-19.
Following the closure of the scheme the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have now confirmed 897,590 properties received grants totalling £11.01 billion.
But £1.32 billion, around 11% of the overall £12.33 billion funding pot for England, has been unspent and is set to be returned to the Treasury by Councils.
Retail, hospitality or leisure businesses were eligible for a grant of £10,000 (if their rateable value was £15,000 or below), or a higher grant of £25,000 (if their rateable value was between £15,001 and £51,000). Whilst those businesses in receipt of small business rates relief were also entitled to £10,000.
Robert Hayton, Head of U.K. business rates at the real estate adviser Altus Group, said “the underspend is largely down to empty premises being excluded and an EU state aid limit for those firms with very big property portfolios” adding “the underspend was allocated to those sectors hit the hardest and, as they slowly recover and adapt to the new normal, that underspend should be used to go towards discerning targeted business rates support next April.”
Coronavirus grant funding: local authority payments to small and medium businesses