BR BID Coronavirus Update: Friday 3 April 2020

Grant Forms and More on Furloughing


This is quite a long one today, and I really would encourage you to read through to the end of the information – particularly about the grants.


I’d better just start with the standard disclaimer that the BID Team aren’t qualified to give advice, but can share useful information from credible sources.  All sources are referenced.  We hope these are useful to you.  


Small Business and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Forms


ADC’s grant letter and forms have now been posted to all eligible businesses identified through Business Rates records, and is also available to download here: https://www.arun.gov.uk/download.cfm?doc=docm93jijm4n15168.docx&ver=15576


We’ve been receiving a number of questions about how to fill out the form – I’ll deal with these below.  If you haven’t already, please have a careful read of the update we sent out yesterday,please click here to read


Can I apply for the grant?


Just a reminder that the grants are only available for specific businesses meeting specific criteria.  These are the criteria:


Scheme 1:  The Small Business Grant Fund

All businesses from any sector, whose premises have a Rateable Value less than £15,000 will be eligible for a grant payment of £10,000.


Scheme 2: The Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund

This fund is only for businesses in the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality sectors. 


There are two levels of grant available under this fund:  £10,000 and £25,000.


You will be eligible for the £10,000 grant if your business is in retail, leisure or hospitality and your business premises has a Rateable Value less than £15,000.


You will be eligible for the £25,000 grant if your business is in retail, leisure or hospitality and your business premises has a Rateable Value between 15,000 and £51,000.


My business doesn’t meet those criteria, but can I still apply?


The sad fact is that if your business is not in Retail, Leisure or Hospitality, and your business premises has a Rateable Value above £15,000, your business is not eligible for any grant under these two schemes.


Equally, if your Retail, Leisure or Hospitality business premises has a Rateable Value above £51,000, your business is not eligible for a grant.


Contacting ADC to ask if you can apply for the grant, when you know you don’t meet this very specific criteria is not going to get you the grant.  This isn’t their fault – they are working to really strict guidelines issued by the government.  If you’d like to look at those guidelines, they’re published here: 

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/877286/small-business-grant-fund-and-retail-guidance-v3.pdf


How can I find my Business Rates Account Number?


When you get the physical letter from ADC, it will have your unique business rates account number on it because it’s specific to you.


However, the letter you can download from ADC won’t have any account number on it, because anyone can download it.


ADC Business Rates are incredibly busy at the moment, so, if you can’t locate your Business Rates account number, emailing them is unlikely to get you an immediate response.  I’ve therefore asked ADC if they will accept an alternative, unique reference number on the form to help them match your business to your Business Rates account.  They haven’t replied yet, but if you’re desperate to get your form back to them before you get the letter through the post, this is an option.


Every business premises has a unique reference number allocated by the Valuations Office Agency (VOA), which is the government office that sets Rateable Values.  You can check your business premises’ details on the VOA website:

  • Follow this link   https://www.gov.uk/correct-your-business-rates

  • Click on the green “Start now” button

  • Enter your business premises’ address postcode

  • Click on your exact business premises’ address to open up the full record for that property

  • Double check that this really is your property

  • Make a note of both the Local Authority Reference for your business premises

  • Use this reference number on your grant form if you can’t find your Business Rates Account Number

  •  Write the words “Local Authority Reference Number” next to the numbers so it’s very clear to the person at ADC processing the form. 

Please note:  The Local Authority Reference is NOT your Business Rates Account number, but it is unique to your premises, and will enable ADC to match your business premises to your business rates account


How long will it take to get the grant money?


I’m afraid I really don’t know, and can only tell you that ADC will be working as hard as they can to process the information you’ve submitted to get the money to your accounts.  I will update you if I get the slightest indication from ADC Business Rates as to turnaround time, but at the moment they’re all focused on getting the information out to you, and then processing the information that comes back.


I’ve just received the letter by post, but it doesn’t ask for my bank details – what shall I do?


One day, when this is all over, you can ask me “what happened yesterday”, and I’ll smile as I tell you.  But for now:


You may find there’s a difference between the letters that arrive by post, and the letter you can download online.  If you’re going to complete and submit the form that came in the post, pleasemanually add your bank account number and sort codein any space you can find.


How do I fill in the form?


I’ve created an example of a completed form you can look at in the Resources folder here: https://www.brbid.org/covid19-resources


On my example document I’ve put in comments to help you, but if you’ve still got questions, give me a call – I’m very happy to help!  07917 692690.


Updated Resources:  Furloughing Staff


We’ve added two new documents to the Resources folder for furloughing employees or indeed Directors if you are a Limited Company.  One is a letter asking employees to agree to furloughing, and the second is the letter you give them when they are being furloughed.


I’d like to stress that these are generic letters and not specific to individual businesses or circumstances, so you’ll need to adapt them for your businesses.


The guidance is that it is really important that the process of furloughing employees is formalised in order to protect employers and ensure that the employee is clear on the process being followed.

If you are having to select employees who are to be furloughed against those which are not, you need to be very clear in your reasons for doing so, as much you would be if you were going through a redundancy process. This is because being placed on furlough might be suitable or beneficial to some but less so for others.


Please, please read the government’s official guidance on furloughing staff so you know exactly what it entails.  You can link to the advice here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme


I’ve also been alerted to a free employment law advice service available: www.employersdirect.org.uk, I don’t have any direct experience of them- just sharing details that you might find useful.

Even though Clair and I are working from home, you can still contact us by email:  info@brbid.org, by phone:  07917 692690 or through Zoom meeting software.  The software is free to download and works across a wide range of platforms – phones, tablets, PC’s, Macs.  If you’d like a virtual face to face, please invite:  heather@brbid.org

Kindest regards, Heather

Heather Allen, BR BID Co-Ordinator

Bognor Regis B.I.D

2 York Road

Bognor Regis

PO21 1LW

01243 826354

info@brbid.org

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