READING Borough Council is this week writing to thousands of eligible businesses across Reading to signpost them to financial support available, in the form of the distribution of business rate relief and grants.
Following the Government’s recent announcements on financial support for businesses, the Council has quickly put in place mechanisms to provide timely support at this challenging time.
A letter – being sent to nearly 2,000 businesses eligible for grants – will emphasise the importance of businesses providing the Council with their BACS details as soon as possible to ensure speedy payment.
The Council is aware that many business premises will be closed at this time due to the Government’s social distancing guidance. In these cases, businesses are urged to get into contact with the Council as soon as possible on firstname.lastname@example.org to provide their BACS details. The Council is additionally emailing businesses with the letter, where it holds email contact details.
The Council already holds BACS details for over 1,000 of these companies. Where details are up to date the Council is aiming to make payments automatically, but is emphasising it will still require the completed application post-payment.
The process has already begun with the Council having been in contact with more than 100 businesses over the weekend, with applications already being completed and payments to follow in the days to come.
With regard to business rate relief, 1,200 properties are being contacted to confirm their 100% discount for 2020/21, saving those Reading businesses approximately £44 million. No action is required but those businesses who may have limited access to their mail at this time are encouraged to sign up to e-billing in order to view their bill. Register and view accounts at www.reading.gov.uk/customeraccount.
The Council is this week sending individual letters and revised bills to the registered business rate address of all eligible businesses within the Borough on the following financial support:
- Retail, leisure and hospitality business rates relief
- Business rates holiday for child care providers
- Small business grants
- Retail, leisure and hospitality grants
- Business rate relief
For the Retail, Leisure & Hospitality business rate relief, amended bills have been dispatched by Reading Borough Council to all qualifying businesses. A business rate holiday has also been announced for childcare providers for 2020/21. Those paying by direct debit will have their April payments suspended while the Council rebill. No action is required from businesses.
The Government announced a £10,000 grant for small businesses that currently qualify for small business rates relief as well as a grant of up to £25,000 for all business in the retail, leisure and hospitality sector with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000. The Council is writing to all eligible businesses this week seeking confirmation of bank details so that payment can be made promptly via BACS. Businesses BACS details will be required. Please reply to the mailing or email email@example.com, providing your business rates account reference and state which grant you are requesting.
Reading Borough Council Leader Jason Brock said:
“The Council, with our economic development partner Reading UK, is working hard to support our business community at this difficult time.
“The Council has quickly set up a mechanism to ensure businesses benefit promptly from the Government’s decisions to both provide rate relief and offer business support grants. It is important that businesses eligible for grants provide the Council with their BACS details as soon as possible to ensure speedy payments.
“It’s also vital that we maintain dialogue with businesses throughout this crisis, so I’d encourage getting in contact with either myself or Reading UK if anyone feels there are issues in need of consideration.”
Nigel Horton Baker, Executive Director, Reading UK, said:
“At this difficult time, it is vital businesses can access timely advice and support to help them manage their way through the COVID-19 period. Working with Reading Borough Council, there is now a single online repository for all that advice on the main Council website.
“While we recognise we’re only at the start of what will be a difficult journey we want to reassure you that Reading UK, the Council and other partners will be working together to support you in the here and now and to formulate plans for economic recovery as soon as the timing is right.”
Businesses will be able to find all the links needed to find out more about Government financial support, advice and guidance, as well as the latest NHS guidance and support for employees on Reading Borough Council’s website – https://www.reading.gov.uk/c19business
If your business is in a neighbouring local authority, please use one of the following links:-
West Berkshire – https://www.westberks.gov.uk/
Wokingham – https://www.wokingham.gov.uk/business-and-licensing/business-and-growth/coronavirus-announcements-and-budget-2020/
Oxfordshire – https://news.oxfordshire.gov.uk/coronavirus-information-from-the-government/