Purpose of Report
To provide the Joint Committee with an update on current issues within non-domestic rates.
That the report be noted.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
Reason for Decision
The following updates were noted:
Expanded Retail Discount
In response to Covid-19, in the Budget on 11 March 2020, Government announced that it would increase the discount for 2020/21 to 100% and extend it to include the leisure and hospitality sectors. On 23 March 2020, further measures were announced which resulted in the relief being applied to occupied retail, leisure and hospitality properties in the year 2020/21, as well as removing the rateable value limit.
In response to Covid-19, Government announced a business rates Nursery Discount on 18 March 2020. The relief would be applied to hereditaments occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register and wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage and were subject to businesses rates in the year 2020/21.
Support for Businesses – Lockdown Grants
On 31 October 2020, the Government announced new national restrictions which required certain businesses and venues to close - or restrict how they provide goods andservices - from 5 November to 2 December 2020. These were:
· Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG); and
· Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG).
Local Authorities would be issued funding allocations that would be calculated using the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) data based on the categories of businesses relevant to the closures imposed by the Government.
Local Restrictions Support Grant
The support would take the form of a grant funding scheme in Financial Year 2020-2021 and would be for the period of the current lockdown period only (5 November 2020 to 2 December 2020). Local Authorities would be provided with funding for businesses that were required to close because of the formal publication of local restrictions guidance by central Government.
The level of funding for this grant was as follows:
· City of Lincoln - £2,181,564
· North Kesteven - £1,311,462
Additional Restrictions Grant
The support would take the form of a funding scheme in Financial Year 2020-2021 and could be used across Financial Years 20/21 and 21/22. Local Authorities would receive a one-off lump sum payment amounting to £20 per head of population. Local Authorities were only eligible to receive funding once.
The level of funding was as follows:
· City of Lincoln - £1,985,980
· North Kesteven - £2,338,300
It was reported that Local authorities determined how much funding to provide to businesses and exactly which businesses to target.
ATM Appeal Threat
On Wednesday 20th May 2020 the Supreme Court gave its decision on whether Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) accessed from inside or outside a host retail property should be separately assessed.
The court dismissed the appeals, stating that internal and external ATMs were to be treated the same and should not be separately assessed. As a result, a significant number of related appeal cases were now being settled following the Supreme Court decision. The levels of refunds for each authority was outlined in 9.2 of the report.