Written Question on Arts: Government Assistance

Written Questions are submitted by MPs or Lords to receive information from a Department.

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Date Title Questioner
13 May 2020, 1:25 p.m. Arts: Government Assistance Lord Kennedy of Southwark


To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the number of businesses in the creative sector with a turnover of less than £6.5 million that do not qualify for (1) a small business grant, (2) retailers, hospitality and leisure grants, and (3) the business rate holiday.

Answer (Lord Agnew of Oulton)

The Government does not have this information available. Local Authorities, which are operating the business grants schemes and the business rates holiday, do not have systematic access to data on the turnover of businesses in their area.

We are aware that some small businesses are finding themselves excluded from the business grants schemes because of the way in which they interact with the business rates system.

On 1st May the Government announced that it would make up to £617 million of additional funding available to Local Authorities to enable them to make discretionary payments of up to £25,000 to businesses in this situation.

The discretionary funds will be administered by Local Authorities, who will ask businesses to apply for a grant. Local Authorities will shortly receive guidance regarding which kinds of businesses should be considered a priority for these funds. It is the Government’s intention that the following businesses should be considered a priority:

  • Businesses in shared offices;
  • Regular market traders who do not have their own business rates assessment;
  • B&Bs which pay Council Tax instead of business rates; and
  • Charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief.

Local Authorities may also choose to pay grants to businesses outside of these areas, according to local economic need, so long as the grants are aimed at:

  • Businesses with ongoing fixed building-related costs
  • Businesses which can demonstrate that they have suffered a significant fall in income due to the Covid-19 crisis
  • Business with fewer than 50 employees
  • Businesses that were trading on or before 11th March

Businesses will need to apply to their Local Authority in order to receive grants. Each Local Authority will need to create their own process, which may take some time. The Government encourages businesses in the creative sectors which have not been eligible for grants to look out for their Local Authority’s version of this scheme, and to contact their Local Authority for more information in due course.

Businesses in the creative sector which remain ineligible for business grants may be able to benefit from other measures in the Government’s unprecedented package of support for business, including:

  • An option to defer VAT payments by up to twelve months;
  • The Bounce Back Loan scheme, which will ensure that small and micro businesses can quickly access loans of up to £50,000 which are 100% guaranteed by the Government;
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, now extended to cover all businesses including those which would be able to access commercial credit;
  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, to support businesses with their wage bills;
  • The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, to provide support to the self-employed.

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