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New rate relief fund launched for local businesses affected by Covid-19 pandemic

Businesses in St Helens which have struggled to get business rate help during the Covid pandemic are to be supported through the launch of a new relief scheme in the borough.

St Helens

Article date: 23 March 2022

The Covid-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF) will provide help for businesses in the borough affected by the pandemic which have been ineligible to receive other Covid-related business rate reliefs. The new scheme will apply for rates due during the 2021-22 financial year.

To qualify for relief through the new scheme, local businesses will need to show they were liable for business rates from 15 December 2021 onwards and be able to demonstrate that they have since been adversely affected by the pandemic.

Businesses will also need to demonstrate the problems they have had with adapting to the challenges thrown up by lockdown and other restrictions.

In assessing applications, St Helens Borough Council will consider the following:

  • The nature of business and how severely it has been impacted by the pandemic
  • The purpose of the hereditament, its use and the number of employees directly working at the premises
  • The size of the business including the rateable value of the property

Priority will be given to small and medium sized businesses in the borough which have been most severely impacted by the pandemic, including manufacturing, wholesalers and supply chain businesses which directly support the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.

It is hoped that the new funding will help businesses in St Helens who have suffered during the pandemic yet have been unable to get funding business rate support during the last year.

Councillor Martin Bond, St Helens Council Cabinet member for Finance and Governance, said: "The past year has been an incredible difficult time for many local businesses,  particularly smaller ones,  many of whom have struggled through the challenges of the pandemic yet found themselves unable to get any help at all with their business rates.

 "The CARF scheme will now provide that much needed assistance to them and we would encourage businesses in the borough who qualify to come forward and make their applications. Hopefully this scheme will provide that much needed help to them after what has been an extremely challenging period for everyone."

For further details on how to apply for the CARF funding, please visit www.sthelens.gov.uk/businessrates

In accordance with government guidance, the following businesses will be ineligible to receive relief under this scheme:

  1. Ratepayers that have already received, or are eligible to receive, expanded retail discount (available to businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors) or nursery (childcare) discount in 2021/22.
  2. Unoccupied premises (Properties that are temporarily closed due to government advice will be treated as occupied for rate relief purposes).
  3. Where the ratepayer has exceeded subsidy control (state aid) limits.

Find more details on the COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund