The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) is highlighting an ‘anomaly’ in government grant funding meaning small independent retailers could be missing out on £15,000 Covid-19 cash.
According to real estate advisory firm Altus Group almost 3,700 small shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants could miss out on the money.
An early payment of business rates totalling around £3.4bn was made to councils last week to ensure that grants of up to £25,000 would get to businesses as soon as possible to help weather the impact of the coronavirus crisis.
Businesses with a rateable value of more than £15,000 will be eligible for the full £25,000 grant.
Meanwhile, retailers with a value of £15,000 or less will only be eligible for £10,000 grants.
The Government introduced the threshold as retailers valued below £15,000 had previously been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR).
However, this relief was tapered between £12,001 and £15,000, meaning that firms with a rateable value of £12,001 would have their rates reduced by 100 per cent, with the size of the cut reducing until those with a £15,000 valuation receive a zero per cent cut.
Altus Group said this meant there were thousands of companies with a valuation of exactly £15,000, which have previously received no small business rates relief, but will now be ineligible for the £25,000 grants.
Bira’s CEO Andrew Goodacre: “This anomaly highlights the unfair way in which the grant allocation system has been designed. I have already spoken to members for whom this anomaly applies and they will, therefore, miss out on a substantial amount of money when they need it most.
“We would like to hear from any business affected by this as we will be highlighting the matter to the government and fighting for a fairer scheme.”