Coronavirus (COVID-19) information and advice

Reopening your business safely

Business Grants - COVID 19 response

In order to help support businesses within the Somerset West and Taunton area, affected by the COVID-19 restrictions, the Government has provided the Council with funding to provide grants to certain types of businesses.

There were three schemes; each with their own eligibility criteria.

The Discretionary Business Grant Scheme closed on 17 July 2020 and is no longer accepting new applications.

However, the Small Business Grant Scheme and the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grant Scheme both remain open for applications but will both close at 5pm on 14 August 2020.

The vast majority of eligible businesses have now claimed grants. If you think that you are eligible, but have not yet been in touch with us about either of these grant types, please do so as soon as possible.

Details about the schemes are provided below and contain links to the application form.

Schemes

Your business is eligible for a grant fund payment from this Council if, at the 11 March 2020, you were the ratepayer for a property in the Somerset West and Taunton area which was entitled to:

  1. Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) - you will receive a grant payment of £10,000
  2. Rural Rate Relief (RRR) – you will receive a grant payment of £10,000 Please note that certain exclusions apply
  • This is a non-repayable grant and is NOT a loan
  • Businesses which are not ratepayers in the business rates system are not included in this scheme
  • Hereditaments occupied for personal use are not included
  • Unoccupied properties are not included
  • Car Parks and parking spaces are not included
  • Business which as of the 11 March 2020 were in liquidation or were dissolved will not be eligible
  • Only one grant may be awarded per hereditament. Businesses should be aware that these grants are subject to state aid limits. Small Business Grant Fund can be paid as De Minimis aid €200,000 limit over 3 years  
  • If you think you should receive the Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief and it is not shown on your rate bill, then you need to firstly submit an application for the discount or relief
  • Somerset West and Taunton Council cannot award grants in relation to properties which are situated outside of our area. Applications for properties outside of Somerset West and Taunton should be made to the Council that send you the rates bill for those properties
  • Town and Parish Councils are eligible for this grant if they have a Business Rates liability and are receiving Small Business Rates Relief

Information we require from you if your business is entitled to a grant

  • your Somerset West and Taunton Business Rates account reference. (which starts with 80 and is up to 10 digits long and can be found on your bill
  • details of the bank account to which we should make payment
  • your company number (if applicable);
  • your VAT registration number (if applicable)
  • the amount of state aid your business has received
  • an image of your bank statement (either paper or online)
  • an image of your Business Rates bill will need to be uploaded to the form

Once submitted, we aim to make payments to eligible businesses within 7 working days into the nominated bank account you have provided on your request form or the bank account from which you are using to make direct debit payments. However, if you do not supply the required information, this may cause a delay to your request being considered.

We may need to contact you if we cannot pay you the grant, or if further information is required to process your request.

If you have any questions about the form or this grant please contact our revenues team by email brgrants@somersetwestandtaunton.gov.uk

Or by telephone on 0300 304 8000 Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. My business is still open and trading. Am I entitled to the grant?
    A. Yes. If your business meets the eligibility criteria, whether the business is currently open or has temporarily closed due to COVID-19, you will be entitled to the grant.
  2. My landlord pays the rates. Am I entitled to one of these grants?
    A. No. Only the ratepayer is entitled to the grant. Your landlord may apply and may choose to share the grant with you; but that would be at their discretion. See scheme 3 - Discretionary Business Grants, on this page to see if you may be entitled to that.
  3. I became responsible for rates in April 2020. Am I entitled to this grant?
    A. No. The grant is only payable to ratepayers shown on the Council’s records at 11th March 2020.
  4. I operate a business which has been affected by COVID-19 but I don’t have any premises so I don’t pay rates. Am I entitled to this grant?
    A. No. Only businesses that are liable for rates are eligible for the grant.
  5. I have more than one business within the SWT area that would be eligible for the grant. Can I have more than one grant payment?
    A. Businesses can only get one grant under the Small Business Grant Scheme.
  6. My business is claiming other forms of financial support from the Government to help with COVID-19, Can I still claim this grant payment?
    A. Yes. However, please note that State Aid limits apply and therefore you should not claim payment if it would place you above those limits. This will generally apply to businesses which operate from many properties regionally or nationally.
  7. When is the closing date for this grant?
    A. The Government has said the grants schemes will close by 14 August 2020. We would therefore encourage businesses to apply as soon as possible as once the scheme closes we will be unable to accept further applications.

Appeals

If we notify you that you are not entitled to a Small Business Grant Fund payment you can request a review of the decision.

Before you submit a request for a review please make sure you have read the Small Business Grant Fund and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund Guidance. This contains clear rules around entitlement. Please also read Grant Funding Schemes (FAQ) as this may also help you understand why the Council has made the decision it has.

If having read these documents, you still wish to submit a request for a review please send an email to BRGrants@somersetwestandtaunton.gov.uk with the subject ‘Request for Review of Business Grant Decision’.

Your e-mail should clearly state your reasons for appealing and explain why you think you are eligible to receive a grant.

  • if you think you should receive the Expanded Retail Discount , Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief and it is not shown on your rate bill, then you need to firstly submit an application for the discount or relief

  • if you are claiming to have been in exclusive possession of the business rates property on 11 March 2020 please attach documents which will support that position such as a lease or letter from your landlord, etc

  • if you claim that the Council should have been aware from earlier correspondence that you were in occupation / rateable possession of the property please provide copies of the relevant correspondence

The review will be undertaken by an officer of the Council not involved in the original decision. We aim to respond within ten working days. The outcome of the review will be final and the Council will not undertake further consideration of the matter after that time.

Please also note that this procedure may be subject change should we receive further guidance from Central Government.

Submit your details

Protect yourself from Fraud

  • We won’t cold call you to ask for your bank detail or rate account number on the phone or by email
  • We have not employed any external companies to assist with Business Rates Grants; this is a process that we are completing ourselves
  • Do not provide this information to anyone claiming to be from the Council or acting on behalf of the Council
  • Only submit these details via the ‘submit your details’ button on this page.

Your business is eligible for a grant fund payment from this Council if, at the 11 March 2020, you were the ratepayer for a property in the Somerset West and Taunton area which was entitled to the Expanded Retail Discount.

This is a non-repayable grant and is NOT a loan.

Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied properties that are wholly or mainly being used:

  1. as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
  2. for assembly and leisure; or
  3. as hotels, guest and boarding premises and self-catering accommodation

and which has a rateable value of less than £51,000.

If you think you should receive the Expanded Retail Discount and it is not shown on your rate bill, then you need to firstly submit an application for the discount or relief before you apply for a grant.

You will receive the following levels of grant payment:

  • Businesses with a rateable value up to £15,000 will receive a grant payment of £10,000
  • Businesses with a rateable value over £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive a grant payment of £25,000

Please note that certain exclusions apply:

  • Businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or over are not eligible for this scheme
  • Businesses which are not ratepayers in the business rates system are not included in this scheme
  • Hereditaments occupied for personal use are not included
  • Car Parks and parking spaces are not included
  • Business which as of the 11 March 2020 were in liquidation or were dissolved will not be eligible
  • Only one grant may be awarded per hereditament. Businesses should be aware that these grants are subject to state aid limits. Retail, hospitality and Leisure Grant can be paid under the UK Covid 19 Temporary Framework Approved Scheme €800,000 limit. This is particularly relevant to business which may have many business premises nationally and may be paid these grants by several Councils, as they may quickly exceed this limit
  • Somerset West and Taunton Council cannot award grants in relation to properties which are situated outside of our area. Applications for properties outside of Somerset West and Taunton should be made to the Council that send you the rates bill for those properties

Information we require from you if your business is entitled to a grant

  • your Somerset West and Taunton Business Rates account reference. (which starts with 80 and is up to 10 digits long and can be found on your bill
  • details of the bank account to which we should make payment
  • your company number (if applicable);
  • your VAT registration number (if applicable)
  • the amount of state aid your business has received
  • an image of your bank statement (either paper or online)
  • an image of your Business Rates bill will need to be uploaded to the form

Once submitted, we aim to make payments to eligible businesses within 7 working days into the nominated bank account you have provided on your request form or the bank account from which you are using to make direct debit payments. however, If you do not supply the required information, this may cause a delay to your request being considered.

We may need to contact you if we cannot pay you the grant, or if further information is required to process your request.

If you have any questions about the form or this grant please contact our revenues team by email brgrants@somersetwestandtaunton.gov.uk

Or by telephone on 0300 304 8000 Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. My business is still open and trading. Am I entitled to the grant?
    A. Yes. If your business meets the eligibility criteria, whether the business is currently open or has temporarily closed due to COVID-19, you will be entitled to the grant.
  2. My landlord pays the rates. Am I entitled to this grant?
    A. No. Only the ratepayer is entitled to the grant. Your landlord may apply and may choose to share the grant with you; but that would be at their discretion.
  3. I became responsible for rates in April 2020. Am I entitled to this grant?
    A. No. The grant is only payable to ratepayers shown on the Council’s records at 11th March 2020.
  4. I operate a business which has been affected by COVID-19 but I don’t have any premises so I don’t pay rates. Am I entitled to the grant?
    A. No. Only businesses that are liable for rates are eligible for the grant.
  5. I have more than one business within the SWT area that would be eligible for the grant. Can I have more than one grant payment?
    A. Businesses eligible for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure scheme can claim one grant per eligible property and therefore may claim multiple grants if they pay rates on multiple eligible premises.
  6. My business is claiming other forms of financial support from the Government to help with COVID-19, Can I still claim a grant payment?
    A. Yes. However, please note that State Aid limits apply and therefore you should not claim payment if it would place you above those limits. This will generally apply to businesses which operate from many properties regionally or nationally.
  7. When is the closing date for this grant?
    A. The Government has said the grants schemes will close by 14 August 2020. We would therefore encourage businesses to apply as soon as possible as once the scheme closes we will be unable to accept further applications.

Appeals

If we notify you that you are not entitled to a Small Business Grant Fund payment or a Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant fund payment you can request a review of the decision.

Before you submit a request for a review please make sure you have read the Small Business Grant Fund and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund Guidance. This contains clear rules around entitlement. Please also read Grant Funding Schemes (FAQ) as this may also help you understand why the Council has made the decision it has.

If having read these documents, you still wish to submit a request for a review please send an email to BRGrants@somersetwestandtaunton.gov.uk with the subject ‘Request for Review of Business Grant Decision’.

Your e-mail should clearly state your reasons for appealing and explain why you think you are eligible to receive a grant.

  • if you think you should receive the Expanded Retail Discount , Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief and it is not shown on your rate bill, then you need to firstly submit an application for the discount or relief
  • if you are claiming to have been in exclusive possession of the business rates property on 11 March 2020 please attach documents which will support that position such as a lease or letter from your landlord, etc
  • if you claim that the Council should have been aware from earlier correspondence that you were in occupation / rateable possession of the property please provide copies of the relevant correspondence

The review will be undertaken by an officer of the Council not involved in the original decision. We aim to respond within ten working days. The outcome of the review will be final and the Council will not undertake further consideration of the matter after that time.

Please also note that this procedure may be subject change should we receive further guidance from Central Government.

Submit your details  

Protect yourself from Fraud

  • We won’t cold call you to ask for your bank detail or rate account number on the phone or by email
  • We have not employed any external companies to assist with Business Rates Grants; this is a process that we are completing ourselves
  • Do not provide this information to anyone claiming to be from the Council or acting on behalf of the Council
  • Only submit these details via the ‘submit your details’ button on this page

We have had a tremendous response to the scheme. We are working our way through the applications we have received so far but it looks likely that once we have processed the applications that we are currently holding , all of the funds that have been made available by the Government will be used up.

Therefore, late this afternoon (17 July) we closed the scheme. We are sorry that we have not been able to help every business but wish everyone every success going forward. Should the Government provide additional funds that will enable the scheme to re-open we will let people know.

Government information

If you are looking for information on other business support which has recently been announced by Government, such as the schemes listed below, please follow the relevant links for further information:

  • information on business support which has recently been announced by Government
  • the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank – Loans will be interest free for the first 6 months
  • a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans