Councils to return over £1bn in unspent retail support grants to the Treasury
A new analysis of government data has revealed £1.32bn of the £12.33 allocated to councils to help businesses during the coronavirus lockdown has been unspent and will be returned to the Treasury.
During the national coronavirus retail lockdown, which lasted from 23 March to 15 June, the government launched several new grant schemes designed to support retailers that had closed their doors or seen their sales shrink as a result of the pandemic.
Depending on the rateable value of a retail, hospitality or leisure business’ property, companies were eligible for a grant of £10,000 or £25,000. Additionally, those businesses in receipt of small business rates relief were also entitled to £10,000.
In July 2020, the government confirmed that the grant schemes would be cut-off from 28 August 2020, with many councils still having allocated funding yet to be distributed.
Following the closure of the grant scheme, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy confirmed 897,590 properties received grants totalling £11.01bn.
Of the overall £12.33bn allocated, however, around 11 per cent (£1.32bn) went unspent which will now be returned to the Treasury.
Robert Hayton, Head of UK Business Rates at Altus Group, commented: “The underspend is largely down to empty premises being excluded and an EU state aid limit for those firms with very big property portfolios.”
Interestingly, analysis in May by Bankier Sloan Chartered Surveyors and Retail Express suggested that multiple local authorities received more funding than required, with many having a surplus of funding even after paying out all potential businesses.
With over £1bn of funding going back to the Treasury, Robert added that the money could be reinvested into help provide more relief for companies most adversely affected by the pandemic.
“The underspend was allocated to those sectors hit the hardest and, as they slowly recover and adapt to the new normal, that underspend should be used to go towards discerning targeted business rates support next April,” he finished.https://thiis.co.uk/councils-to-return-over-1bn-in-unspent-retail-support-grants-to-the-treasury/https://i0.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/money-cash-pounds-support.jpg?fit=900%2C600&ssl=1https://i0.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/money-cash-pounds-support.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Business SupportCoronavirus NewsCOVID-19 Sector NewsGovernment & Local AuthoritiesInvestments & FundingNewsroomSector NewsAltus Group,Bankier Sloan Chartered Surveyors,coronavirus,COVID-19,Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy,lockdown,pandemic,Retail Express,retail grants,SupportA new analysis of government data has revealed £1.32bn of the £12.33 allocated to councils to help businesses during the coronavirus lockdown has been unspent and will be returned to the Treasury. During the national coronavirus retail lockdown, which lasted from 23 March to 15 June, the government launched several...Calvin BarnettCalvin Barnettcalvin@thiis.co.ukAdministratorTHIIS Magazine