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Coronavirus announcements

Coronavirus announcements

Last updated: 25 February

We appreciate that this is a difficult time for many businesses and there are a range of measures in place to help. Below is an overview of the grants made available to local businesses, at different stages of the pandemic.

Covid-19 grant scam text

We've been made aware of a Covid-19 grant text scam. Text messages are being sent to members of the public, claiming to offer a Covid-19 Grant due to the current lockdown.

The scam text starts with the words 'GOV.UK' and ends with 'govuk.com', suggesting that the text message has been sent on behalf of the Government. The text also includes a link to 'claim' the grant. This is not a genuine text.     

  • Do not attempt to click on any links or provide any information   
  • If you receive a suspicious text report it to us at: NNDRGrants@wokingham.gov.uk    

Third national lockdown (5 January to present)

Businesses that remain mandated to close under the third national lockdown do not need to reapply or complete a new application for the period 16 February to 31 March 2021.

You will be paid in accordance with the updated guidance announced by Central Government on 22 February, unless you have not already applied and received payment based on your Tier 4 Business Grant Form application.

For more information on this, visit the Gov.uk website.

Additional Restrictions Grants – Discretionary Grants Phase 2

Additional Restrictions Grants (also known as Discretionary Grants) are available to aid and support businesses that have been impacted by the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions. For further information and details on how to apply for this grant, please head to our Additional Restrictions Grants page.

Please note, the deadline to apply is 2 April 2021. 

Tier 4 (19 December to 4 January) 

Local / National Restrictions Support Grants (Closed) Addendum

You can apply for a grant if your business is in an area of local Tier 4 restrictions / National restrictions and has been required to close because of local /national restrictions that resulted in a first full day of closure on or after 19 December.

Eligible businesses are entitled to a grant for each 14 day period they are closed. Initially this will be paid in one payment covering the first 6 weeks and will then be reviewed.

You will need to show that your business:

  • Is based in England
  • Occupies property on which it pays business rates (and is the ratepayer)
  • Has been required to close for at least 14 days because of the restrictions
  • Has been unable to provide its usual in-person customer service from its premises

Businesses excluded from the grant

You cannot get funding if:

  • You can continue to operate during the period of restrictions because you do not depend on providing direct in-person services from your premises (for example, accountants)
  • Local restrictions are introduced for less than 14 days or you are closed for less than 14 days
  • You have chosen to close, but have not been required to close as part of local restrictions
  • Your business is in administration, insolvent, subject to a striking-off notice or has been struck off the Companies House register
  • You have exceeded the permitted state aid threshold

You must notify your local council if your situation changes and you no longer meet the eligibility criteria.

If you think you are eligible for this Tier 4 grant, read our Tier 4 guidance and FAQs for businesses (PDF document) before completing our online Tier 4 business rates grant form to assist us in the awarding of the grant.


Tiers 2 and 3 (2 December to 18 December)

Two grants available during this time – one for businesses that were forced to close, and one for businesses that could remain open, but with limitations.

Local Restrictions Support Grant (Open)

This grant is for businesses that are registered for business rates that were open for the period 2 December to 18 December 2020 but have been severely impacted by Tier 2 and 3 restrictions.

It is aimed at Hospitality, Hotel, Bed and Breakfast and Leisure businesses.

If you think you are eligible for this grant, read our Local Restrictions Support Grant (Open) Tiers 2 and 3 (PDF document) before completing our Tiers 2 and 3 business rates grant form, to assist us in the awarding of the grant.

Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed)  

This is for businesses that were required to close for 14 days as a result of Covid-19 regulations.

We will contact all eligible businesses that meet this criteria.

Businesses that were forced to close on 5 November and continue to remain closed (and have not applied for the mandatory grant) can apply for a business rates (November 2020) grant.

Wet-led pubs update (2 December to 16 December)

On 1 December, the government announced an additional £1,000 grant for ‘wet-led pubs’ in Tiers 2 and 3, for the period 2 December to 16 December. Pubs that mostly serve alcohol rather than food will be eligible for a one-off £1,000 payment over the festive season. Read the wet-led pubs guidance on the Gov.uk website for more details.

We will contact all eligible businesses that meet this criteria. In the meantime, if you believe you may qualify, you can email us at: NNDRGrants@wokingham.gov.uk.

Second national lockdown (5 November to 2 December)

On 31 October 2020 the government announced that there would be funding to support businesses who are forced to close under the second national lockdown. 

The LRSG(C) (Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) is a mandatory grant for businesses occupying hereditaments appearing on the local rating (e.g. pay Business Rates) that were open as usual and providing in-person services to customers from their business premises and have been mandated to close by Government on 5 November 2020 to 2 December 2020. This includes non-essential retail, leisure, personal care, sports facilities and hospitality businesses.

If you think you are eligible for this grants, read our National Lockdown (November 2020) guidance and FAQs for businesses (PDF document) before completing our online business rates grant (November 2020) form to assist us in the awarding of the grant.

Business Rates service update

We will try to run our service as normally as possible, but there may be some delays with staff working from home. We will try to email you where possible, and will work hard to make sure that documents you post to us are scanned on to our system as quickly as possible to minimise delays.

We will still accept calls on 0118 974 6000, but there are likely to be some interruptions to the service. You can also email us at: brates@wokingham.gov.uk.

There have been several alterations to eligibility criteria for Rating Reliefs for 2020 to 2021 tax year, some of which were announced on 27 January 2020, followed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Budget on 10 March 2020.

Along with more recent statements as a response to the Covid-19 situation:

  • There will be a business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England. You do not need to do anything. This will be applied to your next bill in April 2020
  • Pub relief is being increased to £5,000
  • Introduction of a nursery discount of 100 percent for business properties occupied by providers on Ofsted's Early Years Register, and used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage   

All these rating reliefs are subject to State Aid rules and apply to England only.

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