Business secretary Alok Sharma has written to local authorities asking them to return £1.6bn in currently unspent grants issued through either the £25,000 retail, leisure and hospitality scheme or the separate £10,000 scheme for firms eligible for small business rates relief by Friday, August 28.
This is despite thousands of businesses that have applied for grants still waiting for the money to hit their accounts.
Two schemes worth £12.4bn were set up in March to provide payments through the business rates system as Britain went into lockdown.
Shops, hotels, restaurants and other leisure businesses whose premises’ rateable value – which determines how much commercial property tax they pay – is between £15,000 and £51,000, are eligible for a £25,000 grant through the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund.
Separately, any business qualifying for small business rate relief or rural rates relief is eligible for a grant of £10,000 through the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF), as is any business in the retail, leisure or hospitality industry whose property is valued at less than £15,000 for business rates.
A third £617m Discretionary Fund was launched in May to help about 10,000 small businesses that do not pay business rates directly, but rather pay them through a landlord such as those in shared workspaces.
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