Enhanced Retail Discount – what does it mean?

As you may be aware further announcements were made yesterday by the Chancellor to help businesses affected by Covid-19.

The measures are extensive and will go a long way to supporting many of the businesses most acutely affected by the current situation.

The list of properties that will fall within scope of the Enhanced Retail Discount (ERD) should be published today but it may be different to the general descriptions of “Retail”, “Hospitality” and “Leisure” that we all understand.

The scheme is also being notified to the EU Commission today. If accepted it might be exempt from State Aid rules or it might be that the State Aid limit is increased.  This is not yet confirmed so watch this space.

Other facts that might help you to make businesses decisions over the coming days and weeks:

•        As with the existing Retail Discount, ERD will only apply to occupied properties. It will not affect any vacant property subject to an empty rate.

The scheme provides £20 billion of business rates support and grant funding to help the most-affected firms manage their cashflow through this period by:

•        Giving retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England a 100% business rates holiday for the next 12 months (note we await the defined list).

•        Increasing grants to small businesses eligible for Small Business Rate Relief from £3,000 to £10,000.

•        Providing further £25,000 grants to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000

For 2020/21 landlords who have tenants on a rates inclusive basis may well benefit from the tenant being made liable for business rates in order that they can claim the relief (landlords are not a qualifying business).