Around £300 million of business rates relief aimed at firms hit hardest during the Pandemic is still unclaimed, according to Government figures.
Analysis of the UK Government’s own data shows that only 80% of the cash available from the £1.5 billion Covid-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF) has been allocated so far, with only a matter of week left for payments to be made before the end of the Financial Year. Announced on March 25, 2021, the CARF was aimed at those not covered by the Retail, Hospitality & Leisure Relief Fund and other aid packages. Delays and confusion over varied schemes and differing deadlines from one local authority to the next will have contributed to this lower than expected uptake.
Local Authorities were tasked with handing out the support, working to a claims’ deadline of September 30, 2022. Recipients typically were warehouse operators, manufacturers and office-based businesses.
Recent Government data shows that 261,520 properties benefited from the Government’s RHL Relief Fund which allowed firms to claim a 50% business rates’ discount. This was to replace the right of appeal against business rates which was stayed during the Pandemic.
In the autumn statement, the Chancellor did extend the RHL support for a further year and increased the discount to 75%, but kept the £110,000 per business cap, rather than allowing it to be claimed against individual properties. This significantly limited the number of eligible claims that could be made by businesses which ran multiple sites or premises. Retailers in particular were hit hard by the cap.
Any unclaimed funds will be returned to the Treasury’s coffers.