(photo of Liverpool St Station concourse during the 5pm rush hour, courtesy of British Transport Police)
The past month or two has seen changes in our behaviour, our way of working and our social interactions, which many of us would never have dreamt of. The reasoning is well documented and as data is gathered and knowledge grows, then decisions can be made more clearly on the best way forward. The City Corporation has redeployed many officers to critical services and to support the various groups that have been set up to aid the Government’s efforts. Some of the usual services that the City Corporation offers are understandably subject to some delay, as focus is given to critical work.
The City Corporation has put together support and packages to assist our residents, businesses and workers. These can be found in depth at the following webpage:
This contains outlines of the help available to businesses through the Government’s various schemes, as well as some of the City’s own initiatives. I have extracted a few pieces below for ease of reference:
Business rates relief and grants for small businesses. The government has announced retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England will not need to pay business rates for the 2020 to 2021 tax year. We will be applying this automatically to businesses in the City of London, you do not need to apply.
A grant scheme has also been announced by central government to assist Small Businesses with a rateable value of up to £51,000. The two schemes are detailed below:
- A £25,000 grant will be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.
- A £10,000 grant will be provided to businesses currently eligible for Small business rate relief (SBBR) to help meet their ongoing business costs.
The City Revenues Team will issue payments directly to those businesses that qualify and no application will be required. Further information is available on our Business Rates page.
Rental relief for City of London businesses. The City of London Corporation has agreed to make rental payments more manageable for its smaller business tenants as they deal with the financial strain of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The City Corporation’s Property Investment Board has agreed to change rental payments for the March to June quarter to monthly billing for directly managed premises. This replaces the current quarterly billing scheme and makes rental obligations more manageable for City Corporation tenants.
The Bank of England has released fuller details of the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility to support larger companies. This will support your company if it has been affected by a short-term funding squeeze and allow you to finance your short-term liabilities. It will also support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms. The scheme will be available early in week beginning 23 March 2020.
To further support cashflow for businesses through the tax system, VAT payments will be deferred for 3 months until the end of June. If you’re self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021. This is an automatic offer with no applications required. Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period.
A food bank has been set up for the benefit of those residents who need it anywhere in the City, including Golden Lane and the estates in Portsoken: https://www.citymatters.london/food-bank-set-square-mile-support-residents/ . The organisers need some modest funding to help them store the food, fridges, freezers, shelving and funding to buy food to supplement food donations. If you would like to donate, there is a Just Giving page in the above link; donations should be marked “This donation is for the City of London food bank”. The funds are controlled by Age UK, who will apply those earmarked for the food bank solely for that purpose.