ALL business rate payers in West Berkshire will have this month’s rates deferred, regardless of industry, to help with finances hit by the pandemic disruption. 

The decision, intended to help with cash flow, was taken by West Berkshire Council as part of a wide package of support for local businesses affected by the coronavirus

The support from the council and the government includes grant funding, further rate holidays and government-backed loans.

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Councillor Lynne Doherty (Con, Speen), the leader of the council, said: “We know that this is a very difficult time for many and want to make sure that everyone in our community has the support they need, and that includes our businesses.

“The government has made lots of support available and the team here has put together a comprehensive guide for businesses wanting to access this. This can be found on our website.

“We have also put into place some specific local measures, such as a business rates holiday for all of our businesses, which we hope will offer some extra support to those affected here in West Berkshire."

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The emergency package includes:

  • A job retention scheme which pays 80 per cent of the wages of many workers
  • VAT and income tax deferrals for the self-employed
  • Statutory sick pay relief package for small and medium sized businesses
  • A 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses
  • Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with properties with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • A business interruption loan scheme, offering loans of up to £5 million for small and medium sized businesses

Cllr Doherty added: “We’ll contact businesses eligible for support as soon as possible and will issue further advice as regularly as we can. 

“I would, however, urge anyone who has concerns or needs assistance that isn’t covered by what has been announced so far to get in touch with us directly. 

“We will help wherever we can and we stand ready to offer our support.”