Serviced office tenants miss out on COVID-19 grant cash

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Date: 14 April 2020

Young man working on his laptop in co-creative space

Small businesses that occupy serviced office spaces have missed out on £100m of grants based on business rates - worth £10,000 per business.

The loophole means that any business that rents space in a serviced office where rates are included in the package is not eligible for support.

"Put simply, if you don't have a business rates account for your business with your local authority you get nothing," said Jonathan Ratcliffe from Offices.co.uk.

"We think this could affect around 5% of small businesses in the UK, many who are struggling to continue, and it would be an absolute lifesaver," he added.

Grants are awarded based on Rateable Value (RV), which means that businesses with premises that have a RV of less than £15,000 can get a £10,000 cash grant.

"We are in no way criticising chancellor Rishi Sunak, absolutely not, he's had to make some complex decisions in a very short time period, it's just that businesses in flexible workspaces are missing this lifeline of cash through no fault of their own," said Ratcliffe.

Offices.co.uk is writing to Rishi Sunak to ask for the following adjustments to the Small Business Grant Funding scheme:

  • Recognise all serviced office and co-working tenants as "small businesses with a Rateable Value (RV) of £15,000 and under";
  • Make available cash grants of £10,000 for these tenants immediately;
  • Pay this grant before the 30th April 2020.

"It's a real travesty that just because the rates are paid centrally by the provider that small innocent businesses are missing out on key cash at exactly the time they need it - this month. April 30th is when many small businesses will reach breaking point without help," Radcliffe said.

Written by Rachel Miller.

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