CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

TREASURY – BUSINESS RATES AND ACCUMULATED LOAN DEBT [42861] – 1 May 2020

Dr Julian Lewis: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 29 April 2020 to Question 39450 on financial support to small-to-medium transport companies engaged in importing and distributing PPE and other essential supplies, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on (a) cancelling and (b) deferring until at least the end of the covid-19 outbreak Business Rates for those companies; what assessment he has made of implications for his policies of the reluctance of some companies to continue trading with the prospect of facing substantial accumulated loan debt by the end of the crisis; and what steps the Government is taking to encourage otherwise viable companies not to cease trading for fear of that outcome.  [42861]

[Due for Answer on 11 May.] 

ANSWER

The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury (Kemi Badenoch): The current business rates holiday policy aims to provide support to all eligible businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector at this challenging time. These businesses are likely to face particularly high fixed costs, such as fixed rents and other building-related costs and are wholly or mainly being used by visiting members of the public. However, businesses outside of these sectors, such as small-to-medium transport companies, may benefit from a range of other support measures including:

  • Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
  • The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBL) for small and micro enterprises
  • VAT deferral for up to 12 months
  • The Time To Pay scheme, through which businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, can receive support with their tax affairs
  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)
  • Protection for commercial leaseholders against automatic forfeiture for non-payment until June 30, 2020

The Business Support website provides further information about how businesses can access the support that has been made available, who is eligible, when the schemes open and how to apply:

Additional debt will not be the right answer for all businesses, and it is important that businesses consider carefully before applying for a loan. The Government will provide CBILS lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to viable SMEs. The government will not charge businesses for this guarantee. On the BBL scheme, the Government will provide lenders with a 100% guarantee on each loan, to give lenders the confidence they need to support the smallest businesses in the country. For both schemes the Government will cover the first 12 months of interest payments and fees charged by the lenders. This is called the Business Interruption Payment.