The Small Business Grant Fund, commonly known as SBGF, is a UK Government fund that aims to support small businesses through the financial difficulties arising from the coronavirus outbreak by providing a one-off cash payment of £10,000 to qualifying businesses in relation to any qualifying properties.
The key features of the SBGF are:
1. SBGF background – SBGF was announced by the Government on 11th March 2020.
2. Qualifying businesses - Businesses in England in receipt of either Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) or Rural Rates Relief (RRR).
3. Qualifying properties – The relevant property must have been either (a) eligible for SBRR on the 11th March 2020 (including those with a Rateable Value between £12,000 and £15,000 which receive tapered relief), or eligible for relief under the RRR Scheme on 11th March 2020.
4. Multiple properties – Eligible recipients will receive one grant per property under SBGF.
5. Exclusions – Qualifying businesses cannot receive SBGF and a Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant (RHLG) for the same property. There are a limited number of other exclusions.
6. Making claims – Local authorities are required to contact qualifying businesses whom they consider to be eligible for payments from the SBGF and invite them to apply. It appears that local authorities have chosen to write letters to businesses and request them to respond to an email address or complete an online form. The person contacted will be the person who according to the billing authority’s records was the ratepayer for the property on the 11th March 2020.
7. Payments – The local authority will assess any SBGF application before making the payment. The SBGF payments will be made by BACS to the applicant’s UK bank account specified in their application.
8. Status – The SBGF is open and local authorities have been making SBGF payments.