Manchester City Council to delay business rates to support struggling businesses

Business Rates will not be taken on April 1, to help support businesses affected by Coronavirus (Covid-19), said Manchester City Council this afternoon (March 19).

Cllr Carl Ollerhead, Manchester City Council’s executive member for finance and human resources, said: “Business Rate payments will be delayed for Manchester businesses in April and direct debits will not be taken.

“It’s important that we can support businesses and minimise their expenditure while relief and support from central Government is put into action.

“We understand this will be a worrying time for business owners of all sizes and we will do what we can to help as the situation evolves.

“Information is available on the council website for business owners, including business rates, sick pay for employees, and links through to the Government loan scheme.”

To support businesses that may be struggling at this time, the council has agreed the following actions around Business Rates:

  • It will not submit a claim to banks for any direct debits that are due in April until the 100% Retail Relief has been applied. It will reprofile payment arrangements over the remaining 11 months where appropriate.
  • It would urge all businesses to pay what they can and seek advice where possible from their bank or other business support.
  • It has suspended all bailiff action to recover business rates that are overdue until the end of June.
  • For businesses that contact the council, it will agree special payment plans so that the business rates due for 2020/21 are split over nine months from July 2020 to March 2021, meaning that businesses will not have to pay anything until July.
  • For businesses that are in the retail, hospitality or leisure industry the council has suspended all recovery action for an initial three month period. It will consider requests from other businesses and organisations based on their circumstances.
  • It urges all businesses to keep in touch, ensure that they are getting all the reliefs and support that they are entitled to, and to let the council know how it can support them during this challenging period.

It advised that, given the demands on its contact centre, it requests that all contact is via email on: businessrates@manchester.gov.uk

Meanwhile, traders from Birkenhead’s historic market will not have to pay rent for the next three months as the council works to support them during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The rent relief, set to begin right away, will relieve some pressure on traders as customers are increasingly forced to stay at home.

Country produce traders from the market have also joined forces to offer a delivery service to Wirral residents, to help and support the community.

The traders are even taking orders for each other, so you don’t need to make four phone calls to get all your essentials delivered at home.

Leader of the council, Cllr Pat Hackett, has asked residents to support Wirral’s small local businesses wherever possible: “We have already seen a fall in the number of customers visiting the market and the wider high street and I’m so proud of the dogged spirit of Wirral’s businesses and the traders here at the market to keep going strong.

“We have provided our traders relief from rent for the next three months to reduce the pressure but ultimately, our businesses need to keep trading.

“It’s so important that we all support our local businesses whenever we can to ensure they can continue to trade long after this unprecedented situation has blown over.”

Manager of Birkenhead Market, Robert Langer, added: “This delivery service will allow Wirral’s most vulnerable residents to access some of the freshest local produce available in the borough and have it delivered to their doorstep.”

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