COVID-19 Restart Grants: Don't Let Your Clients Miss Out

26th Mar 2021
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Restart grants are on offer to businesses across England looking to open up again following COVID-19 closures.

Could any of your clients benefit?

COVID-19 restart grants are part of a new fund offered by government designed to help ‘tide businesses over’ until they can trade fully again. Approximately 700,000 businesses in England should be able to claim.

It serves to replace the monthly (now closed) Local Restrictions Support Grant and Local Restrictions Support Grant (open). Both are set to end on the 31st March.

Although the restart grant represents a huge leg up for ailing businesses looking to get back on their feet post-restrictions, too many are still unaware they’re eligible. It's aimed specifically at non-essential retail including gyms, the leisure and personal care sector, accommodation and hospitality. So if you believe any of your clients may be eligible, read on.

How much can be claimed?

How much a business will get for a restart grant depends on its rateable value. For those with a rateable value of:

  • £15,000 or less, up to £8,000 can be claimed
  • Between £15,000 and £51,000 up to £12,000 can be claimed
  • More than £51,000 up to £18,000 can be claimed

So as an example, if your client has a hairdressing salon with a rateable value of £17,000, they could claim up to £12,000 using the scheme.

Which businesses are eligible for a restart grant?

The government has stipulated quite clearly which businesses are eligible for a restart grant and which aren’t. A business may apply for a restart grant if it:

  • Is located in England
  • Has had to close for a minimum of 14 days due to COVID-19 restrictions
  • Occupies a property that is subject to business rates (and a ratepayer)
  • Has not been able to offer its usual services in-person from its premises

However, a business will not be eligible for a restart grant if:

  • It has been able to carry on operating despite restrictions as it does not depend on providing direct services in-person from the premises
  • The business owner has chosen to close the business but wasn’t explicitly forced to do so
  • Local restrictions lasted for less than 14 days, or the business was forcibly closed for less than 14 days
  • The business owner has exceeded the permitted subsidy limit
  • The business is insolvent, in administration, subject to a striking-off notice or is no longer on the Companies House register

When is the grant paid out?

Local councils (who are administering the funds) are expected to receive the money from the government during April. However, exactly when claimants will start receiving their grants is still unclear.

Having said that, the government is keen for businesses to access their restart grants as soon as possible in time for reopening. So it may well be worth your eligible clients checking with their local council to find out the state of play.

Are restart grants available across the UK or only in England?

Only in England. However, through the Barnett formula, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland will receive £794 million over the coming months, so support should be made available in due course.

How do businesses apply for a restart grant?

As mentioned, restart grants are administered by the local council where the business is based. To apply for the restart grant scheme your clients will therefore need to contact their council to make their application. They can find the website for their local council here.

What other support can small businesses claim?

Not everyone will be eligible for a restart grant, so it’s worth discussing other options with your clients as well. Furlough has now been extended to September and may even roll over again, plus there’s the Additional Restrictions Fund specially designed to support businesses that aren’t covered by other grant schemes (see the government’s Additional Restrictions Fund page).

Those who are self-employed may also qualify for part 4 of the SEISS grant scheme or the Targeted Income Grant Scheme.

All types of COVID-19 government support for businesses can be found here.

Don’t forget R&D Tax Credits

This one’s important (and potentially very lucrative) but again far too many companies - and indeed accountants - still haven’t heard of it.

R&D Tax Credits have actually been around in various iterations since the year 2000. It’s not a new scheme and neither is it anything to do with the pandemic (although COVID-19 government supports and other state aid may affect claimable amounts). However, even the smallest claims can add up to tens of thousands of pounds which no business will want to miss out on.

Open to all UK companies regardless of size, industry or profitability, the R&D Tax Credits system is a tax incentive for companies to grow via investment in innovation. Following a successful R&D Tax Credits application, the award is administered as a reduction in a company’s Corporation Tax to reflect their R&D expenditure. Loss-making companies with no Corporation Tax liability can receive the credit as cash payments instead.

It’s generous too. Depending on whether a company claims using the SME branch of the scheme or RDEC, as much as 33p for every £1 of eligible R&D expenditure may be reclaimed. The costs that can be included in a claim are also many and varied, and include staff wages, certain materials, software and overheads, employer NIC and pension contributions and much more.

As a trusted company accountant you know your clients better than anybody. If any companies have created a brand new product, process or system from scratch (or appreciably upgraded an existing one recently) then they may be in luck.

Read up about the details and intricacies on our R&D Tax Credits page, as well as how the Myriad Associates team can partner with you in putting together your client’s claim. It's also well worth taking a look at our recent AccountingWeb article: 5 Excellent Reasons To Work With An R&D Tax Relief Consultancy.

Get in touch

The Myriad Associates team deals entirely with R&D Tax Credits and funding, and with nearly two decades in business behind us we’re experts in our field.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of R&D Tax Credits, how the scheme relates to your clients or how to go about working with us, please do get in touch. We’re working remotely as always and will be pleased to hear from you. Just call us on 0207 118 6045 or use our contact page.