Letter to businesses from Martin Cox

As the Leader of the Council I am proud to call Maidstone the Business capital of Kent and as a local business owner myself I appreciate the impact Covid 19 is having on the business community. I want to reassure you that Maidstone Borough Council will be doing everything it can to support you in the weeks and months to come.

The announcements in the budget and those made yesterday by central government with measures to help businesses affected by the Coronavirus outbreak will be a welcome relief to many businesses in the Maidstone borough. We are committed to ensuring those measures relating to business rates are introduced as soon as possible.

In light of the announcements, Maidstone Borough Council is now in the process of implementing these changes:

* All local businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will pay no business rates in 2020-21. There will be no need for businesses to apply for the relief.  We will be sending revised bills during the course of the next week to those businesses that qualify confirming that there are no business rates payable from 1 April.

* In addition, businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors benefiting from this increased support and with a rate-able value up to £51,000 will also receive a cash grant of up to £25,000.

Whilst the council is awaiting detail from Government on how the scheme is to operate, I want us to be ready to make the payments as quickly as possible because I know it’s an important lifeline for many businesses.  So included with the revised bill will be advice on what you need to do to set up payment details for the grant, when made available from government. Please can I ask that you do this as soon as possible.

* All businesses in receipt of small business rates relief – regardless of sector – will be eligible for a cash payment of £10,000. In a similar way to that set out above, whilst there is no need for small businesses to apply for the grant, we will be writing to advise those that qualify setting out what they need to do to set up payment details for the grant. Again, the payment cannot be physically made until the government confirms the details of the scheme.

Please be assured that we are working to implement these measures as quickly as possible. We know it’s important to you and you are important to the prosperity and success of the Borough.

These are unprecedented times and we are doing everything we can to support our local businesses as well as our local communities whilst dealing with the many changes in our day-to-day lives that we are all coming to terms with.