‘It would be an absolute lifesaver’

Apr 18, 2020

Serviced office tenants are missing out on £18 million of Business Rates grant cash

SMALL businesses in Milton Keynes that occupy serviced office space have missed out on £18 million worth of cash grants which, at £10,000 per business, for many could be a lifesaver.

“Put simply, if you don’t have a business rates account with Milton Keynes Council you get nothing”, explains office expert Jonathan Ratcliffe from Offices.co.uk

The loophole means that if you occupy an office in one of the 37 serviced office centres in Milton Keynes where rates are included (bundled into the serviced package) you are not eligible for the support.

“We think this could affect around 5% of small businesses in Milton Keynes, many who are struggling to continue, and it would be an absolute lifesaver,” Mr Ratcliffe said. 

Grants are awarded based on Rateable Value – a quick fix in unprecedented times which means that if your office had a RV of less than £15,000 you got a £10,000 cash grant to see you through.

“We are in no way criticising Chancellor Rishi Sunak, absolutely not,” said Mr Ratcliffe. “He has had to make some complex decisions in a very short time period. It is just that businesses in flexible workspaces are missing this lifeline cash through no fault of their own.”

He called on the government to make adjustments to the Small Business Grant Funding scheme for businesses:

  1. To recognise all serviced office and co-working tenants as “small businesses with a Rateable Value of £15,000 and under”;
  2. To make available cash grants of £10,000 for these tenants immediately 
  3. To pay this grant before April 30 2020 

“It is a real travesty that just because the rates are paid centrally by the provider that small innocent businesses in Milton Keynes are missing out on key cash at exactly the time they need it – this month,” said Mr Ratcliffe. “April 30 is when many small businesses will reach breaking point without help.”

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