Council leader urges businesses not to miss out on vital cash support

Date published: 10 December 2020

Up to 400 local businesses which may be eligible for coronavirus business grants have still not come forward to claim cash.

The local restrictions support grant (open for business) is for businesses which were open when the borough went into tiers two and three earlier this year (between August and October), but were severely financially impacted by the restrictions.

But with concerns that this particular grant is time limited and that up to 400 local eligible businesses have not yet claimed the money, the council is urging them to get their applications in.

Council leader, Councillor Allen Brett, said: “Councils have worked hard to get as fair a settlement as we can from government to support our businesses, but some of this funding is unlikely to be around for the long term.

"The government has set the criteria for each grant, but we know there are businesses which meet that criteria which have not yet applied. If we can’t spend the money because eligible businesses aren’t applying, there’s a real risk the government will ask us to return the unspent cash.

"I want to keep the money in our borough, supporting our fantastic local businesses and the residents they employ.”

There are a number of coronavirus grants available for businesses. But with different eligibility set by government for each grant, while some are automatically paid out, others require businesses to apply for them.

The council has already paid a number of grants to support businesses, including over £1.4m for those which had to close as part of the recent national lockdown and 82 payments of £1,000 to wet pubs across the borough which are still not able to open.

With the local restrictions support grant (open for business), covering the period between August and October, set to be time limited, the council is keen to process as many payments as possible before the Christmas break.

The amount businesses can claim from this grant depends on the rateable value of their premises, with those with an RV of £15,000 or below able to claim £934 for each 28 day period they were under the restrictions.

Those with an RV of £15,001 to £50,999 can claim £1,400 every 28 days, while those with an RV of £51,000 or above can claim £2,100.

As well as traditional hospitality businesses, social and sports clubs which have a bar or function room may also be eligible for a payment.

Councillor Brett added: “The sums involved might not seem high, but they could make a real difference to our local businesses and we’d urge them to claim what they’re entitled to.

"It’s been all hands on deck with our officers working hard to get the money out quickly because we know our business community, and local livelihoods, depend on it. Our webpage has all the information on this particular grant and other funding pots, so, even if businesses don’t think they’re eligible for any more help, it’s definitely worth a look. They’ve got nothing to lose.”

Businesses can find out about coronavirus grants and how to apply here:

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