Council processes over £30m of coronavirus grants to keep Rochdale businesses afloat

Date published: 17 April 2020

Rochdale Council has processed more than £30m worth of government coronavirus grants to nearly 3,000 businesses as staff pull out all the stops to support businesses and livelihoods.

The government has offered grants of £10,000 to businesses with a rateable value of up to £15,000, while businesses in retail, leisure and hospitality with a rateable value of up to £51,000 will receive £25,000.

Staff from other council departments, as well as Rochdale Development Agency, are working with the finance team to process payments and get money out of the door quickly to help businesses in their hour of need. £30.5m has now paid out to 2,721 businesses, with around 67 per cent of the council’s allocation from government now distributed.

The council has also implemented a faster payment system to enable most grants to be paid out within 48 hours of businesses sending the information through.

Although the finance team has written to and emailed all businesses they believe to be eligible, more than £10m is still waiting to be accessed by local firms.

Councillor Allen Brett, leader of the council and cabinet member for finance, said: “We know how anxious businesses will be and many will feel that they’re in a fight to survive at the moment, so we’re doing everything we can to help. Making sure they get this vital cash as soon as possible is one of the most important things we can do and I’m very proud of the way our teams have responded to this.

“Despite this, we are concerned that many businesses which may be eligible have still not come forward. Some who have contacted us think they’re too small to qualify, but it doesn’t matter how small your business is; if you’re in receipt of small business rates relief (which means you ordinarily don’t pay any business rates or get a heavily discounted bill) you can access the £10,000 grant.

“Your business rates bill, even if it’s zero, does have to be in your name. Unfortunately the government scheme does not allow us to pay grants to people who pay their rent and rates in one combined bill, such as people who are renting space in a building from a landlord. This is beyond our control, as it’s not our scheme, but we are actively lobbying government about this issue.”

Businesses which think they could be eligible are asked to go to the council web site business to fill out a simple form and email or post it back to the council:

Businesses which have additional questions about the eligibility or how to apply can contact or phone 0161 359 3050.

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