Local businesses set to benefit from new grant scheme
Published on 9th June 2020
• Go live date: 9 June • Deadline for applications: 21 June
From 9 June, eligible businesses across the county can apply for funding thanks to a newly launched business support grant scheme. The fund offers priority to businesses who were not eligible for support in the previous scheme.
Funding for this grant scheme is limited and therefore businesses need to submit online applications during a short period between 9 and 21 June. The maximum grant that can be
awarded in the local scheme is £25,000. The next level is £10,000 and then any amount under £10,000.
The scheme is the work of four local councils; Cheltenham, Gloucester, Stroud and Tewkesbury. Three of the authorities have formally given the scheme the green light, with Cheltenham expected to formally approve it at cabinet on the evening of 9 June. The collaborative approach is to ensure effective and fair distribution of discretionary grant funding, primarily aimed at:
- Small and micro businesses;
- Businesses with relatively high ongoing fixed property-related costs;
- Businesses which can demonstrate that they have suffered a significant fall in income due to the COVID-19 crisis;
- Businesses which occupy property, or part of a property, with a rateable value or annual rent or annual mortgage payments below £51,000.
The councils’ shared policy allows for some discretion but the government has prioritised the following types of businesses to be included in schemes
- Small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces. Examples could include units in industrial parks, science parks and incubators which do not have their own business rates assessment;
- Businesses in the hospitality industry, with grants for businesses with a rateable value between £51,000 and £105,000;
- Regular market traders with fixed building costs, such as rent, who do not have their own business rates assessment;
- Bed & Breakfasts which pay council tax instead of business rates; and
- Charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for small business rates relief or rural rate relief.
The partnership of councils is drawing upon advice from the local BIDs (business improvement districts) and LEP (local enterprise partnerships).
The authorities’ chief finance officers agreed: ‘’We want to ensure a consistent approach for businesses across our region so that they have clarity and certainty that this money will go to where it is needed most, in line with the guidance provided to us. We have limited funds for this scheme so the application window will be limited to a two week period.’’
How to apply
Businesses can apply and access the full criteria on their own council’s website, with Cheltenham’s application window opening immediately after the formal decision has taken place at cabinet. The application form and criteria will be available at:
www.cheltenham.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-advice (post cabinet on 9 June)
www.gloucester.gov.uk (from 8am, 9 June)
www.tewkesbury.gov.uk (from 9am, 9 June)
www.stroud.gov.uk/business/business-rates (from 9am, 9 June)
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Notes to editor
The launch of the shared scheme builds on the significant rapid support to local businesses over the past few weeks, with the four councils collectively paying out £79.5m in grants to 6,722 businesses.
The decision to approve the scheme has been through each individual council’s approval process, with the exception of Cheltenham which is set to approve the scheme at cabinet on 9 June.
View the guidance issued by BEIS to councils on the approach to their discretionary grant schemes.
Funding allocated for discretionary scheme
Once the application window has closed the applications will be assessed. The maximum level of grant for each category of business type will then be determined based on demand.
Grant payments should start being made to businesses from 25 June 2020.
If any funding remains once all applications have been assessed and grants awarded it may be possible to open another application window.