Important information for businesses eligible for a government grant
The council now has the funds and guidance necessary to distribute £54 million of grants to support certain small businesses through the Coronavirus pandemic.
The scheme provides small businesses with a grant of up to £25,000 but to access the grant, businesses may need to provide the council with details, including payment information.
The council is writing to all eligible businesses this week, but we acknowledge that business owners may not be visiting their premises at this time and will also want to access these grants quickly.
We are therefore providing an online form for completion by those businesses who understand themselves to be eligible. Please ensure you understand and meet the eligibility criteria below, before submitting details.
If you currently pay your business rates to the council by direct debit, you do not need to complete the form. The council already has the details needed to pay you automatically, straight into your bank account. The Council will write to you once we have processed the payment.
Is your business eligible?
Government grants are only available to businesses operating from a premises with a rateable value below £51,000. One of two grants are available and eligibility is based on the rateable value and the sector of the business.
- Businesses with a property that has a rateable value of up to £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000.
- Businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors, with a property wholly or mainly used for these purposes, that has a rateable value of over £15,000 and below £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.
full list of premises classed as retail, leisure and hospitality can be found here (sections 10 -17) and includes shops, cinemas, restaurants, museums, art galleries, theatres, gyms, small hotels, bed and breakfasts and guest houses, sports clubs, night clubs, drinking establishments, club houses, live music venues, opticians, estate agents, letting agents, and bingo halls.
If you are unsure of the rateable value of your property, you can check it on your business rate bill, or search for your property at the VOA. Your bill or a VOA search will also provide you local authority reference number, which you will need when submitting your details.
The grant will be paid to the person who, according to council records, was the ratepayer in respect of the property on 11 March 2020.
An FAQ has been published by government that may answer any further questions you have about the grants and eligibility.
Businesses not eligible for a grant
If a business was not registered for business rates prior to 11 March, it is unfortunately not eligible to receive one of these government grants.
If your business does not occupy commercial property, as described by the eligibility criteria, then unfortunately you do not qualify for the grant scheme.
Businesses that have exceeded state aid limits are also not eligible for the scheme. This restriction is explained fully within the form.
Ineligible businesses may be able to access other government support.
Please make yourself fully aware of the eligibility criteria using the links provided above before submitting your details.
Important: Beware of scammers
Please beware of third parties offering to act on your behalf for a fee. The process is free, straightforward and only requires you to provide information already available to you. Businesses should not need to pay third parties to access a grant.
Scam emails are also being sent to businesses, falsely claiming to be from the Council, saying that businesses have been paid grants in error and they need to returned and include bank details for payments to be made. These emails should be ignored.
What happens after I've submitted my details?
Using the information provided by you, we will carry out due diligence checks to ensure your business qualifies.
How long will it take to pay a grant?
We aim to complete due diligence within ten working days, and you should also allow at least three working days for the banks to process payment.
It is not possible to provide a precise turnaround time for payment as this is dependent on factors such as the backlog of submissions and the complexities of some businesses in relation to the eligibility criteria.
The council has redeployed all available, qualified resources to the task of making payments, with the team working throughout the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, in recognition of the urgent need for these grants.
Payments will be made to those who qualify by BACS. We will also write to you, stating the reasons, if your business does not qualify.
Who should I contact if I haven’t heard about my grant?
We ask that you think carefully before contacting the council about a grant once you have submitted your details. It will take at least 13 working days to process your details and for payment to be made. We receive a high number of enquiries asking for updates and we recognise how vital these grants are to you – however we have limited capacity to respond to update requests, which takes focus away from processing grants.
If you haven’t heard about a grant after more than 13 working days, please contact us through this online form, providing business and address details. We aim to respond to you within three working days.