The first grants to West Suffolk businesses eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund are to be paid from Friday alongside £34m of Business Rate Relief.
Since last Friday, West Suffolk Council has been redeploying staff so it could prioritise making calls and emails to businesses about the grants.
So far it has managed to contact 1,600 eligible businesses and has had the forms back from 382 for which it is now processing immediate payment which will total £3,820,000. It will be processing payments daily as more forms are returned.
There remains around another 700 businesses eligible for the grant, which the council is continuing to try to contact. The council staff will be checking emails, searching on social media and leaving messages on company phones to try to speak to these businesses.
In terms of support for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure sector, the council’s priority has been to process the Business Rate Relief. West Suffolk Council has awarded £34.7m in Business Rate Relief. This is being done automatically with no action required by the businesses. Revised bills will be with these eligible business by early next week.
Phone calls to the business owners of over 650 properties that are eligible as part of the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Fund will begin on Monday. Businesses that are eligible will receive grants of £10,000 or £25,000 depending on their rateable value.
Leader of West Suffolk Council, Cllr John Griffiths, said: “We appreciate that businesses are anxious to get this support as quickly as possible. We have made getting this grant and rate relief support to businesses a priority. The £3.82m that we are paying to small businesses this Friday is just the start. We have many more that we have contacted and are in the process of sending back their forms. We will be processing these payments daily.
“There are also around 700 businesses that we believe are eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund that we are continuing to do all that we can to contact.”
The council has set up a webpage which it is regularly updating, directing businesses to the various support that is available. It also includes contact details for the economic development team should business need advice. This can be viewed at www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/c19business