West Suffolk Council has welcomed the government’s announcement of funds for some small businesses who previously did not qualify for grants following lobbying by the council.
The additional funds are aimed at regular market traders, businesses in shared space where they are not the named Business Rate payer, small charity properties and bed and breakfast accommodation where the owners pay Council Tax instead of Business Rates.
Businesses must be small, under 50 employees, and they must also be able to demonstrate that they have seen a significant drop of income due to coronavirus restriction measures.
The grants are discretionary and will represent five per cent of the government money allocated to the council to pay out under the Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grant. This does mean that the money, which is to be targeted as an expansion of the Small Business category, is finite and not all businesses that the council has spoken to in recent weeks, are likely to be eligible for this funding.
West Suffolk Council is waiting on further guidance to be issued from the government before it can start considering applications from these businesses. Once that guidance is available, the council will publish details on its website and further publicise how businesses should apply.
John Griffiths, leader of West Suffolk Council, said: “We have been talking to many businesses here on a daily basis and have been lobbying government on their behalf including for these types of small businesses, to get them the support that they need. We very much welcome this announcement, have had some queries already and are just waiting for the specific guidance before we can start paying these grants.”
West Suffolk Council already holds contact details for its market traders, while it also holds details for a number of businesses that it has spoken to in recent weeks, that it is believed will now be eligible for this support. Any businesses enquiring about this grant support should email firstname.lastname@example.org
West Suffolk Council has already redeployed staff to help contact businesses eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grant Fund. So far it has paid out over £31 million to more than 2,500 West Suffolk businesses while also lobbying on behalf of businesses not eligible for support.
The council is still trying to contact businesses that are eligible for the existing grant schemes and any business that thinks it may be eligible should check at https://www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/coronavirus/covid-19businessgrants.cfm