The managing director of a business centre is urging West Suffolk businesses to take up a Covid-19 grant while it is still available.
West Suffolk Council launched its grants scheme late last month after lobbying the government for extra support for small businesses not eligible under the Small Business Grant Fund or Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grant.
The council’s scheme has been shaped in line with the government guidance which prioritises small businesses in shared premises, as well as bed and breakfasts, market traders and charities.
West Suffolk has a limited allocation of just under £1.9m for the grants and has already paid out £815,000 to businesses and organisations whose incomes have been severely affected by the pandemic.
Among those receiving the grants are a number of businesses at the Active Business Centre, in St Andrews Street, Bury St Edmunds (pictured above).
Karyn Scott , managing director at the centre, said: “The grant has helped the Active Business Centre to cover some of the loss of revenue due to the cancellation of conference room bookings and clients who had no option but to hand their notice in have now decided to remain. In this present climate it is wonderful to see how my clients have remained loyal. I would encourage business owners who think they may be eligible to apply as soon as possible.”
Companion Consultancy is one of the businesses at the Active Business Centre that has received the grant.
Dr Susan McKay, from Companion Consultancy, said: “We can’t thank the team at the Active Business Centre enough for making us aware of this grant. Without it we were looking at giving up our office space and trying to work in a fragmented way at home. We’ve really valued having a professional team welcome our clients at reception at the Business Centre and the grant will allow us to retain that benefit.”
John Griffiths, leader of West Suffolk Council, said: “It’s great to hear that these grants are making the difference to businesses such as those at the Active Business Centre. We lobbied government for this support for small businesses who were not eligible for previous grants. The funds are, however, limited so we are having to be quite strict and focus these grants at those four types of business set out in the government guidance. We, of course, recognise that this doesn’t help everyone; there are still businesses that are not eligible for support and we are lobbying the government on this. In the meantime, we continue to prioritise getting this grant support delivered as swiftly as possible.”
Grants of £10,000 are available to small businesses operating in shared offices or other fixed workspaces including units on industrial or science parks, and incubators, where they do not have their own business rate assessment. Charities may also be eligible for help of up to £10,000.
To be eligible, the overall property they operate out of must have had a business rates valuation before March 11.
For small businesses, they will only be eligible if their premises would have a rateable value equivalent to under £15,000 if it were rated separately.
For businesses in Retail, Leisure or Hospitality, their premises will only be eligible if they would have a rateable value equivalent to under £51,000.
Regular market traders will be eligible for one grant calculated on the number of West Suffolk markets that they trade from at a rate of £2,500 per location with a maximum grant of £10,000. Bed and breakfasts owners who pay council tax but not business rates will receive between £1000 and £2000 depending on the number of bed spaces they provide.
The council has set a deadline of June 30 to contact businesses and be processing the final grants to businesses.
Eligible businesses are asked to complete the appropriate form for their business type which can be found at https://www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/coronavirus/covid-19-support-for-business.cfm