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Small businesses hoping for £10k grants can now apply to councils for funding – but they still may not get cash

Time 1 year ago

Small businesses that missed out on the government’s first round of £10,000 grants can now apply for funding from their local councils.

Application portals are beginning to open around the country with local authorities asking those firms who missed out on the first round of payments to make an application.

Many smaller car dealers, who are based on shared industrial parks, have contacted Car Dealer Magazine to say they missed out on these vital payments and urgently need the funding.

Small firms will get a three week window to apply for the money before local councils decide who gets it. It is expected the payments will be made the week commencing July 6, but not all small businesses are promised to get the cash.

Unlike the first round of funding, which saw eligible small firms who paid business rates get the money sent direct to their bank accounts by the councils, this second round of smaller funding is harder to get.

Businesses that missed out – like those based in shared office space that paid their rates via their rent, market traders and B&Bs – will have to prove they have seen a down turn in business from coronavirus before they get the money.

A written statement is expected from businesses as part of their application which should show the ‘significant impact of coronavirus’ on trading.

Councils will be allowed to use their ‘discretion’ when deciding which firms get the money and Gosport Borough Council – the authority that has asked Car Dealer Magazine publishers Blackball Media to apply in this way – has stipulated a number of requirements.

Because this second round of funding for those businesses that missed out is smaller, Gosport Borough Council is looking to give the grants to businesses that:

  • Are criticality specific to the borough, for instance they are vital to the borough’s infrastructure, or are the only business of its type in the borough and provide a vital service
  • Businesses primarily operating in engineering and manufacturing, including marine and aerospace
  • Businesses based on self-catering holiday accommodation which pay council tax instead of business rates
  • Businesses primarily operating in marine and tourism/leisure sectors that do not have premises with rateable values but still have proportionally significant ‘property’ costs e.g. mooring/berthing fees and concessions
  • Businesses that are suppliers to companies in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector

Other local authorities may have different requirements, but the trends are likely to be similar.

The council does say that the government has asked all local authorities to prioritise grants to:

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 new hoops will come as a disappointment to many business owners who were hoping the second round of funding would be paid out in the same way as the first.

Most firms were expecting to get the money in June. The fact it has now been wrapped up in red tape and won’t be delivered until July at the earliest could push many businesses to the wire.

There are three levels of grant payments under the scheme. The maximum will be £25,000, the standard will be £10,000, but a large proportion could get under £10,000.

Gosport Borough Council said in its guidelines: ‘The value of the payment to be made to a business is at the discretion of the local authority. However, please note that the government expects payments of under £10,000 may be appropriate in many cases.

‘As part of the application you will need to describe and evidence the significant impact of Coronavirus on your business or organisation i.e. significant fall in income and costs remaining ongoing.’

The Department for Business, Energy, Innovation & Skills (BEIS) confirmed the new £617m scheme in May.

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Eligible businesses in England have a rateable value (rv) of up to and including £15,000 to receive a grant of £10,000.

Eligible businesses with a property having an rv of more than £15,000 and under £51,000 can receive a grant of £25,000. Businesses whose properties have an rv above £51,000 aren’t eligible.

Tax will be payable on the grants if the business makes a profit.

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James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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