Small businesses hoping to receive the £10,000 government grant in a second wave of funding face more delays as they’re forced to apply via a website portal with their local council.
The delays to the vital emergency handouts will come as a bitter blow to small businesses who were hoping to receive the funding they missed out on in early June.
The government announced in May that it would be giving local authorities a further £617m to hand out to small businesses that missed out on the first wave of grants – but it would be up to the councils how it was distributed.
Firms that paid their rates via their landlord in a bundled payment with their rent missed out on the first grant, which saw some businesses handed as much as £25,000.
Car dealers based on shared sites or business units that paid rates in this way, market traders and bed and breakfast owners, who paid council tax instead of business rates, also missed out on the first round of funding.
It was hoped that these businesses would receive their cash in early June, however Car Dealer Magazine publishers Blackball Media – one of those small firms that missed out on the payments – has been told that an online portal for applications will be opened up across the country first.
Local authorities have been told by the government they can distribute the cash as they see fit and it is likely the applications will now be assessed on a case-by-case basis, delaying the funding further.
Many have launched, or are in the process of launching, web portals where businesses will now have to apply for the grants. The original funds were automatically paid out to businesses, funnelling the much-needed cash into firms quickly.
Local authorities were given guidance in May by the Department for Business, Energy, Innovation & Skills (BEIS) on how to distribute the much-needed cash.
Local councils had been waiting to receive details of how they should distribute the funds to those businesses who missed out before handing it out.
The guidance puts the onus on the council to distribute the funds fairly with businesses having to prove that the crisis has caused them to experience a downturn in business.
To benefit, businesses must be small, under 50 employees, and must be able to demonstrate that they have seen a significant drop of income due to coronavirus restriction measures.
There will be three levels of grant payments. The maximum will be £25,000. There will also be grants of £10,000. Local authorities will have discretion to make payments of any amount under £10,000. It will be for councils to adapt this approach to local circumstances.
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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