East Cambridgeshire District Council is urging businesses to check their eligibility for the small business and retail, hospitality and leisure COVID-19 grants.
The Council has so far paid £11,355,000, 72% of available funding and is waiting on responses from the remaining eligible businesses in order to process their applications.
The Council is doing its upmost to ensure that grants are paid to all eligible businesses. It has contacted over 1300 businesses advising them on what they need to do to apply for the grants.
To date it has received completed applications from 933 of those contacted.
Council data shows that the lowest response rates are from the following types of eligible businesses and organisations:
- smaller businesses with a rateable value of less than £15,000
- community and sports group facilities
- businesses who receive rate relief
Even though community and sport group facilities, are not classed as businesses they are eligible for funding. Businesses who don’t pay business rates, due to receiving full rate relief, are also eligible for funding and respond to the council.
As part of the government’s COVID-19 support package, a £25,000 cash grant is being provided for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses that are operating from premises with rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000. Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of up to £15,000 may be eligible for a grant of £10,000.
Small business grant funding of £10,000 is also available for all businesses in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief.
East Cambridgeshire District Council is advising organisations in these sectors to double check if they have heard from the council and, if they haven’t, to check their eligibility on the East Cambridgeshire District Council dedicated COVID-19 business support page: https://www.eastcambs.gov.uk/content/coronavirus-information-businesses
Those that qualify for help should email their name, business name, business address and phone number to: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone the Council on 01353 665555.
The Council needs to receive a completed declaration form before grants can be processed.
Councillor David Brown, Chairman of the Finance and Assets Committee said, “We are doing everything in our power to provide businesses with the financial support that has been earmarked for them.
“But we can’t provide this funding unless we receive the completed application forms. We are therefore encouraging those that have not submitted their completed applications to do so.
“I understand that there may be some who are wary of accepting this funding, to these businesses I would like to make it clear that this is a grant, not a loan, and does not need to be paid back.
“This funding is there to help you survive this pandemic and we want to make sure you are provided with as much support as possible in order to do so.”
Councillor Anna Bailey, Leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council, said, “Our priority during this time is to help local businesses survive this pandemic.
“This is why we are looking at trends in the types of businesses that we haven’t yet heard from in order to communicate with them and help them identify their eligibility for funding.
“I urge those that haven’t returned their applications to return their form as soon as possible. And ask those that do not want to accept the grant to please let us know so that we can update our records and reallocate funds to other businesses.
“I would also like to ask businesses to let us know if they have received a letter addressed to the previous owner so that we can update their information and ensure funding is provided.”
East Cambridgeshire District Council has also been working with Anglia Revenues Partnership on the Business Rates discount scheme which will be applied automatically for all eligible businesses. This is the only area where funding will be provided automatically.
On the 2nd May, central government announced a discretionary fund to accommodate certain small businesses previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme. Once further information on eligibility criteria has been confirmed, the council will provide further details on their website and through their social media channels.
For more information about the financial support for businesses, visit the East Cambridgeshire District Council website: https://www.eastcambs.gov.uk/content/coronavirus-information-businesses
Press release from East Cambridgeshire District Council