Council to launch “Discretionary Business Grants” on June 1.
Cotswold District Council will launch the localised version of the Government's latest small business grant scheme on June 1. Applications will be open for two weeks and the council intends to make the first payments under the scheme during week commencing 22 June.
The scheme is intended for small and micro businesses that were not eligible for other support schemes with the exception of the Self Employed and Furlough Schemes.
But Cabinet Member for Finance, Cllr Mike Evemy, warns that the funding is unlikely to meet the demand for help from small businesses in the Cotswolds.
“I think the government has underestimated the likely demand for these grants and while the last round of funding covered all eligible businesses, this round has a limited pot of money available”, said Cllr Evemy.
“For that reason we are opening the scheme for two weeks, so we can process applications and decide how best to distribute the limited amount available to local businesses.”
The grants can vary from two or three thousand pounds to a maximum possible grant of £25,000.
“Given the limited funding and the limited discretion, I think it unlikely that more than a handful of companies will get £25,000, possibly none”, said Cllr Evemy.
“The large majority of grants will be under £10,000. It is disappointing that there is such limited discretion and funds available for this grant.
“The one area where we have been able to exercise discretion is to target support at the local retail, leisure and hospitality supply chain. This is an important employer locally and while public-facing businesses have been able to access support, it is important that when they reopen they can access the cleaners, maintenance and other support that they need to run their businesses.”
The government guidance asks Councils to prioritise the following types of business:
- Small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces, who 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; and
- 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 council has also added in another business type:
- Businesses that supply goods or services to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses. These businesses were not eligible within the 'original scheme’ but form a vital part of the supply chain to the recipients of the original scheme.
The government paper outlining eligibility for grants is available here. Businesses that have applied for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough) or the Self-employment Income Support Scheme are eligible to apply for this scheme.
Applications to the scheme will be open from 9.00am on June 1 and close at 23.59 on June 14. Applications should be made through the council’s website.