BUSINESSES and charities have less than a week to apply for a share of Government money aimed at helping those whose trade has been badly hit by the coronavirus lockdown.
Leicester City Council received £3.5million from the Government’s Discretionary Business Grants scheme, which was launched earlier this month, to enable non-repayable grants to be paid to some businesses and charities which are struggling to survive the current conditions due to loss of income and fixed property costs.
The first round of applications for the new Discretionary Business Grants closes on Monday, June 29. So far about £300,000 has been paid out to city businesses and charities under the scheme.
The first round funding is available to the following:
- Businesses in shared spaces at the Belgrave Business Centre, Leicester Business Centre and the DMU Innovation Centre.
- Market traders at Leicester and Beaumont Leys markets
- Bed and breakfasts which pay council tax instead of business rates.
- Charities not eligible for a small business grant due to them receiving charitable rates relief.
Other businesses eligible for help will include hospitality businesses which cater for events, commercial venues used for private hire events, places of public worship providing separate, community facilities and childcare nurseries.
Eligible businesses and charities must not qualify for the Small Business Grant or the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grant; have suffered at least a 40 percent fall in income due to COVID-19; have relatively high, ongoing, fixed property costs such as mortgage or rent, and have been trading on March 11, 2020.
Most grants will be for £7,000 to £10,000, depending on the type of business. Market traders can receive up to £2,000.
A second round of applications will open once the first round applications have been validated. This will cover a new group of priority businesses and charities, and those eligible to apply in the first round will not be able to apply. Details will appear on the council’s website.
The city council is also calling for businesses that haven’t yet claimed from the much larger pot of funding under the Small Business Grant or the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grant to do so. The scheme opened in April and may close soon. Businesses receiving small business rates relief or smaller businesses receiving the retail rates ‘holiday’ on March 11, 2020 are generally eligible for a grant of £10,000 or £25,000. The council has already paid over £67million to more than 5,800 firms across the city.
Leicester City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “A great many businesses are facing a very uncertain future and these sources of funding could provide a vital helping hand. All eligible businesses and charities are encouraged to claim.”
Details of all coronavirus-related help for businesses, including all the funding schemes, is available at Leicester City Council's website at: www.leicester.gov.uk/coronavirus
Additional information on advice and support for businesses is available on the website of the Business Gateway Growth Hub – a support network for businesses in the city, run by the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP).
The pages bring together the most relevant national Government information with the guidance and advice of various teams working across the city centre and beyond, focusing on retail, hospitality, tourism, manufacturing, service and other sectors.
Leicester City Council is working with the LLEP – an organisation involving the city, county and district councils and local business leaders – to coordinate a citywide information service and has a steadily-growing team of advisers already liaising with businesses, who can all be accessed via the Business Gateway Growth Hub.
The LLEP has made a wide range of help and advice available online, and has been working with small local businesses concerned about their future.
Up-to-date information on help for businesses is available at: www.bizgateway.org.uk