Cheshire East Council has today (24 April) highlighted the government criteria for business grants – as it continues to distribute vital funds to eligible businesses in the borough.
Following the chancellor’s announcement in March, a £330 billion Covid-19 support package was announced to businesses in the UK, including a business grant scheme which would be distributed by local authorities.
The two new grant funding schemes were announced, which cover the following scenarios:
● A small business grant fund of £10,000 for all businesses in receipt of small business rate relief; and
● Grant funding for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses, which offers;
· A grant of £10,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property where the rateable value is up to £15,000; or
- A grant of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property – where the rateable value is over £15,000 and below £51,000.
The council is working hard to ensure these grants are received by eligible businesses as soon as possible. When new bank details are received – via the easy-to-use electronic form on the council website – the majority of grants are issued within a week, subject to any additional information being needed, at which point the council will contact the business.
Once the council has validated a business’ bank details, the grant will usually be paid within the next three to five days. Where submitted forms contain discrepancies – such as details which differ from those previously provided or where recent changes may impact on eligibility – the council is working to resolve the cases and the timescales for these cases may be longer.
There is a range eligibility exclusions that would lead to a business not qualifying for either grant. Examples of this include where a business is run from home or those that were in liquidation or dissolved as of 11 March. More information on each grant’s exclusion criteria can be found at cheshireeast.gov.uk/covidbusinessrates
Councillor Craig Browne, deputy leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “We completely understand that is a very difficult and worrying time for local businesses and are working hard to ensure eligible businesses receive this public money as soon as possible.
“To date we have transferred more than £53.8m in grants to 4,269 eligible businesses in Cheshire East. This figure changes every day as we work towards issuing just over 7,000 grants in total.
“To support this work, the council is redeploying staff to help with the huge demand on this service area. These staff are contacting businesses who have not yet given us their bank details.”
Councillor Sam Corcoran, leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “Our business teams are working extremely hard to get these grants out with the latest government league tables showing us to be in the top 10 per cent of councils for the amount of grant money paid out.
“We recognise how important cashflow is for small businesses. However, we can only pay out a grant if the business is eligible for it and where we have the correct bank details, which must be verified by our teams before they issue a grant.
“Staff are also working to answer the thousands of telephone calls and correspondence emails being received alongside contacting 2,400 local businesses to access the funding they are entitled to during these difficult times.
“In the meantime, please bear with us – we know how important these grants are to businesses.”
The council is currently verifying a large number of business bank details and asking other small businesses, who have not yet submitted their details, to come direct to their website at: cheshireeast.gov.uk/covidbusinessrates where eligible businesses can fill out their bank details so they can receive their grant money.
Businesses are strongly advised to not use an agent to complete these simple forms and instead come direct, to ensure 100 per cent of grant funds are received by businesses at this difficult time.