On 2 May, Business Secretary Alok Sharma and Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Simon Clarke informed local authorities in England that up to £617 million extra funding would be made available.
Following the announcement, Dr Neil Hudson MP for Penrith and The Border said 'Having pressed Ministers for greater breadth and flexibility on their excellent support schemes, as a result of feedback from constituents, I am so pleased the Government has listened and responded so positively. Not only will this funding provide an additional 5% uplift to the £12.33 billion funding previously announced for the Small Business Grants Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund but the discretionary nature of this funding enables Councils to allocate funding where they believe it will have the greatest impact on local economic recovery.'
This additional funding is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs, and Ministers are asking local authorities to prioritise businesses in shared spaces, regular market traders, small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief, as well as bed and breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates.
But local authorities can also choose to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need as the allocation of funding will be at the discretion of local authorities.
'Having highlighted the difficulties they were facing, I am pleased that the funding is being directed towards these groups. I have now contacted local councils to ask that they also give serious consideration to other businesses who may still require support; businesses - such as Veterinary Practices, Dentist Surgeries and Outdoor Activity Providers - those which not only provide crucial services for people and animals, but also jobs and income, and support wider economic activity through the vital services they provide to local communities and businesses.'
Businesses must be small, under 50 employees, and they must also be able to demonstrate that they have seen a significant drop in 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.
For more on this and other support available to businesses affected by coronavirus please visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support