£17m Covid-19 Grant Funding Unclaimed By Small Businesses

Over £28m has been awarded to eligible small businesses, shop owners and leisure organisations in Babergh and Mid Suffolk since the launch of the Government’s Small Business Grant and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants at the end of March.

The aim of the grants is to support businesses with ongoing costs though the COVID-19 crisis, and so far, over 2,500 businesses have received their grants of either £10k or £25k.

Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils estimate that approximately 1,300 businesses and organisations have yet to claim the grants that they are entitled too and are urging small businesses and shop owners, those in the hospitality industry and leisure sector, as well as organisations such as sports clubs, community buildings and village hall committees who pay business rates to find out if they are eligible for the grant.

Cllr Michael Holt, Babergh District Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Growth said: “The Government’s business grant scheme has provided much needed financial support to many of our small businesses, but we are concerned that a proportion of our qualifying businesses have not yet completed the online application form and supplied us with their details to claim their grant.”

Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils are responsible for payment of these grants and have written to all eligible businesses and are in the process of contacting the remaining businesses by telephone to encourage them to apply for the grant.

Cllr Gerard Brewster, Mid Suffolk Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Growth said: “These grants are there to help businesses with ongoing costs through the coronavirus crisis and will not need to be repaid. I urge small businesses, community building and village hall committees, and those in retail, hospitality and leisure to apply for these grants. All businesses should also seek advice about the financial support that may be available to them.”

The Small Business Grant and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants are available to those businesses who receive small business rate relief, rural rate relief or have a business premises with a rateable value of less that £51,000. To access the grants, businesses must complete an online form to confirm their eligibility and payment details.

It appears that a significant number of businesses located on industrial estates and business parks have not yet applied; possibly because they have not received the direct communications to these premises.

Additional funding and financial support packages are available for businesses who cannot claim the small business grants. These include a new scheme from New Anglia LEP totalling over £10m to support businesses and economic growth in Suffolk and Norfolk, while the Government has announced a Bounce Back Loan scheme for small businesses which will provide loans of up to £50,000 which are interest free for 12 months.

Businesses can search use the Government’s Business Support Finder tool for a breakdown of all the financial support available while trained advisers at the New Anglia Growth Hub can provide advice and guidance on a range of matters.

Business owners who have not been contacted by Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils and believe they are eligible for either of the grants, can find out more or submit details online: www.babergh.gov.uk / www.midsuffolk.gov.uk.

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