As the situation surrounding COVID-19 becomes more serious, the UK government has also become more aggressive in their approach to preserving local and small businesses. In the past weeks, we have been receiving news about the allocation of the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund (RHLGF). As of April 27, 2020, over 614,000 businesses have received aid from the schemes as mentioned above. Over £7.5 billion out of the £12.33 billion funding has been distributed to qualified establishments, and the value continues to deplete as more and more businesses receive assistance from the government during these challenging times.
While the allocated budget is presumed to be enough to displace the urgent expenses of small businesses, there are struggling local establishments that do not qualify for the cash aid as per the original business grant funds scheme requirements. To accommodate these local businesses that are struggling to operate and make ends meet due to the current world situation, Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government Simon Clarke and Business Secretary Alok Sharma were in discussion for a top-up with Local Authorities of England.
The talks ended with a 5% additional top-up to the current Local Business Grant Funding of £12.33 billion, which amounts to an estimated £617 million. This additional five per cent will be extended to local businesses that were previously outside the scope of the SBGF, especially those that have to keep up with fixed property-related amortisations.
Here are the minimum requirements:
- Small businesses with 50 employees or less
- Small businesses with proof of income difficulty due to market recession caused by COVID-19
- Small businesses that are proven essential to the local economies
Should your small business qualify for the said grant, there are three possible levels of payment; the maximum of which being £25,000. Grants of £10,000 are also made available, but local authorities may provide grants lower than that, depending on their approach and considerations. More information about how the scheme will roll out in different localities will be disclosed in the following weeks.
At this time, local authorities are advised to prioritise regular market traders, businesses in shared spaces, and “bed and breakfast” or local inns that comply with council tax. Local authorities will be given full jurisdiction over the distribution of the said funding, and they may provide grant relief to businesses that are deemed necessary for their respective local economies.
With almost a third of the entire Business Grant Funds Scheme budget having been allocated to local government officials, this new top-up intends to aid even more local businesses to survive the toll of this global pandemic.
For more information about this grant relief, feel free to reach out to any of our social channels.