Covid19 Business Grant - update on payments

The Government has released funds to East Herts Council to administer an estimated £31m worth of grants to businesses in the district as part of the coronavirus small business and retail, leisure and hospitality grant funds.

Since the grants were announced by the Government, we have developed and implemented at short notice a significant amount of new infrastructure to administer these payments.

We appreciate that businesses are relying on these grants to pay bills, staff and overhead costs and so we are doing everything we can to get these out to businesses as swiftly as possible.

The main challenges we and many other Councils have faced include:

  • Only having bank account details for businesses who pay their business rates by direct debit.
  • Contacting business owners who are not currently in their premises and unable to receive letters. 
  • Resources to administrate the grants, rate reliefs and manage hundreds of enquiries from businesses.
  • Delays in Government guidance around State Aid and grant fund eligibility.
  • Confirming eligibility against the Governments criteria.

The work involved in administering these grants has included:

  • Checking thousands of business rates accounts against the eligibility criteria for both rate relief and grants.
  • Developing an online grant submission form, in line with Government guidance on data collection requirements, so the Council can collect bank details, email addresses etc from businesses.
  • Developing business and bank account verification processes in line with Government verification requirements, to ensure that payments go to legitimate accounts linked to the business and are not fraudulently claimed.
  • Communications targeting business owners/occupiers not using their premises and unable to receive post to inform and direct them to the online grant submission form.

Over the last few weeks, we have granted over £18 million in retail reliefs and as of 8 July grants worth £28.92 million from 2,310 cases.

Where we have received applications through our new online grant form, we are continuing to process these as quickly as possible.

Please ensure that you have checked that you are eligible on the gov.uk website and if you are, that the form is completed fully and that you receive an email confirmation.

If our Business Rates team need to contact businesses for further information, it could mean payments are delayed.

Due to the high volume of enquiries we have received, please do not contact our Business Rates team for an update unless you have not received an email confirmation of your application, or before 30th April if you have already submitted your claim.

Submit your claim using our COVID19 grant online form

Find out more about support for businesses.