The new fund is aimed at small businesses that can demonstrate they have suffered a significant fall in income because of the Covid-19 crisis, have relatively high ongoing fixed property-related costs and occupy property, or part of a property, with a rateable value or annual rent or annual mortgage payments below £51,000.
Government allow for three grant levels of £25,000, £10,000 or up to £10,000, but it is up to the local authority to decide how is best to administer the scheme. To try and support more businesses across the district, East Herts Council has capped grants up to £10,000.
To be eligible, businesses must have been trading on March 11, 2020 and not have received any other Government funding. The government has also asked local authorities to prioritise the following types of businesses for grants:
• Small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces
• Regular market traders who do not have their own business rate assessment
• Bed and breakfasts (excluding Airbnb) which pay council tax instead of business rates
• Charity properties that receive charitable business rates relief, which would otherwise have been eligible for small business rates relief or rural rate relief.
Applications for the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund must be made by midnight on Tuesday 9 June. Once the applications have been received the council will review them.
Cllr Geoff Williamson, executive Member for finance, said: “We would encourage small businesses who think they are eligible to apply before the closing date. While we welcome the additional funding, we know from early indications that it is not likely to be enough to support all the businesses that we would like to.”
For full details of the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund and to apply, visit the council’s website.