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Call for more businesses to apply for support grants

Around two thirds of businesses eligible for support grants have applied for the funding in South Lakeland – but we are keen to make sure everyone gets their share and are encouraging all small business owners to check if they should be getting some money.

As of today (Friday, 17 April) 3,800 applications have been received and £10k and £25k grants worth £38 million have been validated.

We launched our application process for the government Small Business and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure support grants on 27 March and invited eligible businesses to complete an online form.

Councillor Robin Ashcroft, SLDC portfolio holder for Economy, Culture and Leisure, said: "To have processed grants worth £38 million and be getting this money out to so many businesses in South Lakeland is a fantastic effort in just three weeks.

"We estimate that about two thirds of eligible businesses have now applied and are getting their money, but we know there are hundreds of other businesses in South Lakeland that could be eligible.

"We desperately want to make sure that this money goes to those who need it at this difficult time and I'd like to encourage any small business owner in South Lakeland to check to see if they should be getting a grant

"Remember even if you are in receipt of small business rates relief, rural rate relief or discretionary relief and receive 100% relief on your business rates bill you can still access these grants. You will have a business rates reference number on your bill, which is what you’ll need to apply.

"Please check yourself and please spread the word if you think you know someone who could be applying.

"We've created a straightforward online application process to ensure we can receive applications, validate them and release the funds really quickly. If you apply this weekend you could have the money in your bank account by the end of next week.

"Council staff from all areas of the authority have been drafted in to support the application process and we have 27 officers working on the grants scheme.

"Any businesses that have yet to apply can check online about eligibility criteria and to access the application form."

Businesses can find more information and an application form at:

www.southlakeland.gov.uk/Covid-19BusinessGrants

Businesses that fall under one of the following categories and believe they are eligible for the funding are being invited to complete the form:

  • small business rate relief recipient
  • rural rate relief recipient
  • expanded retail discount scheme recipient

Please note that completing this form does not mean a business is eligible for the grants available, but it will allow us to check details against our rating list and make a determination of eligibility against the criteria laid out by government.

Those eligible should receive the payment within seven working days from receipt of a valid application.

Any businesses that apply but are not eligible will be sent an email setting out why they do not meet the criteria set out by government and will be signposted to other support they may be eligible for.

IMPORTANT NOTES:

Applying businesses will need to provide the reference number from a business rates bill to complete the grant application:

  • please ensure you have your reference number to hand. If you are the registered rates payer you will receive a business rates bill, even if you are zero-rated for rates. The reference number will appear on any of your rates bills, you do not need your most recent bill.
  • this is an important security measure to protect the applicant against the risk of fraud and to ensure that we can validate the recipient's identity and entitlement to the grant.
  • for security reasons we will not be able to give this information out over the phone, but can issue a duplicate bill to your registered business address if required.

The £10k and £25k grant schemes are separate to the business rates relief schemes also announced by government.

These business rates reliefs apply to eligible retail, leisure and hospitality businesses (including those that have closed temporarily due to the Government advice on Coronavirus) and 100 per cent rate relief is available for a period of 12 months.

We will apply this relief automatically to business rates bills for 2020/21 and businesses do not need to apply for this. New bills with applied relief have been issued. We have also taken the decision not to collect business rates direct debits in April to allow the new reliefs to be applied before any payments are due.

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