Small firms in Coventry and Warwickshire have been urged to ‘look again’ at grant support after the Government announced a new £617 million discretionary fund.
The new grants will be distributed by the local authorities and are designed to help those firms which fell outside the first wave of grant funding.
This additional fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs and the Government is asking local authorities to prioritise businesses in shared spaces, regular market traders, small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief, and bed and breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates.
But local authorities may choose to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need at their own discretion.
Businesses must be small, under 50 employees, and they must also be able to demonstrate that they have seen a significant drop of income due to Coronavirus restriction measures.
There will be three levels of grant payments, the maximum being £25,000. There will also be grants of £10,000 and local authorities will have discretion to make payments of any amount under £10,000.
Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We’d urge companies that didn’t previously meet the criteria for grant funding to look again now that this discretionary fund has been announced.
“The Local Authorities in our area have been working incredibly hard to ensure businesses get the funding they need to survive and this additional pot will mean more small companies can be saved.
“We’ve also seen the detail revealed by the government for the new Bounce Back Loans for small businesses so we’re continuing to signpost businesses to all available options to support their cashflow.
“And, through regular dialogue with decision-makers at local, regional and national levels, we are highlighting where there are gaps in support.”
British Chambers of Commerce director general Dr Adam Marshall said: “We have been calling for additional support for businesses and entrepreneurs who have fallen between the cracks, so it is welcome to see additional funding allocated to support some of these hard-pressed firms.
“Clarity and speed are of the essence. Many of the companies that have been unable to use existing support schemes are already on borrowed time – and will need these grants paid out swiftly if they are to survive.”