If you own a business in Guildford, you may qualify for a government grant to help you through the financial impact of the coronavirus. So far we have paid £15.745 million to 1,154 local businesses, but if you have not applied yet we still £6.255 million available to help you.
Small Business Minister Paul Scully says: “Small business owners up and down the country are facing challenges on a scale never seen before and the financial support package we have put in place reflects that.
“I am pleased to see that businesses in Guildford have already received grants totalling over £15 million, but there is more funding available. I urge any business that believes it is eligible, but has yet to be contacted by their local authority, to make themselves known to them through the council’s website.”
Cllr Joss Bigmore, Lead Councillor for Finance and Assets, Customer Services adds: “We are trying all avenues to contact local businesses to make sure they don’t miss out on the help they are entitled to. Our officers are visiting premises as well as contacting businesses by phone and email. We would like to thank everyone who has waited patiently for us to process their request and to apologise for any delays – government guidance has evolved since the grants were first announced and we have received an exceptional number of enquiries in recent weeks.”
To qualify for a grant your business must be the ratepayer of the property concerned and be eligible for either the expanded retail discount or a small business rate relief reduction on the 11 March. The rateable value of the property must be less than £51,000, the property must not be used for personal use or car parking, and your business must not have been insolvent on 11 March.
To be eligible for the expanded retail discount the premises should be occupied and wholly or mainly being used:
a. as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
b. for assembly and leisure
c. as hotels, guest and boarding premises and self-catering accommodation.
Cllr Bigmore adds: “We understand that a lot of businesses are facing extreme financial difficulties at the present time, but unfortunately we can only provide grants in accordance with the government’s guidance. We have been discussing examples of where businesses were not eligible for the scheme but were still facing extreme financial difficulties with the Government. We were pleased to see a new discretionary fund announced on Saturday. This additional fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs, and under 50-employees that are able to demonstrate they have seen a significant drop in income due to Coronavirus restriction measures.
“The Council is still awaiting further information on the discretionary scheme but we understand that we will be able to support 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. We also understand that local authorities will be able to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need. Over the coming days we will assess the further guidance due from government and make a further announcement concerning the discretionary fund. If your business does not qualify for grant funding, the Government has also launched a new business loan scheme – you can check your eligibility online on the gov.uk website