Small businesses to receive grants to help during Coronavirus pandemic

Published: Monday, March 23, 2020

Businesses eligible for grants to help during the Coronavirus pandemic are being written to today (Monday) by Wandsworth Council, outlining the steps they need to take to claim financial assistance.

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A package of measures to provide support for businesses was announced by the Government last week, including not only grants but also a business rates holiday for qualifying businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. Whilst the council is still awaiting final details and funding for the scheme from Government, it is taking proactive steps to be in a position to issue funding as soon as the final details are released.

It is estimated that this overall support package for Wandsworth businesses is worth around £95m.

Small businesses who receive Small Business Rate Relief and have a rateable value of under £15,000 are eligible for a £10,000 grant, with a few exceptions such as properties occupied for personal uses and car parking spaces. In Wandsworth this will provide £23m of support for small businesses.

The council will send letters today to around 2,300 eligible businesses for this grant explaining outlining how they can claim this funding.

A second grant scheme focuses on the retail, leisure and hospitality sector for businesses that do not receive Small Business Rate Relief, but instead are eligible for the expanded Retail Discount scheme.

This second scheme will pay a grant of £25,000 to qualifying businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000, or a £10,000 grant to those with a rateable value of less than £15,000.

Around 1,000 local businesses that could be eligible for this grant scheme will receive explanatory letters from today, providing a further £25m of support.

Further information about support for local businesses is available on a newly created section of the council’s website dedicated to supporting businesses through this crisis. This website will be updated as and when new information becomes available. Businesses that do not receive a letter but think they are eligible for this support can contact the council via a new online form for business rates relief grants

Wandsworth Council’s finance spokesman Cllr Rory O`Broin said: “This is a crucial time for many local businesses that are facing serious hardship and an uncertain future because of this health crisis.

“We are especially concerned with the situation facing businesses like pubs, restaurants, gyms, theatres and others that have had to close their doors to help prevent the spread of the virus. On the council’s behalf I would like to thank them for their contribution to keeping the public safe.

“This is a fast moving and dynamic situation, with more information coming through all of the time. I want to offer assurances to businesses in Wandsworth that the local response to the national plans will be swift. We are working with our partners across the borough to offer our support to local businesses and employers.

“In addition to the Business Rate freeze for those in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, there will be two grant schemes to support small businesses that will be administered by the council. We will be contacting eligible businesses from today to let them know what they need to do to benefit from these changes.

“We know this is a very worrying time for everyone and that it is having an impact on businesses, employers and employees. I would like to thank all businesses for what they are doing to protect the health of our communities.

“For more advice and support in areas like business loans, sick pay and universal credit, please check the guidance for employees, employers and businesses on the Government’s website.”

The council is fully committed to support its residents through this unprecedented situation, especially those who have suffered a sudden loss of income. Anyone struggling to pay their council tax can email counciltax@wandsworth.gov.uk to discuss ways the town hall can help ease the burden.