2,149 Small Businesses in Wealden receive Government Coronavirus Support
• The Government has distributed more than £12 billion to local authorities for the small business grants scheme.
• More than £6 billion has already been paid out to half a million business properties.
Business properties in Wealden have already received grants as part of the Government’s Small Business Grants Scheme. In total, more than £25,225,000 million has made its way to 2,149 small businesses in the area.
In recognition of the extraordinary pressures facing small businesses during the coronavirus outbreak, the Government launched the Small Business Grants Scheme, backed by £12.3 billion. The funding is provided to local authorities, who are then able to offer grants of up to £10,000 to small businesses, and up to £25,000 for eligible leisure, retail and hospitality businesses. Since the scheme’s launch in March, £6.1 billion has already been paid out to 491,725 business properties across England, including 2,149 in Wealden.
In total, Wealden District Council has been provided with £47,942,000, which could help as many as 4,675 businesses in the local area.
The Government is providing a huge and unprecedented package of support to help small businesses during the coronavirus outbreak, including:
• Helping to pay people’s wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, including for more than a million people who are employed by the 140,000 businesses which applied for the scheme in the first day alone.
• Introducing the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to provide loans of up to £5 million, interest free for 12 months, to small businesses.
• Taking all retail, leisure and hospitality businesses out of business rates altogether for the next year.
• Helping small and medium-sized businesses with the cost of paying Statutory Sick Pay for employees off because of Covid-19.
Wealden's MP Nusrat Ghani said “This is a hugely challenging time for businesses, especially for smaller firms that are at the heart of our Wealden communities. I have been contacted by a huge number of local business owners regarding their concerns over the impact of coronavirus on their livelihoods and it is reassuring to know that thousands of businesses in Wealden have already received Government support. I am pleased that Wealden Council has processed thousands of applications for local grants and in a few weeks have allocated half the grant fund given to them and I would encourage any local business who fit the criteria for a grant to get in touch with Wealden Council https://www.wealden.gov.uk/news/covid-19-financial-support-for-businesses/. My website is updated daily and also carries local and national information for businesses, including the new portal to help businesses navigate support options https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder and there is also the option of the Business Support Hotline on 0300 4563565."
Commenting, Huw Merriman, MP for the Bexhill and Battle constituency said: “This is a hugely challenging time for businesses, especially for the smaller firms that are at the heart of our local community in the Bexhill and Battle constituency.
“It’s reassuring to know that the support announced by the Government has already reached 2,149 businesses in Wealden, helping to protect businesses and people’s livelihoods. I should like to thank the Wealden District Council team for their efficiency and hard work in making sure that these grants are being paid out as quickly as possible.
“The Government is determined to ensure that people get the support they need to do the right thing – to stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives – without having to worry about losing their jobs or not being able to pay their bills.”
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “I am very grateful to local authorities who have been working flat out to ensure these vital funds get to hard-pressed small business owners. Government is doing everything we can to support individual councils and help ensure that these grants reach local firms as soon as possible. I urge everyone to keep working at pace to get the money where it is needed quickly.”
- Providing grants to the smallest businesses to help them during the coronavirus outbreak. The Small Business Grants fund provides £10,000 grants, which do not need to be repaid, to businesses which are eligible for the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme (including those with a rateable value between £12,000 and £15,000 which receive tapered relief) or the Rural Rate Relief Scheme (BEIS, News Story, 20 April 2020, link).
- Providing grants of up to £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses. Any business that was eligible for a rates discount under the Expanded Retail Discount Scheme, and with a rateable value of less than £51,000 can receive support of up to £25,000. Those with a rateable value of up to £15,000 will receive £10,000, while those with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000 will receive £25,000 (BEIS, News Story, 20 April 2020, link).
- Almost half a million small businesses have already been supported through these schemes. Local authorities have been provided with £12.3 billion to provide the grants. As of 19 April 2020, 491,725 business properties have already received a share of £6.11 billion (BEIS, News Story, 20 April 2020, link).
Further support provided to businesses:
- Stepping in and helping pay people’s wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which is one of the most generous of any in the world – paying grants to support as many jobs as necessary. Any employer in the country – large, small, charitable or for profit – who promises to retain their staff, can apply for a grant to cover most of the cost of paying people’s wages. Government grants will cover 80 per cent of the salary of retained workers up to a total of £2,500 a month – above the median income. We will place no limit on these grants. The cost of wages will be backdated to 1 March (HMT, News Story, 20 April 2020, link).
- Introducing a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to provide loans of up to £5 million, interest free for 12 months, to small businesses. Small businesses with a turnover of up to £45 million can access loans of up to £5 million. All small businesses affected by Coronavirus, and not just those unable to secure regular commercial financing, are now eligible. The Government is also banning lenders from requesting personal guarantees for loans under £250,000 (HMT, News story, 3 April 2020, link).
- Helping all businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors through a £22 billion package – meaning that none of these companies will have to pay business rates. All businesses in this sector are exempt from business rates for 12 months – that’s every single shop, pub, theatre, music venue, restaurant, and any other business in the retail, hospitality or leisure sectors. In addition, we will provide small businesses in these sectors with an additional grant scheme of up to £25,000. Any business with a rateable value of less than £51,000 can now get access to a government grant. Put together, these measures will provide high street businesses with a £22 billion boost (HMT, News story, 31 March 2020, link).
- Protecting commercial tenants by ensuring that, if they cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus, they will not be evicted. These measures, included in the emergency Coronavirus Act will mean no business will be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment in the next three months (MHCLG, Press Release, 23 March 2020, link).
- Supporting small and medium-sized businesses to cope with the extra costs of paying Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) by refunding eligible SSP costs. The refund will be limited to two weeks per employee who has claimed SSP as a result of Covid-19 – and employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible (HMT, Support for those affected by Covid-19, 9 April 2020, link).
- Deferring the next three months of VAT tax, a direct injection of over £30 billion of cash to employers, equivalent to 1.5 per cent of GDP. That means no business will pay any VAT from now until the end of June, and they will have until the end of the financial year to repay those bills (HMRC, Guidance, 26 March 2020, link).
- Businesses and self-employed people may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time to Pay service. Arrangements are agreed case-by-case. Businesses can contact HMRC’s new dedicated COVID-19 helpline for advice (HMRC, News Story, 11 March 2020, link).