In addition to the Conservative Councillors’ motion to support local business as we emerge from lockdown, this week Greenwich Council announced the system it will use to distribute the £1.863 million it has been given by the Government to support local businesses who may have slipped through the cracks of previous schemes. This grant needs to be distributed quickly as many of these businesses face acute cashflow problems and urgently need grant support to ensure their survival. As a result, the on-line application form went live this week and will close on 5 July.
The Council’s formal advice is mostly shown on the website, but I’ve copied key parts of it below.
“Following the government’s announcement of a new Business Discretionary Fund aimed at small businesses and charities who have fallen through the gaps in the existing grant schemes – I’m pleased to advise that the council’s Discretionary Grant Scheme is now live
The funds specifically targets:
- Businesses in shared spaces with fixed rental costs of more than £6,000 per year
- Permanent market traders licensed by the council’s Street Trading Team
- Bed and breakfasts that pay council tax instead of business rates
- Charities not eligible for a small business grant because they received charitable rates relief
- Cafes trading from premises in public parks
- Businesses primarily dependent on sales to other businesses in the hospitality, retail, leisure and events sectors and where losses are not covered by an events cancellation insurance policy.
The additional fund is aimed at small and micro businesses who:
- Are not eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Fund
- are able to show that they have suffered at least a 50% reduction in income due to COVID-19
- have relatively high and ongoing fixed property costs, such as mortgage or rent costs
- have been trading on 11 March 2020”
Local authorities may disburse grants to the value of £25,000 (the maximum level), £10,000 or any amount under £10,000. The value of the payment to be made to a business is at the discretion of the local authority based on local economic need
Therefore, with the discretion that the scheme allows, the Council will need to ensure funding is targeted at the most severely affected businesses, in order to safeguard jobs, protect essential services and to support economic recovery after the lockdown has been lifted.
The Council has stated that “Interest in the scheme is high and mechanisms are in place to ensure applications can be processed quickly and payments made shortly after they have been approved – i.e. within 7 days of approval. We expect all payments to have been made by the end of July – which is line with government guidance for councils.”
If you have any questions about the scheme and you are based in Eltham, please do contact Cllr Charlie Davis or myself (Cllr Spencer Drury) if you are having any problems accessing this scheme.
Notes: For those of you who enjoy reading Council reports, the full details are here: https://committees.royalgreenwich.gov.uk/Decisions/tabid/67/ctl/ViewCMIS_DecisionDetails/mid/391/Id/1275/Default.aspx