Small businesses which have suffered financial hardship due to COVID-19 have two weeks to apply to be considered for a discretionary grant payment.
From today (1 June) until 14 June, Birmingham City Council is accepting applications from businesses seeking financial support from its discretionary grant fund.
The Government fund has been provided to support small businesses which can demonstrate a significant downturn in their income for the last three months, caused by lockdown and who were not eligible for the Small Business or Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grants.
Cllr Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “A lot of businesses have expressed an interest in the discretionary grant scheme, so we are pleased to be in a position to invite applications. In the first instance, we are encouraging businesses to check if they are eligible for the Small Business or Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grants. If they are not eligible, then they can apply to be considered through this new scheme.
“Due to the amount of interest we have received, we will only be accepting applications for two weeks, after which time we will close the window and begin the process of consideration. We will then notify those businesses as to whether or not they have been successful and how much they will receive within 21 days of the application process closing on 14 June (not 21 days from the date of their application).”
The Government has provided local authorities with clear guidance on which businesses should be prioritised as well as how the awards should be calculated. Grant amounts will be based on several factors, including commercial fixed costs, the size of the business and its turnover.
Awards of up to £25,000 will be worked out using a combination of information on the application form and the evidence provided. Government checks will also be carried out in order to prevent fraudulent claims to ensure the money reaches as many businesses as possible.
To be eligible to apply for a grant, businesses must have been trading on 11 March 2020, have less than 50 employees; have ongoing commercial fixed building-related costs and demonstrate they have suffered a significant loss of income due to COVID-19.
Priority will be given to small businesses in shared offices or other flexible spaces, such as units in industrial parks; regular market traders who do not have their own business rate assessment and bed and breakfasts, which pay council tax instead of business rates.
Charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief will also be prioritised. Businesses which have already benefited from the Small Business Grant or Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants will not be eligible to apply.
Like the Small Business and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants, the money paid to businesses does not have to be repaid and can be used by the business to cover ongoing fixed property related costs.
Businesses have until 14 June to apply by visiting the website.