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East Midlands Chamber News

Chamber urges firms to apply for remaining coronavirus business grants – as some councils report funding surplus

Businesses have been urged to apply for grants that can help mitigate the pandemic’s footfall on their ability to trade.

East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire), has issued a reminder about a range of financial support available for firms affected by Government lockdown restrictions, whether they closed or not.

Some of these funding pots are distributed at a universal national rate, while others have some local variation according to tiered restrictions in 2020 and local discretion. Sector-specific funding is also available.

All grants are distributed by local authorities. Some councils in the region have informed the Chamber that there remains a surplus of funding available due to eligible businesses not coming forward.

East Midlands Chamber chief executive Scott Knowles said: “Many businesses have been severely affected over the past 12 months through no fault of their own.

“We know from our Quarterly Economic Surveys that in each quarter of 2020, cashflow worsened for the majority of firms in the East Midlands.

“While it’s been a desperately tough period, there is financial support available that will help companies ‘get over the hump’ in what we hope will be the final few months until the economy fully reopens.

“Yet we know from speaking to some of our partners in local authorities that there is still unclaimed funding because businesses may not be aware of all the options available to them.

“We’d encourage businesses to spend a small amount of time researching the various pots to see what they’re eligible for because ultimately it could go a long way to helping them get back on their feet.

“The Chamber has a dedicated Covid-19 support hub online at www.emc-dnl.co.uk/coronavirus with links to the appropriate sections of local authority websites.”

Local Restrictions Support Grant funding still available

Grants aimed at rate-paying businesses legally required to close since the onset of Tier 4 restrictions in late December, and followed by the national lockdown on 5 January, will in some cases have been proactively paid to those already receiving lockdown grants.

However, some councils still have funding available for the Local Restrictions Support Grant, which covered businesses affected by both local tiered restrictions – first implemented in Leicester in late June – and the second national lockdowns.

For example, in Leicester, funding is available ranging from £934 to £2,100 per 28-day period between 1 August and 4 November. For the national lockdown period from 5 November to 2 December, the amount is universal, ranging from £1,334 to £3,000.

Additional Restrictions Grants for smaller businesses

For smaller businesses that don’t pay rates directly to the council, there are other business grants still open to applications in some areas. These include the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG), which supports firms not covered by other grant schemes or where additional funding is needed.

These may include certain small and micro retail businesses – both essential and non-essential – as well as charities and places of worship for the period since the beginning of the third national lockdown.

Some local authorities are still opened to applications. Again using Leicester as an example, the deadline for applications covering the 28-day period following the start of lockdown on 5 January will close on 12 March, with a new February scheme to be launched at that date.

Businesses can claim up to £5,000 in Leicester, with market traders able to claim up to £2,000.

In other areas, deadlines have already passed and businesses should check their local authority website for more information.

Restart grants to begin in April

From April, a new Restart grant will be available to help businesses reopen following the easing of restrictions, it was announced in this week’s Budget.

Non-essential retailers will receive up to £6,000 per premises. Hospitality and leisure businesses, including personal care and gyms, will be eligible for up to £18,000.

A new Recovery Loan Scheme was also announced in the Budget to replace the Bounceback and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

Businesses of any size will be able to apply for a loan of £25,000 up to £10m until the end of 2021.

Available resources

  • To find out more information about the various grants offered by each local authority in Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire, as well as other coronavirus-related support for businesses, visit www.emc-dnl.co.uk/coronavirus
  • Further information and local variations are detailed on each company’s local authority website and newsletters. Businesses can check which local authority area they are in at www.gov.uk/find-local-council
  • Information on eligibility for support can be found on the Government website at bit.ly/govcov19.
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