Businesses in South Lakeland impacted by the Coronavirus outbreak are set to receive the first £1 million in support payments.
South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) launched its application process for the government support grants on Friday and invited eligible businesses to complete an online form.
By Monday morning the council had received 1,400 online applications and has now paid out around £1 million of the grant fund, with the cash starting to reach businesses’ bank accounts tomorrow (Wednesday).
Councillor Robin Ashcroft, SLDC portfolio holder for Economy, Culture and Leisure, said: “From our records we estimate that there are around 6,000 businesses in South Lakeland eligible for the £10k and £25k Small Business or Retail, Hospitality and Leisure grants, so to get around a quarter of those applying in the first couple of days is great to see.
“Our teams have worked exceptionally hard to get this set up and operating so quickly. They have created a straightforward online application process so that we didn’t waste any time posting out paper forms to be filled in and returned.
“The online process means we can receive applications, validate them and release the funds really quickly, as we know that the imperative is to get the money out to these businesses as quickly as we can. It is fantastic that we’re already able to send out the first £1 million of the grant funding within a matter of days.
“We are still asking businesses that believe they qualify for a grant to go online to check their eligibility and to apply.’’
Businesses can find more information and an application form at:
Businesses that fall under one of the following categories and believe they are eligible for the funding are being invited to complete the form:
- Small business rate relief recipient
- Rural rate relief recipient
- Expanded retail discount scheme recipient
Please note that completing this form does not mean a business is eligible for the grants available, but it will allow the council to check details against its rating list and make a determination of eligibility against the criteria laid out by government.
Those eligible should receive the payment within seven working days from receipt of a valid application.
Any businesses that apply but are not eligible will be sent an email setting out why they do not meet the criteria set out by government and will be signposted to other support they may be eligible for.
Applying businesses will need to provide the reference number from a business rates bill to complete the grant application.
Please ensure you have your reference number to hand. If you are the registered rates payer you will receive a rates bill, even if you are zero-rated for rates. The reference number will appear on any of your rates bills, you do not need your most recent bill.
This is an important security measure to protect the applicant against the risk of fraud and to ensure that SLDC can validate the recipient’s identity and entitlement to the grant.
For security reasons SLDC will not be able to give this information out over the phone, but can issue a duplicate bill to your registered business address if required.
The £10k and £25k grant schemes are separate to the business rates relief schemes also announced by government.
These business rates reliefs apply to eligible retail, leisure and hospitality businesses (including those that have closed temporarily due to the Government advice on Coronavirus) and 100 per cent rate relief is available for a period of 12 months.
SLDC will apply this relief automatically to business rates bills for 2020/21 and businesses do not need to apply for this. New bills with applied relief will be reissued in the coming weeks. SLDC has also taken the decision not to collect business rates direct debits in April to allow the new reliefs to be applied before any payments are due.