Millions in small business grant funding now available from Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire councils
Cambridge City Council is now in receipt of the £22million funding from the government for disbursement to small businesses in the city, with South Cambridgeshire District Council also heavily pushing the government’s assistance options.
Eligible local companies in the city can apply online for small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief, and £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.
“We are very aware that many businesses have serious problems with access to cash during this coronavirus pandemic and our staff have worked extremely hard to develop secure ways to identify those eligible for these grants ,” said Cllr Richard Robertson, executive councillor of finance and resources at Cambridge City Council.
“Now we have received the funding from government we are getting it paid out to those businesses as soon as we can, while maintaining compliance with the government’s requirements that each business must provide confirmation of their eligibility and other details.
“We are working closely both directly with businesses and through their representative organisations in the city to understand their needs and concerns, and to help where we can in supporting them during this very challenging period.”
To qualify for the grant the business must be either receiving small business rate relief or the business activity must fall into the expanded retail, hospitality or leisure sectors. Around 1,400 businesses in the city have been identified as eligible for the grants.
Cllr Robertson added: “It’s the government’s system and we’re implementing it as fast as we can. We have £22m for small businesses in Cambridge, before we can hand it out the business has to confirm its eligibility so we’re asking businesses to apply.
“Now we have received the funding from government we are getting it paid out to those businesses as soon as we can.”
Start-ups who are not paying business rates are ineligible.
“The only option there is to apply for the self-employed funding which becomes available later in the summer,” says Cllr Robertson.
South Cambridgeshire District Council is also encouraging its SME community to apply for the national grant. It has estimated 1,700 businesses are eligible and will be emailing or writing them a letter “within the next week” encouraging them to apply for the funding.
Cllr Peter McDonald, who is leading South Cambridgeshire District Council’s efforts to assist local businesses that have been impacted by the Coronavirus outbreak, said: “Our team at the council is working flat out to get these grants into the bank accounts of local businesses as quickly as they possibly can.
“Every day I am hearing stories of local companies doing all they can to stay in business and we will support them. Please do bear in mind though that when administering these grants, there are checks that we need to carry out to guard against fraud and we are doing this as quickly as we can. Also, I’d urge all local businesspeople to sign-up for our newsletter that is produced specifically for them – you can do this via the business section of our website. We are regularly sending out the latest advice and guidance and know that clear, concise information is needed. Alongside all of this, we’re are driving forward the recruitment of an expanded business support team and talking with as many local businesses as we can to find out what they need from us to help them through this crisis.”
More by this authorMike Scialom