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Millions of pounds given to Tamworth businesses to help during Covid-19 crisis

More than £11million in grant funding has now been paid to hundreds of small rateable businesses in Tamworth as part of the Government’s coronavirus support package.

Tamworth Borough Council’s Economic Development and Revenues teams have been busy reaching out to more than 1,000 eligible local firms and processing hundreds of claim forms.

In total, Tamworth Borough Council was given a pot of £12million to allocate to rate-paying businesses in Tamworth in the form of Small Business Grants (SBRR) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants (RHLG). Teams have spent the last few months contacting hundreds of businesses, processing all of their forms and paying out grants of between £10,000 and £25,000. Nearly 900 grants have been paid out in total, but there are still a few potential eligible firms that may still qualify for this cash boost.

Under the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF), all businesses in England in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief (SBGF) and Rural Rates Relief (RRR) will be eligible for a payment of £10,000 in line with the eligibility criteria.

The Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant (RHLG) is available to businesses in England in receipt of the Expanded Retail Discount (which covers retail, hospitality and leisure) with a rateable value of less than £51,000.

The Government grants have come as a welcome lifeline to help local businesses survive the past few months, in one of the biggest challenges the local economy has ever faced.

So far, 695 businesses have been granted £10,000 each from the Small Business Grant scheme, which represents just over 92% of those who are eligible for this support in Tamworth.

A further 199 businesses have received grants of either £10,000 or £25,000 from the Retail Hospitality and Leisure Grants scheme, which represents only 91% of eligible firms.

While around nine claims are still in the system being processed – all information has to be checked against various eligibility and fraud criteria – there are nearly 100 more businesses which are being urged to come forward and get the ball rolling before the grant applications close.

Cllr Jeremy Oates, Tamworth Borough Council’s cabinet member for Heritage and Growth, said: “Our teams have been working flat out for the past two months to administer the Government’s coronavirus support packages to ratepaying businesses. They have managed to allocate nearly all of the £12million pot we’ve been given for the eligible rateable businesses in our area. This is great news, because that’s money in the bank helping our smallest businesses through incredibly challenging times.

“We think most businesses intending to apply for this have now done so, but if there’s anyone who hasn’t come forward yet, we would urge them to get in touch while the money is still available.”

Various details are required from businesses to enable grants to be processed and any businesses which think they might be eligible in line with the criteria above are asked to visit our website at www.tamworth.gov.uk/small-business-grant-fund, fill in the online form at the bottom of the page and email it to covid-grants@tamworth.gov.uk.

Grants will be paid directly to those listed as the liable ratepayers in the Tamworth Borough Council system.

Business Rates Holiday

The Government has also announced that businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors (as detailed in the Expanded Retail Discount criteria above) will not have to pay Business Rates for the 2020/21 tax year. We have issued updated bills to eligible businesses. To see if you are eligible, visit the Government guidance here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/business-rates-retail-discount-guidance.

Discretionary Grants

A discretionary fund has been announced which aims to provide vital financial support to businesses which did not meet the criteria of the Government’s grant schemes for rate-paying businesses.

This particular grant scheme is mainly aimed at small and micro businesses with relatively high ongoing fixed property-related costs, which can demonstrate they have suffered a significant fall in income due to the Covid-19 crisis. Businesses need to occupy property, or part of a property with a rateable value, annual rent or annual mortgage payments below £51,000. It is not aimed at homeworkers.

While the funding is not for businesses which have already received cash from the Small Business or Retail, Hospitality and Leisure grants, those who have applied for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme or the Self Employed Income Support scheme, can apply for this discretionary grant fund.

To see the full range of eligibility criteria and apply, businesses need to visit www.tamworth.gov.uk/local-authority-discretionary-grant-fund. They will be asked to complete two forms and email disc-grant@tamworth.gov.uk with supporting evidence including bank statements and loss of income.

Applications must be submitted before the deadline of Friday, July 3.

Further details on all grants and support can be found at the Government’s dedicated Coronavirus Business Support website: www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support/.

Any local businesses which need further help or guidance can contact Tamworth Borough Council’s business support team at business@tamworth.gov.uk.