Coronavirus: £4.5m business grant scheme launched
Shropshire Council has today launched its £4.5million ‘Top Up’ grant scheme in support of businesses who have been unable to access COVID-19 related business grants to date.
Grants are already available to eligible small businesses and businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector. https://shropshire.gov.uk/covid-19-grants
Under the new scheme applications are welcomed from the county’s businesses who are based in shared offices and flexible workspaces, B&Bs, market traders and charitable organisations working from commercial properties.
Businesses within these sectors have been prioritised by central government, after lobbying from business organisations, MPs and local councils.
Shropshire Council has welcomed the impact these new cash grants will make for businesses in these areas, who have suffered financial losses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and have fixed property costs.
Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council’s deputy Leader, and Cabinet member for assets, economic growth and regeneration, said:-
“Shropshire Council has listened to its business community, and those who represent it, to ensure that these grants are focused on local need and are responsive in trying to plug the gaps the other schemes to date have been unable to do.
“We’re pleased that the Government has given local councils like ourselves this additional funding. However, we must acknowledge that there will still be many businesses who fall outside the criteria to apply.
“I encourage businesses to read the eligibility criteria carefully and to submit applications as soon as possible, as we will have to manage the limited funds on a first-come first-served basis. If we have funds remaining after the priority sectors, then we will issue details of a further scheme for other types of businesses.”
David Minnery, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for finance and corporate support, said:-
“These additional grants are targeted at our small business community, which is a really important part of our economy and will play a key role in our local economic recovery. We plan to run a number of rounds of applications for these funds to help us manage the process and turn applications round as quickly as possible.”
Gemma Davies, Shropshire Council’s assistant director for economic growth, said:-
“There are still companies across the county who could apply to the first grant schemes if they haven’t already done so. Shropshire Council will be contacting those businesses on our database who have not applied so far, and we encourage small businesses who are business-rated to review the details of these schemes on our website if they have not already done so.”
This time, unlike the main small business and retail, hospitality and leisure grants, the scheme is competitive, and asks businesses to evidence their losses and provide proof of their eligibility to the fund. Businesses must apply to the scheme, regardless of whether they have expressed an interest ahead of the scheme’s launch, to ensure a transparent and fair process takes place.
Up to five short funding rounds will be open, subject to demand at each round. Each will be open for applications for seven days. The first round will close for applications at 11.59pm on Sunday 7 June 2020, and eligible businesses are encouraged to apply early, as this will be first-come first-served.
Operating the scheme this way ensures that businesses hear quickly if they have been successful and their application has been approved, ideally receiving the funds into their business bank accounts within a week of the funding round being closed.
Further information about the Top Up grant scheme is provided on Shropshire Council’s website – shropshire.gov.uk/covid19extensiongrant – alongside the link to the application form.
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