News release from 18/11/2020

Financial help for South Cambs businesses hit by current lockdown

Financial help for South Cambs businesses hit by current lockdown

South Cambridgeshire businesses that were forced to close their doors during this month’s national lockdown can now apply for new Government grants that are being distributed by the District Council.

With many unable to provide a face-to-face service, the new grants are designed to help get them through the month until they can begin trading again.

The grants, which are being administered by South Cambridgeshire District Council, are the Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) and the Additional Restrictions Support Grant (ARSG). Any businesses who believe they are eligible can find information on how to apply, along with eligibility criteria, via the Council’s website.

South Cambridgeshire District Council aims to support as many businesses as possible, either financially or in other ways, and so is also making available a third scheme, the Local Restrictions Discretionary Hardship Scheme (LRDHS), to support those facing extreme hardship but who are not eligible to claim under the first two schemes and/or have received limited state aid or financial assistance to date. Awarded at the discretion of the Council, application for this is via a written statement and supporting evidence. Further guidance on eligibility is also available via the above link.

The Government’s LRSG scheme will provide grants of up to £3,000 to all rate-paying non-essential retail businesses, indoor and outdoor leisure facilities, entertainment venues and personal care concerns which were required to close by law on November 5 due to the nationally imposed lockdown restrictions.    

The ARSG scheme is allocated at the Council’s discretion and is for non-rate-paying companies which were either forced to close by law or, whilst still allowed to operate, have been severely impacted by the lockdown, such as those which form part of a supply chain to a closed business. Rate-paying businesses which can open but have also been severely impacted in this way are also eligible to apply for this grant.

The funding for the LRSG will be £1,334 for the four weeks of national lockdown for companies with a business rateable value on or below £15,000; £2,000 for those with rateable values between £15,001 to £51,000; and £3,000 for those with a rateable value of more than £51,000.

Businesses claiming under the ARSG scheme will receive the same payments based on rents or rateable values of below £15,000 per year for £1,334, from £15,001 to £50,999 per year for £2,000, and over £51,000 for £3000.

To be eligible, they must have been open as usual immediately prior to the second lockdown being imposed, and primarily providing ‘in-person’ (face-to-face) services to customers from their premises.  They must also have been registered for business rates at their premises as at 4 November 2020.

Non-Essential Retail businesses include clothing stores, homeware stores, vehicle showrooms (other than for rental), betting shops, tailor, tobacco and vape shops, electronic goods and mobile phone shops, and market stalls selling non-essential goods.

Leisure and sports facilities include leisure centres, gyms, swimming pools, tennis and basketball courts, golf courses, fitness and dance studios, climbing walls, and archery, driving and shooting ranges.

Entertainment venues include theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums, galleries, casinos, amusement arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, go-karting venues, soft play centres and areas, circuses, funfairs, zoos and other animal attractions, water parks and theme parks.

Personal care facilities include hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons, tattoo parlours and body and skin piercing services, spas, massage parlours.

Cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs which have closed but have changed the way they operate to provide takeaway, or businesses offering click and collect or online services with delivery during the lockdown period, will still be counted as closed and eligible to apply for a Support Grant. Those which normally operate in that way however cannot apply as they are able to carry on trading as normal during the lockdown.

Other concerns which would normally have been in the closure list but have been able to remain open in some format due to a special exemption may also still be able to claim, such as hotels, hostels and guesthouses, community centres, halls, libraries and places of worship.

Peter McDonald

Cllr Peter McDonald (pictured), Lead Cabinet Member for Business Recovery and Skills, said: “These newly-announced grants will provide desperately needed financial support for many of our South Cambs businesses. During the first national lockdown, we were able to allocate Government grants worth £24,177,500 to 2,183 local businesses which proved a vital lifeline to so many. We’re determined that no business will be left behind and our experienced Business Support and Development Team is here to help get this new source of funding to where it is most needed and to help our economy spring back into life once the lockdown ends.”

South Cambridgeshire District Council Leader, Cllr Bridget Smith said the new Government funding was crucial to helping the district’s businesses come through the Covid crisis. “We would love to be able to offer support to every business but know that will not be possible. However, we will do everything in our power to help you either financially or in other ways.  I’m particularly pleased that we can offer a third stream of financial aid to those businesses which are falling between the cracks and facing extreme hardship due to not being able to meet the more formal criteria of the bigger schemes.  Every local business plays an important part in the good health of our district’s economy and we’d like to see as many of them as possible open again in time to take advantage of the Christmas trading period.”

Further details on the criteria for all levels of the lockdown grants funding, along with downloadable application forms and further advice and support, are available.