News release from 24/04/2020

Swift grant funding ‘lifeline’ for hundreds of small businesses

Swift grant funding ‘lifeline’ for hundreds of small businesses

Almost 1,500 small businesses in South Cambridgeshire are benefitting from swift £17.5 million grant aid from the district council to help them weather the Coronavirus outbreak.

South Cambridgeshire District Council has awarded Government assistance grants to 75 per cent of local eligible businesses in the first few weeks of the scheme’s launch.

The take-up among small businesses and companies in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors has been significant and Council staff have been working tirelessly to ensure funding gets to where it’s needed as quickly as possible.

With an estimated 2,000 businesses in South Cambridgeshire eligible for the funding, there has been a huge combined effort from Councillors and officers to reach local firms that have yet to apply.

To qualify, businesses must have been registered as the business rates payer on 11 March 2020, and need to be receiving either Small Business Rate Relief or the Expanded Retail, Hospitality and Leisure discount. Grant support takes the form of two schemes:

  • The Small Business Grant Fund: A one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses that already pay little or no business rates to help them meet ongoing business costs;
  • The Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund: A £10,000 grant for eligible businesses with a rateable value of under £15,000. Eligible businesses with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.

Companies have been contacted via email (or letter if an email address is not available) with details on how to apply for the grants online. Full guidance for the grant schemes can be found on the Government website.

If you think your business might qualify, please visit the Council’s website and follow the relevant links within the Coronavirus support for businesses section.

Peter McDonald

Cllr Peter McDonald (pictured), Member Champion for Business Support, leads the Council’s efforts to help local businesses hit by the pandemic and said it had been a concerted approach by both Councillors and staff to reach small businesses and give them the chance of a potential lifeline.

He said: “I’m delighted that significant aid has already reached many in our business community and keen to help others tap into this valuable resource. For many small businesses a £10,000 or up to £25,000 grant can mean the difference between surviving or not. So, it’s crucial that we reach as many of them as possible.

‘We know that this money will help them to stay in business while they deal with the impacts of the Coronavirus outbreak. Our officers have worked flat out to get this funding into the accounts of local companies.”

He added that he and fellow councillors are trying to contact firms in their particular wards by phone, email and letter and with site visits where social distancing measures allow.

For the latest business updates, local companies can sign up to the Council’s business newsletter.

In addition to the grants, South Cambridgeshire’s retail, hospitality and leisure businesses have so far benefitted from around £13.9 million through the Government’s expanded retail business rates relief scheme. It enables eligible firms that were due to pay Business Rates for 2020/21 to have their Business Rates waived so they don’t have to pay any for next year.