Reading Borough Council is urging small businesses, as well as market traders and B&Bs to get their applications in for new grant funding that closes on Sunday, 14 June 2020.
The Discretionary Grant Fund Scheme's been set up to support small businesses that were not eligible for the main business grant funds scheme.
The council's expected be given around £1.4m from Central Government to provide relief in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Though council leader Jason Brock has said he 'anticipates demand being high', which could potentially outweigh supply.
Local businesses have just under two weeks to get their applications in, though grant values won't be finalised until after the deadline, so they can ensure they support as many small local businesses as possible.
The council say they won't award grants to businesses without an application or with an incomplete claims and payments to successful businesses are anticipated to be made on the week commencing 22 June 2020.
Councillor Jason Brock, Reading Borough Council Leader, said:
“It has understandably been a hugely worrying few months for local businesses in Reading, both large and small.
“Council officers have worked hard to create a scheme for Reading which takes into account national guidance and is consistent with our neighbouring authorities.
"It is also important to emphasise up front that the level of funding available will only be determined on the basis of number of eligible claims.
"If demand is high, and I anticipate that it will be, we will be lobbying Government for further funding to help businesses across our town.
“Small businesses now have a fortnight to submit their application, and by June 14th at the latest, at which point the Council will be in a position to verify the number of eligible businesses and level of awards.
"We expect to be in a position to start distributing that vital money in a little over three weeks which - alongside the potential easing of some restrictions on local trade from mid-June - will be a welcome boost for small businesses at this challenging time."
The Local Authority Discretionary Grant Fund seeks to support four priority business types. They are:
- Small businesses in shared offices or other flexible work spaces which do not have their own business rates assessment but have an estimated rateable value of £15,000 or less to align with the small business rates grant scheme. The assumed RV will be based on annual rent or mortgage payments due in the financial year. In addition, checks will be undertaken to ensure the business would be eligible for Small Business Rates Relief, had it had its own liability to pay business rates.
- Regular market traders who do not have their own business rates assessment, but with fixed locations in the borough and an estimated maximum rateable value of £51,000 in line with the retail, hospitality and leisure grant scheme. The assumed RV of £51,000 or less will be based on an annual rent or mortgage payment due in the financial year.
- Bed & Breakfasts which pay Council Tax instead of business rates will be considered where there is an estimated maximum rateable value of £51,000 in line with the retail, hospitality and leisure grant scheme. The estimated RV will be based on annual rental or mortgage payments due in the financial year
- Charitable businesses in receipt of Charitable Business Rates Relief, who would otherwise have been entitled to Small Business Rates Relief will require an assessment to ensure the business would be eligible for small business rates relief, the RV must be £15,000 or less to be considered
The council have also noted that businesses who received financial support from the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Hospitality, and Leisure Grant Fund are not eligible to receive a Grant from this Discretionary Fund.
Those wishing to find out if they're eligible for the scheme can do so by clicking here.