The total amount of grants so far paid to City of Wolverhampton businesses from the Government’s Small Business Grant Fund and Retail Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund is almost £30 million to 2,540 businesses since 6 April.
There is also currently a further 642 city businesses at various stages in the process, working with the Council, and to date 77% of the forecasted eligible businesses have submitted claim forms.
Eligible businesses have been contacted by letter and/or email and allocated a 4 digit code, an 8 digit Business Account reference number, and a link to a web form to capture the relevant business information. Businesses are encouraged to check their post and emails for correspondence from the Council.
Anyone with any business support queries should call 01902 290242 between 9am and 5pm from Monday to Thursday or from 9am to 4.30pm on Fridays.
All forms submitted by businesses are subject to thorough eligibility checks, and to ensure that they meet the criteria of:
- being the ratepayer
- in occupation of the business on 11 March, 2020
The council is dealing with a high volume of calls to update records and is working as quickly as possible. Following this, businesses are contacted and invited to confirm their eligibility for a grant.
Further communication with businesses may be necessary if any of the required information is missing.
City of Wolverhampton Council Cabinet Member for City Economy, Councillor Harman Banger, said: “Eligible businesses who have yet to apply for a grant are being proactively contacted and offered additional support.
“We are doing everything we can to support our small businesses to access this money including proactively contacting businesses who are eligible and increasing the number of council staff working on processing the grants.
“We have staff on hand to support businesses who require help and advice with the online process.
“If you’ve already filled in an online form but haven’t received your grant payment yet, please bear with us.
“Rest assured, we will make sure every business is supported in whichever way possible.”
The Government guidance on the size of the grants is as follows:
- small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief, and have a rateable value of £15,000 or less; or
- grant funding of £10,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value of £15,000 or below; or
- grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,001 and £50,999
Councillor Banger is also urging businesses to utilise the Government’s new Bounce Back Loan scheme, which went live yesterday (Monday).
This will enable financial support for small and medium-sized businesses unable to access it from other schemes. It provides access to new loans worth between £2,000 and £50,000, which are backed by a 100% Government guarantee. The cash is accessible within days and loans are interest free for the first 12 months, with businesses able to apply online through a short and simple form. For further details visit Apply for a coronavirus Bounce Back Loan.
Councillor Banger added: “It is important small businesses look seriously at the Bounce Back Loan scheme with a view to how their business might look in 12 to 18 months. This scheme could be a vital tool in the recovery and eventual growth of their business.”
Full details of the latest government business support measures can be found at GOV.UK.
More information on business rates, business grants, labour costs and welfare, business loans and deferring tax liabilities can be found in the employers and businesses section at Coronavirus advice and information.