More than £2 million in small business grants has already been paid to 189 eligible City of Wolverhampton businesses less than a week after the scheme went live.

There are currently also a further 1,500 city businesses at various stages in the process, working with City of Wolverhampton Council to access the vital Government grant funding.

All Small Business Grant Fund and Retail Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund forms submitted by businesses are subject to thorough eligibility checks.

Further communication with businesses may be necessary if any of the required information is missing.

Once a payment is authorised it will take up to 3 days to be received in business’ bank accounts.

City of Wolverhampton Council Cabinet Member for City Economy, Councillor Harman Banger, said: “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy but have been hit hard by the lockdown.

“We are doing everything we can to make it as quick and easy as possible for our small businesses to access this money, this includes redeploying staff with appropriate financial systems knowledge from other parts of the council.

“Should businesses require help with the online process we have staff on hand to support with advice.”

The council has set up a dedicated phone line to provide business support, which has dealt with more than 1,000 calls.

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.

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

A 12 month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England has also been announced by the Government.

Businesses who have been identified as potential recipients of the additional business rate relief measures will be excluded from the direct debit payment request for 1 April, 2020.

The council’s Business Rates Team is also taking the following steps in relation to the recovery of business rates:

  • Suspending court action for recovery of business rates after 19 March 
  • Issuing reminder notices to encourage contact from businesses, so that we can understand their individual situation
  • Suspending the issue of new cases for enforcement agent action
  • Negotiating repayments where possible and/or agree to a hold in recovery action for a period where businesses are struggling

More information on business rates, business grants, labour costs and welfare, business loans and deferring tax liabilities can be found in the employer and business section at Coronavirus advice and information.    

The Government on Friday announced it is extending the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) so that all viable small businesses affected by coronavirus, and not just those unable to secure regular commercial financing, will now be eligible, should they need finance to keep operating. Further information on this can be found at GOV.UK.   

Full details of the latest government business support measures can be found at Coronavirus Financial Support.