More than £8 million in business grants has been paid to 775 eligible City of Wolverhampton businesses in a little over a week of the scheme going live.

City of Wolverhampton Council staff will also continue to work on Good Friday and Easter Monday to process the vital government grants.

There are currently a further 1,225 city businesses at various stages in the process, working with the Council to access the 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 and working on bank holiday days.

“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 1,500 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. Easter Bank Holiday times are Friday 10 April and Monday 13 April (9am to 2pm).

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
  • 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
  • if a business is not currently registered for Business Rates and has provided information to update our records, this is currently taking up to one week to process. They will then be contacted and invited to confirm their eligibility for a grant

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 last 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 Financial support for businesses during coronavirus (COVID-19).