Almost £25 million has so far been distributed to 2,176 eligible businesses by City of Wolverhampton Council since 6 April.
To date over 76% of requests for funding have been paid and there are currently a further 696 city businesses at various stages in the process, working with the Council.
All Small Business Grant Fund and Retail Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund 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: “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.
“If you’ve already filled in an online form but haven’t received your grant payment yet, please bear with us.
“We have staff on hand to support businesses who require help and advice with the online process.
“Rest assured, we will make sure every business is supported in whichever way possible.”
The council has set up a dedicated phone line to provide business support, which has dealt with more than 3,500 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.
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. New bills will be issued to businesses that qualify for the relief by the end of April.
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
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 has extended 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, are now eligible, should they need finance to keep operating. Further information on this can be found GOV.UK.
Full details of the latest government business support measures can be found at Financial support for businesses during coronavirus (COVID-19).