Richard Holden has been working closely with fellow local MPs: Peter Gibson, Paul Howell and Dehenna Davison to argue for help for local business in County Durham and Darlington not covered by the current grant funds scheme. The news that the Chancellor has agreed a new £617m national fund to accommodate many small businesses that were previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme has been welcomed by all four of them. Exact local authority amounts will be determined next week.
The funds will be provided by central government but distributed at the discretion of local councils according to local need (not the blanket grants approach with the initial funding.
The Government is asking local authorities to prioritise businesses:
1.) in shared spaces
2.) regular market traders
3.) small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief
4.) bed and breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates.
But local authorities may choose to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need.
The Criteria by the government is otherwise just that:
1.) The Businesses must be small, under 50 employees
2.) The business must also be able to demonstrate that they have seen a significant drop of income due to Coronavirus restriction measures.
The grants will be up to £25,000, but unlike the previous payments there will be no bottom end amount, which means support can be tailored for very small firms too.
Durham County Council tell me that from the initial scheme around one in ten eligible businesses are yet to apply for the £25,000 or £10,000 from the Government - check here if you've not applied yet to check if you are eligible: http://www.durham.gov.uk/ndrgrants