Local businesses that missed out on government support grants during the Covid-19 pandemic will receive £18.5 million in businesses rates discounts.
The government announced the COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF), worth £1.5 billion, in March 2021 but didn’t give local councils guidance on how to distribute it until December.
Following the cabinet meeting on Tuesday, June 14, the council will receive £18,562,689 from central government to help businesses that didn’t receive government support during the pandemic.
Stephanie Cryan, Cabinet Member for Finance, Democracy and Digital, said: “We know that during the Covid-19 pandemic businesses were hit really hard and whilst there were some grant payments made to businesses through the ‘Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Fund’, and also through our own discretionary fund, there are still many businesses that fell through the net.”
While she said the fund would provide important support to businesses, she said it was “awful and shocking” that it took the government nine months to tell councils how to allocate CARF payments.
Businesses eligible for the grant must not have received relief in 2021 through the Extended Retail Discount or the Nursery Discount.
They must also occupy a property with a rateable value of less than £51,000 and have occupied it from April 1 2021 to March 31 2022.
Betting shops and financial service businesses such as payday lenders, banks and cash points are excluded from the grant.
The money will be paid directly to businesses as one-off relief payments that go towards their business rates bills for 2021 to 2022.
The council have also said, if money is left over when grants have been distributed, the remaining budget could be used to help businesses with rateable values of up to £100,000.