Bedford Borough Council has approved 321 grants Image by lucielang AdobeStock_56011518

Up to £25,000 in grants paid to high street businesses

By the end of March, Bedford Borough Council had approved 321 grants as part of the government’s £22 billion package to support eligible business affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

Across the country thousands of high street firms are beginning to receive up to £25,000 in cash grants and will be exempt from business rates from today (Wednesday 1st April 2020).

Eligible properties, including those in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, will not pay business rates for the next 12 months as part of a raft measures announced by the Chancellor.

The smallest businesses in these sectors are also beginning to receive one-off grants of either £10,000 or £25,000, with money landing in their bank accounts.

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak said:

“High street businesses are at the core of what keeps our economy thriving.

“That is why we are taking the unprecedented step to provide businesses with the vital cash they need to ensure their survival during this difficult time, with 300 businesses having already received money in their accounts.”

Every local authority in England has now “received the full amount of grant funding”

An early payment of £3.4 billion was made to local authorities last week (Friday 27th March 2020) to ensure grants would get to businesses as soon as possible.

The government said that every local authority in England has now received the full amount of grant funding they need to support their local businesses.

The business rates holiday, which also applies to England’s nurseries, forms part of the government’s economic response to COVID-19.

Cllr Michael Headley, Bedford Borough Council’s portfolio holder for Finance, said:

“As of the end of the day on 31 March, the Council had received 767 completed forms from businesses and 321 grants have already been approved. We are working through the remaining forms as quickly as possible to get this vital support to businesses as soon as we can.

“Businesses that have already had their grant approved will receive their payments in the next few days. We would encourage any eligible businesses that haven’t done so already to get in touch.”

Businesses in Bedford Borough can make their claim by completing the form at www.bedford.gov.uk/business/business-rates/.

Mike Cherry, National Chairman, The Federation of Small Businesses, said:

“Many small businesses across England in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors alongside nurseries, estate and letting agents and bingo halls, will be very pleased that the one year business rates holiday has started.

“This intervention combined with the quick delivery of grants for those small businesses eligible for the expanded Retail Discount and the 700,000 small businesses in receipt of small business rates relief and rural rate relief, could be the difference between surviving this crisis or folding.”

If eligible businesses have made business rates payments in the meantime, they will be refunded by their local authority. The government is working with local authorities to ensure new bills are issued as soon as possible.

In most cases, local authorities will need to collect details from small businesses in order to be able to make payments. Local authorities will be in touch with all eligible businesses shortly.

Central Bedfordshire Council was asked how many grants it had issued, but it was unable to give any details before publication.