COVID-19 grants for small business: £1.5 billion still unclaimed
When the coronavirus began to take hold in the UK, the government announced a raft of measures designed to support businesses through the pandemic. In recent weeks, much of the focus has been on changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and support for furloughed workers. At the same time, other schemes, including COVID-19 grants for small business, seem to have dropped off the radar.
If you are a small business owner, it may be worth revisiting some of these other funding schemes. Why? Well, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), £1.5 billion is currently sitting unclaimed. Worse, unless eligible businesses draw down the cash by the end of this month, it’ll simply go back to the Treasury.
Which COVID-19 grants for small business should you check?
There are three main grant schemes that are still open for applications. These are:
- The Small Business Grant Fund. This is open to firms that pay little or no business rates. It offers a one-off cash grant of £10,000 from your local council.
- The Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund. This is for businesses in these three sectors. If your firm has a property with a rateable value of £15,000 or less, you may be eligible for a £10,000 grant. If you have property of a rateable value that’s over £15,000 but under £51,000, you could qualify for a £25,000 grant. Again, the money is allocated by your local council.
- The Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund. This is for small and micro-businesses with fixed property costs, but which are not eligible for the other two schemes. You can get a grant of £25,000, £10,000 or any amount under the latter.
If you follow the links above, you’ll learn whether you’re eligible for these schemes, as well as how to apply for funds. However, please be aware that some local councils have already closed applications for their Discretionary Grants Fund schemes.
Which councils still have funding available?
It’s best to check with your local council. The FSB says only 7% of councils have issued all of their funding. On average, authorities have paid out 92% of the available money. Some, like Westminster City Council, have paid out more than they were allocated. That said, £1.5 billion is still up for grabs – and the FSB is calling on the government to add another £617 million in discretionary funds.
What if my business isn’t eligible?
At the moment, there’s not much you can do if your company isn’t eligible. However, keep an eye on this blog. The FSB is pushing the government to widen the criteria for funding and we’ll report any changes here.
Remember, you only have limited time to claim funds under any of the schemes. Councils have been given the money by central government. Understandably, they would rather give it to local businesses than return it to the Treasury!
If you are a THP client and you have any queries about which funding schemes you might be eligible for, please get in touch. We’d be happy to help you make sure you haven’t missed any important avenues of COVID-19 related funding.
About Ben Locker
Ben Locker is a copywriter who specialises in business-to-business marketing, writing about everything from software and accountancy to construction and power tools. He co-founded the Professional Copywriters’ Network, the UK’s association for commercial writers, and is named in Direct Marketing Association research as ‘one of the copywriters who copywriters rate’.