Cheshire East Council has launched the third phase of the local discretionary grant scheme.
The council has already implemented a second phase of this grant scheme which closed on Friday 26th June. This final phase, which will close at 8am on Monday 17th August 2020, seeks to support the remainder of businesses across the borough who failed to qualify for the first and second phase.
This phase will be open to:
- Local independent retail, hospitality and leisure businesses occupying premises with a rateable value in excess of £20,000;
- Bed & breakfasts which pay council tax instead of business rates;
- Charity properties in receipt of charitable rate relief which would otherwise have been eligible for small business rate relief or rural rate relief;
- Small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces that do not pay business rates with annual rental costs of between £3,000 and £51,000;
- Regular market traders with fixed building costs, such as rent, who do not have their own business rates assessment.
Grants of between £2,500 and £25,000 may be awarded. In line with government guidance, it is anticipated many grants will be below £10,000 to ensure the fund can benefit a larger number of businesses.
This revised policy has strict eligibility criteria including mandatory requirements set by government, which businesses will need to review before they apply.
Some of the criteria are that businesses:
- Have fewer than 50 employees and meet the requirements of being a small business as defined in Section 33 Part 2 of the Small Business. Enterprise and Employment Act 2015, and the Companies Act 2006;
- Are able to clearly evidence a drop-in income due to Covid-19 of in excess of £750 for the quarter March 1-31 May 2020;
- Can clearly evidence and identify ongoing fixed property-related costs, for business premises in Cheshire East, in excess of £750 for the period 1 March - 31 May 2020.This information will be used to assess applications to ensure consistency with phase one of the grant scheme;
- Operate their business from home;
- Not breach State Aid requirements by accepting the grant;
- Are not eligible for phase one, two or three (part one) of the council's discretionary grant.
Only one application will be accepted per business. Funds will not be set aside for applications submitted without adequate supporting information pending the receipt of further information.
Councillor Nick Mannion, Cheshire East Council's cabinet member for environment and regeneration, said: "We are actively encouraging all businesses across the borough to apply for the third and last phase of the discretionary grant fund. This is the last chance for eligible businesses to gain funding to aid their revenue, it is an opportunity not to be missed.
"Cheshire East is a desirable location for businesses and our towns are the hub of the community, we want to see these businesses thrive, to overcome the hardships of Covid-19. The borough will continue to develop regeneration and infrastructure projects, investing in our towns, as we begin to look forward to the future."
However, this funding is limited due to being in its final phase and the council may not be able to provide a grant to every eligible business and charity that applies.
Councillor Mick Warren, Cheshire East Council's cabinet member for communities, said: "Our towns have been at the epicentre of the pandemic, suffering loss of income from the lockdown. The third phase of discretionary funding will provide further help to our local businesses get back on their feet.
"I would advise businesses across Cheshire East to utilise this concluding grant fund and apply as soon as possible to avoid disappointment."