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New business grant announced for small businesses impacted by COVID-19


Small businesses in Plymouth can apply for a new Government Discretionary Grant from Monday 1 June.

The scheme, administered by Plymouth City Council, will help small businesses with less than 50 employees that have not been eligible for other grant funding (with the exception of the furloughed Job Retention Scheme and the Self Employment Income Support Scheme) and who were trading on 11 March 2020.

Council leader Tudor Evans said: “We have lobbied hard for additional funding for the many businesses that have fallen through the cracks of Government support, but who desperately need financial help to survive.

“We’ve worked hard with councils across Devon to ensure the funding is distributed fairly to businesses that need it the most. Plymouth has only been allocated £2.27 million for this scheme, which is tiny when you consider we have so far paid out over £42 million to over 3,500 businesses through the Small Business Grants Fund and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund.

“As a result we have decided to prioritise strictly around the Government criteria in the first instance. We have also included boat based businesses within our scheme, recognising their importance to the Plymouth economy. We will review this regularly based on demand and the availability of additional funding.

“I must stress that we know that demand will far outstrip the available funds, so we will keep the pressure on and continue lobbying for more support for our businesses in the city.”

Grants will range from £1,000 to £25,000 with all businesses required to meet the same evidence based criteria. Due to the limited funds available it is anticipated that only a very small number of grants will be above £10,000.

Businesses eligible for support, outlined in the Government guidance include those which:

  • Have ongoing fixed building related costs

  • Can show that they have suffered a significant drop in income due to COVID-19

  • Have less than 50 employees and a turnover of under £10.2 million

  • Were trading on or before 11 March 2020

The following business types will be prioritised for funding as outlined by the Governments criteria:

  • B&Bs that pay council tax rather than business rates (this excludes properties listed only on Airbnb)

  • Regular market traders that do not have business rated premises, including market stallholders, street traders and mobile businesses. (Only traders with a formal site agreement with Plymouth City Council or the land owner will be eligible. Businesses that trade across multiple Local Authority areas will only be able to claim a grant from one area)

  • Small businesses in shared offices or flexible work spaces who pay an all-inclusive rent and therefore don’t have their own business rates ratings assessment

  • Charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief

The Plymouth scheme will also support:

  • Plymouth boat based businesses including fishing boats and tourism-based charter boats that are not eligible for the Fisheries Fund. This does not include marinas and is intended for businesses where the fixed costs accrue to the boat.

Businesses that were not trading on 11 March 2020, that are currently in administration or insolvent, or who have accessed other Government funding schemes will not be eligible.

Online applications will open on Monday 1 June. Businesses will be asked for information about their number of employees, costs and loss of income as part of the grant application process. Plymouth City Council aims to make payment in three tranches with the first payments made on 16 June.

Full guidance and the link to apply will be available from Monday (1st June 2020) on investinplymouth.co.uk/business-grants

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