As the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 increases, so has the number of local lockdowns. In response, the UK Government has announced new grants to help businesses in England affected by local restrictions.
This update also includes information in relation to recent funding announcements local to the North East and Northumberland. The Restart and Recovery grants are available across the network of English Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs). If you are not sure which is your local LEP you can find details here.
Local Lockdown Grants (England only)
Earlier this week the UK Government announced new grants to help businesses in England affected by local lockdowns.
To receive the grant, a business must have been required to close due to local COVID-19 restrictions. The largest businesses will receive £1,500 per property every three weeks they are required to close. Smaller businesses will receive £1,000 per property. The scheme is basing the size of the business on the rateable value of its premises.
- to be eligible for the £1,500 grant, a business must occupy premises with a rateable value more than £51,000 or occupy part of a property subject to an annual rent or mortgage payment of more than £51,000
- to be eligible for a £1,000 grant, a business must occupy premises with a rateable value less than £51,000 or occupy a property or part of a property subject to an annual rent or mortgage payment of less than £51,000
Payments are triggered by a national decision to close businesses in high-risk areas. Each new three-week lockdown period triggers an additional payment.
The scheme is not designed to support businesses that have closed at a national level, such as nightclubs – it is specifically for businesses affected by local lockdowns or restrictions.
Local authorities will be responsible for distributing the grants and could add further eligibility criteria.
Other businesses affected by closures which may not be on the business rates list, will also be eligible for support. Local authorities will make payments up to £1,500 but they could also be less than £1,000 in some cases.
As with other COVID-19 business grants, local grants to closed businesses will be treated as taxable income.
SME Restart and Recovery Grants (England only)
The second phase of the Restart and Recovery scheme opens at 10.30am on 15 September 2020.
The scheme is delivered by Local Enterprise Partnerships. For clients local to GWA this will be the North East LEP, which covers County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland.
Grants are allocated on a first come first served basis and the first phase was so popular the application process closed after just 90 minutes. Therefore, it is recommended that you have all the required information prepared for when applications open.
SMEs will be able to apply for grants of between £1,000 and £3,000.
For a business to be eligible, it must meet the following criteria:
- have been adversely impacted by COVID-19 and suffered at least a 20% decline in turnover, from 17 March 2020 to date (this will need to be evidenced)
- be based in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear or County Durham
- employ fewer than 250 people and have a turnover of less that €50M
- have been trading prior to 01 March 2020 and still be actively trading
- generate 51%+ of its income from commercial sources
Full details and how to apply can be found on the North East growth Hub website.
Northumberland Community Chest Grants
Community groups across Northumberland can apply for funding to support activities that will benefit local communities and also those that assist in the county’s recovery from COVID-19.
Grants of up to £5,000 may be available for voluntary or community, not-for-profit groups or organisations based in, or predominantly serving Northumberland.
Any application for a one-off Community Chest grant must not exceed 75% of the actual costs of the activity. There is an exception for projects that specifically help the community to recover from the impacts of COVID-19 where 100% of costs can be applied for however the limit of any grant provided will still be £5,000.
Grants usually funds capital items, such as the purchase of equipment, materials, building refurbishment and one off hire costs. Costs not covered by funding include core running costs, social excursions, food and hospitality, advertising and marketing or fundraising and prize-giving.
The deadline for the first round of funding is 2 October 2020 and for the second round of funding 15 January 2021. Full details of eligibility and how to apply can be found on the Northumberland County Council website.
As we have throughout the COVID-19 crisis, we will continue to communicate with you regularly via email updates and you will also find our latest guidance on our website, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. Please do get in touch if you need help. Our team is here to support you, your family and your business.