East Cambridgeshire District Council is issuing a reminder to local businesses to apply for financial support they may be eligible for, as deadlines for grants draw closer.
The third round of the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) scheme, which is designed to support businesses impacted by COVID-19 lockdown restrictions that are not eligible for the Local Restrictions Support Grant, will be closing this month on 19th March 2021 at 5pm.
Businesses then have until 31st March to apply for any Local Restrictions Support Grants which relate to support up until 15th February 2021. The Closed Business Lockdown Payment, which is a one-off payment for the lockdown period between 5th January 2021 and 15th February 2021, will also close on 31st March.
The ARG is a discretionary funding scheme where local authorities support businesses in their local area who have experienced a loss of income of over 30% directly related to, or because of, Tier 4 and national lockdown restrictions in place between 26th December 2020 and 15th February 2021.
The third round of the ARG scheme widened its previous eligibility criteria to support more businesses affected by national restrictions. Now, businesses must be either a customer-facing business whose primary activity is the sale of goods or services to the public on a face-to-face basis that were able to remain open during restrictions and lockdown but were severely impacted, or a business that does not have a business rate account that was legally required to close during Tier 4 or national lockdown restrictions.
Closed businesses that do not have a business rates account may be entitled to £5,000 if they are a community facility such as a village hall, £5,000 if they operate from a domestic property or £6,000 if they operate from a commercial property.
Open customer-facing businesses, with or without a business rates account, that could open during Tier 4 restrictions and the national lockdown but were severely impacted, are eligible for a £4,000 grant.
In addition to the ARG, all but one Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) scheme for businesses with a business rates account, and the Closed Business Lockdown Payment will also close at the end of the month.
This means businesses who believe they are eligible for any LRSG scheme in place between November’s national lockdown and the current restrictions up until 15th February, should act now.
Councillor David Brown, Chairman of the Finance and Assets Committee, said:
“Many of the district’s business owners have been hugely affected by the pandemic and we hope this funding will go some way to support them.
“The Council has been in touch with all eligible businesses with a business rates account regarding the Local Restrictions Support Grants, however if there are any business owners who haven’t subsequently applied, now is the time to do so.
“I am pleased to see that the Additional Restrictions Grant continues to adapt and has opened its eligibility wider to support more and more businesses. If you are not sure if you are eligible, please do visit our website and get in touch with the council to find out.”
Businesses can apply for both the ARG and LRSG schemes online, by requesting an application form by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone by calling 01353 665555.
The LRSG that is in place for 16th February to 31st March will remain open and the Council has contacted those businesses it believes are eligible for this.