£13m paid out to businesses
Sedgemoor District Council has approved almost 1,300 grants worth around £13m to help small businesses struggling through loss of trade while the UK is in Coronavirus lock down. Progress on grant applications had a major boost when council officers worked through the Easter break to keep on top of the 1600 applications received since the process went live.
Chief Executive, Allison Griffin said: “I am extremely proud and grateful to the officers who have given up their holidays to help our local businesses and I am pleased to read some of the messages we have received that demonstrate just how vital this support will be.”
While pleased with the latest progress, officers in the council’s economic development and revenues team are concerned that there are still many businesses, who are eligible for help but who are failing to claim.
Following the government announcement that financial support would be given to small businesses and those in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector, Sedgemoor identified in excess of 2,500 businesses that might apply.
To date only 1600 have come forward so the council is appealing for help in tracking down the remainder. If you are a business that would benefit or you know one that might, the council is asking you to visit its website for guidance. www.sedgemoor.gov.uk/COVID19Biz
Businesses with a rateable value (RV) below £15,000 and registered by 11 march 2020 for Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief could qualify for £10,000. Those in retail, hospitality and leisure registered with an RV under £51,000 and registered for the expanded Retail Discount could receive £25,000 (£10,000 if RV under £15,000).
Among the businesses who have already received what has been described as ‘a lifeline’ is Scoffage Takeaway in Bridgwater run by Kate Gardiner.
Kate said: “It’s such a shame to shut the doors on a business still very much in its infancy in any circumstance but when a global pandemic hits everything just seems so unclear and scary. The business support grant has ensured we don’t have to close and we can continue to employ, continue to grow and continue to supply Bridgwater with vegan takeaway food! It really has got us through this horrendous crisis when we initially thought permanent closure would be the only way out.”
Also thankful for the grant was Sue Milverton of Clavelshay Barn who had to close her B&B and Events business; missing Mothering Sunday, one of her busiest days of the year, cancelling weddings, parties and workshops.
“Sedgemoor advised me a grant was available and my business was eligible. I completed the application online and was successful.
“This has enabled us to pay all suppliers and run a Home Delivery Service, producing top quality meals, boxed and delivered to homes in the Taunton and Bridgwater areas so it has been a huge help.”