Council distributes first payout's under Discretionary Business Grants scheme

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It has only been a little over a week since Torridge District Council announced the latest support package for businesses in the form of a Government backed £1.29M Discretionary Grant fund. But £200K has already been approved and paid over to around 40 local businesses who were the first to apply for the money. Grants have covered the full spectrum of available amounts, ranging from £1,000 to £25,000.

The latest support package has been aimed at small and micro businesses who were not eligible for the previous Small Business Grant or the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Funds. Additionally local authorities were requested to prioritise specific types of businesses for grants to include:

  • Small businesses in shared offices or other flexible work-spaces, which do not have their own business rates assessment.
  • Regular market traders with fixed building costs, such as rent.
  • Bed & Breakfasts which pay Council Tax instead of business rates.
  • Charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief.

The Government also gave Councils the discretion to prioritise funding for important sectors of the local economy and across Northern Devon (North Devon and Torridge Districts) Councillors decided this should include Manufacturing, Food and drink, Creative industries including digital, and Businesses who operate in the Tourism sector.

The breakdown of payments so far includes £7,000 for businesses in shared accommodation, £2,000 for Market Traders, £21,500 for Bed & Breakfast businesses and £169,500 for Local Priority Businesses

Councillor Ken James - Leader of Torridge District Council said:

"Once again our Officers and partners at North Devon+ have pulled out all the stops to get this new round of funding distributed as quickly as possible. This was vitally important as some of these businesses had not qualified for any previous grants and therefore had very little, if any, financial support since the crisis started back in March. Hopefully with a gradual easing on restrictions we can start breathing life back into our economy and peoples livelihoods.

While we still need to remain vigilant against a resurgence of the virus, it's also time to continue our focus on supporting local businesses. I hope people will approach the reopening's next week with a "shop local" mind-set, which Councillor's are keen to support."

Businesses still have time to apply for these grants if they haven't already done so as the first window for applications closes on 3rd July. The main criteria for eligibility is for any business to be based in England, have fewer than 50 employees, have fixed building costs such as rent, and have been adversely impacted by the coronavirus. Further information and application portal can be found on Torridge District Council's website at https://www.torridge.gov.uk/DiscretionaryBusinessGrant

12 June 2020