Hard-pressed businesses across the economy will receive fresh support from the new £5 billion Restart Grants scheme launching this week, as the government on councils to get funds to business owners as soon as possible.
Businesses in England in the non-essential retail sector will now be eligible for one-off grants of up to £6,000, while businesses in the hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym sectors, which are reopening later, will be eligible for one-off grants of up to £18,000. The £5 billion of government funding available through the Restart Grants scheme will be delivered by local authorities.
This is coupled with £425 million of top-up funding for the ongoing Additional Restrictions Grant scheme for councils to distribute to businesses in particularly urgent need of additional support – which could also be businesses who don’t necessarily pay business rates like tour operators, B&Bs, caterers, freelancers and wedding service providers.
Minister Scully and Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston have written to the leaders of 314 councils in England urging them to do all they can to pay out grants money more quickly and ensure businesses in their local authority area get the support they need.
Letter to all local authorities from Ministers Scully and Huddleston (PDF, 128KB, 2 pages)
It also encourages councils to support pubs and restaurants to open outdoor areas and host outdoor events in a safe and secure manner.
Small Business Minister Paul Scully said:
In the letter, ministers noted that some local authorities decided on eligibility criteria and application processes for the grant schemes quickly, while others have taken far too long to do so. Councils are being pressed to ensure funds are paid out as quickly as possible to relieve pressure on businesses.
To help get cash out more quickly to those who need it, the ARG funding will be provided to local authorities if existing scheme money has been spent by 30 June 2021.
Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston said:
Mike Cherry, National Chair at the Federation of Small Businesses added:
The launch of the Restart Grants scheme is the latest in a series of measures introduced since March 2020 to provide direct funding to businesses which have been disrupted or required to close.
The total provided to councils to give to businesses directly is now more than £25 billion. This is part of the unprecedented support package of over £352 billion delivered by the government to protect jobs and livelihoods, including the extended furlough and self-employed income support schemes, government-backed loans, VAT and business rates relief and a ban on commercial evictions.
Businesses can check their eligibility for the Restart Grant here.