Date: 18 November 2020

COVID-19: Funding support available for business through lockdown

Funding support is available to businesses in South Somerset due to the national lockdown restrictions that came into effect from Thursday 5th November.

South Somerset District Council are administering two schemes:

Local Restriction Support Grant

Eligible businesses are now able to apply for a business support grant under the Local Restriction Support Grant scheme. Grants are available of up to £3,000 and this will cover the 28 day national lockdown period. The funding will be provided on a rolling 28 day period for as long as the current lockdown restrictions apply.

Under this scheme, support is available for businesses that are legally required to close and are business rate payers. Businesses that have been required to close by Government include:

–       Non-essential retail

–       Leisure

–       Personal Care

–       Sports Facilities

–       Hospitality

A full list of businesses required to close can be viewed on the Government website.

If you own or manage a:

–       Pub, cafe or restaurant and have changed your business model during the lockdown period to operate as a takeaway.

–       Shop required to close but offer click and collect or online with delivery services. Additionally

–       Hotel or accommodation business that continues to provide services only for those who are travelling for work purposes or other exempt purposes.

You are also able to submit application into this scheme.

Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) – Discretionary Grant Scheme

From Monday 23rd November at 12.00pm, eligible businesses will be able to apply for a business support grant under our discretionary scheme. This scheme is designed for:

–         Businesses who have lost 25% or more of their normal operating income during the current lockdown period

–          Businesses that are required to close but do not have a business rates valuation

–          Businesses that mainly supply or trade with businesses required to close, or have experienced significantly reduced customer levels

South Somerset District Council have limited funding available for this scheme and encourage businesses to apply as quickly as possible. Should demand outweigh the amount of funding available, we will be required to operate on a first come first served basis and reserve the right to review the scheme should we feel absolutely necessary.

How do I apply?

Applications for both schemes can be submitted online and can be accessed by visiting www.southsomerset.gov.uk/covidbusinesssupport. You will need to be registered for a basic ‘My Account’ in order to apply and can do that online atwww.southsomerset.gov.uk/register.

What will you need?

 Businesses will need to provide:

–          Latest Business Bank Statement

–          An image of your latest business rates bill (Local Restriction Support Grant)

–          Evidence of fixed costs, for example lease / rental agreements or a bank statement highlighting outgoings relevant to this application (ARG only)

–          Business information including:

  • Number of employees
  • Type of business
  • Contact information
  • Information specific to the business (e.g Business Rates reference number)

I applied for a Business Support Grant during the first lockdown. Can I apply again this time?

Yes you can. This is a Business Support Grant that covers the 28 day national lockdown period between Thursday 5th November and Wednesday 2nd December 2020.

How long does it take to process an application and how do I find out if and when I will receive the grant support?

We are expecting a high volume of applications and have reassigned staff to help deal with the expected extra workload.  We will work through them as quickly as possible. In addition, the Government may still make changes to the grant scheme and we may have to get back to you for more information.

Once we have all of the information we need to process your application, you will receive a decision and/or a notification of when to expect the grant support payment. During this time, we ask that you are patient and give our team 14 clear days before you follow up your application.

What other support is available for my business?

Further support for businesses can be found on our website:  www.southsomerset.gov.uk/covidbusinesssupport.

Council Leader Val Keitch said: “This is clearly a challenging time for all businesses and at South Somerset District Council we are committed to doing all we can to support businesses through the current crisis.

“We’ve acted quickly to try and inform businesses how they can access Government Business Support Grants and I am grateful to the staff at South Somerset District Council for moving swiftly to get processes in place and inform businesses across the district of the help and support they can receive.”

As a District Council, we have implemented many actions from Thursday 5th November for public safety in line with new Covid-19 restrictions.

In addition, South Somerset District Council will continue to work will local community organisations to ensure those who are vulnerable or facing hardship are supported, and facilitate a number of grants to local foodbanks.

The council will also continue to ensure anyone who is homeless or facing homelessness has a safe place to stay.

The Council is also issuing payments to those that are entitled who are required to self-isolate.

For the latest information about Coronavirus in the UK, including how to keep yourself and your community safe, visit the Government website.

If you are facing financial hardship and need support, please contact South Somerset District Council on 01935 462462 or use our online form – https://www.southsomerset.gov.uk/life-events/coronavirus-support/who-can-i-speak-to/.

The Somerset Coronavirus Support Helpline number, 0300 790 6275, is also live to help you access help you may need, including emotional support, in the current crisis.