Local councils offer more grants for more businesses

Eric Partridge

Local changes to COVID-19 business grant criteria and a new initiative to refund the cost of business licences could help plough funds back into the hands of business owners across the South Hams and West Devon.

More local businesses can now access more money thanks to three changes to the way South Hams District Council and West Devon Borough Council are allocating COVID Business Grant funds from the Government.

  1. Lower claims threshold. A business that is eligible for funding now only needs to declare a 10% reduction in income or net profit to be able to claim financial support.
  2. Higher grant payments. Recognising that grant levels may not be enough to sustain local businesses through this tough time, the councils have upped the ARG payment (for impacted business-rated businesses and impacted/closed non-business-rated businesses) to match the LRSG closed addendum scheme for November and
    January lockdown. This means businesses which weren’t required to close but chose to because loss of
    footfall resulted in lower turnover can now access the same amounts as those businesses who were instructed to close during the national lockdowns. This is to recognise that open businesses with dramatically less turnover and not furloughing staff would still have significant costs. For example, a business that was previously eligible for £1,400 will now receive £2,000. Business owners who have already received money through the grant scheme
    will automatically receive this additional payment into their bank account. Businesses who have not yet applied are
    urged to do so as quickly as possible, as grants for the November and January lockdown close to new applications at the end of March.
  3. Licence refunds. Recognising that many local businesses, from taxi firms and pubs to cake decorators, will have experienced a much disrupted year, the Councils have decided to refund last year’s business licences. To apply for this refund, businesses need to complete a quick two-minute form via the councils’ websites: www.westdevon.gov.
    uk/licensing-refund or www.southhams.gov.uk/Licensing-refund
  4. Once confirmed, the licence fee will be reimbursed direct into bank accounts.

These changes are accompanied by a new way for businesses to apply for a grant. Both councils now offer a streamlined application form on their websites to make life easier for local business owners.

There is one main form and one supplementary form to fill in and the team at the Councils will then calculate which of the 11+ grants a business is eligible for.

Businesses are asked to go to the respective Council’s website to find out more and complete their application.