New coronavirus grant scheme launched

***IMPORTANT UPDATE*** The discretionary grants scheme described below has closed. However, we understand that some local authorities may not be able to allocate all the cash available. It is possible that the scheme will re-open for applications in some parts of Cumbria at least. We’ll update you if and when that happens.

Help is at hand for many smaller Cumbrian businesses that have been excluded from previous coronavirus grant schemes.

But you must act quickly. The Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund opened for applications on June 1 for two weeks only.

The maximum grant is £25,000 although, in practice, we expect most grants to be £10,000 or less.

Rob Johnston, Chief Executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, said: “We know from our Coronavirus Survey that there are hundreds of Cumbrian businesses that, through no fault of their own, didn’t qualify for the £10,000 Coronavirus Small Business Grants or the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants of up to £25,000.

“To be eligible, you had to pay business rates and that excluded businesses that occupy space in a building where their landlord pays the rates bill and it excluded B&Bs that pay council tax rather than business rates.

“We raised this directly with Government as part of our lobbying efforts, and through the British Chambers of Commerce, and they have responded quickly with this new scheme, which plugs many of the gaps.

“But it is time limited. You must apply within the two week window or you’re likely to miss out.”

The scheme is open to businesses with fewer than 50 staff, that were trading on March 11 and are not eligible for a grant from the existing small business or retail, hospitality and leisure grant schemes.

To apply, contact your relevant local authority: AllerdaleBarrowCarlisleCopelandEden or South Lakeland.

Applications close on June 15 but the deadline varies between local authorities. Carlisle’s and South Lakeland’s close at noon, Barrow’s at 1pm, Allerdale’s and Copeland’s at 5pm and Eden’s at midnight (Eden has changed its deadline, it had been midnight on June 14).

Around 17,000 Cumbrian businesses were eligible for either the small business grants or the retail, hospitality and leisure grants and the vast majority have now been paid. However, these schemes remain open for applications.

Eligibility criteria and details of how to apply can be found in the Chamber’s Coronavirus Toolkit.

© Cumbria Chamber of Commerce