This is coupled with £425 million top-up funding for the ongoing Additional Restrictions Grant scheme for councils to provide to businesses in need of urgent support
As the pandemic continues to hit small businesses hard, the government has launched a fresh wave of funding to help struggling companies get back on their feet. The Restart Grants scheme, launching today, will provide councils with £5 billion to be distributed to small businesses in need of urgent funds in one-off grants.
Under the scheme, the government has called on 314 Local Authorities across England to deliver Covid grants to businesses who need it the most. From April 1, eligible businesses in the non-essential retail sector will receive funding of up to £6,000. While businesses in the hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym sectors, which are opening later, will be eligible for one-off grants of up to £18,000. The government has also provided an additional £425 million top-up funding in the Additional Restrictions Grant scheme (ARG) for councils to distribute to firms who urgently need the support. The ARG is designed to provide support to businesses in acute need and is not constrained solely to businesses that have to remain closed or those who don’t necessarily pay business rates like tour operators, B&Bs, caterers, freelancers and wedding service providers. 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.
The Restart Grants scheme was announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak earlier on March 3. The amount paid to eligible businesses under the scheme is dependent on their rateable value. Business can receive ARG funding alongside Restart Grants funding if they are eligible and their council deems them to be in urgent need of additional support.
Small Business Minister Paul 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. They have also encouraged councils to support pubs and restaurants in the re-opening of outdoor areas and host outdoor events safely and securely.
Government grants have been critical in relieving cash flow pressures and enabling businesses to plan ahead, and I am urging councils to deliver these vital funds to where they are needed as soon as possible, Small Business Minister Paul Scully said. We have made extraordinary efforts to stand by small business owners. Now we need to press on and continue getting money to them in good time to ensure that our communities are ready to build back better following the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “Small businesses are the backbone of our tourism sector and a major part of what makes the UK a world-class destination. These vital funds will make a huge difference to businesses in our brilliant hospitality, accommodation and leisure sectors as we build back better from the pandemic. I urge councils to work at pace to distribute these grants and look forward to seeing their impact in communities across the country.”
Mike Cherry, National Chair at the Federation of Small Businesses, has praised the government for providing additional support to local businesses that desperately need the funds to stay afloat. During this crisis billions of pounds worth of grants have been made available to businesses that desperately need it, yet, frustratingly, so much of it is still yet to be allocated, he said. It’s good that the Government is making it clear to local authorities that ARG grants are genuinely discretionary, and that the priority is to get this support delivered. Whether that’s to home-based businesses, direct or indirect suppliers to retail, leisure and hospitality, tourism, or others that need support, lots of small firms are in need and it’s vital that this money gets to them. Local authorities urgently need to get these grants distributed, to support businesses and jobs in their local area.
The Restart Grants scheme will allow not only businesses but also service providers, to receive the support they need during this critical time as lockdown restrictions are expected to ease in the oncoming weeks.