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Final call for applications as coronavirus business grants scheme nears closure date

30 July 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19): updates

Given the pace of change of information, please access the latest information on our Coronavirus (COVID-19) page.

Customers outside a pub.

Local small businesses which are eligible for a coronavirus grant, but have not yet applied, have until Monday, 24 August 2020 to get their applications in.

Across Rochdale, around £44.2 million has been paid out to 4,041 businesses since the pandemic started.

The scheme will close soon, with all money paid out by 28 August 2020

The government has signalled that the small business grants fund, the retail, hospitality and leisure grants fund and the discretionary grants fund will be wound up next month, with all funds set to be paid out to businesses by Friday, 28 August 2020.

As well as grants for small businesses and retail, leisure and hospitality businesses, the government awarded additional cash following an intervention by councils, including Rochdale, who were concerned about businesses which have suffered significant losses, but were not covered by existing schemes.

The additional funding meant the council could offer grants to: 

  • Businesses in multi tenanted units which do not have their own rates bill.
  • Businesses which mainly supply the hospitality and leisure industry.
  • Co-operatives and social enterprises.
  • Charities in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief.
  • B&Bs which pay council tax not business rates .
  • Businesses which manufacture components for the automotive or aerospace industry
  • Independent hospitality businesses which couldn't access the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure grants because their rateable value was too high.

The council has a limited amount of money left for the discretionary grants and is urging any business which falls into one of the eligible categories, to apply, if they haven't already done so, before the deadline.

Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • They must not be able to access or have already received the small business rates grant (£10,000), the retail, hospitality and leisure grant (£25,000), or have already received a discretionary grant.
  • They must be able to show a significant drop in income since March 2020 as a result of coronavirus.
  • The business must have been trading on 11 March 2020 and have fewer than 50 employees.

Grants are not available for people who work from home and applications will not be accepted from businesses which are in administration, insolvent or have received a striking-off notice.

'For some businesses, this money has been the difference between staying open and going under'

Councillor John Blundell, cabinet member for regeneration, business, skills and employment, said: "It's been a very uncertain time for our businesses and their employees and for many this cash has been the difference between staying open and going under.

"Our teams across the council and Rochdale Development Agency have worked extremely hard processing thousands of applications and getting the money out as quickly as possible. Their local knowledge also came into its own when we had to establish where to allocate the additional funds we lobbied the government for.

"The government has now signalled that this scheme will be ending soon and we want to ensure that every eligible business feels the benefit while this money is still available. That's why I would urge businesses to take a look."

The deadline for fully completed applications with the required documentation is 5pm, Monday, 24 August 2020.