Thousands of Bristol’s small businesses could be eligible for the first of the new Covid business grants, announced by the Chancellor last week.
City businesses, including charities, are being urged to check their eligibility for the Local Restrictions Support Grant, which will be paid to certain businesses that have been ordered to close or have not been able to reopen since 23 March as a result of the restrictions and that have a live business rates account.
Those that have been forced to close but have adapted their business model during lockdown, for example by operating ‘click and collect’, will still be eligible for grants. Applications are open to local businesses here .
The grant will cover the period of national restrictions running from 5 November and is available as a one-off, covering a four-week period for those businesses forced to close as a direct result of the latest national lockdown. Paid out across three levels and based on eligibility and rateable values - £15,000 and under, a value of £15,001 up to and including £50,999 and above £51,000 - the grants will total £1,334, £2,000 and £3,000 respectively.
Bristol businesses are being encouraged to review the criteria and apply, with the new grants following the award of over £95m by Bristol City Council to more than 7,000 businesses across the city in response to the first wave of Covid, which proved crucial to businesses ability to survive and adapt to the pandemic.
Councillor Craig Cheney, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet member for Finance, Governance and Performance, said: “We know how difficult the national restrictions are proving for the businesses that make Bristol such a thriving city. Working with city partners and businesses now to ensure we can respond to the devastation caused by Covid will mean we are in a better place to recover and ensure business viability remains possible during this crisis.
Businesses can apply even if they are seeking forms of support, such as the Bounce Back Loan, the recently extended Self-Employed Income Support Scheme and the Job Retention Scheme.
Bristol City Council has also been working with other local authorities in the West of England, and city partners including Business West, to determine the process to award further discretionary grants under the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) scheme. Further details on this support, as well as the support to be made available depending on what tier Bristol emerges into when national restrictions come to an end is also currently being reviewed, will be made available in due course.
The council is aiming to notify businesses within 10 days from their application to the LRSG whether they are confirmed as eligible, with funds set to follow soon after. Businesses can also find other forms of support via the council’s website and the West of England Growth Hub.