Plymouth City Council has unveiled plans to support city businesses that have been most impacted by the current national coronavirus restrictions but were unable to claim financial support from previous grant schemes.
The city has been allocated £5.2 million through the Government’s Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) to support local businesses that have suffered during the pandemic.
The discretionary funding will support businesses that cannot claim from the Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) scheme, which gives grants to rate-paying businesses that have been forced to close due to the national restrictions in place from 5 November to 2 December.
Businesses may be eligible to apply for financial support through the ARG if they:
- Have been legally required to close under current national restrictions but were not eligible for the Local Restrictions Support Grant as they do not pay business rates, or pay packaged rent and rates
- Have not been legally required to close but have suffered a significant loss in turnover as a result of the national restrictions
The funding is aimed at businesses that have been significantly affected by coronavirus, in particular retail, leisure and hospitality businesses and their supply chain. The Council has also identified types of businesses that it will prioritise for support, including childcare providers, language schools, fishing businesses and the creative and event industry.
Council Leader Tudor Evans said: “Our team has been working incredibly hard to get the available funding out to businesses who urgently need it, with over £1.5 million of payments for the LRSG scheme already approved.
“We’ve worked hard to identify where the gaps in support are by listening to the Plymouth business community and consulting with key business organisations. But ultimately, we know that the £5.2 million is simply not enough money to help everyone that needs it and this fund will be oversubscribed, especially as it has to last until March 2022. We could do so much more if we were given further funding and we’ll continue to fight for this at every opportunity.”
Applications for the ARG scheme will open at 10am on Monday 30 November. In order to claim a grant, businesses must meet the following criteria:
- Must have been trading on or before 4 November 2020
- Must be a micro or small business with up to 50 employees
- Must have ongoing fixed monthly business costs in Plymouth (for example rents, wages, insurances or mooring fees)
- Can confirm they have been significantly affected by coronavirus (a minimum of 30 per cent loss in income)
- If a home-based business, they must be registered with HRMC and able to provide their Company Unique Taxpayer Reference and a copy of their most recent tax return
Businesses will not be eligible for the funding if they:
- Have already received grant payments that equal the maximum levels of State Aid permitted under the EU State aid De-Minimis Regulation and the Covid-19 Temporary State Aid Framework
- Are in administration, insolvent or where a striking off order has been made
The grants are awarded per 28 days of national restrictions. Businesses that do not pay rates will be eligible for a grant of £934.
Rate-paying businesses that were not forced to close but were still significantly affected can claim the following grants:
- For properties with a rateable value of £15,000 or under, grants to be £934
- For properties with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000, grants to be £1,400
- For properties with a rateable value of £51,000 or over, grants to be £2,100
Businesses that pay packaged rent and rates, making them ineligible for funding from the LRSG will receive grants at the same level as that scheme.
The £5.2 million funding allocated to Plymouth is required to last until March 2022, so will be split into three tranches to ensure fair distribution.
A portion of the funding will also be allocated to supporting wider economic development activity across the city and key city institutions that provide a significant economic benefit.
For more information about the ARG and LRSG grant schemes, including how to apply, please see: investplymouth.co.uk/business-grants.
A helpline has also been set up to offer additional support to businesses applying for both schemes. This is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm on 01752 308984.