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02/04/2020
Council sets up new business phone line as grants go live

City of Wolverhampton council has set up a new dedicated phone line to provide business support during the coronavirus outbreak.

It comes with grants set to start being paid out from today (Wednesday) to businesses eligible to receive the Government's Small Business Grant and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant.

Anyone with any business support queries should call 01902 290242 between 9am and 5pm from Monday to Thursday or from 9am to 4.30pm on Fridays.

The council started sending letters and emails last Friday to the thousands of city businesses eligible to receive the grants.

The communication includes guidance about how to go online to provide information so that the following grants can be paid:

  • small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief, and have a rateable value of £15,000 or less; or
  • grant funding of £10,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value of £15,000 or below; or
  • grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,001 and £51,999

Once all the necessary checks have been completed, payments will take up to three days to be received in business’ bank accounts.

Councillor Harman Banger, Cabinet Member for City Economy, said:

“Our small and medium businesses are critical to our local economy and we appreciate what a hugely challenging time this is for them, which is why we are upping our levels of support with a new dedicated business phone line.

“We are doing everything in our power to make the process of accessing vital grants as smooth as possible and I would urge businesses to pay close to attention to the detail in the letter/email.

“We have staff on hand to support with any help and advice businesses may need in completing their online applications.”

A 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England has also been announced by the Government.

Businesses who have been identified as potential recipients of the additional business rate relief measures will be excluded from the direct debit payment request for April 1, 2020.

The council’s Business Rates Team is also taking the following steps in relation to the recovery of business rates:

  • Suspending court action for recovery of business rates after March 19
  • Issuing reminder notices to encourage contact from businesses, so that we can understand their individual situation
  • Suspending the issue of new cases for enforcement agent action
  • Negotiating repayments where possible and/or agree to a hold in recovery action for a period where businesses are struggling

More information on business rates, business grants, labour costs and welfare, business loans and deferring tax liabilities can be found in the employer and business section at www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/coronavirus.

Full details of the latest government business support measures can be found at http://bit.ly/2IUD02v. A high volume of calls to the council’s business phone line is anticipated so please bear with us.

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