A City of Wolverhampton Council task group has gone the extra mile to ensure all city businesses eligible for vital coronavirus grants are aware of the funds available to them.
Almost 3,800 applications have now received a share of £42million distributed by City of Wolverhampton Council from the Government’s Small Business Grant Fund and Retail Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund, since April 6.
Over 98% of requests for funding have been paid and there are further city businesses at various stages in the process, working with the Council.
As of May 31, detailed investigation identified 784 businesses that had not applied for the grants despite potentially being eligible. Exhaustive follow-up work has since been carried out by the task group - either through phone calls, emails, letters or visits to business premises - to confirm each of those hard-to-reach businesses is aware of the scheme.
This work has generated 102 new applications, 43 business that intend to apply, and 11 businesses that are undergoing further eligibility checks; while further audit checks have confirmed 192 businesses are either ineligible for funding or do not intend to apply.
If these additional applications are successful it could mean over £1million more in grant funding being paid to city businesses, further boosting the local economy.
City of Wolverhampton Council Leader, Councillor Ian Brookfield, said:
“The exhaustive work of the task group is yet another example of how we will leave no stone unturned to ensure we support our small businesses in any way we can.
“We have ensured thousands of eligible businesses have had swift access to this vital funding to help them through this most difficult time.
“We are determined no business misses out, as our city looks to recover from the financial impact of Covid-19.”
Councillor Stephen Simkins, Cabinet Member for City Economy, added:
“Since the scheme was announced there has been extensive communications to promote, engage and support businesses to access and receive this much-needed funding swiftly.
“Our staff – as they have been throughout the delivery of this scheme – remain on hand to support businesses who require help and advice with the online process.”
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 Government guidance on the size of the grants is as follows:
• 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 £50,999
Full details of the latest government business support measures can be found at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support.
More information on business rates, business grants, labour costs and welfare, business loans and deferring tax liabilities can be found in the employers and businesses section at www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/coronavirus.