Small businesses benefit from coronavirus grants

Lancaster City Council has today (Wednesday April 1) made payments of £5.5million to businesses eligible for Small Business Rates Relief and a £10,000 government grant announced in the Budget.

This represents the remainder of the grant to those qualifying businesses that had initially asked for a £2,500 cash advance, and eligible businesses that asked for the grant to be paid in full and had made a complete application before March 31.

Councillor Dr Erica Lewis, leader of Lancaster City Council, said: “The council’s hardworking staff, many of whom worked through the weekend and long into the night, are pulling out all the stops to ensure businesses receive the financial support to which they are entitled.

“I would urge any remaining eligible businesses that have not yet applied to do so as quickly as possible and we will endeavour to pay all complete and eligible applications within 48 hours of receipt (subject to the processing times of banks over the weekend).

“Due to the overwhelming response we’ve had so far I’d ask businesses to bear with us in responding to their enquiries – please be assured we are getting to them as fast as we can.

“We’d be grateful for any new applicants to wait until the 48-hour processing time has passed before chasing up their claims, to free staff up for assessing applications.”

Businesses eligible for the £10,000 grant are those that were registered for Small Business Rate Relief, or Rural Rate Relief, and trading on March 11.

All those eligible businesses that made a claim and/or confirmed their banking details with the city council before March 31 should now have received their payments.

Eligible small businesses that have not yet claimed their small business support grant, or confirmed their banking details, are now being written to with details of how to apply for the £10,000 funding.

As these letters may take some time due to postal delays, and they may go to business premises that are temporarily closed, the following advice applies:

•       If you would like to apply ahead of receiving a letter, email econdev@lancaster.gov.uk with your business rates account number and you will be contacted about applying online

•       If you do not know your business rates account number, email lccnndr@preston.gov.uk. You may be asked for supplementary evidence and information to verify your identity

A number of other financial support schemes are being provided by the government to help businesses pay their bills and pay their staff. 

These include grants of £25,000 to those in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors (subject to rateable value), increased Business Rates Relief, a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and support for the self-employed.

More information and links on how to apply for financial support are available on the council’s website at Lancaster.gov.uk/coronavirus. If you have a specific query please contact the dedicated business support team at econdev@lancaster.gov.uk. If you do not have access to email please contact Customer Services on 01524 582000.

Last updated: 02 April 2020