1,565 businesses in Thanet have applied for a business support grant since the application form opened on Friday 18 November.
1,239 applications relate to businesses that were legally required to close as a result of national lockdown restrictions. Of these, the 1,140 applications made before Monday 14 December have been reviewed and either paid, or further information requested. The remaining 99 are currently being worked through.
326 applications relate to businesses that were not forced to close but were severely impacted, or that do not pay business rates. These are more complex cases and 63 have been dealt with. Extra staff resource has been added to try and clear as many of the remaining cases as possible, before Christmas.
With 92% of Local Restrictions Support Grant (closed) applications and 19% of Additional Restrictions Grants (the discretionary scheme) applications now reviewed, Thanet businesses have seen £1,053,636 paid into their accounts.
Unlike the business support grant scheme in the spring, this time every individual claim has to be reviewed against set criteria. Due to the high number of applications received, the review process takes time.
Businesses are reminded that when they upload a copy of their bank statement, it needs to include the full name, account number and sort code for the account that they would like payment into. It also needs to include transactions to show they were operating on and before 4 November 2020. Similarly, if a business did not have to close, they need to ensure they have adequately evidenced their loss of income and fixed costs for us to make an assessment.
Cllr Rob Yates, Cabinet Member for Finance, Administration and Community Wealth Building said:
“We know businesses are struggling and are doing everything we can to ensure that grants get paid into bank accounts as quickly as possible. Please accept our apologies for the time it is taking. I’d like to thank everyone who has taken the time to apply and for their patience as we work to review the high number of submissions received.
“To ensure that the payments can be processed as quickly as possible, applicants are urged to include as much information as they can and to upload all the documents requested. Missing information will slow down any payment that is due to go out.
“In January we will be opening the Tier 3 and Wet pub grant schemes. Once again, thank you for your patience whilst we administer these schemes, we are doing everything we can to pay the monies as quickly as possible whilst following the required due diligence”
Reminder of the current support available:
- The Local Restrictions Support Grant (closed) for businesses that were legally required to close due to the second national lockdown and that pay business rates.
- The Additional Restrictions Grant for businesses that were forced to close but don’t pay business rates or for those that could remain open but were severely impacted by the national lockdown.
If applicants provide an email address on their form and receive an acknowledgement email with a reference number, this means that the council has received their application. The team will then either make a payment or make contact requesting additional information within 28 days of an application being submitted. Any unsuccessful applicants will be informed with advice and the reasons why.
The final payment run before Christmas will be Wednesday 23 December. Only applications reviewed up until that point, and that have all the accompanying information, will be paid before the Christmas break. Businesses need to allow up to five working days for the BACs payment to credit their account. Processing of applications will resume on Monday 4 January 2021.
For more information about the qualifying criteria and to apply online, go to thanet.gov.uk/business-advice. You will also find information about other government schemes and initiatives as well as a reminder of the business support line – 03333 602300 that is open Monday to Friday, 8:30am – 6pm.
- Local Tier 3 Grants – Applications for grants for businesses that cannot open under local Tier 3 restrictions will open on Monday 11 January 2021. Wherever possible, information already supplied for the current grant applications will be used. The expectation is that, once set up for a tier grant, payments will be ongoing and will cater for future movements between the various tiers automatically. Please keep checking our website and social media channels for further information on qualification and what action will be needed. Not all businesses eligible for a national lockdown grant will be eligible for a local lockdown grant.
- Wet-led Pubs – There will also be £1,000 grants for “wet-led” pubs – those whose income from food is less than half their total income. Applications will also be invited in January.