Council announces Sunday 28 February is final day businesses can apply for discretionary grant payments.
The Council announced today that local businesses who believe they are eligible to apply for an Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) must do so by Sunday 28 February in order for their application to be considered.
The ARG payments are to assist businesses with their fixed costs and income loss for the period 5 November to 15 February 2021, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Businesses are awarded funding according to the Rateable Value of their property, with grants ranging from £8,712 to £19,596.
To date, the council has been allocated £4.1million by the Government specifically to provide discretionary support to local businesses during the pandemic. It has so far paid over £2.6million in Additional Restrictions Grants to 298 local businesses. Approximately 200 more applications are currently being assessed for the scheme. In addition, there are 30 applications due to be “opened” for assessment as they have been submitted to the council in the last few days.
This vital funding for local businesses was provided by the Government on the basis that it should last until March 2022. However, to ensure that there will be no overspend of the total grant provided by the Government, the council will now close the ARG scheme to new applications on Sunday 28 February 2020. Crucially, this also means any eligible applications that have already been submitted will be covered by the existing Government funding.
Closing the scheme on this date takes into consideration the current number of grants that have been paid as well as the number of applications that are still to be processed. Sunday 28 February will be a fixed deadline, and no more applications will be accepted after this date.
Any funding from the initial Government allocation that is not accounted for – after all outstanding grants are paid to eligible applicants – will then be used to help local businesses up to March 2022. If this situation arises, more information will be provided.
Cabinet member for Finance, Cllr Rob Yates, said: “The ARG scheme was designed to support businesses during the period November 2020 – February 2021, with any remaining monies to be distributed to businesses up until March 2022. We are proud to say that the majority of the £4.1m has been distributed or allocated for distribution as we know the severe financial pressure businesses are under. The monies have been fairly distributed across the range of businesses, with equal amounts being distributed to the vast majority of them dependent on Rateable Value.
“Although other councils might be able to provide financial support to businesses using this money up until March 2022, but we believe that the time to support businesses is now! We are therefore closing the scheme in order to honour all eligible grants. By taking this approach I believe we have made a real difference in helping Thanet businesses survive.”
The council has shared information on the support grants available to local businesses on their website and across social media throughout the pandemic. It has also created a dedicated Facebook group which has enabled local businesses to ask questions about the grants, as well as take part in training sessions to support them with a recovery post-COVID.