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Micro businesses now eligible for discretionary grants

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Friday 31 July 2020

Micro businesses who have been severely impacted by COVID-19 could now be eligible for a discretionary grant from Swale Borough Council.

After the first round of grants were given to businesses earlier this month, the council extended the criteria to include businesses that support the borough’s visitor economy, and although remaining funds are now very limited, micro businesses in commercial premises that haven’t been eligible for government funding yet may also apply. 

Micro businesses include those who have a turnover of £632,000 or less, £316,000 or less on its balance sheet, 10 employees or less and who occupy commercial premises with a rateable value of up to £51,000.

Discretionary grants are designed to help specific types of micro and small businesses who were not eligible for the small business grant scheme or the retail, leisure and hospitality grant schemes offered by the government.

Cllr Monique Bonney, cabinet member for economy and property at Swale Borough Council, said:

“We’ve been doing everything we can to support our local businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The government guidelines on who should receive discretionary grants in the first instance were very strict, limited to businesses that had flexible workspaces, market trader’s, B&Bs and charities.

“We gave out more than £1 million to 130 businesses in this first round of grants, which then allowed us to expand the criteria to include businesses that specifically support our visitor economy and now micro businesses who haven’t yet received any government funding to help them get back on their feet.

“Local businesses are important to the community and we’re doing everything we can to support them. As well as the discretionary grants, we’ve also paid more than £27 million in small business and retail grants.

“The grant scheme opens today (31 Jul) for one week and funds are very limited, so we urge anybody requiring business support to sign up for our business emails to stay up to date on what’s available.” 

Now that the first five categories have received support, a sixth and final category has been added:

  1. small businesses in shared premises or other flexible workspaces, e.g. industrial parks, science parks, incubators etc, which do not have their own business rates assessment
  2. regular market traders who do not have their own business rates assessment
  3. B&B’s that pay council tax instead of business rates
  4. charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief that could otherwise have been eligible for small business rates relief or rural rate relief
  5. businesses that directly support Swale’s visitor economy; this can include tourism, hospitality & leisure service providers including supply chain businesses
  6. micro entities who have been severely impacted by COVID-19 and occupy commercial premises with a rateable value of up to £51,000.  Micro entities will have a turnover of £632,000 or less, £316,000 or less on its balance sheet, and 10 employees or less.

    For more information about what help is available for businesses visit our business advice page.

    Businesses wanting to sign up for updates from the council should email edu@swale.gov.uk.

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