Business support- a message from Councillor Ian Ward

Published: Friday, 15th May 2020

Councillor Ian Ward's message for businesses in Birmingham needing support during these difficult times.

In these unprecedented times, it’s important that we all work together to support each other not only as individuals, but as businesses. So, in my message to you today I am going to ask for your help to support yourselves, your fellow businesses and us, Birmingham City Council with business grants and discretionary grant payments.

Business grants

Last month we started paying out the money given to us by Government to support small businesses and those in the retail, hospitality and leisure industries

To date, we have paid out £146 million to £12,000 businesses through grants of £10,000 and £25,000. However, we know there are still some businesses which are eligible for the grants, who have yet to be paid because we do not hold all the necessary information we need to process the payment.

The money doesn’t have to be repaid and there are no stipulations as to how it must be spent; it’s simply there to help businesses however it can. Because we are making payments directly to bank accounts to avoid sending cheques, you will be asked to securely provide your bank details via our simple online form, which takes about 10 minutes to complete.

If you pay business rates it would be helpful to include your reference number but if you don’t have one, leave the box blank and answer as many questions as you can. Also, if you don’t pay business rates as you receive business rates relief, you are still eligible for the grant.

So, if you have yet to provide your information, make sure you do it now. If you know of businesses who may be eligible, make sure you share the message with them. One thing that makes our great city so special is the diversity in community and in business, so let’s do all we can to protect it.

Discretionary grant payments

The latest news to hit the headlines is about discretionary grant payments which will help those small businesses who were not eligible for the original grants. We know there is a lot of interest in these grants but at the moment, we are not in a position to begin making payments as we only received Government guidance on Wednesday. A lot of work is going on behind-the-scenes to plan the next steps and create systems to issue payments.

I can assure you the team is working incredibly hard to be able to launch this scheme, but a lot of resource has been redeployed to deal with high levels of calls and emails about these payments. Whilst I know a lot of businesses are keen to be considered, could we please ask that you refrain from contacting us until we are able to proceed, which won’t be until the beginning of June. The more resource we can focus on this, the sooner we will be able to launch it. In the meantime, keep an eye on our website where will post updates as soon as they are available. 

In this time of uncertainty, let’s make one thing certain; that we are working together to do all we can to not only help ourselves, but each other.

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