Last chance for Birmingham businesses to apply for Discretionary Business Grant support
Small businesses suffering exceptional hardship due to Covid-19 have one final chance to apply for a cash grant when the second round of Discretionary Grant Payments opens next week.
At 9am BST on Monday 3 August 2020, Birmingham City Council will open online applications for businesses to apply for a non-repayable grant of up to £25,000, with an increased eligibility criterion, to include more small businesses, certain sole traders, and self-employed workers.
In accordance with the Government announcement, which requires councils to allocate all grant funding by the end of August, applications will be determined on a first-come-first-served basis, with those not supplying supporting evidence placed to the back of the queue.
The second round will only be open for two weeks. Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “We know how tough the last few months have been for businesses in Birmingham and we're working hard to protect jobs and livelihoods. These grants do not have to be repaid and could prove to be a lifeline in the wake of Covid-19, so we want to give everyone a fair opportunity to prepare and apply.
“During the first round of applications we received 1,898 applications and paid out a total of £4.5 million to 1,020 businesses, which worked out as an average grant of £4,412 each. Aside from not meeting the eligibility criteria, the main reason that applications were not approved was because they were missing the correct supporting evidence. Therefore, I would urge all applicants to check they have provided everything at the time of completing the application form, to ensure that they don’t miss out.”
The second round of applications will open at 9am on 3 August and close on 17 August at midday. It has been extended to include all small businesses across all sectors; sole traders and self-employed workers with fixed commercial property costs; and businesses that can demonstrate a 30% loss in income due to Covid-19.
Businesses who were unsuccessful in the first round can also reapply, as can businesses with a Rateable Value of over £51,000, who were previously excluded.
Whilst businesses that have received Government support through the Job Retention Scheme and Self-Employed Income Support Scheme are eligible to apply, those that have already received grant funding, such as Small Business or Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants will not be eligible.
Required evidence includes copies of bank statements from the last seven months (Word or Excel spreadsheets will not be accepted); and HR or payroll printouts to demonstrate staffing numbers for businesses with between 40 and 50 employees.
Applications will be processed in date order but will not start until after the window closes on 17 August. Businesses will receive a confirmation email at the time of applying and will receive an update on their application within four weeks. Businesses are asked not to contact the council before that date as it will slow down the determination process.
In total, Birmingham City Council has paid out more than £220m in grant funding to businesses through the first round of the Discretionary Grant Fund, Small Business and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants.
For more information on the eligibility criteria and evidence which is require when applying, visit the Discretionary Grants information page on the Birmingham City Council website.