Suella has welcomed the top ups given to businesses and charities, to help them get by during the current Coronavirus pandemic. This is following her action taken on behalf of residents to lobby the Treasury for the extension of the schemes.
The Business Secretary Alok Sharma and Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Simon Clarke set out that up to £617 million would be made available in additional funding to help support businesses that have been previously outside of the scope of the grant scheme. This discretionary fund top up marks an additional 5% uplift to the £12.33 billion funding previously announced for the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund (RHLGF), so up to £617 million.
The Government will confirm the exact amount for each local authority next week.
This additional fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs. The Government is asking local authorities to prioritise businesses in shared spaces, regular market traders, small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief, and bed and breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates. But local authorities may choose to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need. The allocation of funding will be at the discretion of local authorities.
Businesses must be small, under 50 employees, and they must also be able to demonstrate that they have seen a significant drop of income due to Coronavirus restriction measures.
There will be three levels of grant payments. The maximum will be £25,000. There will also be grants of £10,000. local authorities will have discretion to make payments of any amount under £10,000. It will be for councils to adapt this approach to local circumstances.
Additionally, Suella was pleased to note the support being made available to charities in Fareham that are doing vital work to combat the pandemic.
Charities across the UK will receive a £750 million package of support to ensure they can continue their vital work during the coronavirus outbreak. Tens of thousands of charities, providing vital services will benefit from direct cash grants to ensure they can meet increased demand as a result of the virus as well as continuing their day to day activities supporting those in need. As part of a UK-wide package of support, £360 million will be directly allocated by Government departments to key charities providing key services and supporting vulnerable people during the crisis. As well as this, £370 million for small and medium-sized charities, including through a grant to the National Lottery Community Fund for those in England, will support those organisations at the heart of local communities which are making a big difference during the outbreak, including those in Fareham delivering food, essential medicines and providing financial advice.
Departments will now work at pace to identify priority recipients, with the aim for charities to receive money in the coming weeks. The application system for the National Lottery Community Fund grant pot is expected to be operational within weeks as well.
Of course, this announcement builds on previous announcements by the Chancellor to support charities and businesses, including deferring their VAT bills, paying no business rates for their shops next year, and furloughing staff where possible with the Government paying 80% of their wages.
Such unprecedented extensions to the Government schemes will be sure to have a widespread and tangible impact across the business and charitable sectors in Fareham.