Apply now, says Mayor: Almost 50% of businesses still to request support grant

Apr 30, 2020

AROUND 1,300 businesses in Bedford are yet to apply for a government coronavirus business support grant.

Bedford Borough Council has issued an urgent appeal for business ratepayers that may be eligible for a coronavirus support grant to request it.

Almost half of eligible local firms are still to apply for the grants, which provide £10,000 for businesses ratepayers in receipt of small business or rural rate relief and up to £25,000 for eligible retail, leisure and hospitality ratepayers.

The council has already paid out government funding of £17.2 million to 1,500 businesses. It is administering the grants locally on the government’s behalf and has established a process designed to get cash to eligible firms as swiftly as possible, including a quick and easy online form.

Dave Hodgson, Mayor of Bedford.

Bedford Mayor Dave Hodgson said: “It is crucial that eligible local business ratepayers get the cash support designed to help see them through these difficult times. Council officers have worked flat out to get over £17 million into the accounts of small businesses so far and we don’t want any local firms to miss out on the support available.”

However, over 2,800 firms across Bedford borough are believed to be eligible for grants. The council is working to ensure that as many eligible local businesses as possible receive the emergency cash the government has made available to help them through this period, including via a letter drop, phone campaign and emails.

However, with some companies not currently operating from their premises it’s important to spread the message as widely as possible.

Mr Hodgson said: “This is a cash grant and it’s quick and easy to apply so if your business could be eligible please do so today.”

Apply for a grant and find out more about the scheme and other coronavirus support for business, at www.bedford.gov.uk/covid19business

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‘It’s vital that everyone entitled to the grant money gets it as soon as possible”

Luton Council has paid out more than £15 million in grants to eligible businesses but has issued a similar appeal to those still to apply.

Cllr Sian Timoney, portfolio holder responsible for economic development and business support, said: “We are working hard to get the money out as quickly as possible to all those eligible and we are really pleased that so far over £15 million has been paid out.

Cllr Sian Timoney

“However, there are a number of businesses that we still haven’t heard from and we urge them to get in touch.”

She urged businesses whose premises are currently closed to check their property for post. 

“If they have a small shop which has been shut since the government introduced the closure of all but essential businesses last month we are asking them to check their property as they may have missed this important letter,” said Cllr Timoney. 

“We also ask them to check if they have given us the most up to date contact details including email address. It’s vital that everyone entitled to the grant money gets it as soon as possible.”

by ANDREW GIBBS e: news@businessmk.co.uk

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