Council urges firms to bid for share of £2m support fund

Jun 09, 2020

THE SMALLEST businesses in Milton Keynes have begun to apply for a share of an extra portion of government grant funding totalling almost £2 million.

The money – £1.97 million – has been made available for very small local firms in any sector, not just in retail, hospitality and leisure, with a focus on those who have high fixed property costs and/or who can evidence a significant fall in income due to coronavirus.

Grants of between £1,000 and £25,000 are available. However, the council is warning local business owners that if the funding is oversubscribed, companies may receive a pro rata reduced amount in order to share the pot with as many local firms as possible.

Businesses must apply online at www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/business/local-authority-discretionary-grant-fund by June 14, at which point applications will be considered by a panel based on criteria for eligibility, including:

  • A demonstrable significant fall in income due to the COVID-19 crisis;
  • Fixed property costs of at least £250 per month;
  • A turnover of less than £10.2 million and fewer than 50 staff;
  • Not being eligible for other support schemes such as the Small Business Grant or the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant.

The full criteria can be found on the application web page. The council expects to begin making payments by June 22.

Cllr Pete Marland, leader of Milton Keynes Council

Milton Keynes Council has consulted with the local business network, which includes the Institute of Directors, Federation of Small Businesses and SEMLEP, on the fairest way to distribute the funding.

Milton Keynes Council leader Cllr Pete Marland said: “Many small businesses are in a make or break place right now and we hope this funding will be a timely lifeline, either to cover fixed property costs, mitigate losses or to help firms introduce social distancing measures.

“The funding and business rates holiday we have put in place are only part of how we will be supporting local firms. I have asked council teams to start thinking about how we will help to boost local demand and confidence when national safety measures allow.”

Milton Keynes Council has shared over £37 million of government grant funding with eligible retail, hospitality and leisure businesses struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic and has reduced business rates to more than 3,000 Milton Keynes firms. 

Artwork for essential public health advice posters, free standing banners and stickers to mark out safe places to work and queue are free to use by small businesses and groups who don’t have the resources to create their own material.

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