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City council issues support for business

News release from 07/04/2020

CAMBRIDGE City Council has begun issuing the grants provided for smaller businesses within the expanded retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.

The council has been working closely with government since the announcement of the grants, and last week identified around 1,400 businesses considered eligible for the grants within Cambridge.

To qualify for the grant the business must be either receiving Small Business Rate Relief or the business activity must fall into the expanded retail, hospitality or leisure sectors. The grants cover:

  • Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all businesses in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief;
  • Grant funding of £10,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value £15,000 and below;
  • Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value between £15,001 and below £51,000.

The council has now received just over £22m funding from the government to pay these grants. A simple and secure online form has been developed for eligible businesses to complete.

At the end of last week the council began contacting businesses to provide them with the details for accessing the form.

Once businesses have completed and submitted the online form, the council’s team validate this against details already held to address the risk of fraudulent claims.

The council can then pay the grant into the eligible businesses’ bank accounts without further delay.

The council started issuing these grants this week.

Cllr Richard Robertson, Executive Councillor for Finance and Resources, said: “We are very aware that many businesses have serious problems with access to cash during this coronavirus pandemic and our staff have worked extremely hard to develop secure ways to identify those eligible for these grants.

“Now we have received the funding from government we are getting it paid out to those businesses as soon as we can, whilst maintaining compliance with the government’s requirements that each business must provide confirmation of their eligibility and other details. 

“We are working closely both directly with businesses and through their representative organisations in the city to understand their needs and concerns, and to help where we can in supporting them during this very challenging period.”

Those businesses in Cambridge in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector who have premises with a rateable value under £51,000 and have not yet submitted a validation form can do so via this link: https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/coronavirus-information-for-businesses

They will need to provide brief details which will be validated against formal data held.

The council has provided further assistance to businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors by acting swiftly to apply the government’s cancellation of their liability for business rates. The council sent out bills for rates before the government’s March budget announced this cancellation of rates.

Action was quickly taken by the council to stop the 1 April direct debit collections from businesses eligible for cancellation of rates. Ratepayers will receive a new bill, even if it is ‘zero’, once the council has time to recalculate accounts affected.

Businesses will not need to apply for this rate relief. It will be applied automatically.