Fresh wave of grant funding launched as councils are called on to do their bit to continue supporting businesses

Government Update

 New grant scheme launches today as ministers issue call to council leaders. 

The Government have issued a press release today that talks about the launch of the restart grants and the updated ARG funding.  

Your local authority should have information on both the restart grant and updated ARG on their websites today and access to ARG should be much more straight forward as new guidance has been issued. Please check your local authority website, use our templates and share this link with your local authority if they are in any doubt as to whether ARG funding should go to businesses without premises.  

Although the ARG is still discretionary, the press coverage, lobbying efforts, advice given to them and now a letter from Paul Scully, Minister for Small Business Consumers & Labour Markets, & Nigel Huddleston, Minister for Sport & Tourism encouraging local authorities to press on and continue to get this money to businesses in good time to ensure your communities are ready to build back better following the pandemic’  

This letter is significant as is underpins the opening of the restart grant and updated ARG grant today, and it gives a message to local authorities that this money needs to be distributed to help small businesses.  

In the press release from Government, it says that from today, businesses in England in the non-essential retail sector will be eligible for one-off grants of up to £6,000, while businesses in the hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym sectors, which are reopening later, will be eligible for one-off grants of up to £18,000. The £5 billion of government funding available through the Restart Grants scheme will be delivered by local authorities.” 

This is coupled with £425 million of top-up funding for the ongoing Additional Restrictions Grant scheme for councils to distribute to businesses in particularly urgent need of additional support – which could also be businesses who don’t necessarily pay business rates like tour operators, B&Bs, caterers, freelancers and wedding service providers. 

Minister Scully and Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston have written to the leaders of 314 councils in England urging them to do all they can to pay out grants money more quickly and ensure businesses in their local authority area get the support they need.  

It also encourages councils to support pubs and restaurants to open outdoor areas and host outdoor events in a safe and secure manner. 

Small Business Minister Paul Scully said: 

Government grants have been critical in relieving cash flow pressures and enabling businesses to plan ahead, and I am urging councils to deliver these vital funds to where they are needed as soon as possible. 

We have made extraordinary efforts to stand by small business owners. Now we need to press on and continue getting money to them in good time to ensure that our communities are ready to build back better following the pandemic.” 

In the letter, ministers noted that some local authorities decided on eligibility criteria and application processes for the grant schemes quickly, while others have taken far too long to do so. Councils are being pressed to ensure funds are paid out as quickly as possible to relieve pressure on businesses. 

To help get cash out more quickly to those who need it, the ARG funding will be provided to local authorities if existing scheme money has been spent by 30 June 2021.

Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston said: 

Small businesses are the backbone of our tourism sector and a major part of what makes the UK a world-class destination. These vital funds will make a huge difference to businesses in our brilliant hospitality, accommodation and leisure sectors as we build back better from the pandemic. 

I urge councils to work at pace to distribute these grants and look forward to seeing their impact in communities across the country. 

Please read the letter sent to local authorities today here 

You can send this letter to your local authority if you have been rejected for a grant or the updated ARG, asking for opportunities to trade or writing to your MP to ask for support using one of our templates 

It is really important that keep feeding back to Government on how these grants are supporting our members so please do keep updating us via [email protected]  

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