Local councils have been working very hard to pay out millions to funding local businesses and thousands have already applied for the grant. However, there are still many businesses who have not yet applied for their grant funding despite having been sent a letter inviting them to do so.
If you have received a letter but don’t think you’re eligible and have not applied because:
- You’re in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief and currently don’t pay rates; or
- Your normal level of earnings during the lockdown period is likely to be less than £10,000.
You should be reassured, and you should apply. The £10,000 grant is applicable to all small businesses operating from premises on 11th March 2020 where the Rateable Value is less than £15,000. The grant is a one off payment and is paid regardless of expected levels of turnover or profit.
For full details of this grant scheme and how to apply: click here
South Hams and West Devon Councils have also given their top tips to get your application through quickly and right first time:
- Take time to double check key numbers in your application when entering the unique reference number and business rates account number
- If you have a company, enter the company name as exactly as it appears on the records on Companies House
- When uploading your bank account statement, also enter your business rates account number
All these things if they are incorrect will mean that the claim won’t go straight through when being processed and will delay the claim.
How to Apply
The letter has been sent to the business rates contact address of businesses who may be eligible for the cash grants. Councils are asking businesses to look out for this letter at their business rates contact address as it will contain a unique reference number to enable businesses to apply online. Eligible businesses will be asked to apply online on the Council’s website in order for a payment to be made direct into their business bank account.
The payment should be received by eligible businesses in early April. If the Local Authority have an email address they will tell you its gone out (to the registered business address).
If you aren’t able to travel to your business contact address, you can contact your council and provide an email address and they will email a copy of the letter to you. The councils are struggling to answer queries so it’s best to email rather than call, and wait for a response. Some councils (such as East Devon) will be making phone calls to eligible businesses to gather email addresses to send out a copy of the letter where they do not have an email address already on file.
If you are able to travel and haven’t revived an email then it’s probably worth waiting until the beginning of next week before travelling to see if it’s arrived to avoid having to make more journeys than necessary.
In the letter will be a pin code to access the system.
The claim form is straightforward BUT the pin can only be used once so don’t make any mistakes.
You will need to have the following information in order to make a claim:
- VAT number (if applicable)
- Business rates account number
- Company number and business name
- Bank account number and sort code
- A copy of a recent bank statement (less than 3 months old)
Make sure to double check every number especially bank accounts and sort codes.
To upload your bank statement you will need to take a photo of it and either upload it directly from your phone, or save it to a computer first depending on what device you’re using to complete the form. Images must clearly show your bank account details so that the information can be verified and to make sure the payment goes to the correct account. Local authorities will never ask for your bank details over the phone.
Teignbridge Council have created a useful video with information on how to apply – See here