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Gloucestershire Business News

Councils warn grant money is tight as applications open

Discretionary Business Grants from the Government is unlikely to meet the demand from small businesses in the Cotswolds, according to one senior councillor.

Cotswold and Forest of Dean District Councils have announced they will accept applications from June 1 from small businesses not eligible under other support schemes.

Gloucester City Council, Cheltenham Borough Council, Stroud District Council and Tewkesbury Borough Council are still to announce how they are administering the scheme as a joint enterprise.

First payments for Cotswold and Forest applications should be received in the week beginning June 22, but Councillor Mike Evemy has warned the help might not be enough.

The Cotswold cabinet member for finance said: "I think the Government has underestimated the likely demand for these grants and while the last round of funding covered all eligible businesses, this round has a limited pot of money available.

"For that reason we are opening the scheme for two weeks so we can process applications and decide how best to distribute the limited amount available to local businesses."

Grants from vary from £2,000 to a maximum of £25,000.

"Given the limited funding and limited discretion, I think it unlikely that more than a handful of companies will get £25,000, possibly none. The large majority of grants will be under £10,000."

His thoughts were echoed by Councillor Bernie O'Neill, cabinet member for economy at Forest of Dean District Council.

He said: "While the funding is welcome, we shall need to look very carefully at the applications as the sum available to us in the Forest of Dean is limited.

"It is very unlikely that we shall allocate many of the £25,000 grants in order to make more of the £10,000 grants available."

Councils have been asked by the Government to prioritise:

  • Small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces, which do not have their own Business Rates assessment.
  • Regular market traders with fixed building costs, such as rent, who do not have their own Business Rates assessment.
  • Bed and breakfasts which pay Council Tax instead of Business Rates.
  • Charity properties in receipt of Charitable Business Rates Relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief.

Applications for the grant can be made through the council's websites.

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