Local businesses struggling because of the coronavirus lockdown rules have started to receive some of the financial aid they so desperately need.
The aid is arriving in the form of a small business rates grant and is being paid by Ealing Council directly into businesses bank accounts or by post. And some companies may be receiving more help soon.
Councillor Jasbir Anand, the council’s cabinet member for business and community services, said: “I’m a business owner myself, so I do understand the challenges businesses are facing right now, whether they are still trading or – if they have been even harder hit – one that’s had to close. However they have been affected, they are still part of the lifeblood of our local economy.
“It’s in all of our interests, once this crisis has been brought under control, for businesses to be able to roll up their shutters as quickly as possible and start trading again.”
The benefits include:
- Small business rates grant. So far, £32 million has been paid to 3,200 small businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or less. Each business will have received this in the form of the £10,000 small business rates grant.
- Grant payments to larger businesses. So far, £24 million has been paid to 964 retail businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000. Each business will have received this in the form of the £25,000 retail, hospitality & leisure rates grant. More grant payments will be made shortly to additional properties identified following the extension of the government qualifying criteria.
- Businesses rates 2020/21. The council will be providing more rate relief for most retail, leisure, hospitality and nursery businesses. So, these businesses will not have to pay business rates in the 2020/21 financial year.
- Registered Nurseries – as well as receiving 100% relief for 2020/21 these properties will also receive an emergency fund payment from Ealing Council – £790,000 paid in total to 63 qualifying nurseries.
All these payments are grants and do not need to be paid back. Eligible businesses do not need to apply – they will be paid automatically. The council hopes to have made the majority of payments and reliefs to eligible businesses by 30 April.
“Remember, we are here to help and support you – that’s our job right now,” said Councillor Anand.
Warning of scams – and more advice
However, she also warned businesses that some criminals are taking advantage of these grant aid measures by setting up scam websites offering to lodge applications for businesses in lieu of a fee. The council wants to make clear that these are fraudulent sites and not to use them. If a business is eligible for the relief, the council will contact them.
Businesses are also advised to visit the business area of the council’s online coronavirus information centre for further advice about help that they can access help – including the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan and the government’s Job Retention Scheme.
Ealing Business Survey 2020
All businesses in the borough are also encouraged to take part in the council’s business survey to assess the impact COVID-19 has had on their business. Please complete the survey before 31 May.