BUSINESSES across the country can now apply for a government grant of up to £18,000 to help reopen after lockdown eases.
During the March Budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled the coronavirus “restart grants” as part of a £5bn boost to businesses.
The scheme aims to help Britain's economy recover from a horror year brought on by the Covid pandemic.
The Chancellor said he hopes the grants will breathe new life into nearly 700,000 businesses as lockdown restrictions ease this month.
Non-essential retail, hospitality and leisure businesses, which can open in mid-April, will be able to apply for the money from today.
How much is the grant?
The restart grants will be a one-off payment given out by local councils that businesses do not have to pay interest on or payback.
The amount of funding you can get depends on the type of business.
Hotels, clubs, bars, gyms and leisure firms will be eligible for grants of up to £18,000.
Meanwhile, 450,000 non-essential shops will get up to £6,000 per premises to help reopen.
Who is eligible?
Not all businesses are eligible for the grant, so make sure you check that you meet the criteria before you apply.
Note that local councils will use their own discretion to determine whether businesses meet the eligibility criteria.
Your business may be eligible if it is:
- based in England
- in the non-essential retail, hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care or gym sectors
- trading on 1 April 2021
Unfortunately, you will not be able to get the funding if it is in administration, insolvent or has been struck off the Companies House register.
Businesses that have exceeded the permitted subsidy allowance will also be unable to access the grant.
If your situation changes after you apply for the loan and you can no longer meet the eligibility criteria, you must notify your local council.
How to apply
Local authorities have been given responsibility for distributing the grant funding.
To apply, you should visit the local council website for more information.
You can find your local council by putting in your postcode on the Gov.uk website.
Then simply click through to the council's website and search how to apply for a restart grant.
Once you’ve found the relevant information, follow the instructions on how to apply.
What if you're not eligible?
Other local council funding options
Businesses who aren't eligible for the government's restart grants may still be able to get cash via their local councils.
For example, the additional restrictions grant (ARG) fund is a one-off discretionary fund aimed at a range of business sectors.
It must be distributed by March 31 2022, or the funds will be recovered by the government, so it's worth applying for it.
To find out more about what funding you can get, go to your local council website and search "support for small businesses".
The government also has a free online tool that lets you search for grants and loans available to small businesses.
You can filter your search by business stage, industry, the number of employees and region to find the ones most relevant to you.
There are currently dozens of grants listed on the government site, with some worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.
There are strict eligibility criteria though, and plenty of them require you to live in – or plan to move to – a certain region.
For example, entrepreneurs in Scarborough can get up to £5,000 to help develop their business.
While West Midlands-based businesses conducting commercial operations in Birmingham could get up to £171,000 to upgrade their vehicle fleet.
We've put together a comprehensive guide to other individual grants available to small business owners across the country.
These include the Innovate UK Smart Grants programme, Grow it award and New Enterprise Allowance.
Small business loans
Another way to get support is through small business loans from your bank or another lender.
The most common way of getting a business loan is through a bank, with around a third of small firms applying for them, according to the British Business Bank.
What to keep in mind if you’re applying for a business loan
IF you’re keen to take out a loan for your business, we explain things you need to keep in mind.
Eligibility for a loan will depend on your personal financial situation as well as that of your business.
As with any other borrowing, the lender will look into your credit history, but they may also want to see a business plan or accounts.
In other words, you need to make sure your finances are in order before you apply for anything.
To apply for a business loan, your business will usually need to be VAT registered and there may also be a minimum monthly turnover.
Some providers may also require that you have at least two years of filed accounts, although not all lenders will.
However, you may find that the interest rates are over 6% and come with complex application requirements.
You can compare business loans by using a comparison site such as Go Compare or MoneySuperMarket.
They list lenders – big and small – and the kind of loan you'll be given.
In other news, millions of Brits are set to get a £345 a year pay boost from today as the National Living Wage increases.
Entrepreneurs can also enter the Sun’s start-up competition with the chance to win £5,000.
Here’s everything you need to know about the energy tariff increases that come in today.
We’ve also rounded up six ways to get help paying your council tax bill.
Source: Read Full Article