Discretionary business grant fund now open for applications | Oldham Council
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Published: Thursday, 28th May 2020

Oldham Council has launched a new discretionary grants fund to support certain small businesses which have been impacted by coronavirus and do not meet the existing cash grants criteria.

Grants of £2,000, £5,000 and £10,000 will be available.

The funding will be allocated in two phases and the fund is now open for applications until Friday 12 June at 5pm.

Grant applications qualifying for phase one will be processed first with payments made week commencing 15 June.

If, after this phase there is funding still available, then phase two applications will be processed.

Phase one will prioritise the following applicants:

  • Small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces. Examples could include units in industrial parks, science parks and incubators 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 & Breakfasts which pay Council Tax instead of business rates; and
  • Charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief.

Phase two applications are also invited from eligible businesses in the manufacturing, digital and creative, construction, logistics and events management sectors. Phase two grants will only be awarded if there is still funding available following phase one.

The council has set out detailed criteria on the local scheme to try and ensure as many businesses as possible can receive financial support.

Grant awards will be based on annual property costs:

  • For businesses that are charged an annual rent and property related charge of between £1,200 to £2,000 will receive a grant payment of £2,000.
  • For businesses that are charged an annual rent and property related charge of between £2,001 to £5,000 will receive a grant payment of £5,000.
  • For businesses that are charged an annual rent and property related charge of £5,001 or more will receive a grant payment of £10,000.

Cllr Sean Fielding, Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Economy and Enterprise, said: “We are keen to support our local businesses who continue to struggle through this lockdown period.

“We want to ensure Oldham continues to have a thriving business economy, and therefore, if funding allows, we want to run a second phase of grants for businesses that do not fit into the four categories set out in phase one. Detailed information will be published as and when this is possible.”

The discretionary grant fund is for businesses that are not eligible for other coronavirus grant schemes and is primarily and predominantly aimed at:

  • Small and micro businesses
  • Businesses with relatively high ongoing fixed property-related costs
  • Businesses which can demonstrate that they have suffered a significant fall in income due to the COVID-19 crisis
  • Businesses which occupy property, or part of a property, with a rateable value or annual rent or annual mortgage payments below £51,000.

Cllr Abdul Jabbar, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Services, said: “We have been lobbying Government for financial support for these businesses which have found themselves falling through the cracks of the cash grants scheme.

“The discretionary grant fund will help protect these important small local businesses and safeguard jobs but there are limited funds available – around £2.5 million in total.

“We know there are many local businesses that need help right now so we have set out a range of grant awards to ensure as many eligible businesses as possible can access the fund.

“If you think you may be eligible, please visit www.oldham.gov.uk/discretionarygrantsfund and supply all the information and evidence requested – this will be vital in helping us assess your application as quickly as possible.”

The discretionary grants fund is an extension to the Small Business and Retail, Leisure and Hospitality cash grants scheme – which remains open for eligible businesses.

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