Business News

Council preparing to make payments to small businesses affected by latest lockdown

Graham Robson November 15, 2020

Businesses, charities, social enterprises and community centres that pay business rates and were forced to close in Brighton & Hove due to the latest lockdown from November 5 to December 2 may be eligible for grants of up to £3,000 for that period.

Payments, which will be made from a government scheme called the Local Restrictions Support Grant, do not have to be paid back and the amount of grant will depend on the rateable value of the property:

  • £1,334 for businesses in properties with a rateable value of £15,000 or under
  • £2,000 for properties with a rateable value of between £15,000 and up to £51,000
  • £3,000 for properties with a rateable value of £51,000 or over

So that payments can be made as quickly as possible, Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC) is setting up a secure application process on the website where businesses, may be asked to provide additional information to support their claim, can apply (from November 16) by filling in the online form.

BHCC will also open an additional grant scheme for businesses that are not eligible for the main support grants and is currently working on the criteria for this scheme, which will be designed to target those most in need of a payment to help them to survive.

The principles for how to allocate the fund will be decided by the Policy & Resources Recovery Sub-Comittee. The criteria for the fund will be published on the website.

Cllr Phélim Mac Cafferty, BHCC leader, said: “For many of our valued independent businesses this is an especially gruelling time – Christmas often accounts for more than half of the year’s sales. So government support for businesses affected by the second lockdown is welcome news but we are concerned that it will sadly not be anywhere near enough to prevent some businesses failing.

“The city council will be working hard to distribute funding as quickly as possible to the most affected sectors of the local economy. Hospitality and retail, leisure, culture and events are a major part of the city’s economy. These businesses have shown fantastic resilience and have adapted what they do in many cases, but many have been severely affected by the pandemic while unemployment in the city is rising.

“During the last lockdown, many of our small businesses missed out on small business grants because they do not pay business rates and the government fund we were allocated proved to be a drop in the ocean. We will be doing what we can to support local businesses and employees to ensure they don’t fall through the cracks this time around. We will continue to lobby for the strongest support from government in the weeks ahead.”

Brighton & Hove has been allocated £7.3 million for the support grant. There will also be around £5.8 million covering two financial years as an additional grant for discretionary payments.