Wirral Council is set to open the next round of discretionary funding to support struggling local businesses after it was awarded £2.56m by the Government.
The process to administer the grants, which will be allocated through the Discretionary Fund, will be open from Friday, 5th June.
The window to apply for a discretionary grant will be strictly limited so the Council wants to encourage eligible businesses to apply as soon as possible. The firm deadline for applications will be publicised next week, once all the Government guidelines and stipulations have been agreed.
To support the grant process, rigorous checks will be undertaken to ensure businesses meet the firm eligibility criteria. A systematic assessment method will be employed to determine need and funding award levels.
Due to financial constraints and to maximise distribution, grants will be capped at £10,000 with most grants expected to be less than £10,000. Depending on the level of demand, some businesses assessed to have a lower need may not receive a funding award.
The Government has asked local authorities to give priority to groups of small businesses that are ineligible for current support, namely charities in receipt of charity rate relief, B&Bs which pay council tax, businesses in shared workspaces and regular market traders. Of course, other small businesses, not in these highlighted groups, will also be welcome to apply where eligibility is met.
Councillor Janette Williamson said: “After more than two months of lockdown, it is vital that we get financial support to our local businesses to ensure they remain viable in this difficult climate.
“Having already been able to distribute more than £45m in grants to Wirral businesses, we are pleased to have an additional £2.56m to allocate but it will be a challenge to make this amount stretch to support all those businesses we know need our help right now.”
Cllr. Williamson will be working alongside colleagues from Cheshire West and Chester Council to lobby Government to commit additional financial support for businesses as they begin the process of reopening, as lockdown eases and new ways of working are instigated for commercial and retail districts.
“It is critical we maintain a spotlight on securing support for business,” added Cllr. Williamson, “as there are still challenging times ahead. We have to ensure our economy is strengthened with sustainable businesses and we can only do that with Government funding and the support of our local communities.”