First small business grants paid out

Published Thursday, 9th April 2020

Calculator and printed roll of figures

The first grants for small businesses were paid out yesterday morning (Wednesday 8 April), as the council continues to work hard to support local businesses through the coronavirus pandemic.

Further payments were processed yesterday and will continue to be processed today and into the Easter weekend.

So far, over 1,300 businesses have applied for the small businesses grant fund and nearly 400 have applied for the retail, hospitality and leisure business grant.

The first set of guidance was received by the Government on 26 March, with further clarification updates from the Government being issued into this week.

On 1 April 2020, the council asked businesses to provide the relevant information needed to process applications quickly via a short information form.

Cllr Kevin Robinson, cabinet member for business, leisure and tourism said: “We know how important these grants are to local businesses and their future, and that is why our teams have been working very hard to act on the Government guidance being issued on this, and to get a proper process in place to enable secure payments can be made to the right businesses.

“We have a large team of officers working on this I am pleased to say that the first grants were processed on Tuesday night and payments made from the council yesterday morning.

“This process continued yesterday and work will continue today and over the Easter weekend to ensure that businesses start to see that vital cashflow into their bank accounts.

“We are also writing to businesses again to remind them to apply if they think they are eligible. We would ask that those filling in the application forms to include their bank details as this will speed up the process and mean we don’t need to phone those applicants to request details.

“If any businesses think they are eligible for the grants, please visit www.southend.gov.uk/businesscorona

The Small Business Grants Fund makes £10,000 available per eligible business who are currently in receipt of small business rates relief. Payments will be made by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council from government funding to support a business’s cash flow.

The Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Grant scheme provides businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property depending on their ratable value.