Struggling businesses will be able to access further grants following approval of the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG2) and the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Open) by Central Bedfordshire Council’s Executive today.
The two new grants are designed to support even more businesses as they struggle during lockdown because of the pandemic. ARG2 has been designed to help those businesses who are not able to access any other form of Government COVID-19 related grant schemes and can provide up to £3,000 depending on the number of employees.
Cllr David Shelvey, Executive Member for Corporate Resources, said: “It is vital that we provide as much support as possible for our businesses who have struggled so much during the pandemic. These new grants will enable many small businesses to access much needed funds. I urge all small businesses to apply for these grants.”
ARG2 is not designed to, as per Government guidelines, compensate for wages that can be covered by the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) or by the furloughing of staff. It is designed to broaden it as much as possible to include businesses demonstrating a significant loss of income.
The ARG2 is not sector specific and can support any type of relatively small business, in any setting, from being in a rated premise to home based, provided the business has seen at least a 50% reduction of income.
Cllr Shelvey added: “I am pleased that we have now agreed for this scheme to be adopted. Many small businesses will welcome this cash boost. We have during the pandemic supported businesses with over £80m in grants and business rate relief and with this scheme we are able to spread this support further and bring in many businesses that would not have been able to access funds.”
Criteria for successfully applying online for the grant is to be able to evidence a drop in income of more than 50% year on year (typically between November 2020 and January 2021 compared to the same period the previous year but with some flexibility according to circumstances).
Evidence needed also includes, but is not inclusive to, HMRC registration number and bank statements. The amount available is up to £1,000 self-employed (and not already claiming SEISS), under five employees £1,500 and £3,000 for those with more than five employees.
The scheme will launch on 24 February 2021 and run for four weeks. The application form will not be available between midday on Friday 26 February and Monday 1 March 2021 due to the server being in use at this time for other essential financial work.
In addition to the ARG2 scheme, the Local Restrictions Grant (Open) scheme was also approved. This scheme is designed provide support to businesses that whilst not required to close during Tier 2 and Tier 3 were adversely affected by the localised restrictions. Councils have been asked to prioritise hospitality, leisure and B&B businesses although the grants do not apply during a national lockdown of if an area is in Tier 4. Grants of up to £1,050 per 14 day period are available and full details of the eligibility criteria and how apply are available on Central Bedfordshire Council’s website.