At a recent roundtable Zoom event hosted by Leonard Curtis, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham urged eligible businesses to apply for their share of Coronavirus grant funding at the earliest, and no later than 30 April, so as not to miss out on vital financial support.

Speaking of the urgent need for businesses to act, Andy Burnham said “We think there are more businesses eligible than have yet applied and we want to make sure this support reaches those businesses who need it.”

The grants, which became available earlier this month, include:

  • Small business grant – cash grants of up to £10,000 have been made available to 700,000 of the smallest businesses that pay little or no business rates and are eligible for small business rate relief (SBBR) or rural rate relief
  • Retail, hospitality and leisure grant – cash grants of up to £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000. For businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or less the grant will be £10,000.

We are aware that some councils are transferring the grants automatically but some are waiting for the claim. In some cases, the contact details on file may be incorrect or issued letters may be being missed if business premises are closed. If you believe you are eligible and have still not yet heard anything, please contact your local council immediately.

Other announcements made last week:

R&D support package
As part of the new £1.25 billion coronavirus package to protect firms driving innovation in UK, £750 million of grants and loans have been made available through Innovate UK to SMEs focusing on R&D. The first payments are expected to be made by mid-May. Innovate UK is accelerating up to £200 million of grant and loan payments to its 2,500 existing Innovate UK customers on an opt-in basis. An extra £550 million will also be made available to increase support for existing customers and £175,000 of support will be offered to around 1,200 firms who do not currently benefit from Innovate UK funding.

The Future Fund
Commercial loans worth £250 million have also been made available to high-growth tech startups affected by Coronavirus, as part of the Future Fund. Due to be available in May, the Future Fund provides ‘bridge funds’ worth between £125,000 and £5m each. To qualify, a business must be an unlisted UK-registered company that has raised at least £250,000 from private third-party investors in the last five years and have a substantive economic presence in the UK. If the company is a member of a corporate group, only the ultimate parent company, if a UK-registered company, is eligible to receive the loan. The government loan must be matched by private investors, and can either be repaid or converted into equity.

Business Support Finder
For a quick and easy way of checking the extent to which support is available to you and your business, you can use the Business Support Finder, available at gov.uk. On completion of a series of short, multiple-choice questions online, you will be directed to a list of the cash grants, tax reliefs and loans that you may be eligible for. The survey only takes a few minutes, and provides further information as to how to obtain each of the schemes you are eligible for.

For all the latest guidance regarding financial support for businesses during Coronavirus, visit gov.uk.

If any of the above raises questions about support available to you and your business, please contact your usual relationship practitioner or email us here.

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