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Craven District Council launches new grants scheme for local businesses

Craven District Council has launched a new grant scheme to help more businesses in the district with grant funding.

The Council has around £1.2 million to distribute to some businesses who have struggled to survive due to the coronavirus lockdown, but have been unable to access other grant funding.

Businesses who wish to apply for a discretionary grant are asked to fill in a form on the Council’s website at Applications must be submitted before 11.59pm on June 17, and will be assessed against the criteria set out in the Council’s draft scheme, also available on the Council’s website. The scheme will be approved by the Council’s Policy Committee later in June.

Councillor Richard Foster, Leader of Craven District Council, said: “We know that many of our local businesses have not been eligible for Government assistance until now. We have been pressing on their behalf for more help and I’m glad that we can now launch this scheme.

“We do have a fixed amount of funding available from Government and the Council will seek to divide this funding up as fairly as possible between eligible businesses.

“We will be making payments as quickly as possible to support struggling businesses and would ask for your patience so that we can ensure we are fair and reasonable in allocating these discretionary payments.”

There will be a two-week period during which applications can be made, which will run to June 17. All claims must be made online. Once the application period is closed, all awards will be considered against the criteria laid down within the scheme, as soon as practicable.

Depending on the number of applications and the amount left in the grant fund, the Council reserves the right to provide other application periods or amend some of the amounts noted in the scheme, if appropriate.

If businesses have already filled in a form on the Council’s website, requesting help through the discretionary grant scheme, they will be contacted by the Council. However, by providing the additional information required on the new form they may be able to speed up the process.

The UK government has stated that the intention of the scheme is to help small and micro businesses, businesses with relatively high ongoing fixed property-related costs, those that can demonstrate they have suffered a significant fall in income due to the covid-19 crisis, and businesses which occupy property, or part of a property, with a rateable value or annual rent or annual mortgage payments of below £51,000.

Eligible businesses must have been trading on March 11, 2020 and must not have received any of the following: Small business grant fund; Retail, hospitality and leisure grant; The Fisheries Response fund; Domestic Seafood Supply Scheme (DSSS); The Zoos Support fund; The Dairy Hardship fund.

Councils have been asked to prioritise bed & breakfast accommodation, regular market traders and businesses in shared or flexible workspace.

Craven District Council’s discretionary grant scheme follows the government guidelines but the Council also welcomes applications from other businesses.

Grants may be £25,000 in very exceptional circumstances, £10,000 or any amount under £10,000. 

Craven District Council has paid out £22.64m to 1,936 businesses so far under the original grant scheme which began at the start of April 2020.