Although government funding is not expected to be released until early in April, the city council is making cash advances of up to £2,500 for businesses in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief and eligible for the £10,000 government grant announced in the Budget.
This money will help to support them with their urgent cashflow needs now, with the balance of the grant being paid as soon as central government funding is issued to the council.
Councillor Dr Erica Lewis, leader of Lancaster City Council, said: “Although it’s good news that the government is providing grants to small businesses, we know from experience that many will not be able to survive if they have to wait until the funding is formally released in April. That’s why we’ve taken the decision to pay them, from our own reserves, a cash advance now so they can continue to operate.
“Our priority is to try to keep as many people in work as we can. Everyone in work is one person who is less vulnerable through this crisis. We would encourage every business who is in receipt of this grant to ensure they are sharing that support with their employees, and to also access government support for wages.”
The council is processing all the applications it has received as quickly as possible to make payments the next day. Staff are working throughout the weekend to ensure businesses get the money in their bank accounts as soon as possible.
Tony Johnson, Lancaster BID manager, added: “It’s great to see that Lancaster City Council has been very pro-active in making sure that the business community of Lancaster have all the information that they want and need in these very testing times.
“Through Lancaster BID’s close working relationship with the city council we have been able to get the most up to date comms out quickly and efficiently to all our BID members. We will continue to monitor the ever changing picture, but the future of our businesses and how quickly we can bounce back is one of our biggest priorities right now, without losing focus on making sure that everyone is safe.”
In order to receive this advanced funding, businesses must apply directly via the online application form at Lancaster.gov.uk/sbrrgrant and qualify against the following criteria:
• Your business qualified for Small Business Rates Relief as announced on 11 March 2020
• Your business premises does not relate to personal use (storage, private stables, beach huts and moorings) and is not being used just for storage.
Any further business related queries can also be directed to our dedicated team via: firstname.lastname@example.org. Ongoing localised updates from the council can also be found via lancaster.gov.uk/coronavirus.
Last updated: 27 March 2020