Cheltenham BID has stepped in to help Cheltenham Borough Council act quickly to support businesses eligible for grants during the coronavirus epidemic.
The council has received £24.5 million from Government and grants have already started to be paid out. Payments will continue to be made daily.
The council is one of the first local authorities in the country to get grants paid to businesses and to date, over £4 million has been paid to 250 businesses; the latest grants will hit bank accounts by Monday. The BID was able to help by contacting businesses to ensure they completed documents needed by the council to make the payments.
During the past fortnight, 280 businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector have received revised bills from the council which now gives 100% retail discount. A further 500 businesses have been identified as potentially eligible for expanded retail discount subject to state aid limits being removed. Once confirmation has been received from the Government revised bills awarding the discount can be issued immediately.
Kevan Blackadder, Director of Cheltenham Business Improvement District, said: ‘’We welcome the council’s rapid action to help the business community and we have been able to support them by contacting our businesses through the out-of-hours information they have shared with us in the past.’’
Cllr Rowena Hay, cabinet member for finance, says: “We’re working as quickly as we can to pay the grants to eligible businesses however we do have to make checks to ensure payments are being made to the correct businesses.
“Payments are being made via BACS and we are aiming for the money to be in business bank accounts within five working days of receiving the completed form. In some cases we may need to contact businesses to clarify details but we will do this as quickly as possible.”
Paul Jones, executive director finance and assets, continued: “We value the importance of our businesses in Cheltenham and I am proud that our staff, with support from our partners at Cheltenham BID, have made significant strides in identifying those businesses who qualify for both cash grants and reliefs.
“It is satisfying that we are one of the first local authorities in the country to get cash ‘out of the door’ to support our valued business community in their time of need.’’
Businesses are urged to check if they are eligible by visiting cheltenham.gov.uk and through the coronavirus update section on the website visit the business advice and support pages.