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Article date - 08 July 2020
Back in May, St Helens Borough Council launched its Discretionary Top Up Scheme – a government initiative for businesses that may not have been eligible for previous initial business grant payments for support during the pandemic.
To date, the council has distributed more than £25m in grants to more than 2,100 local businesses that have met certain criteria – but it is hoped that this latest round of government funding will aid even more organisations, with more than 200 applications received so far.
To qualify for the Discretionary Top Up Scheme, businesses must be a small or ‘micro’ business as defined by the Companies Act 2006, meaning they employ less than 50 people; have a turnover of less than £10.2m each year; and a balance sheet total of less than £5.1m a year.
The scheme has been split into three key application areas:
1. Business Support Grant - An eligible business that meets one of the following criteria:
(a) does not pay rates direct to the council but has an ongoing (more than six month) fixed property cost as evidenced by a mortgage, lease or rental agreement of less than £51000 per annum.
(b) currently pays business rates and has a rateable value of less than £51,000 per annum and has been ineligible for previous COVID-related business grant schemes.
2. Voluntary Sector Support Grant - An eligible organisation that has an ongoing (more than six month) fixed property cost as evidenced by a mortgage, lease or rental agreement, the organisation is in receipt of charitable mandatory business rates relief, the property has a rateable value of £51,000 or less, and the organisation has been ineligible for previous COVID-related business grant schemes.
3. Bed & Breakfast Support Grant - An eligible business has an ongoing (more than six month) property cost as evidenced by a mortgage, lease or rental agreement, and the business is a bed and breakfast establishment that pays Council Tax not Business Rates.
St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance, Councillor Martin Bond, said: “This funding and the criteria for it has been designed to help local businesses directly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, but fell just short of qualifying for grants under previous schemes, to hopefully secure their long term future, saving many jobs in the process.
“Businesses – no matter how big or small in size or turnover – are all of equal importance in our borough so I’d urge those eligible not to miss out on this opportunity to apply for this."
Businesses eligible for the Discretionary Top Up Scheme can apply by visiting www.sthelens.gov.uk/discretionarytopup
Applications close on Friday 17 July and will be dealt with on a first come, first serve basis.
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