Mobile and home-based businesses in County Durham are being given longer to apply for financial support designed to help them through the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier this year limited fixed funding was made available by the Government through the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) which could be used to fund a discretionary policy.
Through such policies, councils were expected to give financial assistance to businesses in the hospitality, leisure, accommodation and personal care sectors which had not had any previous support.
The policies were envisaged to help companies which do not have their own business rates accounts but still incur monthly fixed business-related costs and which have been significantly impacted by the restrictions imposed by the pandemic.
In rolling out its discretionary policy Durham County Council extended the support it would make available using the ARG funding to those businesses in shared commercial spaces, taxi drivers, registered childcare providers, childminders as well as driving instructors.
The council has to date committed support amounting to more than £11m to a range of business sectors across the county through various coronavirus assistance grants.
It has now decided to extend the ARG support beyond the original deadline, giving businesses until the end of June to claim.
Under the scheme, eligible businesses with monthly fixed costs of between £100 and £200 receive a one off payment of £500, those with monthly fixed costs of £200 to £400 are given a one off payment of £1,000 and those with a monthly fixed cost of over £400 receive a payment of £2,500.
To be eligible, businesses must be in the hospitality, leisure, accommodation or personal care sectors which had not had any support prior to ARG and be able to:
• Demonstrate fixed business-related costs of at least £100 a month, these must be integral to the running of the business and not include personal salary costs or rent/ mortgage costs
• Evidence that the business provides the majority of the applicant’s income (over 50 per cent)
• Demonstrate that the business is within the hospitality, accommodation or leisure (HAL) sector, is in the HAL supply chain or provides in-person, face to face services
• Demonstrate that the business has been severely impacted by local and/or national restrictions
• Evidence that the business was trading on 18 September 2020
• Demonstrate that the business has not received or is eligible for support under the Local Restrictions Support Grant or the current ARG funding.
Paul Darby, Durham County Council’s corporate director of resources, said: “We understand that the last 14 months have been very tough for businesses from all sectors across County Durham.
“We want to ensure that we reach eligible businesses across the county and that is why we are extending the deadline for applications to this scheme until the end of June.
“We encourage any businesses that have not already had support through this grant to find out if they meet the eligibility criteria, and if they do so, to apply.”
Business owners can find out more and apply for financial support by going to durham.gov.uk/covid19businessgrants.