Businesses and the self-employed in Kirklees could benefit from the expansion of the Covid-19 Discretionary Grant scheme administered by Kirklees Council.
Following the government’s announcement of a further lockdown from 5 January, the council received an additional injection of £3.9m towards the Discretionary Grant fund. This money is now being used by the council to widen the eligibility criteria, meaning that more businesses and self-employed residents could benefit.
The Discretionary Grant provides financial help to self-employed residents such as taxi drivers and home-based businesses as well as businesses that have been legally required to close from 5 November 2020, but are not registered for business rates, such as daily licence market traders selling non-essential goods.
Those businesses that have remained open but have been severely impacted by Covid restrictions, like childcare providers, can also claim help under the scheme.
The changes will see top-up payments of up to £9,000 for eligible businesses to match the Closed Business Lockdown Payments announced by the Chancellor as a result of the latest national lockdown. Self-employed applicants will no longer have to demonstrate that they have not received other government financial support, and payments will be increased. Taxi drivers could also receive up to £1,000 for using Covid-secure working practices.
Councillor Shabir Pandor, Leader of the Council said:
“Businesses in Kirklees have suffered more than most with the disruption caused by lockdown and COVID-19 restrictions. We’ve now paid out nearly £130 million to over 11,000 shops, pubs, restaurants and other businesses across the local economy to help them through these tough times. We’re now expanding our support to include local people who are self-employed. This includes taxi drivers who could qualify for £1,000 and people whose business is based at home.
“I’ve been incredibly impressed by the resilience of businesses in the face of challenges created by COVID-19 and it’s vital we do all we can to help them stay afloat. We’re giving ourselves a better chance for a speedy economic recovery once we’re able to return to some sort of normality.
“Officers continue to work tirelessly to get money paid to those that qualify for a business grant as quickly as possible.
“Businesses should look on the council’s website to see if they qualify for support and make a claim as soon as possible if they do.”
Other government grants are still available to claim, including Christmas support for pubs that predominately sell alcohol. The application closing date for the ‘wet led pub’ payment has recently been extended to midnight on 28 February 2021.
For the latest information about business grants, and to apply, go to www.kirklees.gov.uk/coronavirusbusiness