New Support Fund for Small Businesses Open for Applications

Published on 02 June 2020


Eligible businesses are invited to apply to Bedford Borough Council by 19th June for a grant of up to £10,000 from the Government’s discretionary business support grant scheme.

The scheme is designed to support businesses affected by the pandemic who have fixed costs for premises but don’t qualify for the existing support grants scheme because they don’t pay business rates.

Businesses likely to be eligible for support under the scheme include those in shared premises such as incubator units, stalls or units in arcades or centres, and shared office accommodation, along with regular market traders, small bed and breakfasts and small charities and not-for-profit organisations. 

The Government has allocated £1.6 million to Bedford Borough Council for the discretionary grants scheme. The Council has published local guidelines consistent with the Government’s criteria for the scheme, with support to be prioritised for businesses that:

  • Have experienced a significant reduction in income due specifically to the coronavirus measures, and
  • Have fixed costs in respect of business premises located within Bedford Borough, and
  • Have rent or mortgage costs of less than £51,000 per year, and
  • Are small or micro businesses or are charities or similar not-for-profit

The full guidelines, along with the online application form, are available on the Council’s website at www.bedford.gov.uk/covid19business

Bedford Borough Council has already made awards totalling over £25 million through the Government’s existing business support grants scheme.

With limited funding available for the discretionary scheme, the Council wants to ensure that all eligible businesses are able to receive some support. It is asking for applications by 19th June, after which it will review all applications against the criteria and ensure the available funds are shared amongst eligible businesses, according to need. Awards are capped at a maximum of £10,000.

Mayor Dave Hodgson said “We know that the number of businesses suffering in the current circumstances extends well beyond those covered by the previously-announced government support schemes. That’s why we’re working to ensure that these new, limited funds from government are distributed to all eligible businesses on the basis of fairness and need.

“We’ve made the guidelines and application process as straightforward as possible. We are asking businesses to look at the guidelines and make their application by 19th June so we can assess all cases together and get these much-needed funds out to firms as quickly and fairly as possible.”

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