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Government Discretionary Business Grant now open for applications

South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils will accept applications from noon Wednesday 3 June 2020 from small businesses for a share of around £1.9 million of government support following the coronavirus outbreak.

The councils are urging all eligible businesses that were ineligible for the Small Business Grant scheme and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Schemes to apply but stressing that the government fund available will only provide enough meaningful support for a very small percentage of eligible businesses.

The government has provided the mandatory national criteria for the funds, but to assess the applications fairly and transparently, the councils have created a detailed discretionary grants scheme to try and identify the businesses most in need.

To apply businesses must have been trading on 11 March 2020 and must meet certain criteria. The full details of the scheme and eligibility criteria are on the councils’ business support website at svbs.co.uk.

Business owners have until midday on Wednesday 17 June to apply for the Discretionary Business Fund at svbs.co.uk/top-up-scheme<https://www.svbs.co.uk/top-up-scheme/>

To be able to assess the applications fairly, the councils will need to wait until the application process has closed before applications can be ranked, and so no decisions will be made on applications until after the deadline. It is likely to take a week or two after the deadline to carry out the ranking process and the necessary final checks.

Once that process has been carried out, the councils will notify all applicants whether they’re successful or not. Successful businesses will be provided with an acceptance letter that they’ll need to sign and return before the payments can be made.

While waiting for the decisions, the councils are urging applicants to look at and consider the alternative support for funding in case they’re not successful – this information is all available at svbs.co.uk/ineligible-for-grants<https://www.svbs.co.uk/ineligible-for-grants/>

Cllr Emily Smith, Leader of the Vale of White Horse District Council, said, “This is a really difficult time for a large number of businesses and unfortunately we do not expect the money to cover very many of the eligible businesses that apply so we’ll be very carefully scoring the applications – it will be a delicate balance to prioritise those that are most in need.”

Cllr Leigh Rawlins, Cabinet Member for Finance at South Oxfordshire, said, “We’re committed to making sure there’s help and support to all our businesses, and because we know only a few will be able to benefit from this fund, we’ve put together lots of information on our website to help our local organisations to find alternative options and support.”

The funds will be subject to tax for businesses that make an overall profit once the grant income is included.

Business owners that have any further questions on the grant scheme can email the councils’ Business Support team – business.support@southandvale.gov.uk<mailto:business.support@southandvale.gov.uk>.