Cheshire East Council has begun rolling out almost £90m of Covid-19 business grant funding to local firms.
Around 8,000 businesses in the borough are eligible to receive grants of either £10,000 or £25,000 under a government scheme totalling nearly £90m across Cheshire East.
The aim is to support local businesses in response to the significant financial impact of coronavirus.
Eligible businesses, who have registered their bank account details with the council, have begun to receive their grant funding – via automatic bank transfer – from today (Tuesday, 7th April).
Councillor Amanda Stott, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for finance, IT and communications, said: "This is incredibly important grant funding and it offers a crucial lifeline to our local businesses during the significant challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic.
"The grant money was only released by government to local authorities last Wednesday and I want to thank council officers for turning this round quickly and efficiently so that grants could start being distributed to our businesses by the following Monday.
"Cheshire East has one of the largest and most vibrant business sectors in the country and fantastic entrepreneurs – and I am proud that Cheshire East Council is playing its part in helping to support them and protect our local economy and jobs."
Two new grant schemes are being funded by the government in response to the pandemic, which cover three scenarios:
● A small business grant fund of £10,000 for all businesses in receipt of small business rate relief; and
● Grant funding of £10,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property –where the rateable value is below £15,000; or
● Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property – where the rateable value is between £15,000 and less than £51,000.
Receiving a government business grant is a free and automatic service, there is no lengthy application process and no need for businesses to employ any agency or broker.
For businesses that do not pay business rates by direct debit or qualify for small business rate relief, the council does not hold any bank details and will be unable to make grant payments via cheque. These businesses are advised to register their bank details using an online form and then clicking on the 'information for employers and business about Covid-19' link.
The council asks that anyone with questions about the grant schemes visits the Covid-19 business pages on their website.