Northampton Borough Council has launched a discretionary business grant scheme this week to distribute around £1.7 million of additional funding allocated by central Government for small businesses in the town.

The fund is primarily aimed at small businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors who can demonstrate they have experienced a significant reduction in income due to the Covid-19 pandemic, who have relatively high ongoing fixed property-related costs and occupy property, or part of a property, with a rateable value, or annual rent, or annual mortgage payments below £51,000.

Grants are capped at £25K, however most payments will be less than £10,000 to allow support for as many businesses as possible.
The Council is contacting eligible businesses this week with details on how to make a claim. Businesses which haven’t received an email from a northampton.gov.uk address by 5pm on 5 June and think they are eligible, should email discretionaryfund@northampton.gov.uk.
Eligible businesses must have been trading on March 11, 2020 and will not have already received any other Government grant funding, except for funding from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and / or the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.

The following types of businesses are eligible:

• Small and micro businesses in shared offices or other flexible work spaces, for example; units in industrial parks, science parks and incubators which do not have their own business rates assessment.

• Regular market traders who do not have their own business rate assessment

• Bed and breakfast hotels which pay council tax instead of business rates

• Charity properties that receive charitable business rates relief (with a rateable value of over £51,001), which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief scheme or Rural Rate Relief scheme.
• ONLY businesses in the retail, hospitality, leisure sector who do not pay business rates directly and have fixed property costs are eligible.

Councillor Jonathan Nunn, Leader of Northampton Borough Council, said: “Northampton’s independent businesses make a huge contribution to both the local economy and the unique character of our town centre.
“The Council has long advocated such businesses, and will continue to offer support, to ensure that as many as possible can prosper.

“We have a pretty thorough list of  businesses who have not  yet received support and will be able to benefit from this scheme, and can assure them that our staff are working hard to get this money out as quickly as possible.”

Further information about the scheme can be found at northampton.gov.uk/coronavirus