Stung into action following Inside Croydon’s report on its detail-lite, vacuous announcement intended to “help” the borough’s businesses, the council last night issued a new press statement about the business aid available in the coronavirus emergency.
And this time they did manage to include details of grants potentially worth tens of thousands of pounds to the owners of Croydon’s hard-pressed small and medium-sized enterprises.
The grant announcements had been made during the previous week across different government departments, though the council’s propaganda department and the cabinet member for business, Manju Shahul-Hameed, didn’t bother to include any reference to them in their previous press release, issued last Friday. That stated only that a “taskforce” had been formed, and that “newsletters” would be issued.
Last night, more than 36 hours after the council’s business announcement had been castigated as “a high water-mark for platitudinous piffle”, a second press release appeared, this time including much more useful information.
A Katharine Street source said, “The taskforce thing is very limited because it only involves the larger organisations and it misses out on all the businesses in the borough that are not in a Business Improvement District area – and there are thousands of them.
“Lots of SMEs, small businesses, have been forced to close because of covid-19, and they desperately need some advice and guidance to plug into the grants that are available. I’m glad to see that, after some gentle prodding from Inside Croydon, the council has actually got round to doing just that.”
Last night’s announcement made it quite clear that the money from the support packages is coming from central government, and not from the Town Hall, as some senior figures in the Labour-run council had tried to imply.
It said, “Croydon Council is contacting local businesses to verify their details so grant payments can be made to support them through the disruption caused by coronavirus.
“The grants form part of the government’s support package to ease financial difficulties for businesses, and the council is making the payments on their behalf.
“There are two grants available as part of the support package. All small businesses in Croydon that are in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief will receive small business grant funding of £10,000.
“Meanwhile, retail, hospitality and leisure businesses across the borough, with rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000, will receive grant funding of £25,000.”
The council says that all businesses in the borough should have been contacted yesterday – so if anyone who has not received a notification might want to consider chasing up the council to find out why. Any business that believes they qualify for a grant payment that has not been contacted by the council should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Croydon businesses do not need to apply for this funding,” the council says.
“All businesses that qualify for the grant will have been contacted by the council today and asked to fill in and return a simple online form to verify details such as the name of the rate-payer, their business address, VAT registration details and Companies House registration number.”
Shahul-Hameed was quoted in the press release promising businesses that they would all receive their grant payments, made via a BACS transfer into their bank accounts within seven days.
As well as the grant payments, it was announced last week that some Croydon businesses are also entitled to business rate relief.
All retail leisure and hospitality businesses, irrespective of the rateable value of their premises, will be awarded 100per cent business rates relief for 2020-2021.
Nursery relief is also being awarded to properties occupied by childcare providers on Ofsted’s Early Years register.
Pub relief is also set to increase for one year, from £1,000 to £5,000, for pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000.
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