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£15.6million for Guildford businesses still unclaimed

If you own a business in Guildford, you may qualify for a grant to help you through the financial impact of the coronavirus. We have £22 million in government funding available, but so far we have only been able to pay 25% of this as many local businesses have not applied.

We know that around 1,750 local businesses are eligible for small business or retail, leisure and hospitality grants and we can only pay if you fill in the application form on our website. We have currently paid £6.4million to 441 businesses that qualify for help from the government but there are many more local businesses we could support.

To qualify, the rateable value of your business must be below £51,000 and you must be the business ratepayer. Grants of either £10,000 or £25,000 are available, depending on your rateable value. Please make sure that we have an email address for your business - otherwise we can only write to the business postal address we have on file.

We wrote to every business ratepayer in the borough earlier this month. If you missed this, please read the guidance and complete the claim form on our website at www.guildford.gov.uk/busgrant. Once your application is complete, it usually takes about a week for payment to be made to your account but in some cases we are processing payments in a few days. You will be sent confirmation of payment by letter or email, but please check your bank account regularly.

Cllr Joss Bigmore, Lead Cllr for Finance and Assets, Customer Services says: "There is money available to help your business through this challenging time - please make sure you apply for help. It's easy to do online and we are working hard to identify and contact those businesses who haven't applied yet for the money they are entitled to. Please make sure you include your business email address when you apply so we can speed up the process - otherwise we will send post to your business address and while we are in lockdown, picking up your post may not be easy.

"My advice is please read the guidance then apply. I know many of you have and thanks for getting in touch and for being patient with us while we process payments. In many cases the money might be in your bank account before you receive an email or letter. We are also phoning businesses and have redeployed extra staff to undertake this as we are committed to making sure everyone who can receive this funding is made aware of it. Many we have spoken to were not aware they could claim and have been very grateful for the opportunity to receive the grant.

"We understand that there are some local businesses that will not qualify for this special government help for various reasons and in these cases we advise them to contact our business support partners The Enterprise M3 Growth Hub, Surrey Chambers of Commerce and for those trading internationally, the Department of International Trade, for other forms of support and advice."

Leader of the Council, Cllr Caroline Reeves said: "While we continue to provide essential services for our residents and prioritise resources to ensure our most vulnerable groups are protected, supporting our local businesses is also crucial. It will remain a focus in the coming days and weeks while we begin to plan our borough's recovery. The social and economic impact of the outbreak cannot be underestimated. We are proud to be a vibrant borough with such a broad range of growth sectors from gaming, cyber security, life sciences and telecoms. More than 70 companies (10% of the UK's games industry) from giants such as Wargaming UK, Lionhead, Media Molecule, EA Games and Supermassive to progressive independents such as Glowmade are based in Guildford. We are also a key player in the space sector with the world leading centre for space engineering based at the University of Surrey campus and key businesses including Surrey Satellite Technology, Earth-I and isardSAT located at the Research Park and we are committed to ensuring our businesses can find a way through this emergency."

Published on Tuesday 21 April.