Around 1,500 small businesses in Swansea are set to share in £21m of grants to help see them through the Coronavirus crisis.
Staff at the Swansea Labour-led Council have been working hard to make the Welsh Government funding available as quickly as possible to help keep business afloat in these difficult times.
The enormous effort is just the first stage of business support being administered by Swansea Council on behalf of the Welsh Government. More payments will be made over the coming weeks as applications are processed.
Labour Cllr Rob Stewart, Leader of the Council, said: “These are difficult times and we know just how challenging they are for small businesses.
“We are there for them and our teams have done all they can to arrange payments of grants to those businesses most in need as quickly as possible.
“This is just the start of the process. We will be working flat-out to ensure that eligible businesses can access the support they need as quickly as we can.”
He said: “As a council we are also speeding up our invoicing systems so that we pay our bills to businesses as quickly as possible. There’s probably never been a time when people have needed their local council more. We are standing by business and supporting our local economy as much as we can.”
Over the last two weeks, the Welsh Government has announced a string of measures to help Welsh business get through the crisis, including the £500m Economic Resilience Fund announced on Monday.
The measures support businesses listed on the business rates register and packages available include one-off grants to businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors that are liable for business rates as of March 20 2020.
Grants of £25,000 are available to businesses with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £51,000 and a grant of £10,000 for businesses eligible for Small Business Rates Relief with a rateable value of £12,000 or less. The same ratepayer may only receive the lower grant for a maximum of two properties in each Council’s area.
Many staff have been working from home and have been working as fast as possible. This is so the council can pay grants to eligible businesses which are currently paying business rates and where the council already has sufficient information to make the payment directly to the business’s bank account.
In some other cases, the council has been able to gather information needed within the last week.
Cllr Stewart added: “We have set up a web page so that business owners can tell us that they believe themselves to be eligible for the grant support and provide the information we need. Over 1,200 businesses have used the page to contact us so far with more continuing to do so every day.”
The online form is available on the Council’s website www.swansea.gov.uk/coronavirusbusinessgrant.
Business owners who believe they are eligible for the grant are asked to complete it if they have not done so already. The form should be fully completed to avoid delays.