East Hampshire District Council (EHDC) has taken unprecedented steps to ensure that more businesses with less than 50 staff can qualify for coronavirus-related grants.
There were 162 applications to the first round of grants from EHDC’s Local Authority Discretionary Grant Fund. Grants to a total value of £415,500 have now been paid to 73 eligible businesses.
However, when looking at the applications received, some businesses applying did not fit the published eligibility criteria but still desperately needed a grant.
As a result, the council has decided to: change the grant criteria so more businesses qualify; automatically reconsider existing applications that meet the new criteria; and re-open applications to the fund from other eligible businesses who may not have qualified before.
Councillor Richard Millard, Leader of EHDC, said: “We are committed to helping as many local businesses as we can to survive and come back stronger after this crisis is over.
“When we reviewed the applications for the first round of grants, there was a common theme from the businesses that had applied but didn’t qualify.
“We have taken an unprecedented step to ensure that more businesses qualify for these grants.
“The government has set broad criteria for the grants and these will remain, but we’re removing barriers to ensure that we can help as many businesses as possible.”
The total amount still available through the grant fund is £904,000.
Applications for this round of grants will close at midnight on Wednesday 15 July.
To apply for the second round of grants and see the detailed criteria, visit: www.easthants.gov.uk/local-authority-discretionary-grant-scheme