Oxford businesses able to apply for lockdown support grants

Published: Friday, 15th January 2021

Businesses in Oxford are now able to apply for lockdown support grants.

Businesses that have been mandated to close by the Government – including those from retail, hospitality and leisure sectors – can now apply for:

  • One-off grants of up to £9,000 per property
  • Grants of up to £4,500 per six weeks of national lockdown and/or Tier 4

Businesses that do not qualify for the grants but have been severely impacted by the lockdown or Oxford being in Tier 4 are able to apply for discretionary grants of up to £2,000 per 28 days.

The grants are funded by the Government but are administered in Oxford by Oxford City Council.

The City Council has now put in place systems so that businesses in Oxford can apply for the grants. To apply, visit our Guidance and support for businesses page.

The City Council has created one application form for the one-off grant pot and the grants of up to £4,500 per six weeks, so businesses only need to complete one set of paperwork. The application form also covers both the latest lockdown and the period Oxford was in Tier 4.   

However, businesses that do not qualify for those grants will need to complete a separate application to bid for funding from the discretionary grant pot.

The financial support covers the period between 26 December 2020, when Oxford went into Tier 4, and 15 February 2021. The Government plans to make a decision about whether or not England comes out of lockdown on 15 February.

The City Council only received guidance from the Government about how the grants should work yesterday afternoon (14/1).

Lockdown one-off grants

The grant will provide a one-off payment to eligible businesses that were required to close due to the national lockdown, or which cannot operate effectively remotely.

This will include businesses from non-essential retail, leisure, personal care, sports facilities and hospitality sectors.

The grants will provide:

  • £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under
  • £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000

The grant amounts are fixed and are available per property that the business owns. Businesses with more than one qualifying property will receive more than one grant.

If a business has closed its substantive business but is still offering take-away or click and collect, they should still apply for this grant.

The Government has said it expects the grants – worth £4bn in total across the UK – to benefit more than 600,000 business properties.

To apply, visit our Guidance and support for businesses page.

Local Restrictions Support Grants (Closed)

On top of the one-off grant, the Government is also continuing to offer grants of up to £4,500 per six weeks for eligible businesses that have been required to close as a result of the latest lockdown and/or Oxford being in Tier 4.

The grants, known as Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed), will provide:

  • £2,001 per six weeks for businesses with a rateable value of less than £15,000
  • £3,000 per six weeks for businesses with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000
  • £4,500 per six weeks for businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or more

The grant amounts are fixed.

Businesses with more than one qualifying property will receive more than one grant.

If a business has closed its substantive business but is still offering take-away or click and collect, they should still apply for this grant.

The Government estimates that about 90% of eligible small and medium sized business should have their monthly rent for their premises covered by the grants.

Qualifying businesses should apply for both the Local Restrictions Support Grants (Closed) and the one-off lockdown grant.

To apply, visit our Guidance and support for businesses page.

Discretionary grants

The Government has given the City Council additional funding to provide discretionary grants of up to £2,000 per 28 days to businesses in Oxford that have been severely impacted by the latest lockdown and/or Oxford being in Tier 4.

The discretionary grants – known as Additional Restrictions Grant – are available to businesses that have either:

  • Closed as a result of the latest lockdown or Oxford being in Tier 4, and do not have a rateable value
  • Remained open, but have been severely impacted by the latest lockdown or Oxford being in Tier 4

The grants are available to all types of businesses, including those outside the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, and those that do not pay business rates.

To apply, visit our Guidance and support for businesses page.

Wider support for businesses

The Government has extended the Job Retention Scheme (furlough) until April 2021, alongside extending the deadlines to apply for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Future Fund and the Bounce Back Loan until March.

Grants are also available for businesses in the night-time sector that have been closed since March, and for businesses impacted by the implementation of Tier 2 local restrictions from 31 October to 4 November, and national lockdown from 5 November to 2 December.

For more information about these schemes, visit our Guidance and support for businesses page.

More than £27m of support for businesses

The City Council has been facilitating Government grants throughout the coronavirus pandemic, and has established quick turnarounds while still carrying out robust counter-fraud checks.

By December, the City Council had provided £27.3m of Government funding to almost 2,600 businesses in the city to support them through the coronavirus pandemic.

Business support provided by OxLEP

Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) also provides support for businesses in Oxford and Oxfordshire, including:

  • Business support tool: Oxfordshire businesses can complete a simple online form and receive a bespoke business support plan, aimed at coming up with practical solutions to challenges they currently face
  • eScalate: The programme provides support and advice for small and medium-sized social enterprises, enterprising charities and businesses that are committed to enabling a positive social and environmental impact
  • Innovation Support for Business: The programme is designed to drive and commercialise the innovative businesses ideas of Oxfordshire’s small and medium-sized enterprises, and entrepreneurs
  • Skills for Business: Owners of small and medium-sized businesses can receive practical support to identify the skills and learning needs of their organisation, including upskilling existing employees

“If you operate a business in Oxford that has had to close or has been severely impacted by the latest lockdown or the city being in Tier 4, please apply for the grants that are now available.

“We are doing all we can to support Oxford’s businesses through what has been a dreadful year, and so far we have provided more than £27m in financial aid to help more than 2,600 businesses in the city.”

Councillor Mary Clarkson, Cabinet Member for City Centre, Covered Market and Culture