Published: Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Oxford City Council is urging the final businesses in Oxford yet to apply for the coronavirus support grants to do so.

The City Council has found that many businesses in the city – particularly smaller businesses – do not realise the full extent of the financial support that is available to them.

Just over a month ago, the Government provided the City Council with £25.3m to provide grants to businesses in Oxford.

By 4pm yesterday (5/5), the City Council had handed out almost £20m of the funding.

Businesses urged to get in touch

Last week (30/4), the City Council began calling businesses that had not yet applied to urge them to do so.

The reasons businesses owners gave for not applying yet included:

  • They assumed the money had to be paid back. These grants do not need to be paid back.
  • Those that had already received the extended business rates discount assumed this was the grant. Businesses eligible for grants can be entitled to both the business rates discount and grants
  • They assumed you could only apply for one grant for one business premises. Grants can be issued for every qualifying business premise that a business owns in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors

The City Council has attempted to contact all eligible businesses that have not yet applied for grants.

However, the City Council does not have contact details for every business in the city, so owners of businesses that are eligible for grants are urged to call the City Council now.

Business owners can contact the City Council to discuss the Business grants on 01865 249811.

Support available for businesses in Oxford

The support available includes:

  • Small businesses in Oxford that pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBRR) and tapered relief are able to apply for one-off grants of £10,000
  • Businesses in retail, hospitality and leisure are able to receive a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property
  • Businesses in retail, hospitality and leisure will not have to pay business rates for the 2020/21 tax year     

For more information about support available for businesses in Oxford, please visit our support for business page.

Applications dealt with in a single day

As the City Council is now dealing with a relatively small number of applications – compared to the numbers coming in several weeks ago – the process can normally be completed within a day or two.

Wolvercote Young People’s Club, for example, applied for the grants they were eligible for on Thursday (30/4) and received the money in their bank account on Monday (4/5).

£20m of funding given out so far

As of 4pm yesterday (5/5), £19,740,000 of funding has been provided to the city’s businesses:

  • 489 small business grants totalling £4,890,000
  • 155 lower retail, leisure and hospitality grants totalling £1,550,000
  • 532 higher retail, leisure and hospitality grants totalling £13,300,000                                                                   

So far, 1,176 of the estimated 1,831 eligible businesses in Oxford have applied for the scheme.

It is the smaller businesses, in particular, that have not yet applied for the grants that are available to them.

As of 4pm yesterday (5/5), the City Council had just 92 applications left to process – almost all of which came in over the last couple of days.

Additional support provided to Oxford’s businesses

In addition, the City Council has applied more than £57m of business rate relief to more than 1,500 firms across the city.

Separately, the City Council has also offered advice and guidance to more than 400 businesses in the city, including support applying for grants and rate relief, applying for funding for self-employed and micro-businesses, and how tenants of services offices and street traders can access support.

“We are doing all we can to protect businesses in Oxford during the coronavirus pandemic, including ensuring they receive all the money they are eligible for.

“We have written to all businesses in Oxford that we have contact details for, we have issued press releases, social media posts and adverts, and we are now calling businesses directly to encourage them to apply.

“If you own a business in Oxford and think you may be eligible for a grant, please get in touch by calling 01865 249811.”

Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of Oxford City Council

“Small business owners up and down the country are facing challenges on a scale never seen before and the financial support package we have put in place reflects that.

“I am extremely pleased to see that Oxford businesses have already received grants totalling around £20m and I thank the council for its hard work. I urge any business that believes it is eligible, but has yet to be contacted by their local authority, to make themselves known to them.”

Business Secretary Alok Sharma

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