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SWT launches new claims process to help businesses

22 January 2021 : Business, Council news

Somerset West and Taunton council has now implemented a simplified applications process to help businesses access the latest tranche of Government lockdown grants.
The new process covers the mandatory and discretionary grant schemes offered to businesses impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions during the second and third national lockdowns, and tier 2 to 4 affected areas.
Although the variety of schemes are complex, each with differing criteria and time-limited application periods, the new process has been streamlined to accommodate two fundamental groups of applicants – those who have received a support grant since 5 November 2020 and those who have not.
Conveniently, those who claimed a support grant from 5 November are not required to re-register.  The Council has already contacted these businesses inviting them to re-apply via a simple email process and where eligible, payment will be made as soon as possible.  Previous applicants which have not been contacted, are advised to check their ‘spam’ or’ junk’ folders along with their email security settings.
Businesses which have not received a support grant since 5 November, regardless of whether they pay business rates and including those who previously applied but did not meet the eligibility criteria, may now be entitled to support.
These applicants are encouraged to register their interest via a simple online form on the Council’s website to determine their potential entitlement to the various schemes .
Once registered, the Council’s grants team will work out whether any support grants apply and where appropriate, the team will contact them to confirm some final eligibility details.
Applicants within this group may have provided their information previously to receive a grant during the first national lockdown (payable from March 2020), however, more up-to-date information is now required to accurately identify eligibility.  The new process clearly states what documents are required before starting a fresh application.
Cllr Marcus Kravis, Executive Member for Economic Development, said: “To reduce the complexity of the latest round of government grants, we've implemented a new claims system that reduces processing time and enables businesses to get the financial support they’re entitled to as quickly as possible.
“Businesses which have already received support from us in the past, will automatically be offered to have their entitlement reassessed.  The other exciting aspect about this new system, is that it gives businesses which have yet to receive any support, the opportunity to also register their interest.
“I therefore encourage businesses to either look out for an email from us or to register their interest via our website.”
As a word of warning about potential scams, where businesses are contacted for additional information in connection with a grant registration, the Council will always quote the registration reference number.
Furthermore, where email application questionnaires are sent to apply for specific grants, SWT will NOT ask businesses to provide bank details or payment information.
Cllr Kravis added: “I appreciate there's a delay between the announcement of a new grant scheme and receipt of the funding for Local Authorities to administer, but rest assured, our teams are working really hard, and I've been really impressed by their commitment processing past applications, issuing payments and now, implementing a new system in such a short space of time.”
For more information about the various business grant schemes and associated claim periods, visit the Council's Covid Business Support Grants webpage.
Alternatively, businesses can sign up to the Council’s business newsletter to receive regular updates.