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Another chance for small firms to claim coronavirus cash

Small businesses, B&B owners, market traders and other enterprises hit hardest by the pandemic are being offered another chance to get government cash to help them cope.

In June, firms had an opportunity to apply to Portsmouth City Council for money from the Local Authority Discretionary Business Grant Fund. But the pot was not used up, so the council has opened applications up again in the hope of reaching more businesses.

The second round is for businesses, or charitable organisations run as businesses, that did not apply last time the grants were offered. This time, the eligibility criteria have been widened to include more businesses and more home-based firms.

During the first round of applications, grants were aimed at businesses occupying property with a rateable value, annual rent or annual mortgage payments of up to £51,000. Now the council has raised the limit to £100,000, although businesses in lower-value properties are still encouraged to apply.

Out of £1.9m from the government given to Portsmouth to distribute, about £800,000 is left to be paid out. Businesses are urged to check if they are eligible and complete an online application form before 9am on Monday 17 August. Cllr Steve Pitt, the council's Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Economic Development, said: "Keeping smaller businesses going in these incredibly difficult times is crucial for the city's economic future and for the health of our local communities. 

"We would prefer that all this money is used to help eligible local businesses rather than have to send it back to the government unspent. We're doing all we can to let local businesses know about it, and have widened the criteria to encourage more applications.
"I'd urge businesses that haven't applied before, or who haven't been eligible for other grants, to find out more and make an application as soon as they can."

Businesses should go to www.portsmouth.gov.uk/businesssupport and click on the 'discretionary grant fund' button. After reading the guidance to see if they're eligible for a grant, they can complete an application form. 

Previous unsuccessful applicants are welcome to re-apply if they have further information that meets the criteria that they would wish to be considered. 

The information online also has details of other business support, including other grant funds that are still open for applications.
The council's coronavirus business support helpline is open from 7am to 7pm, Monday to Friday, on 023 9284 1641, if businesses need help applying.

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