Wiltshire Council working 7 days a week to support businesses affected by COVID-19

Wiltshire Council working 7 days a week to support businesses affected by COVID-19

This move saw approximately 60 members of staff, the majority of whom have been redeployed from other roles within the council, being mobilised to work seven days a week, including bank holidays, to help verify and assess the grant forms being submitted by local businesses for vital funding.

The Council has previously written to over 8,000 businesses eligible for either a £10,000 grant for businesses in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) or rural rates relief and up to £25,000 for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a rateable value of less than £51,000.

To date over 4,800 forms have been submitted to the Council and approximately £9 million has been cleared for payment to Wiltshire businesses.

In addition, a further 12 members of staff are supporting the recently launched dedicated contact centre. So far over 650 enquiries from businesses have been received asking about the grant process, eligibility criteria or wider support available. Businesses can contact the centre seven days a week, including bank holidays, by going online.

Philip Whitehead, the Leader of Conservative led Wiltshire Council said: "We are well aware our local businesses have been seriously impacted by COVID-19 and are struggling to keep afloat. We appreciate the stress these businesses are under and we wanted to play our part to ensure our businesses and local economy are supported long-term. We are therefore working every day, seven days a week, to process these grants and we will continue to do this for however long it is needed.

"It is vital that those businesses who have received our letter come back to us with the information we require as quickly as possible, including their letter reference number and business rates account number. This will allow us to match their details much faster and quickly process their form.

"Around 50% of forms being submitted to us do not provide all the information we need, which causes a delay in verifying and processing the form. We really want to get this money out to businesses as quickly as possible so please help us help you.

"For businesses that are closed and are unable to collect their letter, if you think your business is eligible you can complete the online grant form.

"We are committed to helping businesses meet the challenges they are facing, and we will continue to pull out all the stops to ensure they beat these challenges too."

by Charlie Monro,