COVID-19 - A Business Update On How We Are Supporting Our Community

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17 April 2020

Council Leaders 

Cllr Judy Pearce and Cllr Neil Jory

SHDC and WDBC Leaders

We have handed out essential funding of £23 million received from the Government to support local businesses affected by COVID-19. 

This is providing a crucial lifeline to businesses in the current economic climate, and will help the local economy to survive. 

Across the two Councils, £23 million has been paid to 1,720 businesses in the South Hams and West Devon so far. We have sent out nearly 5,500 letters to eligible businesses for business grants, with over 3,500 having now applied for grants.

We are aware that some businesses have contacted us with queries and are needing further help with their application and we are working our way through these as fast as we possibly can. We know how urgently you need this funding and that's why this is our absolute top priority to provide this lifeline to you, our businesses, and to support our local economy.

There are still many businesses who have not yet applied for their grant funding despite having been sent a letter inviting them to do so.

If you have received a letter but don’t think you’re eligible and have not applied because:

  • You’re in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief and currently don’t pay rates; or
  • Your normal level of earnings during the lockdown period is likely to be less than £10,000

you should be reassured, and you should apply.  The £10,000 grant is applicable to small businesses operating from premises on 11 March 2020 where the Rateable Value was £15,000 or below.

The grant is a one off payment and is paid regardless of expected levels of turnover or profit.

Judy Pearce

If you have received a letter from the Council inviting you to go online to apply for a cash grant, you are highly likely to be eligible for this funding as we have only written to those businesses who would appear to be eligible from our records.

Go online, apply and don’t miss out, as your claim will be assessed by our team and if you are eligible you will be paid the grant.

You could be missing out on either £10,000 or £25,000 of Government funding if you don't apply. 

Our staff are working around the clock on getting the Government funding out to our businesses. Therefore as well as during weekdays, you may be contacted on evenings and weekends by a member of our staff asking for further evidence for your claim or to ask for further information.

Cllr Neil Jory

We would never ask any business to give their business bank account details out over the phone. Therefore if you do receive a call from one of our team, it will be to ask you to go onto our website to submit further information or to submit your claim. 

You may be asked to upload a copy of your business bank account statement onto our website for example. Please also quote your business rates account number when you upload your bank account statement onto our website. 

Businesses will receive an email when their payment has been authorised but it will take two days for the money to reach their bank accounts.

Our advice to businesses is please take your time with your application and double check key numbers such as your unique reference number and your business rates account number. If a wrong digit is entered in your application, this will significantly slow up the processing of your claim.

If you are a company, when entering company details, please use exactly the same name as your company would be registered with on Companies House and take care when entering your company number.  If these details don’t match, this will also slow down your claim.

If you know you haven’t uploaded your bank account statement with your grant claim, please go onto our website and upload these details with your business rates account number.

You will need your unique reference number from the letter sent to your business rate contact address to be able to apply online.

Due to security processes, you will have to pick up your letter from your place of business but if this is difficult, call our Contact Centre on 01803 861275 (for South Hams) or 01822 618800 (for West Devon) and we will make other arrangements for you. 

We absolutely feel the frustration of those businesses who fall between the gaps of the current funding packages available, simply because their rates and rent are combined together or because they sit just outside of the Government’s thresholds for grants.  We want to assure you that we have not forgotten about you and we are heavily lobbying Government to find a solution to help you get the support you need.