NEW financial help for small and micro businesses

• Milton Keynes Council to share almost £2m among local firms
• Help extended to very small companies who have been ineligible for previous funding

Milton Keynes Council has shared over £37m of Government grant funding with eligible retail, hospitality and leisure businesses struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic and has reduced business rates to more than 3,000 MK firms.

Now an additional £1.97m has been made available for the Council to share with very small local firms in any sector, not just in retail, hospitality and leisure, with a focus on those who have high fixed property costs and/or who can evidence a significant fall in income due to coronavirus.

Grants of between £1,000 and £25,000 are available – although the Council warns local business owners that if the funding is oversubscribed, companies may receive a pro-rata reduced amount in order to share the pot with as many local firms as possible.

Interested businesses must apply online at www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/business/local-authority-discretionary-grant-fund between 3 and 14 June, at which point applications will be considered by a panel based on criteria for eligibility, including:
• A demonstrable significant fall in income due to the COVID-19 crisis
• Fixed property costs of at least £250 per month
• A turnover of less than £10.2m and fewer than 50 staff
• Not being eligible for other support schemes such as the Small Business Grant or the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant

The full criteria can be found on the application web page. The Council expects to begin making payments by 22 June 2020.

Milton Keynes Council reached out to the Local Business Network, which includes the Institute of Directors, Federation of Small Businesses and SEMLEP, who represent the interests of local businesses, for their views on the fairest way to distribute the funding.

Milton Keynes Council Leader, Cllr Pete Marland said “Many small businesses are in a make or break place right now and we hope this funding will be a timely lifeline, either to cover fixed property costs, mitigate losses or to help firms introduce social distancing measures.
“The funding and business rates holiday we’ve put in place are only part of how we’ll be
supporting local firms. I’ve asked council teams to start thinking about how we’ll help to
boost local demand and confidence when national safety measures allow.”

The Council has also made its own COVID-19 safety signs available for businesses to
download and use at https://www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/safetysigns. Artwork for essential
public health advice posters, free standing banners and stickers to mark out safe places to
work and queue are free to use by small businesses and groups who don’t have the
resources to create their own material.