Hundreds of second home owners in Richmondshire are eligible to claim Covid-19 business grants of at least £10,000.
Richmondshire District Council says it is contacting around 300 Richmondshire businesses this week who are still to claim the Government grant.
District council officers says they have identified the companies and charity groups that haven’t yet come forward for one of the grants.
Council staff say there are also a further 340 second home owners that are being traced by the authority who could also be eligible for aid.
If second home owners make their property available for rent for 14 weeks a year, they can register to pay business rates — although they are likely to get 100 per cent rate relief — rather than council tax.
This means they are likely to be eligible for the Government grants.
Upper Dales county councillor and leader of the Conservatives on the district council said it was a “disgrace” that second home owners would be able to claim the money.
The councillor described it as a loophole that needed to be closed.
She added: “These are no proper businesses that we know as small businesses in Richmondshire.
“They get 100 rate relief so they don’t pay any rates at all.”
District council chief executive, Tony Clark, said the council was following Government criteria for distributing the money.
“Some businesses and community groups may think they do not qualify so we are planning to contact them all individually to explain how the grant aid works.
“We want to ensure that everyone that is eligible gets this aid, particularly our village halls, workshops, stores, camping and caravan sites, farm shops and community facilities.
“There is no complicated application form to complete – all we need to do is check records match with our business rate database and we can turn the grant around very quickly.”
So far the council has paid out £14.35 million to around 1200 businesses, around 64% of those in the district.
The on line grants service for small business rate relief, rural rate relief and retail, hospitality and leisure grants was launched on March 27. [kofi]
To submit a form organisations are asked to follow one of the links below – they will require their business rates accounts information:
- Community organisations entitled to Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief as at 11 March 2020 are able to receive a grant of £10,000: https://selfservice.richmondshire.gov.uk/renderform.aspx?t=1246&k=1BC08789164713643361948DB6A5648452DF198D
- Community organisations in receipt of a retail discount under the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant with a rateable value of less than £51,000 are able to receive a grant of up to £10,000 and for those community organisations with a rateable value of greater than £15,000 but less than £51,000 a grant of £25,000: https://selfservice.richmondshire.gov.uk/renderform.aspx?t=1246&k=1BC08789164713643361948DB6A5648452DF198D .