Posted: Sat 2nd May 2020
New funding of £617m is being made available to co-working space tenants, market traders and other businesses in England who aren't being given funding through the coronavirus business rates grant scheme.
The grants are in addition to the £12.33bn provided to English councils to deliver £10,000 and £25,000 grants to companies covered by business rates.
Business groups including Enterprise Nation have previously called on the government to extend the grants scheme to cover companies using shared workspaces.
The government said the fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs and local authorities have been asked to prioritise businesses in shared spaces, regular market traders and small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief. It also covers bed and breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates.
But local authorities may choose to make payments to other businesses "based on local economic need".
To qualify, businesses must have under 50 employees and be able to demonstrate that they have seen a significant drop of income due to coronavirus restriction measures.
Grants of £10,000 and £25,000 will be available and local authorities can choose to make payments of any other amount under £10,000.
More guidance and amounts being provided to each council will be released shortly.
Gareth Austin-Jones, co-founder of Enterprise Nation member Cocorose London, which is based in the Collage Arts workspace in London, said: "We have yet to see the details of a new grant that is being made available to the thousands of businesses who are tenants in co-working spaces, but it will be very welcome support.
"As a business that didn't qualify for Small Business Grants Fund, it has felt that the solution to getting through this crisis would be debt or deferment of payments.
"Like most businesses we have re-run cashflow forecasts numerous times in the last six weeks. Sales have understandingly fallen during lock down, but its very hard to know what the revenue will be as we come out of this. Debt and deferred payments of VAT and PAYE will have to paid from future profits, and who can be sure what they will look like in six to 12 months.
"We are very grateful of work that has been put in by groups such as Enterprise Nation and operators of creative workspaces to get our voice heard."
Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation, added: "It is great news that the government has extended grant support to small businesses in shared workspaces and trading through markets.
"This is exactly the move we have been calling for. As with everything, the devil is likely to be in the detail, but we are confident this is a huge step in the right direction."
We are keeping you updated on the latest information on how to access the government's coronavirus business support here. You can also find advice and ask a question on Enterprise Nation's coronavirus business advice hub. Follow Enterprise Nation on Twitter too for updates.