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VTM: Small business remains open with government support

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Case studies, Funding and support

The coronavirus outbreak has had a significant impact on our business. Within 48 hours of the lockdown announcement, 70% of our customer base closed their doors and asked us to stop our work for them.

We had to furlough 7 members of the team through stages as the work slowed and knowing that we will be accessing the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has enabled us to keep afloat.

We are open for business offering other services including GDPR advice compliance to a small number of clients and this is so important for the business as it can still generate an income.

Video transcript

Jo Withers (Managing Director, VTM):

I just wanted to come online and let you know about the support we’ve been given by our local council, which is West Suffolk Council.

I received a telephone call last week, just letting me know that our business was eligible for the grant.

Within 3 working days I got an email saying that the grant was going to be paid into our business bank account.

We’ve got the money. It’s a huge relief.

It means that we can carry on and pay our rent.

We can support the staff.

70% of out customers unfortunately have closed their doors due to COVID-19.

I know we will be back with them shortly, but this grant has just helped us get through this tricky wave.

I urge all business owners, please speak to your local council. Find out about the support that is out there for you. Also, speak with your local chamber.

Don’t feel alone. Speak to your local council. Try and speak to other business owners. Keep in touch with your customers.

We will get through this. I’m determined VTM is going to come out if this stronger and better.

Lets all talk and support each other.

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  1. Comment by Victoria garfoot posted on

    My council say I’m not eligible but I do come under all of the criteria they are asking for

    • Replies to Victoria garfoot>

      Comment by Michael Dodds posted on

      Unfortunately the criteria is sent by government and not local authorities, it’s a totally unfair/uneven grant and because of the way it’s been laid out many businesses will not receive a penny, probably busting lots of them and there employees will be added to the ranks of the unemployed.

  2. Comment by Kidzpartyzone ltd posted on

    There is no help or support available for small businesses with rateable premises whose rates are included in rent.
    They can Furlough employees...but there likely won’t be a job for them to return as most small businesses forced to close will not be able to survive without help.
    These are legitimate businesses registered with companies house & HMRC, also with proof of commercial lease agreements confirming rates included in rent but still refused grants.

    • Replies to Kidzpartyzone ltd>

      Comment by Michael Dodds. posted on

      I couldn’t agree with you more, this grant should have been about businesses period and not about the people who own the building. I know of many small businesses in Gateshead, they can’t pay there rent, they are struggling to pay gas, electricity, insurance, waste collection’s, the will most definitely fail without help, some have employees and they will join the dole que’s, This grant should obviously be given to all small businesses.
      There’s been lots of talk regarding the demise of our high streets, well small businesses are the life of both our high street’s and communities, please help them now.

  3. Comment by Mr Hitesh Pujara posted on

    Many businesses fall into this crack and those registered at HMRC for tax and operate from “home”, pay tax and are also excluded from any support.
    Many small business owners can only draw small dividends and pay themselves just below NI thresholds for costs reasons etc
    Yes please extend eligibility criteria to help us too..??

  4. Comment by Jamey posted on

    I have sent several emails to Greenwich Council and I did not even received a response back. Our bank Lloyds got back to us after 4 weeks of our application asking lots of documents and still they are assessing - no response.

  5. Comment by Michael Dodds. posted on

    I’ve been sending daily emails to the chancellor of the exchequer regarding this very point. This is such an unfair grant, it’s unequal, uneven, what happened to “levelling things up”
    Here’s the situation, someone owns a building, it’s split into several units, all let to small businesses, all with there own entrances, yet it’s the building owner who gets the grant (he’s the one that probably doesn’t need it) Surely this grant was about helping small businesses, not about people and there business rates numbers, it’s absolutely ludicrous to help some and not all, I now hope that there is now some good willing and the right thing is done, hopefully before many of these small businesses go bust.

  6. Comment by EK posted on

    Camden council say my private medical centre not eligible because rentable value more that £15000.
    Small shops selling alcohol and cigarettes are eligible and they received grants.It is shame.

  7. Comment by David Adamson posted on

    I'm a co-director of a sports clothing manufacturing company, 90% of our products go via trade accounts to rugby clubs who through government directives have had to cease playing and meeting.
    So effectively our orders have dropped 90% in the last 12 weeks with very little sign of improving for several months. We have eighteen employees in total nearly all furloughed.
    We have a rateable value of £15000 apparently £1.00 above the limit for receiving SBRR and subsequently qualifying for the government £10,000 grant and are not applicable for the "Leisure" status grant even though our business is 90% directly involved with the leisure industry.
    Our Local Authority "Kirklees Council" from who we rent our industrial unit stated there is nothing it can do to help us
    They have defered our rent for April, May and June but states it will still reqiure payment and to add insult to injury has imposed a rent increase of 4% from the !st April 2020
    The Government has thrown grants of £10K and £25K at businesses with few employees many who have been unaffected or marginally unaffected by the current situation and offered 100% rate relief for hugh supermarket chains who have seen a surge in business, but small manufacturers have been left to drown. Let's see how many hundreds of thousands of skilled workers join the unemployment figures in the next 6/9 months. The government will sit up and take notice then but as been shown in the last few months it will be too late to shut the stable door the horse will already have bolted!


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