£500k safety net for Kensington and Chelsea businesses amid COVID-19 pandemic

Tuesday 7 April 2020

Businesses in Kensington and Chelsea will have an extra safety net to support them during the global COVID-19 pandemic with a new £500,000 emergency business interruption fund from the Council.

The fund has been designed for sole traders and small businesses with either fewer than 20 employees or a turnover of less than £2 million. Businesses which cannot access other government support will be able to apply for grants up to £5,000 until 31 May 2020.

This is the latest in a number of measures the Council is taking to safeguard local business and ensure Kensington and Chelsea’s local economy can bounce back after the pandemic. It will also be administering an estimated £41 million in government business support grants, with the first £1 million already handed out to businesses.

Cllr Catherine Faulks, Lead Member for Skills and Enterprise, said:

“We do not want any successful businesses in our borough left behind during this pandemic. That’s why we are providing this extra £500,000 safety net, on top of the government’s support package.

“I know small businesses depend on their cash flow so we have fast tracked the help they need, already providing rent reliefs to traders and getting cash into businesses right now.”

The Council is also:

  • Delivering the 2020/21 business rates holiday promised by Government to around 2,700 businesses in retail, leisure and hospitality
  • Suspending rent billing for businesses in Council owned commercial property and storage units for three months
  • Suspended invoicing for those using Council commercial waste service
  • Given permanent market traders a rent holiday for 12 weeks
  • Given temporary traders a guarantee that they won't need to maintain their attendance record during lockdown
  • Supporting pubs, restaurants and cafes to operate as food takeaways without planning permission for 12 months
  • Continuing to run our Council-funded business support including:
    • Portobello Business Centre: offering business advice in virtual one-to-one sessions. 
    • RBKC Supply Chain: supporting small local businesses and suppliers to get tender ready and to access opportunities with local buyers.

National government has set up the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme delivered through the British Business Bank. The government strengthened this offer on Friday so that all viable small businesses affected by COVID-19 will now be eligible and has stopped lenders from requesting personal guarantees for loans under £250,000.

The government is also providing the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which funds 80% of workers’ wages and is deferring VAT and self-assessment tax payments.

To apply to the council’s business interruption fund and for information on all the support on offer visit www.rbkc.gov.uk/coronavirus.