Letter: Market traders’ woes highlight flaws in business grant scheme
Thousands of UK small businesses are missing out on business grants for two reasons (Report, May 18). Firstly, they operate in a shared premises such as a market hall, and secondly they are not the named business rates payer. Market traders — often the business owners themselves — have seen revenue drop to zero coupled with very low furlough support funds due to paying themselves in dividends. Just as many businesses are not the named rates payer even though they are the ones paying the rates as part of rent.
My business, Chai Guys, has paid business rates on a kiosk in Victoria but the named business rates payer, which left the kiosk over a year ago, has received the grant. Our other location, within a popular market hall in central London, continues to charge half rent under the misguided belief that we’ve received support from the government. An utterly unfair situation due to bad planning on the government’s part.
Just as many small businesses were about to die, the government announced a new “top-up grant scheme” on May 2. This was meant to plug the gaps in the original grant scheme. Chai Guys is probably eligible for £25,000 under this scheme. Almost three weeks later and business owners have heard nothing.
The bone of survival was dangled in front of our eyes and pulled away. I have spoken to business owners that needed this money yesterday and are filing for bankruptcy tomorrow. Now is no time for lethargy.
This is not getting enough attention because most news focuses on big business. Small businesses are the future big guns if only the government would take notice.
London E1, UK