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If you’re not sure if you are eligible please get in touch – is the message to the estimated 600 small businesses and organisations in Portsmouth who haven’t yet applied for a grant to help them survive the current situation.

Grant payments totalling £31 million have so far been paid to 2493 Portsmouth businesses says Portsmouth City Council, who are appealing for more businesses to come forward. They believe there are many who haven’t yet applied, perhaps because they might not think they’re eligible or because they think they will have to pay it back – which they don’t.

The council is encouraging businesses to check if they are eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Grant Fund at www.portsmouth.gov.uk/businessfunding and then complete the online form so payments can be made. Hotels, sports/social clubs, pubs/bars and charity shops, may also be eligible. Grants are worth either £10,000 or £25,000.

Cllr Steve Pitt, Cabinet Member for Culture and City Development, said “If you are a Portsmouth business please check the council website or call our business support helpline to see if you are eligible for a grant. We think there are still businesses who haven’t completed the online form and want to make sure all our businesses receive the free money they are entitled to help them through the crisis.

“If you are not entitled to the grant but need financial help you can apply for the Government Bounce Back Loan on their website from Monday.”

Under the Bounce Back Loan businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000, with 100% underwritten by Government, and access to the cash will occur within days. These loans will be interest and repayment free for the first 12 months, and there won’t be any fees. It is designed to help bolster the existing package of support available to the smallest businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The council’s dedicated Coronavirus business support helpline is open Monday to Friday between 7am – 7pm on 023 9284 1641. The helpline was set up to support local businesses that are facing unforeseen challenges and financial pressures during this crisis.