12 Jan 2021

Retailer puts spotlight on grant 'anomaly' which killed her business

Bira is backing a new campaign to once again highlight an 'anomaly' in government grant funding, which meant indies missed out on £15,000 Covid-19 cash.

Retailer Mel Sims had to close her business The Nurture Barn last year after missing out on £15,000 cash due to an 'anomaly'.

In original government documentation, businesses with a rateable value of at least £15,000 - like Mel's - expected to receive £25,000. However, the threshold was changed overnight so that it only applied to businesses with an RV £15,001. Businesses like Mel's fell short of qualifying and instead received just £10,000.

Despite running the children's indoor play centre and cafe in Braintree, Essex, successfully for six years, the lack of funding during the first lockdown meant she had to close and make eight staff redundant.

She was one of 3,700 small shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants who missed out on the full allowance, according to real estate advisory firm Altus Group.

Mel has set up the Twitter hashtag #smallbusinessrateanomaly to put the focus back on businesses like hers which have had to cease trading due to this oversight.

Andrew Goodacre, Bira CEO, said: "We back Mel's efforts to put a spotlight on this anomaly which impacted many of our members last year."

For more details see Melanie Sims (@melnurturesims)

Read our story about the rate anomaly here

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