BUSINESSES which were dealt a blow by the coronavirus lockdown but did not qualify for a council grant have a new opportunity to apply.

BCP Council has launched the second phase of its Local Discretionary Grant scheme, with the criteria extended.

Council leader Cllr Vikki Slade said: “We’re pleased to be expanding the criteria and opening up grant awards to businesses who previously did not qualify or sat outside of the priorities set by government.

“If you missed out on the first phase, please check the criteria online and apply as soon as possible.

“I would also like to ask that you supply as much evidence as possible to ensure we can process your application as quickly as possible once this second window closes.”

The first round attracted more than 800 applications and led to more than £2million being awarded from the available £4.3m.

The second application window has already opened and runs until Sunday, August 2. Applicants must have been trading on or before March 11 and not have received any other grant support so far.

This time, the criteria include businesses which trade from a residential premises and those that can demonstrate a “significant” fall in income because of Covid-19.

The requirement to prove a 50 per cent fall in income has been removed.

This phase is also open to businesses with fixed property costs and a rateable value below £100,000 and which were still unable to open form July 25 because of government rules.

Previously, businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or more did not qualify.

Businesses who previously applied for this scheme but did not meet the criteria in the first phase may now be eligible. These applications will be automatically reviewed and considered in phase two.

The fund was set up by the government to help businesses that fell outside the scope of other support schemes.

For more information and to apply, visit bcpcouncil.gov.uk/DGSbusiness