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Small businesses across North Devon are being urged to check their eligibility for the government's coronavirus support grants. 

The £10,000 grants are to support the many small businesses which pay little or no business rates due to receiving small business rate relief (SBRR) or rural rate relief (RRR).

A £25,000 grant is also available to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.

So far, two thirds of the eligible businesses in North Devon have applied and North Devon Council has paid out almost £25 million to 2,114 local businesses.  In total 2,500 businesses have submitted forms but around 1,500 are still yet to apply.

Leader of North Devon Council Cllr David Worden says: "We're concerned that some businesses don't think they are eligible or that this is some sort of loan that they'll have to pay back, but that's not the case; this is a grant that does not have to be repaid. These grants provide a lifeline to local businesses so it's concerning that a third haven't yet applied. We'll be making a concerted effort to contact them all over the next couple of weeks to ensure that these businesses receive what they are entitled to."

This week the business rates team will write to all those businesses yet to apply, although with current lockdown arrangements, as many won't be in their place of work, this is being backed up with phone calls and emails where contact details can be obtained.