MORE businesses hit by the Covid-19 crisis in Taunton Deane and West Somerset are to get financial support.

Somerset West and Taunton Council is extending its Discretionary Business Grant scheme to include more businesses and organisations.

The initiative, which opened on June 1, has remained under review in order to balance demand with the funds made available from the Government.

Eligibility criteria were widened for the first time after two weeks.

The latest changes follow a review of unsuccessful applicants and feedback from businesses, particularly those that have not benefitted from other Covid-19 schemes.

The revised criteria will help business types in the retail and tourism sector across the district, including:

•Self-contained self-catering holiday accommodation which is subject to council tax;

•All B&Bs providing food and accommodation to paying guests;

•Commercial fishing boats, charter fishing boats and charter pleasure boat businesses based in SWT harbours

•Street traders and market operators who have consents from and live in the district;

•Self-employed taxi/private hire drivers which are licensed with SWT;

•Mobile retailers;

•Visitor information centres.

The council has also adjusted the fixed property related costs threshold for some of these business types to reflect their lower likely fixed costs.

Cllr Marcus Kravis, executive member for economic development, said: "We want to help as many of our local businesses as possible to survive through these difficult times and to prosper as restrictions begin to ease.

"While we have been able to ensure that many eligible businesses have received the grants they are entitled to, there have been some, particularly our smaller independent businesses, who have not met the criteria to qualify. We hope to offer these businesses a chance to benefit through this further extension of the discretionary grant scheme.

"We value all our businesses in the SWT area. They not only contribute to the local economy but provide services to our residents and visitors and are essential to the economic recovery."

Full details of all eligible businesses now included in the scheme can be found at

From Friday, if any funds are remaining, SWT will widen the scheme to include any other businesses which are not assessed for business rates, which can demonstrate hardship caused by COVID 19, where it is the sole or main source of income for the applicant and is based and operating within the district.