£23million extra for West of England businesses affected by Covid-19 restrictions
A new grant scheme worth a total of £23m is to open to businesses in the West of England to secure jobs and deal with the effects of Covid-19 restrictions, Regional Mayor Tim Bowles has announced today (Friday 13 November).
The Additional Restrictions Grant is a discretionary payment to help businesses that have been adversely impacted by national restrictions imposed to control the spread of Covid-19. The scheme will open from Monday 16 November. This is in addition to the Government’s Local Restrictions Grant which is aimed at businesses who are required to close as a result of lockdown.
The West of England Combined Authority (WECA) has been working in collaboration with the region’s councils and the Regional Recovery Taskforce to create a consistent regional approach to awarding discretionary grants based on economic need.
The new Additional Restrictions Grant scheme was discussed by the West of England Recovery Taskforce, convened by the Regional Mayor, at its meeting today, ahead of the scheme opening.
The grant support focuses on helping:
- Non-business rate paying businesses that are required to close (including businesses registered for Council Tax);
- Businesses not required to close but have closed due to a significant impact on trading;
- Businesses continuing to operate, but with significantly reduced demand due to social distancing rules.
To provide support to as many businesses as possible, the Additional Restriction Grants will be up to £1,000 for businesses with 10 or less employees and up to £1,500 for those with 11 to 49 employees.
Tim Bowles, West of England Mayor said: “The survival and success of our businesses is vital to protecting decent well-paid jobs in the West of England and securing our recovery. This £23m we have secured from the Government will be a big boost and add to the schemes we have already launched in the region to help us get the job done.
“Advice on these new grants and other schemes is available through the West of England Growth Hub and I would encourage businesses to apply as soon as possible to help protect themselves from the impact that Covid-19 is having on their trade.”
The West of England Combined Authority and the Regional Recovery Taskforce are working together with Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire councils to ensure the grants are consistent when they are launched next week across the across the region. Applications should be made to the council where the business is trading.
The Additional Restrictions Grant provides further support for businesses that are not covered by the Government’s Local Restrictions Support Grant – which is distributed by councils to businesses that have been specifically ordered to close due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Businesses can find out more details about the range of support available through WECA’s Growth Hub website: www.wearegrowth.co.uk.
Councillor Richard Samuel, deputy Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “We want to help businesses in B&NES survive the impact of the second lockdown. The Additional Recovery Grants could provide a lifeline for businesses who fall outside the criteria for the other Government support grants announced earlier this week. I’d like to reassure businesses that although the grants are discretionary, we are working to process them consistently and fairly across the region to make sure the money reaches those in need. Please get in touch with us and apply online if you think you’re eligible for help.
“Don’t forget that the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) Addendum that opened for applications this Tuesday needs to be applied for through us and is not an automatic payment.”
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “These grants will offer extra support to help businesses cash flow. It is vital that we support as many businesses as possible can survive this crisis and be a vital part of our recovery.”
Cllr Mark Canniford, North Somerset Council’s executive member for business, economy and employment, said: “I urge businesses to check they are eligible and apply for one or other of these grants to help them survive this second phase of lockdown restrictions.
“As a council we will do all we can to support our local businesses and will be contacting them to promote the availability of these grants. We’re expecting a high volume of applications which we will clear as quickly as possible in date order. We aim to validate claims within 14 days of receiving all the information required.”
South Gloucestershire Council’s Cabinet Member for Corporate Resources Cllr Ben Burton said: “We’re very pleased to see this additional financial support being made available, and encourage any businesses in the area that have been adversely impacted by the national restrictions to make an application.
“Grant programmes such as this are essential to help local businesses ride out these incredibly difficult times and ensure that they are ready to thrive once more when the situation improves.”