Hundreds of West Norfolk businesses supported with £7m worth of grants
Hundreds of businesses in West Norfolk are being supported by Government grants in response to the coronavirus.
As of Friday, 578 businesses in the borough had received a total of almost £7 million in grants administered by West Norfolk.
The package of temporary measures, set out by Chancellor Rishi Sunak last month to support public services, people and businesses through the period of disruption caused by Covid-19, includes support for small businesses, and businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.
The two grant funding schemes, the Small Business Grant Fund and Leisure Grant Fund – worth either £10,000 or £25,000 – are both administered by the local authority.
By Wednesday of last week, West Norfolk Council had paid out the first of those grants to 181 local businesses, totalling a sum of £2,275,000, and as of Friday, this figure had risen to £6,955,000 for 578 businesses.
Graham Middleton, cabinet member for business development, said: “We understand how tough it is for everyone, including business and other organisations.
“We have been promoting the help packages that the Government has announced and have worked as quickly as we can to get these grants processed and the money released.”
Mr Middleton said anyone who has not yet registered for one of the grants should go to the coronavirus of the borough council’s website west-norfolk.gov.uk/coronavirus and follow the business assistance page to check their eligibility for a grant and to complete the online verification form.
“We don’t want businesses to miss out on support to which they could be entitled.”
Further information about support for businesses from the Government is available by going to https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19.
In addition to the grants, some firms will qualify for business rates relief – with the borough council currently checking accounts to see who qualifies.
Any business that does qualify will be sent a revised bill, meaning that they won’t have to pay business rates for 12 months from April 1, 2020.
Stuart Dark, cabinet member for emergency planning, said: “The guidance and legislation has been changing a lot over the last few days and our staff in the revenues and benefits department have gone and above and beyond to ensure these grants could be processed as quickly as possible to try to help protect local businesses."
Mr Dark said he was appreciative of the efforts and "delighted" that millions of pounds of Government support has already been paid out to local businesses needing help.
"This is just one of a range of packages that have been announced by Government, so it is good to see that the money is now available to support people directly," he added.
"We hope that many more will use our eligibility checker on our website and and complete the verification form.
"We are sharing this information with as many businesses as we can, along with the Chambers of Trade, LEP and BID. Any help people can give in getting this message to local businesses is very much appreciated.
"We would also ask that people are patient as this is an unprecedented package of support and lots of legislative changes and we dealing with all the requests as fast as we can."