Businesses will be contacted by West Suffolk Council over the coming days and encouraged to take up £32 million in grants while they will also get a further £34 million in rate relief to help them survive the coronavirus outbreak.
The council will be contacting an estimated 2,300 eligible businesses encouraging and supporting them to take up grants of £10,000 available under the government’s Small Business Grants Fund.
It will also contact the business owners of another 610 properties that are eligible as part of the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Fund.
Grants of £10,000 and £25,000 are available under the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Grants Fund. The level is decided by the business properties rateable value and businesses with multiple outlets will be eligible for more than one grant. Eligible businesses will also qualify for Business Rates Relief.
In total West Suffolk Council estimates that it will be paying out over £32 million in business grants from April 1. On top of this it will be paying out more than £34 million in Business Rate Relief.
In the past week the team has spoken to over 100 businesses, listening to their concerns and signposting to all the available support and advice.
Some of those concerns, such as help for self-employed people, for businesses not eligible for the small business grants and advice for large businesses, are being taken up by West Suffolk Council as it speaks to government officials and raises issues and concerns on behalf of local businesses.
John Griffiths, leader of West Suffolk Council, said: “These are challenging times, but we stand ready to work with and support our businesses to help them survive and adapt to this unprecedented challenge and the huge pressure that it places on them and us all. We have redeployed staff across the council to ensure we can provide advice and access to grants to all eligible businesses as quickly as possible.
“We’ve been listening to business concerns, helping people find where the support is available, and over the next few weeks we will be encouraging and supporting thousands of West Suffolk businesses to take up some £32 million in business grants. We are already helping hundreds of businesses save millions of pounds through rate relief – the rate relief for retail, leisure, hospitality and pubs is being applied automatically and represents a further £34 million of support.
“We are also actively considering further measures that the council can take to support businesses and will announce these later. Our priority is to keep everyone as safe as possible, while listening and talking to businesses, providing advice and most crucially ensuring that we get the grants to eligible businesses as quickly as possible. This is an international emergency and an extraordinary time but we in West Suffolk, and our communities including local businesses, have a strong tradition of working together and it is this ethos that will see us pull through and indeed thrive once this present crisis has passed.”
Alongside this the Cabinet Member for Growth has agreed £50,000 towards funding Bury St Edmunds and Beyond Destination Management Organisation in its work to promote the area to visitors once the COVID19 pandemic has been overcome.
The council has set up a webpage which it is regularly updating, directing businesses to the various support that is available. It also includes contact details for the economic development team should business need advice. This can be viewed at www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/c19business