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Support still available for businesses during lockdown

Businesses are being encouraged to apply for thousands of pounds of vital funding to help the local economy through the current national lockdown.

The covid-19 pandemic has meant that many businesses are currently closed in an effort to reduce transmission of the disease. However, businesses are being encouraged to come forward to apply for a number of grants and funding that remains available.

Last month, having received national guidance from the government on eligibility and other criteria, Test Valley Borough Council’s revenues team has been processing hundreds of thousands of pounds to businesses across the borough.

In the last three weeks, more than £6m has been paid out to businesses. Despite the significant amount, those who haven’t already come forward are being asked to do so, particularly in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, as well as those in events and who have had to close as a direct result of the lockdown.

Support also remains available to those in the early years childcare sector through the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG).

The schemes available include the ARG, the Local Restrictions Support Grant and new lockdown grants with one-off payments to closed or affected businesses.

The ARG covers businesses in the retail, hospitality, leisure, events and early learning sectors and will last for the duration of any national lockdown, as well as tier four limitations. This grant also covers supply chains that have not been forced to close, but whose income has been significantly affected by the closure of its customers.

The Local Restrictions Support Grant (addendum) applies to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses mandated to close during the tier four restrictions and national lockdown.

Payments for both the ARG and Local Restrictions Grant range from £1,000 to £4,500 depending on the applicable restrictions and rateable value.

New lockdown grants will supply a one-off payment to businesses who have been forced to close or affected by the national lockdown that began in January, but businesses will only be eligible if they pay business rates. Covering similar sectors, payments can range up to £9,000. These grants will be paid automatically to eligible businesses that receive the above ARG and Local Restrictions Grant payment.

More information and applications can be found via:

Finance portfolio holder, councillor Maureen Flood, said: “I’m extremely pleased that such a large sum of funding has been passed to those who really need it in our Test Valley economy. However, there remains opportunities for those who may be eligible to apply, and I really hope that businesses and organisations take up that chance.

“Although the vaccination programme is rapidly helping to make our communities safer, we are not out of the woods yet by any stretch and this is a real chance to help our businesses. I would urge those who haven’t yet, to come forward.”