National President Stuart Reddish has welcomed a move by the government to make more funding available to local authorities to benefit small businesses.
On Saturday, Business Secretary Alok Sharma and Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Simon Clarke advised that up to £617 million would be made available.
This is an additional 5 per cent uplift to the £12.33 billion funding previously announced for the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund (RHLGF), so up to £617 million. The exact amount for each local authority is due to be revealed later this week.
This additional fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs. However, the allocation of funding will be at the discretion of local authorities.
Businesses must be small, under 50 employees, and they must also be able to demonstrate that they have seen a significant drop of income due to Coronavirus restriction measures.
There will be three levels of grant payments. The maximum will be £25,000. There will also be grants of £10,000. local authorities will have discretion to make payments of any amount under £10,000. It will be for councils to adapt this approach to local circumstances.
Commenting, Mr Reddish said: “We call on councils to use this to provide further support to the independent retail sector.
“Independent retailers are at the centre of the local communities they serve and many have been going that extra mile to support elderly and vulnerable customers during the current crisis.
“Local councils have a real opportunity to help a key part of their local communities, to give a lasting boost to local high streets and parades of shops and the areas they serve.”