Struggling businesses in Leicester who have lost trade due to the coronavirus pandemic will be able to access a package of financial help totaling £85 million.
The “Small Business Grant” and the “Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant” were formally announced on Wednesday, April 1st. They are the highest grant amounts in the East Midlands and one of the 10 highest allocations for cities in the entire UK.
Leicester City Council will contact an estimated 6,000 firms across the city to ensure they get the help they need and allocate the money appropriately.
Businesses will be able to submit an application, and this process is due to go live from early next week.
To help slow the spread of the pandemic, businesses have ceased to operate due to restrictions imposed by the government on non-essential services and travel.
Depending on their size and needs, businesses can expect to apply for between £10,000 and £25,000 which falls in line with the Government’s grants criteria.
Leicester City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “Businesses everywhere are facing extremely difficult times because of the impact of coronavirus, and this £85million will help provide a lifeline to many of those in this unprecedented period of uncertainty.
“Local authorities have been given the responsibility of working with eligible businesses in their area, to ensure the money is made available where needed.
“Obviously this is a considerable amount of money which needs to be allocated safely and to avoid the risk of fraud, and we have been upgrading our payment systems to ensure the payments can be made as quickly as possible and to ensure anyone who is entitled to this help can get it.
“For many firms it may mean the difference between their businesses surviving or not.”
The City Council is also pushing to make businesses aware of their Business Gateway Growth Hub, which is being run in partnership with Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership Ltd (LLEP). This service intends to make it easier for businesses to access the help they need. The hub also benefits from daily updates providing employers and self-employed citizens with details of how to apply for financial help and support.
The most relevant Government information, guidance and advice can be found within the Growth Hub. With a focus on retail, hospitality, tourism, manufacturing, service and other sectors.
Speaking about the Growth Hub, Kevin Harris, chair of the LLEP Board of Directors said: “The coronavirus crisis continues to be an extraordinary test of the resilience of the business community. Here in Leicester and Leicestershire, the vast majority of our economy is made up of small and medium-sized enterprises, which have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic.
“The LLEP is committed to standing by our businesses and ensuring that all those eligible have the ability to access grant funding through our local authorities.
“I would urge all businesses to trust that help is coming, and that everyone involved in the administration of the grants are working extremely hard to expedite funding to businesses.”
If you want to find out more on applying for the Small Business Grant or Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant visit the Leicester City Council’s website here
You can also visit the Business Gateway here for up-to-date information on help for businesses
By Sam Ellison