COUNCIL OUTLINES PLANS TO SUPPORT MORE BUSINESSES WITH ADDITIONAL RESTRICTION GRANTS
Wokingham Borough Council is finalising plans to provide financial support to local businesses impacted by the current national lockdown restrictions, which are in place until 2 December.
It is hoped that this will also extend to any businesses affected by Wokingham Borough’s move into the new Tier 2 restrictions.
For businesses required to close as a result of the current lockdown restrictions, and who are registered for business rates (commercial premises), there is the option to apply for a mandatory grant under the Local Restrictions Support Grants (Closed) Addendum.
To date, more than £529,000 has been paid out to local businesses, and eligible companies can continue to apply via the form on the council’s website.
The council recognises that there are many businesses impacted by the current restrictions, but who do not pay business rates and who aren’t eligible for other financial support.
To support these organisations, it is finalising details for Phase 1 of a Discretionary Grants Scheme (also known as Additional Restrictions Grants).
Cllr Stuart Munro, executive member for business and economic development, says: “Subject to final approval from the Council’s Executive this week, we hope to be able to offer grants of £1,500 to help business whose cash-flow has taken a nosedive in the last four weeks; either because they have been required to stop trading, or because a significant proportion of their income relies on trade with businesses who have been forced to close. We will not be taking an administration fee for this, meaning the money can go straight to businesses.
“The local economy has been hit hard by the pandemic and we’re here to help organisations who may be struggling financially. This is an especially difficult period for organisations who would also usually thrive in the run up to Christmas. For many, it will act as a lifeline and help them to be able to continue trading. Initially, this will cover the current four-week restrictions, but we’ll be looking at further phases and other support schemes to help local businesses over the coming weeks and months.”
Whilst the Council’s plans are being finalised, it is encouraging businesses which meet the ‘eligibility for grant’ to apply early. More details on likely eligibility and how to apply can be found on the Council’s website.